Kanpur: Freedom fighter Captain Lakshmi Sahgal has died in a Kanpur hospital; she was 97. She was in a coma since Wednesday when she had a heart stroke. She was a close aide of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
There will be no cremation ceremony held as her body has been donated to the Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Medical College in Kanpur.
Captain Lakshmi Sahgal was born in Madras and qualified as a doctor from the Madras Medical College in 1938. Two years later, she moved to Singapore and set up a free clinic to help migrant Indian workers. She met Subhash Chandra Bose in Singapore in 1943. He spoke of the need to create an all- women's regiment in the Indian National Army in the fight for India's independence, and made her its commander.
In 1947, she married Colonel Prem Kumar Sahgal. Their oldest child, Subhasini, is a prominent social activist and CPM leader. The Sahgals were settled in Kanpur where she continued her work as a doctor. In 1971, Sahgal joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and represented the party in the Rajya Sabha.
In 2002, four leftist parties - the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Revolutionary Socialist Party, and the All India Forward Bloc - made her their candidate for President of India. She was defeated by APJ Abdul Kalam.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vice President Hamid Ansari today condoled the death of freedom fighter Captain Lakshmi Sehgal, saying that the nation has lost an icon of selfless service. (Read)