Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort honour Northeast’s bravest queens

Three women from the Northeast who are known for their bravery and love for their motherland will be remembered during the Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi on August 15.

Portraits of Lalnu Ropuiliani of Mizoram, Rani Gaidinliu of Manipur and Phan Nonglait of Meghalaya have been installed at the Red Fort in New Delhi.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic to see the poster of Lalnu Ropuiliani, the Mizo women chief, who defied the British empire from annexation of Lushai Hills into colony, being installed on the wall of the Red Fort. A symbol of valour and sacrifice,” said TBC Lalvenchhunga, an Indian navy veteran and a politician from Mizoram.

Netizens have welcomed the move to celebrate the lives of these brave women from Northeast on 75 years of India’s Independence.

Lalnu Ropuiliani was one of the bravest souls in Mizoram who opposed British aggression. She was the front-runner in the movement which was also joined by hundreds of women. They were determined not to allow them to make inroads in their lands by the British. She died on January 3 in 1895 in Chittagong jail.

Gaidinliu Pamei popularly known as Rani Gaidinliu is one of the tallest figures in Northeast India. Her role in India’s freedom movement is significant.

Gaidinliu was arrested in 1932 at the age of 16, and was sentenced to life imprisonment by the British rulers. Jawaharlal Nehru met her at Shillong Jail in 1937, and promised to pursue her release. Nehru gave her the title of ‘Rani’ (Queen), and she gained local popularity as Rani Gaidinliu.

She was released in 1947 after India’s Independence and continued to work for the upliftment of her people.

And an unsung hero from far-flung Meghalaya, which was miles away from the epicentre of India’s freedom struggle movement, Ka Phan Nonglait was one such person who hailed from the Rymmai village, which falls under Hima Nongkhlaw.

She is considered to be the first woman freedom fighter from the Khasi Hills. Born in 1799, little is known or even recorded about the life of Ka Phan Nonglait.

Phan Nonglait played an instrumental role in restoring and upholding the dignity of the Khasi tribe. She passed away on December 6 in 1850 at her Nongrmai village in Eastern West Khasi Hills due to a prolonged illness.

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