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‘Lakshmi Sahgal will continue to inspire generations of young people’: CPI-M

New Delhi, July 23 (ANI): Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury on Monday expressed its deep homage to Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, and said that her life and work will continue to inspire generations of young people.

“The CPI-M pays its deep homage and dips the red flag in honour of Captain Lakshmi Sahgal. Her life and work will continue to inspire generations of young people. The party extends its condolences to her daughters Subhashini Ali and Anisa Puri and her grand children and other members of the family,” said senior CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury.

Yechury said Captain Lakshmi Sahgal was an inspiring, encourageous freedom fighter, dedicated doctor in the services of poor, fighter for women’s rights and a senior and greatly respected member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist

“The politburo member of the CPI-M expresses its profound grief at the passing away of Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, an inspiring, encourageous freedom fighter, dedicated doctor in the services of poor, fighter for women’s rights and a senior and greatly respected member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist,” said Yechury.

“She passed away at the age of 98 at Kanpur. At the time of her death, she was a patron of the All India Democratic Womens Association, which she had helped found,” he added.

Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, who breathed her last in a Kanpur hospital earlier in the day, is survived by her daughters Subhashini Ali and Anisa Puri; her grandchildren Shaad Ali, Neha and Nishant Puri; and by her sister Mrinalini Sarabhai.

She was a revolutionist of the Indian independence movement, an officer of the Indian National Army, and the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind Government. She was a close aide of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

In 1942, during the surrender of Singapore by the British to the Japanese, Sahgal aided wounded prisoners of war, many of whom who were interested in forming an Indian liberation army.

Indian revolutionary Subhas Chandra Bose arrived in Singapore on July 2, 1943. In the next few days, at all his public meetings, ‘Netaji’ spoke of his determination to raise a women’s regiment which would ‘fight for Indian Independence and make it complete’.

Sahgal joined the new regiment, called the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, and was given the rank of colonel. This women’s army unit was the first of its kind in Asia. The army fought on the side of the Axis powers against the British.

In 1971, Sahgal joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and represented the party in the Rajya Sabha. During the Bangladesh crisis, she organized relief camps and medical aid in Calcutta for refugees who streamed into India from Bangladesh.

In 1998, Sahgal was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the then Indian President K. R. Narayanan.

In 2002, four leftist parties – the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Revolutionary Socialist Party, and the All India Forward Bloc – nominated Sahgal as a candidate in the presidential elections. She was the sole opponent of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who emerged victorious. (ANI)

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