Millennium Post

Capt. Sehgal leaves behind legacy of sacrifice

Capt. Sehgal leaves behind legacy of sacrifice
Lakshmi Sehgal, 97, a close associate of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, died after a prolonged illness at a private hospital in Kanpur on Monday. The former captain of Laxmibai Brigade of the Indian National Army (INA) was admitted to hospital following cardiac unrest on 19 July. She was kept on life support system in the hospital.

Sehgal was a revolutionist of the independence movement, an officer of the INA, and the minister of women's affairs in the Azad Hind government. She was commonly referred as Captain Lakshmi.

The revolutionist studied medicine and left for Singapore in 1940, where she established a clinic for the poor. She joined the INA in 1943 after Bose appealed to Indians settled there to join the military organisation. Sehgal joined the new regiment, called the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, and was given the rank of a colonel.

She married Colonel Prem Kumar Sahgal in March 1947, after which they settled in Kanpur, where she continued with her medical practice and helped the refugees who arrived in large numbers following the partition.

The vice president Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the death of the veteran freedom fighter, calling her 'an icon of selfless service' and terming her demise as 'a tremendous loss to the nation'.

'I am deeply grieved to learn about the sad demise of noted freedom fighter, tireless campaigner for women's rights and social causes, Captain Lakshmi Sehgal,' Ansari said in his message. 'Captain Lakshmi Sahgal represents the pinnacle of sacrifice and struggle for the country, and for the rights of the downtrodden and women. Her demise is a tremendous loss to the nation,' he added. The prime minister, in his message, said: 'In the passing away of Shrimati Lakshmi Sehgal the nation has lost an icon of liberal values and selfless service.'

Sehgal was in coma for the past three days after suffering a massive heart attack. The family announced that Sehgal had donated her body for medical research. Sehgal, herself a doctor, was working at her clinic in Civil Lines area in Kanpur a day before she suffered a heart attack.

She was the Left candidate in the 2002 presidential election, when she lost to A P J Abdul Kalam.
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