A Freedom Fighter
Madam Bhikaji Cama played a prominent role in the early Indian Freedom Movement.
Madam Bhikaji Cama
Born into a rich Parsi family, Bhikaji with her flair for languages and good education, grew to be a persuasive orator when it came to speaking on and standing up for the issues of India.
When she was attacked by plague and was advised to go to Europe to recover in 1902, she came in contact with Sir.Dadabhai Nowroji, another Parsi freedom fighter from India living in England. Working under him, she came into contact with several patriotic students of India and European intellectuals who sympathized with India. This gave her the platform to launch her own ways of supporting India’s freedom struggle.
At International Socialist Conference
In August 1907, Madam Bhikaji Cama attended the International Socialist Conference in Stuttgart, Germany. Here she described the devastating affects of the manmade famine perpetuated by the British and on India’s struggle for freedom.
Tearing Sari, Making Flag
While at the conference, somebody made a comment to the effect that India did not even have a flag to talk about freedom. This comment made Madam Bhikaji Cama tear off her sari, stitch a flag out of it, and display it at the conference. She called this “The Indian Flag of Independence” and displayed it on 22nd August. It was based on a design by Veer Savarkar.
Madam Bhikaji Cama
The flag becoming Vande Mataram Flag
The design and colour of this flag was adopted back in India as the Vande Mataram Flag.
Design of the “Flag of Indian Independence” raised by Bhikhaiji Cama
There were eight lotuses representing the eight provinces of India then and the Sun and the moon to present Hinduism and Islam. The red colour stood for strength, yellow for victory and green for boldness and enthusiasm.
Now in Maratha Library
This flag that she raised then was brought to India by Indulal Yagnik which is now displayed in Maratha and Kesari Library in Pune.
This deed of Madam Bhikaji Cama made her a favourite among the masses. The fervour for independence among the people, was further kindled. Apart from this act, Bhikaji Cama played many prominent roles all through the freedom struggle such as printing and publishing Savarkar’s book “First Indian War of Independence” which was banned in India and oteh magazines such as “Vande Mataram” and many more, all of which went to keep the fire for freedom burning in the hearts of the Indians in Indian as well as foreign soil.
After relocating to Paris when she learnt of a conspiracy by the British to kill her, she finally returned to Bombay despite a ban by the British only to pass away on 13th August, 1936.
Streets in her name
The government has in memory of Madam Bhikaji Cama has over the years named many streets and roads under the name of Madam Bhikaji Cama.
For example, a street in Delhi is named Bhikaji Cama Place.
Bhikaji Cama Place
Vessel in her name
In 1997, a fast patrol vessel was named ICGS Bhikaji Cama after this freedom fighter.
Recall this great freedom fighter
Madam Bhikaji Cama’s name is recalled for actively fighting in Indian Freedom Struggle.