Any reference to India's freedom struggle cannot be complete without the mentions of its leaders and freedom fighters. However, still many freedom fighters have been lost to public memory. Aruna Asaf Ali, who was popularly known as the "Golden Old Lady" of India's Independence Movement for her bravery, is one of those many relatively-unknown activists and today we celebrate her 111th birth anniversary.

Aruna Asaf Ali is widely remembered for hoisting the national flag at the Gowalia Tank maidan in Bombay (now Mumbai) during Quit India Movement in 1942. Born on July 16, 1909, the political activist, who was also a published, went on hunger strike in Tihar Jail for demanding better treatment for political prisoners. On her birth anniversary, here are some facts about her.

Aruna Asaf Ali 111th Birth Anniversary: Facts

  1. Her birth name was Aruna Ganguly
  2. Before joining the Independence movement, she was a teacher at Gokhale Memorial School in Kolkata
  3. Her husband Asaf Ali was a Congress leader
  4. She was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi
  5. She actively participated in the Salt Satyagraha movement in 1930. She was then arrested on charges of being a nomad
  6. She is majorly remembered for hoisting the Indian flag at the Gowalia Tank maidan in Mumbai during the Quit India Movement
  7. Her chivalrous behaviour earned her the title of 'Heroine of 1942' and 'Grand Old Lady' of Independence Movement
  8. As British Police was looking for her, she had to go underground
  9. While being underground, she edited Congress' monthly magazine Inquilab
  10. After a warrant against her was withdrawn in 1946, she came out in public
  11. Post-Independence, she worked towards women upliftment
  12. She was elected as the first mayor of Delhi in 1958
  13. In 1992, she was awarded the Padma Vibhushan
  14. In 1997, she was posthumous awarded Bharat Ratna.

Aruna Asif Ali died on July 29, 1996. In 1998, a stamp commemorating her was issued. In her honour, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg in New Delhi was named after her. All India Minorities Front (AIMF) also distributes the Dr Aruna Asaf Ali Sadbhawana Award annually.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 16, 2020 07:15 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website