She was born in a Bengali Brahma Samaj family at Kalka in Haryana. She married Asaf Ali a prominent lawyer of Delhi against convention. She actively participated in the National Movement for Independence. Following the arrest of all congress leaders in 1942 she went underground to guide the movement evading police arrest. She became the symbol of the spirit of youth in this country guiding and leading the National Movement from underground. She remained underground till 1946 when the warrant of arrest was withdrawn. Aruna belonged to the heroic age of Freedom Movement. With this background, after Independence she could not adjust to the political realities and chose to live in retirement till her death on 29th July 1996. She was awarded Bharat Ratna (1997) posthumously.