The story of Janakidevi Bajaj, the woman who gave up all comforts of life for freedom of India

In the year 1921, inspired by Gandhi, Jankidevi Bajaj burnt foreign clothes being used in and out of the home. She clad everyone in Khadi.

When we talk about the women freedom fighters, a very few of us remember the name of Janakidevi Bajaj, the woman who took a stand for the nation and participated actively in the struggle for freedom.

Today, on Independence Day, we bring you her story and contributions she made during the freedom movement.

Initial life

Jankidevi Bajaj was born in 1893 in a Marwari family of Jaora in Madhya Pradesh. Her family was wealthy and equally generous. People from all classes, castes and religions benefited from them.


Jankidevi had an elder brother, Chiranji Lalji and a younger brother, Purushottam Das. Her mother, Maina Devi was the epitome of simplicity and tenderness. She helped not only the neighbours but also her servants in their work.

She got married to Jamnalal Bajaj (founder of Bajaj group) and became the Lady of the House in the Bajaj Family. After their marriage, she came to Wardha in 1902.

Role in Independence movement

She was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Along with participating in the freedom struggle movement, she also took up khadi and spinning on charkha.

In the year 1921, inspired by Gandhi, Janakidevi Bajaj burnt foreign clothes being used in and out of the home. She clad everyone in Khadi. Through the day and the night, she worked on the Charkha and the spindle and went from house to house teaching spinning of the Charkha.

Also read: How Durgabai Deshmukh caught Mahatma Gandhi’s attention at age 12 by fighting for the devadasis

She also worked for upliftment of women, ‘gau seva’ and the betterment of the lives of harijans and their temple entry in 1928.

Video Courtesy: YouTube

After independence she worked with Vinoba Bhave on Bhoodan movement.

Death and awards

Janakidevi Bajaj was conferred with Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in 1956.

Her autobiography titled, Meri Jivan Yatra, was published in 1965. She died in 1979. Many educational institutions and awards have been set up in her memory, including Janaki Devi Bajaj Institute of Management Studies and ‘Jankidevi Bajaj Gram Vikas Sanstha’ established by Bajaj Electricals.

As India celebrates 70 years of independence, we bring you stories of women who were part of the Indian Independence Struggle. You might have heard about some of them but most do not find a mention in our history books or popular memory. These were ordinary women from all walks of life who managed to make extraordinary contributions to the cause of freedom.

This series is our tribute to these women and their exemplary work. We bring you 70 stories of courage and valour over the next one week leading up to 15th August 2017. Write to us, if you have any names to add to this list. Email:

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