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The Forgotten Spy: The Untold Story of India’s Youngest Covert Agent, Saraswathi Rajamani

Sixty-nine years after India finally got its hard won independence, the courage and contributions of many little known freedom fighters have faded away from public memory. Largely overlooked by writers and historians, these men and women laid the foundation of India’s freedom from the British. One such unacknowledged heroine is a woman few Indians know about, a woman who lived a life of intrigue and danger to help her nation fight colonial rule.

The woman was India’s youngest spy, 16-year-old Saraswathy Rajamani, who smuggled secrets for the Indian National Army’s intelligence wing.

Saraswathi Rajamani was born in Burma, in a family of freedom fighters, in 1927. Rajamani grew up in a liberal household where there was little to no restrictions for the girls. The deeply patriotic girl was barely 10 when she met Mahatma Gandhi, who was visiting their palatial home in Rangoon.

"Shocked to see the child with a gun, Gandhi ji asked Rajamani why she needed a gun."

“To shoot down the Britishers, of course,” she crisply answered, without even looking at him.

“Violence is not the answer, little girl. We are fighting the British through non-violent ways. You should also do that,” Gandhi ji urged.

“We shoot and kill the looters, don’t we? The British are looting India, and I am going to shoot at least one Britisher when I grow up,” said a determined Rajamani.

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Captain Lakshmi Sehgal with INA’s all-women brigade
She was just 16 when Bose visited Rangoon at the height of World War II to collect funds and recruit volunteers for INA. Unlike Gandhi ji and the INC, Bose urged everyone to take up arms to liberate India from British rule. Deeply impressed with his fiery speech, Rajamani removed all her expensive gold and diamond jewellery and donated it to the INA.

This magnanimous action did not fail to attract the attention of Bose who, on enquiring, found out that Rajamani was the daughter of one of the wealthiest Indians in Rangoon. The very next day, he arrived at Rajamani’s residence to return all the jewellery.

On meeting Rajamani’s father, Bose said, “Due to her innocence, she gave away all her jewellery. So, I have come to return it.”

While her father, a freedom fighter who had himself made massive donations to Bose’s cause, simply smiled in reply, an indignant Rajamani said, “They are not my father’s, they are mine. I gave all of them to you, and I will not take them back.”

So stubborn was the teenager that Bose could not but admire her determination. He told her, “Lakshmi (money) comes and goes but not Saraswathi. You have the wisdom of Saraswathi. Hence, I name you Saraswathi.” This was how Rajamani became Saraswathi Rajamani from that day onwards.

Disguised as young boys, the girls started working as errand boys at British military camps and officers’ houses. As covert agents behind enemy lines, they were responsible for intercepting government orders and military intelligence from the British officers and handing these over to INA.

Rajamani (as a boy her name was Mani) and her friends masqueraded as boys for almost two years to gather intelligence on British movements. While the unit had been told to avoid getting caught at all costs, one of the girls was once caught by the British. Knowing the consequences of being caught, Rajamani decided that she would try and rescue her fellow spy.The gutsy teenager dressed herself as a dancing girl, drugged the officers at the prison, and rescued her colleague. As the girls were escaping, they were shot at by the Britishers and Rajamani suffered a bullet wound in her right leg. Still bleeding as she ran, Rajamani and her friend climbed up a tree, where they camped for three days while the British carried out their search operation.

The bullet wound left her with a permanent limp, but Rajamani was proud of it. For her, it was a reminder of her exciting days as an INA spy.When INA was disbanded after the British won the war, Saraswathi and the other INA members returned to India on Netaji’s instructions.

Saraswathi Rajamani and her family gave away everything they had and made their way to India. Sadly, the family that gave everything they had to the freedom struggle, had to live a life of penury on their return to India.

Age has hardly withered Rajamani’s spirit and determination to serve her nation. Even at this old age, she visits tailor shops and collects cloth scraps as well as rejected fabrics from them. She uses these materials to make clothes that she then donates to orphanages and old age homes. During the devastating tsunami of 2006, she also donated her meagre monthly pension as a freedom fighter to the relief fund.

Somehow, history tends to forget this women. Many heroines, who walked shoulder to shoulder with the men during trying times, still remain in the shadows, their faces forgotten and their bravery unsung. Saraswathi Rajamani is one such heroine, a woman whose exceptional bravery and intelligence deserves to be recognised and respected by her country.

