Aruna Asaf Ali – Bharat Ratna Adward Winner
Born on the 16th of July in the year 1909, Aruna Asaf Ali, who was born as Aruna Ganguly, was a famous independence activist, notably remembered for hoisting the flag of the Indian National Congress at the Gowalia Tank Maidan, situated in Bombay (currently Mumbai) during the Quit India Movement that took place in the year 1942, during which a large number of Congress leaders were arrested and imprisoned.
She began her career as a teacher at the Gokhale Memorial School, located in Kolkata, and had an inter-religion married, where she married a Muslim, changing her name from Aruna Ganguly to Aruna Asaf Ali, much against the opposition of her parents.
She was deeply influenced by Gandhi’s ideologies and principles and became a member of the Indian National Congress Party. Following the Gandhi-Irwin pact, she was arrested on grounds of being a vagrant, and was imprisoned in the Tihar Jail, where she organized hunger strikes to make the government look at the poor conditions of the jail and this led to a lot of improvement of the Tihar Jail in the future years.
She was honored with the Bharat Ratna Award by the Indian government in the year 1997 posthumously, after her death in 1996.