Beginning with the uprising of 1857, the journey for India’s freedom was painstaking, and also a long one. After struggling for more than a century (1857-1947) we, the Indians, got our freedom back. How can we forget the Jallianwala Bagh genocide in which thousands of innocent Indians were killed? Hundreds of brave fighters sacrificed their blood and soul for the attainment of independence. It has been 73 years since India has gained Independence, and yet, the powerful words of our freedom fighters never fail to give us goosebumps. They tend to ignite a strange fire and love wihin us for our homeland, time and again.
Let’s take a trip down the memory lane and rejoice in the courageous words of our freedom fighters:
“Inqlaab Zindabad”- Shaheed Bhagat Singh
This slogan was coined by Urdu poet and Indian freedom fighter Maulana Hasrat Mohanib but was popularised by one of the most influential Indian revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh. He was the one who sacrificed his life for the country at the young age of 23. The meaning of the slogan “Inqlaab Zindabad” is “Long live the revolution”. This slogan became one of the rallying cries of the independence struggle and motivated the youth of India to participate in the freedom struggle. It awakened in them the feeling of patriotism and a pro-independence sentiment.
“Tum Muje Khoon Do, Mai Tumhe Azadi Dunga” – Subhash Chandra Bose
The literal meaning of this slogan is “Give me blood and I will give you freedom”. It was devised by Subhash Chandra Bose, affectionately known as Netaji, who was the founder of the Indian National Army. He urged the youth of India to participate in the freedom struggle through his own methods. He gave the slogan “Tum Mujhe Khoon Do, Mai Tumhe Azadi Dunga” to motivate the people to fight more actively for the freedom of the country. He was the one who inspired thousands of young minds to lay down their lives for the motherland.
“Karo ya Maro” – Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was the pioneer of various movements during the freedom struggle of India. The slogan “Do or Die” was delivered by Mahatma Gandhi after a meeting of AICC (All India Congress Committee) which was held on August 7, 1942. The next day i,e on August 8, 1942, Quit India resolution was passed with an overwhelming majority which declared the immediate end of British rule in India. So, on the night while addressing the Congress delegates Mahatma Gandhi said,“ Mere jail jaane se kuch nahi hoga; karo ya maro,” which ultimately meant that either we shall free India or we shall die in the attempt.
“Sare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara” – Muhammad Iqbal
Muhammad Iqbal was a famous poet, politician, philosopher and a remarkable academic. He was also a barrister in British India. He used poetry and songs to spread political awareness amongst the people. Iqbal wrote: “Sare Jahan se Achha Hindustan Hamara”; the famous song was used as a slogan to rejuvenate the youth with a feeling of patriotism. The abridged version of the song is still sung and is also played frequently as a marching song by the Indian Armed Forces.
“Vande Mataram” – Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
“Vande Mataram”, meaning “Mother, I bow to thee”, was a poem written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, an Indian journalist, and activist. He is the one who personified India as Goddess and mother during the Indian National Movement in this poem which was later translated as a song by Rabindranath Tagore. The first stanza of the poem has been adopted as the national song of India in present times. The line “Vande Mataram” has been frequently used to salute the motherland respectfully.
“Satyameva Jayate” – Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya
The origin of this slogan lies in the well-known mantra from the Mundaka Upanishad. “Truth alone triumphs” is the literal meaning of this phrase which is not only adopted as the national motto of India but also inscribed at the base of our national emblem. It was Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, an activist and also the founder of Banaras Hindu University, who used this slogan in his presidential address in 1918 in the Indian National Congress convention. He made sure this slogan reached the masses and inspired them.
“Swaraj mera janamsiddh adhikar hai, aur mai ise lekar rahunga” – Bal Gangadhar Tilak
“Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it,” this slogan coined by Bal Gangadhar Tilak ignited the spark of patriotism amongst countless Indians during the freedom struggle. He is the one who emphasised on the education of youth and mobilised people from all sections of society. This popular nationalist, social reformer and also a lawyer strongly advocated human rights. His slogan motivated people to attain complete freedom and also provoked love for the country among them.
“Ab bhi jiska khoon nahi khaula khoon nahi vo paani hai, jo desh ke kaam na aaye vo bekaar jawani hai” – Chandrashekar Azad
Chandrashekhar Azad had an extremely revolutionary ideology with respect to the freedom movement. He was popular amongst the masses by his self-taken name “Azad”. It was at a young age that Azad joined the freedom struggle and participated in various violent movements. Azad vowed to free the motherland from the clutches of the British. Determined never to be caught by the British, Azad revolutionised the youth by giving highly motivating slogans.
This slogan lit the spirit to fight for the country.
“Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil me hai, dekhna hai zor kitna baazu-e-qaatil me hai” – Ramprasad Bismil
These lines by Ramprasad Bismil are taken from his patriotic poem which was later used as a slogan to challenge the British authority ruling in India. This slogan enlightened the need of the hour and urged people to fight for freedom against British imperialism. Bismil was one of the most talented patriotic writers of the time.
“Aaram haram hai” – Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru, a central figure in Indian politics, and the first Prime Minister of India was also amongst the desperate freedom fighters who wanted the motherland to be free from the British rule. As per Nehru, not even a single sigh of relief was experienced until India got independence. Taking rest was unworthy as per him.
“Khoon se khelenge Holi gar Vatan mushkil main hai” – Ashfaqullah Khan
Ashfaqullah Khan, a prominent figure in the Kakori dacoity, was a freedom fighter from Shahjahanpur and also a close acquaintance of Ramprasad Bismil. They both were awarded death sentence for Kakori robbery after being caught. Khan was an enthusiast; he used the line “Khoon se khelenge Holi gar Vatan mushkil main hai” from the poem Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna as a slogan to encourage the youth.