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Indian war hero last link in anti-colonial struggles


Rangoon (Mizzima) – “Colonel” Lakshmi Sehgal (born Lakshmi Swaminathan), 97, who died in India on Monday, was one of the last links between the anti-colonial struggles of India and Southeast Asia, including Burma.

Lakshmi Sehgal  Photo: WikipediaShe was a doctor by training, and she joined Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (INA) in 1943 in Malaya after Bose reached Southeast Asia and took over the INA.

The grand lady was a great friend of Mizzima and Burma because she cherished fond memories of Burma during the INA campaign against the Allied Forces. She always supported any initiative by Burma’s pro-democracy activists and helped Mizzima in many ways .

In a message to her family, Mizzima editor in chief Soe Myint sent his condolences.

The Indian liberation movement drew young Lakshmi to the INA, and as a captain, she commanded a regiment consisting of young women of Indian origin in Southeast Asia who not only backed the INA troops with medical services or logistics but actually fought the Allied Forces in the Kohima-Imphal campaign, which ended disastrously for the Japanese and the INA.

Lakshmi Swaminathan married one of three INA commanders who were later tried in Delhi – “Colonel” Prem Sehgal. She continued to serve in politics in India and her daughter Suhasini, was briefly a member of Indian parliament.

Lakshmi Sehgal continued to practice as a gynecologist into her latter years delivering babies.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 July 2012 13:40 )  

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