Madame Cama: Mother of revolutionaries who fought for independence

Madame Cama: Mother of revolutionaries who fought for independence

Shubham goyal

Madame Bhikaiji Cama was born into a wealthy Parsi family in Bombay on September 24, 1861. She graduated from high school at the Alexandra Girl Education Institution. It was considered at the time to be the best school for women in the country. Among nine of her siblings, she was the brightest and learned several languages ​​as a child. She married a rich, young and intelligent Parsi ‘Rustam Cama’. However, her husband’s family still praised the British and had very little interest in public life. Slowly, while following the movement for freedom, Madame Cama became aware of the atrocities committed by the British in the country due to which differences emerged between her and Rustom Cama.

When the plague broke out in 1896, Madame Cama gave up all the comforts and luxuries of life, devoting herself entirely to serving people wearing white aprons. She was so brave that even knowing that no vaccine had been found for the plague, she continued to work selflessly for the patients. A rich and beautiful young woman could be seen in the role of a nurse and a mother caring for those affected by the disease. After a while, she was infected with the plague, so doctors advised her to go abroad for treatment. Subsequently, she left for London.

After recovering from the illness, she came into contact with some revolutionaries Shyamji Krishna Verma and SS Rana. Dissatisfied with the position of the British Indian National Congress Committee, they began to oppose the policies adopted by the Congressional leaders. Soon they realized that peaceful protests were not enough to dismantle British rule. Madame Cama and other revolutionaries began giving speeches in Hyde Park. These fiery speeches began to attract Native Indians living abroad and foreign media. Madame Cama started working with Dada Bhai Naoroji and learned politics and expanded her network. She began to write regularly in Indian Sociologist.

Association with Veer Savarkar and activism at India House

Shyamji Verma established India House in London, which became the center of Indian revolutionaries staying abroad. It was a kind of hostel that was used to accommodate Indian students studying in London. The House of India was established on July 1, 1905. The inauguration ceremony was attended by revolutionaries like Lala Lajpat Rai and Dada Bhai Naoroji. It was at India House that Madame Cama and other revolutionaries like Veer Savarkar and Senapati Bapat formulated strategies to overthrow the British establishment. However, the “father of our nation” never liked this group of revolutionaries working at The India House and saw them as a “violent team”.

When India House was celebrating the Golden Jubilee of India’s First War of Independence, Lala Lajpat Rai was arrested in India. At that time, Madame Cama wrote fiercely in The Indian Sociologist and called for following non-cooperation. She realized that the best way to dismantle the British in India is to stop cooperating with them and that way their system would collapse in no time.

As Veer Savarkar became the leader of The India House with the support of Madame Cama, he formed a group called – “Abhinav Bharat”. This group celebrated the birthdays of Indian freedom fighters.

When Veer Savarkar’s book ‘First War of Indian Independence’ was banned by English authorities before it could even be released, it was Madame Cama who smuggled it to India and translated it into French. Indian revolutionaries regarded this book as their Geeta. Madame Cama always took care of Savarkar like her mother. When Savarkar was being pursued by the British police, it was Madame Cama who gave him refuge at her home in Paris.

When he was subsequently arrested in London, Madame Cama was the one under whose direction an escape plan was formulated. When he was taken to India for trial, Madame Cama and Lala Hardayal started a movement in France with the help of Jarvis, a socialist leader, so that the liberation of Savarkar could be initiated. The French government. wanted the British government. give them Savarkar. It was after Ms. Cama and Lala Hardayal wrote to various international media houses, the ICJ took the matter in hand.

She continued to help Savarkar’s family when he was sentenced to life imprisonment. When she realized that no options were left to save Savarkar, she walked straight into the British Council office in Paris and took full responsibility for the crime for which Savarkar was being punished in Kala Paani. It clearly shows how bold and fearless she was.

Design and hoisting of the national flag

After Sister Nivedita first spoke about the concept of the national flag, Madame Cama and Savarkar began to work on it. This flag consisted of three bands of different colors. The first was green which represented the Muslim community of our country, the second was saffron which is considered sacred by Hindus, the third was red which was intended to pay homage to the brave freedom fighters who lost the life in the freedom movement.

Vande Mataram was also written in the middle of this flag. Finally, the day came on August 22, 1907 at the International Socialist Convention in Stuttgart, Germany, in which India was represented by Dada Bhai Naoroji.

As described by author Rachna Yamini in her book “The Life and Times of Madame Bhikaiji Cama”: low voices. Her head was covered with a tip of her sari, which testified to her courtesy, but when the same courteous and well-educated Indian rose to speak with ease, it seemed that the whole assembly had been set on fire. When the Union Jack was about to be hoisted as a mark of the national flag of India, she objected and took out a small tricolor from her bag and waved it in her hands. With this Madame, Cama became the first Indian to hoist the national flag on foreign soil. It has attracted a lot of international attention.

End of a long journey of 35 years

Madame Cama has spent much of her life in exile, abroad. She traveled to Europe and America to gather resources and support for her compatriots who were fighting for the country. It should be noted that she turned out to be quite successful in her mission. It will not be wrong if we say that she was India’s first non-governmental ambassador. The American press called it “Indian Zone of Arch”. When Madame Cama returned to India after 35 years, she became old and poor. After spending almost 8 months in the hospital, she finally gave her life on August 16, 1936.


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Thelma J. Longworth

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