The list of our nation’s brave unsung heroes is endless. The heroes whose names have got lost in the pages of history books. But the fact that our history books don’t ever bother to mention the names of most of them is saddening. One such name is – Saraswathy Rajamani.
We bet you haven’t heard of this name before! Because neither the history books nor the assembly lectures have any corner for it.
This is the story of India’s Youngest Spy- Saraswathy Rajamani who at the age of 16, smuggled secrets for Indian National Army’s Intelligence Wing headed by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
Born in Burma in 1927 in a family of freedom fighters, this girl was stubborn and extremely patriotic right from her childhood. Her father who was a supporter of freedom struggle was an affluent miner from Trichy. However, the family was settled in Burma to escape arrest by the British Authorities.
Unlike 21st century where women have to fight for their freedom, Rajamani grew up in a liberal household which imposed no filthy restrictions on girls.
Her Encounter With Mahatma Gandhi:
In 1937, Mahatma Gandhi once visited their palatial home in Rangoon. Her entire family had gathered to meet Gandhiji. While everybody was busy introducing themselves to Gandhiji, this 10 year old girl went missing. She was eventually found in the garden, busy honing her shooting skills.
Amused to see this liTtle girl with a gun, Gandhiji asked why she needed a gun.
Without even caring his presence, she replied, “To shoot down the Britishers.”
Gandhi ji, a preacher of Truth and Non-violence urged the little girl to follow the path of non-violence.
The determined girl said, “We shoot and kill the looters. Don’t we? Britishers are looting our country. I am going to shoot atleast one Britisher.”
Her Encounter With Subhash Chandra Bose:
Rajamani was 16, when Bose visited Rangoon to collect funds and recruit volunteers for INA. She was extremely impressed by Netaji’s speech. Because unlike Gandhiji, he wanted everybody to take up arms.
In the zeal of contributing towards nation, Rajamani removed all her expensive gold and diamond jewellery and donated to INA. This attracted the attention of Bose who later found out that she was the daughter of one of the richest Indians in Rangoon.
The succeeding day, Bose went to her residence to return back her jewellery, thinking her donation as an innocent act of liitle girl. However, she, along with her father refused to take it back.
Amused to see the incredible determination of Rajamani, Bose said, “ Lakshmi (Money) comes and goes, but not ‘Saraswathi.’ You have the wisdom of Goddess Saraswathi . Hence I name you Saraswathi.” And this is how she got her name.
These words were not satisfactory and rewarding enough for this patriotic girl. Spotting the opportunity, she immediately urged Bose to recruit her in INA.
Rajamani’s Recruitment To INA:
The very next day, she along with her four friends were recruited as spy in the army. They masqueraded as boys for almost 2 years. They started working as errand boys at British Military camps. As covert agents, their task was to intercept government orders and military intelligence from British Officers.
Unfortunately, one day, one of the girls was caught and captured by the Britishers. Even after knowing the consequences of being caught, brave Rajamani chose to rescue her fellow spy, Durga.
She dressed herself as a dancing girl, drugged the British officers on duty and rescued Durga. During the escape, Rajamani got shot in her right leg.
After gathering her unbreakable courage, she still ran and they both climbed up a tree where they camped for 3 days while a search operation was carried out against them. They both then managed to reach Rangoon, where INA camp was stationed. The bullet wound left her with a permanent limp but it was a sword of honor for her.
Her miserable life in India:
In 1945, after the World Was II was over, she, along with other INA members were relocated to India. She was merely 18 at that time. Sadly, the family who gave away their everything for freedom struggle, had to themselves live a miserable life in India ever after years of Independence.
For a very long time, veteran freedom fighter lived alone in a cramped one-room apartment in Chennai.
It is only few years back, when Tamil Nadu government allotted her a old house in a housing colony along with a financial aid of Rs 5 lakh.
‘Once a soldier, always a soldier’, this selfless lady is still spiritful and determined who wants to serve the nation. Even at this old age, she goes to tailor shops and collects cloth scrap, and make garments to donate in old age homes and orphanages.
During the devastating 2006 Tsunami, she chose to donate her monthy pension to relief fund.
At the age of 16, when teenagers these days struggle to convince their parents to buy them the latest iphone or play station, this girl struggled to serve the nation. Maybe, our history books need to be revised. Maybe the working of Caste System and Dowry System is to be replaced with something meaningful. And Maybe, the movies like Raees and Haseena which are based on gangsters are to be replaced with the movies that inspire our souls.