Subhadra Kumari Chauhan was an Indian poetess famous for her emotionally charged Hindi poems. The subjects in her poems were varied and this variety is an indication of her vast thinking and motivation. She combined in her personality the patriotism of Joan of Arc and the lyricism of Meera. In her works she focuses the conditions of women of her times. She tries to bring a change in the attitude of society towards women. She argued for empowerment of women and claimed for equal rights for women with men in the family as well as in the social and political fields. She dealt on the issues of early marriage, widow re-marriage, and socio-economic dependence of women in her stories. She highlighted the need for communal harmony, nationalism honesty of purpose and character. She joined the Non-Cooperation Movement and was the first woman Satyagrahi to court arrest in Nagpur
. She was jailed twice for protesting against the British rule. She lived in an age of reformation and struggle for freedom led by Mahatma Gandhi. She actively engaged in awakening the educated masses through her thought provoking and effective writings. It was her poetry about Jhansi ki rani that at once showcases the life of the courageous Laxmi bai: "Khub ladi mardani who to Jhansi wali rani thi."
She was born in a village called Nihalpur in Allahabad
. She was married to Thakur Laxman Singh of Khandwa. She was a devoted wife and mother. She cared not only for her children but also for all children whom she came across. She lived in an age when tradition was rooted strong .She was against casteism and narrow-mindedness and she married away her daughter outside her caste.
Her important literary contributions are "Bikhre Moti" (a collection of stories), "Viran Ka Kaisa Hai Vasant", "Jalianwala Bagh" Mein Vasant", `Senani Ka Swagat "Vijaya Dashmi" , "Vythit Hrdya" and "Jhansi Ki Rani", which became popular and was accepted as the classic of the time. She was awarded the Sekseria Mahila Puruskar for her book, "Bikhre Moti" .She wrote many patriotic songs. In her works she portrayed "Bharat Mata" as a mother full of affection for all her children. In her poems she openly talks about the freedom movement and her poems have inspired a great numbers of Indian youth to participate in the Indian Freedom Movement. She was twice elected unanimously as a member of "Prantiya Dhara Sabha".
She cared for the well being of others. She was always full of life and enthusiasm for helping and serving others who were in need. She earned fame as a thought provoking writer and as a freedom fighter. One will always remember her for her intellectual qualities and the spirit of service with love, care affection and sincerity. Her end was tragic .She died on 1948 in the prime of her youth in a terrific car accident. Our country remembers her and honours her by bringing out commemorative postage stamps in her fond memory after her death.
Here are few lines from her inimitable poetry, as strong as her self, her personality, her might:
"The thrones shook and royalties scowled
Old India was re-invigorated with new youth
People realised the value of lost freedom
Everybody was determined to throw the foreigners out
The old sword glistened again in 1857
This story we heard from the mouths of Bundel bards
Like a man she fought, she was the Queen of Jhansi"