Rewind

Meet The Woman Who Bose Counted On To Set Up A Women Regiment In Singapore

The Logical Indian

May 2nd, 2016

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Image Courtesy: gujarat-samachar

Lakshmi Sahgal was at Singapore where she established a clinic for the poor and migrant labourers. It was during this time that she met members of  Subhas Chandra Bose‘s Indian National Army. She got to know Bose was keen to form a women’s regiment to fight for independence. she emerged with a mandate to set up a women’s regiment, to be called the Rani of Jhansi regiment. Women responded enthusiastically to join the all-women brigade and Dr. Lakshmi Swaminathan became Captain Lakshmi, a name and identity that remained for ever. Lakshmi was eventually arrested by the British army in May 1945, remaining in Burma until March 1946.


Some of Lakshmi’s activism and social service

In 1942, during the surrender of Singapore by the British to the Japanese, Sahgal aided wounded prisoners of war
During the Bangladesh crisis, she organized relief camps and medical aid in Calcutta for refugees who streamed into India from Bangladesh.
She led a medical team to Bhopal after the gas tragedy in December 1984, worked towards restoring peace in Kanpur following the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
She was arrested for her participation in a campaign against the Miss World competition in Bangalore in 1996.


Education
Lakshmi studied medicine and received an MBBS degree from Madras Medical College in 1938. She worked as a doctor in a hospital at Triplicane Chennai before she left for Singapore.  At Singapore she came in contact with several nationalist Indians working there including K. P. Kesava Menon.


Political career and run for presidency
In 1971, Sahgal joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and represented the party in the Rajya Sabha. When Abdul kalam was nominated for the post of president, the Left parties and their allies had nominated Lakshmi Sahgal. She failed to secure the required number of votes and Abdul Kalam became the President of India.


The Logical Indian salutes the service Lakshmi had done to our country from pre-independence till her last breath. Her life story is an inspiration for men and women across the world. Her compassion towards the poor and her love for her country is second to none. Her determination to serve the poor even when she could have made a rich career for herself is one of the many that is a take away for all of us.

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