Lakshmi Sahgal was a revolutionary of the Indian independence movement, an officer of the Indian National Army, and the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind government. Sahgal is commonly referred to in India as “Captain Lakshmi”, a reference to her rank when taken prisoner in Burma during the Second World War.
Lakshmi Sehgal was born Lakshmi Swaminathan on October 24, 1914, in Madras to S. Swaminathan, a talented lawyer, and A.V. Ammukutty, a social worker and freedom fighter (and who would later be a member of independent India’s Constituent Assembly).
Lakshmi Sahgal or Captain Lakshmi was the first female commanding officer of Netaji Subhas Bose’s Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army). Before her active participation in India’s freedom movement, Sahgal received an MBBS degree in 1938 from Madras Medical College.
She left for Singapore in 1940 where she met individuals from Netaji’s Indian National Army and there she set up a facility for poor and vagrant specialists from India. It was this time when she took dynamic interest in freedom development and headed the Rani of Jhansi regiment of Azad Hind Fauj.