Birth: 26 January 1915, Manipur
The death: 17 February, 1993
Work area: Freedom fighter
Rani Gaidinlu was a famous Indian female revolutionary. He carried out his revolutionary activities against the British rule in Nagaland during the independence movement. This heroine is also called ‘Rani Laxmibai of Nagaland’ for doing all the heroic work in the freedom struggle. At the age of just 13, she joined the ‘Heraka’ movement of her cousin Jadonag. Initially, the movement was religious in nature but gradually took a political form when the agitators started repelling the British from the Manipur and Naga regions. In the Heraka pantheon, Queen Gaidinlu came to be regarded as an incarnation of the goddess Cherchamadinlu. The British arrested Queen Gaidinlu for her revolutionary activities. At that time, he was only 16 years old. In 1937, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru met him in Shillong Jail and tried to release him but the British did not release him. He was released in 1947 after India’s independence. After independence, he worked for the development of his people.
She believed in the paternal religious tradition of the Nagas and hence strongly opposed the conversion of the Nagas to Christianity. The Government of India gave him the status of ‘Freedom Fighter’ and awarded him ‘Padma Bhushan’.
Rani Gaidinlu was born on 26 January 1915 in a village called Nungkao (Longcao) of Tousem sub-division of Tamenglong district, Manipur. She was the fifth of the eight children of her parents. His family was related to the village class. There was no formal education due to no school nearby.
Follower of jadonag
At the age of just 13, she joined her cousin Jadonag’s ‘Heraka movement’. Jadonang emerged as a well-known local leader. The goal of his movement was restoration and revival of ancient Naga religious beliefs. Gradually, this movement became anti-British and the termination of the British Raj from the Naga territories also became the goal of this movement. Gradually people from many tribes joined this movement and it took the form of Ghadar.
Influenced by Jadonag’s ideology and principles, Queen Gaidinlu joined her army and in just 3 years became the leader of a guerrilla party fighting against the British government.
In 1931, when the British arrested Jadonagh and hanged him, Queen Gaidinlu became his spiritual and political successor.
He asked his supporters to openly rebel against the British government. He also encouraged his people not to pay taxes. Some local Nagas openly donated to his works.
The British administration was already very disturbed by their activities but became more cautious. Now they followed him. Rani was cleverly roaming from village to village in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur to dodge the administration. The Governor of Assam sent two contingents of the ‘Assam Rifles’ to capture him and his army. Along with this, the administration also declared a reward for helping to capture Queen Gaidinlu and eventually on 17 October 1932 the queen and several of her supporters were arrested.
Queen Gaidinlu was taken to Imphal where she was tried for 10 months and sentenced to life imprisonment. The administration either beheaded or jailed most of his colleagues. From 1933 to 1947, Queen Gaidinliu was imprisoned in Gauhati, Shillong, Aizawl and Tura Jails. In 1937, Jawaharlal Nehru met him in Shillong jail and pledged to attempt his release. It is he who gave Gaidinlu the title of ‘Queen’. He wrote a letter in this regard to the British MP Lady Astor, but the Secretary of State for India declined the request.
Independence of the country and release of Queen Gaidinlu
When the interim government was formed in 1946, Rani Gaidinlu was released from Tura jail on the instructions of Prime Minister Nehru. Before his release, he spent about 14 years in various jails. After her release, she continued to work for the upliftment and development of her people.
When Prime Minister Nehru visited Imphal in 1953, she met him and expressed gratitude for his release. She later met Nehru in Delhi to discuss the development and welfare of the Zeliangrong community.
Rani Gaidinlu was opposed to the Naga National Council (NNC) as she wanted to separate Nagaland from India, while Rani wanted a separate area within the India for the Zeliangrong community. The NNC was also opposed to this because she was also trying to revive traditional Naga religion and customs. Rani had to go underground with her colleagues in 1960 due to mutual competition from Naga tribes and she came out in 1966 after 6 years following an agreement with the Indian government. Parvari met the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri in Delhi in 1966 and mother of a separate Zeliangrong administrative unit. After this, his supporters surrendered, some of whom were admitted to the Nagaland Armed Police.
He was awarded the ‘Tamrapatra Freedom Fighter Award’ in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1982 and ‘Vivekananda Seva Award’ in 1983.
In 1991, she returned to her native place of Longcao, where she died on 17 February 1993 at the age of 78.