Today, 23rd July 2018, is the death anniversary of Comrade Captain Lakshmi Saighal, veteran freedom fighter and CPI(M) leader.

Lakshmi was born at Madras in 1914 as  the daughter of freedom fighter Ammukkutty Swaminathan and B.Swaminathan . After   passing MBBS  from the Madras University, along with medical practice she involved in the freedom movement. She went to Rangoon and joined the Indian National Army (INA) of Subhas Chandra Bose and was the captain of the Rani Jhansi Regiment which marched to India for fighting the British. She was captured and almost killed. She headed the medical treatment to the thousands who were wounded in the war.

After marriage with INA leader Prem Kumar Saighal, who was also in INA. Later she settled at Kanpur along with her daughter Com. Subhashini Ali, who is the Central Committee Member of the CPI(M) and also a former MP. She continued to serve the public in her clinic at Kanpur for decades till she fell sick a few weeks back.

Captain Lakshmi was a leader of the women’s movement and was a top leader of the CPI(M). She was the Presidential Candidate of the Left parties in 2002. She was awarded  Padma Vibhushan in 2008.

I had the chance to meet her and speak to her a few times when I went to her house at Kanpur and also at the Party Congresses/conferences. She used to talk to me  in Malayalam on those occasions which was very encouraging and inspiring to me.

She was an inspiration to thousands for her selfless service to the nation and the Left movement. Her life story is the history of a valiant freedom fighter and a social worker who till her death served the public in her clinic.

Red Salute to Com. Lakshmi Saighal!