Women have always been a vital part of every civilization, and their contributions to each one has been immense. However, more often than not, the precise scope of our role in taking the world forward to a better future have fallen through the cracks, partially thanks to the way histories are told and remembered. So, it should come as no surprise that when talking about Indias freedom strugglewhich has a rich history, beginning well before the Revolt of 1857we often tend to remember the men who gave us our independence rather than the women.This unequal portrayal is starker when it comes to the Revolt of 1857, the Bengal Partition of 1905, and the Swadeshi movementall of which occurred during the early days of the Indian freedom movement. However, by the 1930s and 1940s, Indian women had solidified their role in the movement more than ever before, owing not just to access to beter education and the right to vote or participate in elections, but because the call by leaders across all parties for greater participation in the struggle against the British.This directly resulted in women coming out to participate in the Civil Disobedience movement, the Quit India movement, as well as many revolutionary movements of the time. The role played by these women was significant, but many still remain unnamed. And yet, there were a number of leaders, freedom fighters, who emerged from the ranks of these women, who we do know about and revere as icons of the Indian freedom struggle. Here are eight women from this stage of the freedom struggle you should know about, and never forget.Sarojini NaiduAlso known by the sobriquet given to her by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Nightingale of India, for her brilliance as a poet, Sarojini Naidu is easily the most remembered woman freedom fighter of India. Educated in England, where she participated in the suffragist movement, Naidu was drawn to the politics of the Indian National Congress (INC) upon her return to India. She joined the party, and quickly rose through its ranks to become the President of the INC in 1925. To aid her fellow Indian women in getting their rights, she established the Womens Indian Association in 1917, and even travelled across India to speak to women directly. Just like the men in the freedom movement, Naidu was arrested multiple times, leading to a total jail time of 21 months. After the end of British rule, Naidu was elected as the Governor of the United Provinces, making her the first woman in independent India to hold such a huge public office.Annie BesantWhats a British woman doing on this list, you may ask? The answer is simple. The life of Annie Besant proves that women can form sisterhoods of support beyond national borders, finding common ground against oppressors. Besant was an activist, educator, and writer. She first started her career in Britain, where she spoke up for secularism, womens rights and even published a book supporting birth control (and founded the Malthusian League, which promoted the use of contraception). She supported the self-rule or Swaraj movements in both India and Ireland, and helped found the Home Rule League in India during the First World War. A member of the INC, her contributions were as prominent as they were as an educatorshe helped found the Benaras Hindu University after all.Aruna Asaf AliAn educator and activist, Aruna Ganguly married Asaf Ali (renowned lawyer, freedom fighter, and the first Indian Ambassador to the US) in 1928, despite opposition from her family. She then joined the INC, and became politically active, participating in the Salt Satyagraha of 1930, for which she was jailed. She was arrested again in 1932, and this time around she started a movement in Tihar Jail to improve the conditions of political prisoners. In 1942, when most leaders like Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were arrested, she took charge of the movement: not only did she preside over the INCs Bombay session, but also hoisted the Indian flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidana deed for which she was dubbed the heroine of 1942. After independence, she founded the National Federation of Indian Women, the Communist Partys womens wing. In 1958, she was also elected the first Mayor of Delhi.Lakshmi SahgalIs there any Indian who doesnt know the story of Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, the leader of the Rani of Jhansi regiment of Subhas Chandra Boses Indian National Army (INA)? While this aspect of Sahgals life may be known to most, many are still unaware that this brave leader who took up arms against the British was a trained doctor with an MBBS degree, who was practising in Malaysia before meeting Bose and enlisting in his army. She joined the INAs march to India across Burma, and was arrested in 1945, and sent back to India in 1946 to face the INA trials in Delhi. Sahgal continued her work after independence by leading medical aid efforts for Bangladeshi refugees in 1971, Bhopal Gas Tragedy victims in 1984, and for the victims of the anti-Sikh riots following Indira Gandhis assassination in 1984. She was also a Presidential candidate in 2002, and continued to practice as a doctor throughout her life.Sucheta KriplaniYoure likely to know her as the first woman chief minister of India, an office which she held from 1963 to 1967, but Kriplani was really a freedom fighter who led with passion and rage. A professor of Constitutional History at Benaras Hindu University, Kriplani met her husband (a prominent INC leader) and married him despite familial as well as Gandhis direct disapproval. Gandhi later approved deeply of her, calling her a person of rare courage and character after witnessing the aid she provided to Partition riot victims in 1946. The founder of the All India Mahila Congress, Kriplani sang Vande Mataram in front of the Constituent Assembly on August 14, 1947, minutes before Nehru gave his famous Tryst with Destiny speech.Matangini HazraWhile not much is known about this freedom fighters life, the martyrdom of Matangini Hazra, or Gandhi Buri (old lady Gandhi, in Bengali), is something no one should ever forget. A supporter of Gandhian Swadeshi, Hazra not only spun her own khadi, but also participated in the Salt Satyagraha, for which she was arrested. While attending an INC conference in 1933, she was injured during the baton charge on the masses. In 1942, during the Quit India movement, she held protests against the British in front of the Tamluk Police Station. Reports suggest that as she stepped forward to prevent the police from opening fire on people, she was shot repeatedly, and died while chanting Vande Mataram to her last breath.Kanaklata BaruaAnother martyr during the 1942 Quit India movement, Kanaklata Barua was only 17 years old at the time of her death. Barua had joined the Mrityu Bahini, a nationalist group which emerged in the Gohpur district of Assam in the 1940s. On September 20, 1942, the youths of this party held a protest in front of the local police station. Barua was the first to be shot dead, but wouldnt allow the Indian flag to fall to the ground until her dying breath. The flag was taken up by her comrade, Mukunda Kakoti, who was also shot immediately afterwards.Kamaladevi ChattopadhyayThis activist and social reformer is the main reason why many revered institutions like the National School of Drama, Central Cottage Industries Emporium and Crafts Council of India came into existence. Her contributions as a freedom fighter are no less. She joined the Seva Dal in 1923, and ran for the Madras Provincial Legislative Assembly elections in 1926. Though she lost by only 55 votes, she became the first Indian woman to run for a legislative office. She participated in the Salt Satyagraha, and aided the rehabilitation of refugees during Partition. After independence, she continued to work in tandem with Swadeshi ideals, promoting traditional Indian arts and crafts throughout her life.