A Big Salute To The Ten Daredevils Who Overcame Their Impairments And Impacted The Society With Their Personal Intuition And Extraordinary Acts

They blossomed to explore the hidden celebrity in themselves, they influenced our culture by striking revolutions and overall, they actualized us that WE CAN DO IT to live out on our dreams, despite of physical barriers-

10. Sudha Chandran: A lady of sheer determination, Sudha Chandran is counted among one of the most celebrated Bharatnatyam dancers of the Indian subcontinent.
Holder of master degree in Economics, her right leg was amputated in 1981, due to Gangrene but this lady of incredible will-power defeated her impairment and fixed an artificial leg. After slow down of two years, she was back in her profession with the thunderous applause across the world. Apart from her dancing skills, she is also known for her astounding performances in Indian movies and television series.


9. Patrick Henry Hughes:

What more can I say about this dynamic and inspiring soul? This multi-instrumental musician was

born blind on March 10, 1988, along with crippled limbs. An inborn patient of bilateral anophthalmia and hip dysplasia, Hughes was backed up by his father, who introduced him to piano at the early age of nine months. Hughes was spotlighted by media, when in 2006, as a student of University of Louisville, he played trumpet in the Louisville Marching Band where his father was pushing him on a wheelchair. After the exposure of his extraordinary talent, he was subsequently invited to perform across the country.

8. Liz Murray:

Chuck out the barriers and go ahead !! Elizabeth Murray was born on September 23, 1980, to drug
addicted parents in a filthy apartment of New York. At the early age of 15, this girl became roofless when her mother died of AIDS and father moved to a homeless shelter. Sometimes on park benches and sometimes on subways, she spent her nights in extremely baneful environments but she never missed the chance to read encyclopedias, recovered from the public trash boxes. Driven by persistence and obsession for hard work, she never surrendered in her way and finally she got listed in the Harvard University. Presently, Liz is an eminent inspirational speaker as well as director of a company, which empower grownups to make something innovative in their lives.
7. Randy Pausch:It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life, … If you lead your life the
right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you. Professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, Randy Pausch became the victim of pancreatic cancer in September 2006 and died on July 25, 2008, due to its complications. The thing which made him famous was his one-of-a-kind lecture, Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, delivered on September 18, 2007, at CMU auditorium. His flashing performance and a clean-cut approach to experience the life was watched by millions of Internet viewers, which became a sensation between international media and later, it was converted in a book, which has been translated in 35 different languages.

6. Sean Swarner:Considered as a medical wonder, Sean Swarner has defeated the two deadly stages of cancer,
Hodgkin’s disease and Askin’s sarcoma, respectively at the ages of 13 and 15. A live validation of victory over all odds, Sean is the first cancer survivor to climb the torturous Mount Everest, despite of life threatening circumstances. However, he still says, Frankly I don’t know why I’m alive, but this daredevil never misses a chance to participate in presentations and expeditions, organized to give hope to the cancer patients.

5. Jessica Cox:
Well known for being the first pilot to fly a plane using only feet, Jessica Cox was born without arms but this deficiency was ineffective to stop this wonder lady from capturing her goals. A graduate in psychology, holder of two black belts in Taekwondo, fond of fast driving, Jessica can also type 25 words/minute on computer and surprisingly she can put contact lenses in eyes, using her feet. She also works as a motivational speaker and encourages disable people to change their stereotyped mentality.

4. Ludwig van Beethoven:
One of the most celebrated phenomenon among romantic and classical composers, Beethoven wasborn in the family of musicians in Germany. During the adolescent, his hearing ability began to deteriorate and later he became completely deaf but this disability didn’t trespassed his caliber of composing. Promoter of the modern symphony orchestra, Beethoven has established himself as a master legend in the musical arena.
3. Helen Keller:
Inspiration of a movie The Miracle Worker, Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to earn the degree of Bachelor of Arts. She was also an authoritative member of the Socialist Party of America where she openly criticized the policies of Woodrow Wilson. An illustrious author of 12 books and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Helen devoted her later life to work for the American Foundation for Blind.  


2. Nick Vujicic:
Victim of a rare disease Tetra-amelia syndrome, which is characterized by the absence of all four limbs, Nick Vujicic was born on december 4, 1982, in a Serbian family, in Australia. Throughout his childhood, he struggled a lot to overcome the sick mentality of society and finally at the age of 17, he established an NGO Life Without Limbs. After graduating in Accounting and Financial Planning, he started his journey as a motivational speaker of subjects revolving around meaning of life, hope and disability.

1. Stephen Hawking:
Not only does God play dice, but… he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen. Sure enough, this genius, victim of a motor neuron disease, has changed the world by his revolutionary theories. Completely paralyzed with his legs, arms and voice, Hawking’s wheelchair is attached with a computer system which is operated by an infrared ‘blink switch.’ This renowned cosmologist and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts is admired among tech pundits for his works on gravitational singularities, black holes along with his best seller A Brief History of Time.

source - topyaps