Subhadra Kumari Chauhan (16 August 1904 – 15 February 1948) was an Indian poet. One of her well-known poems is “Jhansi ki Rani” (about the courageous Queen of Jhansi).
Subhadra Chauhan was born in Nihalpur village in Prayagraj District, Uttar Pradesh. She initially studied in the Crosthwaite Girls’ School in Allahabad, where she was a senior and friends with Mahadevi Verma and passed the middle-school examination in 1919. She got married to Thakur Lakshman Singh Chauhan of Khandwa in 1919 at the age of sixteen, with whom she had five children. After her marriage with Thakur Lakshman Singh Chauhan of Khandwa in the same year, she moved to Jubbulpore (now Jabalpur), Central Provinces.
In 1921, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan and her husband joined Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement. She was the first woman Satyagrahi to court arrest in Nagpur and was imprisoned twice for her involvement in protests against British rule in 1923 and 1942.
She was a member of the legislative assembly of the state (then Central Provinces). She died in 1948 in a car accident near Seoni, Madhya Pradesh, on her way back to Jabalpur from Nagpur, the then capital of Central Provinces, where she had gone to attend the assembly session.
Chauhan authored several popular pieces in Hindi poetry. Her most famous composition is Jhansi Ki Rani, an emotionally charged poem depicting the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai. The poem is one of the most recited and sung poems in Hindi literature. An emotionally charged description of the life of the queen of Jhansi(British India) and her participation in the 1857 revolution, it is often taught in schools in India. A couplet repeated at the end of each stanza reads thus:
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी, खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी॥
This and her other poems, Jallianwala Bagh mein Vasant, Veeron Ka Kaisa Ho Basant, Rakhi Ki Chunauti, and Vida, openly talk about the freedom movement. They are said to have inspired large number of Indian youth to participate in the Indian Freedom Movement.