Captain (Dr.) Lakshmi Sehgal

Captain (Dr.) Lakshmi Sehgal


About this episode

Lakshmi Sahgal served as the Minister of Women's Affairs in the Azad Hind government and was a revolutionary in the Indian independence struggle. She was also an officer in the Indian National Army. In India, Captain Lakshmi is known as Lakshmi.

Birth: Lakshmi Swaminadhan was born in Madras on October 24, 1914.She was born to S. Swaminadhan, a skilled criminal lawyer, and A.V. Ammukutty, a social worker and independence activist.

Childhood: Since she belonged to a fighter family, therefore she always wanted to join the force to act as a rebellion. But her father suggested her to finish off her studies.

Adult Life: She got married early but it did not go well. After her separation, Lakshmi attended Queen Mary's College before deciding to study medicine and graduated from Madras Medical College with an MBBS degree in 1938. She also obtained her diploma in gynecology and obstetrics.  She served as a doctor in a hospital in Chennai.

Trigger Point in her Life: During the Second World War, the Britishers wanted the doctors to join their army but Dr. Lakshmi left for Singapore and established her own practice. She took part in the Indian National Army League and few years later, she met with Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and received orders to form a women's unit to be known as the Rani of Jhansi regiment, where she became Captain Lakshmi Sahgal.

Imphal: Captain Lakshmi was captured by the British army in 1945, just as their soldiers were about to enter Imphal. She was kept under house detention in Burma's jungles until 1946, when she was deported to India. She was finally released after Indian Independence in 1947.

Later Years: Lakshmi became a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1971. She arranged relief camps and medical aid for Bangladeshi refugees who flooded into India during the Bangladesh crisis. In 1981, she was one of the founding members of the All India Democratic Women's Association, and she oversaw many of the organization's operations and campaigns like the Bhopal Gas Tradegy in 1984 and worked for peace restoration in anti Sikh riots.

Award: Sahgal received the Padma Vibhushan in 1998 and an honorary doctorate from the University of Calicut in 2010.

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