Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Unsung Heroes Detail

Unsung Heroes Detail

Shanti Sankwa

South Andaman, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

August 05, 2022

Shanti Sankwa was born on 01 July 1935 at Aberdeen village of Port Blair. She was daughter of Lachman Dass Sankwa, who was a member of the Indian Independence League and killed by the Japanese at Homfraygunj on 30 January 1944.

In March 1942, in the midst of the Second World War Japanese landed at different parts of the Andaman Islands and forthwith occupied the entire Andaman Islands. In April 1942 the prominent residents initially constituted the Andaman branch of the Indian Independence League following the path of Rash Behari Bose. The League members worked with the objectives of organizing, strengthening, and collecting funds for the League. Under the aegis of the League, different sister branches were formed. Shanti Sankwa joined the Cultural Wing of the Indian Independence League. She took part in the various functions of the Wing. They motivated the people through extensive public meetings, cultural shows, patriotic songs, and dramas, etc. These activities helped in the involvement of a large number of the local people with a strong sense of patriotism against the British.

Under the supervision of her seniors, Shanti Sankwa and other women and girls were active in all functions of the League. Meanwhile, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose arrived in the Andaman Islands on 29 December 1943. On 30 December at Gymkhana Ground of Port Blair hoisted the Indian flag for the first time in the history of India’s freedom struggle. On this occasion, Ichawati Nag on behalf of the Women’s Wing of the Indian Independence League (IIL) donated Rupees Five Thousand cash and gold ornaments directly to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Ratan Devi was accompanied by many other women in the activities of the Cultural Wing of the League. After his departure, Netaji sent Major General Arcot Doraiswamy Loganadan to Andaman. He arrived on 18 February 1944 in the Andamans as Chief Commissioner of Azad Hind Government of Andaman and Nicobar Islands appointed by Netaji. He was accompanied by his staff consisting of Major Mansoor Ali Alvi, Lieutenant Mohammed Iqbal, Lt. Suba Singh, and steno-typist Mr. Srinivasa Shastri. They established the Azad Hind Government to carry out civil administration in the islands. The Indian Independence League (IIL) members both male and female including Shanti Sankwa actively assisted in the functioning of the Azad Hind Government.