Aruna Asaf Ali – Freedom Fighter of India
Born as Aruna Ganguly ,on the 16th of July in the year 1909, Aruna Asaf Ali was a prominent independence activist who was a courageous freedom fighter, most significantly remembered and admired for hoisting the flag of the Indian National Congress at the Gowalia Tank Maidan, located in Bombay (currently Mumbai) during the Quit India Movement—one of the most significant independence movements against the British Raj, that took place in the year 1942, during which many Congress leaders were arrested and were put behind the bars.
Beginning her career as a teacher at the Gokhale Memorial School, in Kolkata, she had an inter-religion marriage, where she got betrothed to a Muslim, much against the opposition of her parents, and changed her name from Aruna Ganguly to Aruna Asaf Ali, as she was known for the rest of her life.
Deeply impacted by Mahatma Gandhi’s ideologies and perspectives, she became a member of the Indian National Congress Party.
After the Gandhi-Irwin pact, she was charged for being a vagrant, and arrested for the same. She was imprisoned in the Tihar Jail, where she later brought a number of positive changes, improving the poor conditions of the jail, performing hunger strikes and coaxing the government to look towards the development of such prisons.
The Indian government honored her with the Bharat Ratna Award in the year 1997 posthumously, after she passed away in the year 1996.