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Hajara Begum: A freedom fighter and a votary of gender equality

Hajara Begum, a proactive freedom fighter and a volunteer working for the welfare of toiling masses of the country, was born on December 22, 1910 at Sahranpur, U.P. Although the daughter of a police officer, had a leaning towards nationalism and an ire against Britishers from her early days. After failure of her marriage due to gender disparity, she went to London to pursue her higher education whereat Hajara came in contact with anti-imperialist forces endeavoring to liberate India from British thralldom. She also faced repercussion of British displeasure due to her vocal support for India’s independence, later she joined as a lecturer in Karamat Hussain College, Lucknow in 1935 and was pivotal behind the formation of All India Progressive Writers Association along with famous poets Sajjad Zahir.

She got re-married to another freedom fighter and nationalist leader Dr. Zainul Abedeen in the same year, besides joined the freedom movement too. They were arrested and harassed by police for their active role in freedom movement along with their campaign for communist movement as well. Throughout her life, she has been fighting against all type of gender inequalities and also exploitation of downtrodden/unrecognized sector labour. She was also the recipient of Supreme Soviet Jubilee Award (1960), recognizing her contribution towards the trade workers. Hajara Begum, who spent her entire life in the service of the nation and for women empowerment, breathed her last on January 20, 2003.

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