Lakshmi Sehgal, possibly the last surviving link of modern India with the Indian National Army (founded by Subhash Chander Bose in Singapore, 1943) passed away in Kanpur. She was 97 and is survived by her two daughters, Suhasini Ali and Anisa Puri. The Bollywood film-maker Shaad Ali is her grandson.
Laxmi Sehgal, a qualified gynaecologist, had shot into prominence after joining the Indian National Army as Commander of the women’s wing called the Rani Jhansi regiment. The Indian National Army or the Azad Hind Fauj aimed at liberating India from the clutches of the British by taking help from the Japanese army but the plan did not fructify. Despite her having become the Commander, she was more popularly called Captain Lakshmi Sehgal and ther label stuck to her for life.
She had married P K Sehgal of the INA after the failure of her first marriage. Incidentally, P K Sehgal was tried by the British during the INA Red Fort trials. After independence, she had set up a clinic in Kanpur, taking care of the poor and the needy. All through her life, she had a staunchly secular and communist outlook and worked hard for the uplift of women and the downtrodden. She received the Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India for her work.
In deference to her wishes, her body was donated to the Kanpur Medical College for medical research. RIP