Expressions of freedom


In the 60th year of India becoming a Republic, the speeches of 14 leaders have been brought out as little books. These books give a glimpse of not only the leaders but also of the times they lived in.

January 26 saw India in its 60 {+t} {+h} year as a Republic. In celebration of this milestone, Puffin has brought out a series titled “Words of Freedom”. The series features 14 visionary leaders, who through speech or action, motivated the people of the country to fight for independence. It is the ideology of these people that led the country to become a republic.

Sarojini Naidu, was known as the Nightingale of India. She had a strong sense of justice and she had no time for chauvinism and narrow mindedness.

Jawaharlal Nehru, first prime minister of free India, was a lawyer by training. Gandhiji considered him his protégé. Born in Peshawar in 1890,

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was a legend in his lifetime. He advocated non-violence among the Pathan tribesmen of the North-West Frontier Province. He was also known a the Frontier Gandhi.

That Vallabhai Patel had great organisational and administrative skills is well known. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy he too joined the freedom movement. As the Home Minister he was the brain behind the forging of 550 semi-autonomous princely states and colonial provinces.

In 1913 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, being the first non-European to be thus honoured. Rabindranath Tagore, was a poet, novelist, playwright, songwriter, essayist and a painter.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad joined the Indian National Congress in 1920. He was opposed to the Partition and felt that a united India was best for all communities.

A nationalist and political leader, philosopher, historian and economist, B.R. Ambedkar fought social discrimination, and advocated political rights and social freedom for the dalits.

Different philosophies

He is the icon of India's freedom struggle. Bhagat Singh was hanged to death by the British. He was only 23 years old!

Aruna Asaf Ali ventured into politics because her husband Asaf Ali was very involved in it. She met many Congress leaders and attended political meetings. She became prominent during the Quit India Movement.

Mahatma Gandhi called him the ‘keeper of my conscience'. A lawyer, scholar, philosopher and statesman, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari was inspired by Gandhiji's philosophy and joined the Congress in 1919. His speeches, both in English and Tamil, were highly eloquent.

Subhas Chandra Bose believed that Gandhiji's policy of non-violence would never succee. He advocated violent resistance. He started the All India Forward Bloc to fight for independence. His motto was ‘Give me blood and I will give you freedom'.

Rajendra Prasad was the first President of the Republic of India. He was president of the Constituent Assembly which drafted India's Constitution.

Erode Venkata Ramasami or EVR was the founder of the Self-respect Movement (1925) and the Dravidar Kazhagam.

Gandhiji spearheaded the nationwide non-cooperation movement and the adoption of the swadeshi movement. He advocated non-violence to win independence. Despite being jailed many times he never wavered from his ideals and beliefs.

Fourteen books on the speeches of leaders who shaped the destiny of India. Reading them will give you a glimpse of the issues that they had to face and fight.