Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, who was part of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army, died here today following a brief illness.
Sahgal (97), breathed her last at a private hospital at 11.20 a.m., her daughter and noted CPI (M) leader Ms Subhashini Ali said.
Captain Sahgal, who was ill for some time, was admitted to the hospital on July 19 after she suffered a heart attack at her residence in Civil Lines area here. She was kept on life support ystem.
She was very active during the Independence movement and had commanded the ‘Rani of Jhansi Regiment’ of the INA formed by Bose.
A doctor by profession, Captain Sahgal was working as a medical practitioner and a social worker. She was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1998.
Born as Lakshmi Swaminathan to noted lawyer Dr S. Swaminathan and social worker Ammu Swaminathan in Chennai on October 24, 1914, Captain Sahgal obtained her MBBS degree from the Madras Medical College in 1938.
In 1940, she went to Singapore for further studies before coming back to India in 1943 to join the INA. She married Colonel Prem Kumar Sahgal in 1947 and had been residing in Kanpur since then.
Expressing grief over the demise of Captain Sahgal, senior CPI(M) leader Ms Brinda Karat remembered her as a “highly politically motivated human being who fought injustice wherever she saw it“.
“She was a veteran CPI(M) leader and also a great freedom fighter. She served people with every ounce of strength,” Ms Karat said, terming Sahgal as a “symbol of courage” and a “symbol of woman’s expression”.