So who really spearheaded India’s Freedom Struggle? Millions of ordinary people-farmers, labourers, homemakers, forest produce gatherers, artisans and others-stood up to the British. People who never went on to be ministers, governors, presidents, or hold other high public office.

They had this in common: their opposition to Empire was uncompromising.

In The Last Heroes, these footsoldiers of Indian freedom tell us their stories. The men, women and children featured in this book are Adivasis, Dalits, OBCs, Brahmins, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. They hail from different regions, speak different languages and include atheists and believers, Leftists, Gandhians and Ambedkarites.

The people featured pose the intriguing question: What is freedom? They saw that as going beyond Independence. And almost all of them continued their fight for freedoms long after 1947.

The post-1947 generations need their stories.

To learn what they understood. That freedom and independence are not the same thing. And to learn to make those come together. This episode of BIC Talks is adapted from a conversation between P Sainath and Indu Prasad at Bangalore Literature Festival 2022.

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