The name of this remarkable lady is Lakshmi Sahgal, nee Swaminathan. She is popularly known as Capt. Lakshmi though her official rank in the Indian National Army (INA) was Lt. Colonel. She commanded the Rani of Jhansi Regiment under Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. That was no ceremonial unit but one which fought on the
Lakshmi was born as the daughter of a leading Chennai lawyer, S. Swaminathan and AV Ammukutty (Ammu Swaminathan) a leading freedom fighter and social worker. Ammu belonged to the well-known Anakkara Vadakkath family in Palghat District, Kerala.
Lakshmi joined the
Netaji’s arrival at
After some initial victories the INA was defeated along with the Japanese by the British forces. Capt. Lakshmi was captured. But when the British brought her to
Later Capt. Lakshmi married Colonel Prem Kumar Sahgal, also of the INA. They settled down in
Capt. Lakshmi entered politics and aligned with the Leftists. She was a Member of the Rajya Sabha. She contested for the post of President of India against Dr. Abdul Kalaam as a Left wing candidate but lost.
Lakshmi Sahgal reportedly still runs her clinic for the poor and the destitute. And today (Oct. 24) she turns 95.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CAPT. LAKSHMI, MANY HAPPY RETURNS.
An unreleased stamp of the
Azad Hind Government.
Photo of Capt. Lakshmi from the Web.