Bina Das
বীণা দাস
Dasbina.jpg
The photograph shows a photo of Bina Das,(1911-1986), an Indian woman revolutionary and nationalist from Bengal. The image was shot around early 1940s.
Born24 August 1911 (1911-08-24)
Died26 December 1986 (1986-12-27) (aged 75)
MovementIndian Independence movement
Parent(s)
  • Beni Madhab Das (father)
FamilyKalyani Das (sister)
AwardsPadma Shri Award

Bina Das (24 August 1911—1986) was an Indian revolutionary and nationalist from West Bengal.

Biography

Early life and education

Das was the daughter of a well-known Brahmo teacher, Beni Madhab Das and a social worker, Sarala Devi. Her elder sister Kalyani Das (Bhattacharyee) was also a freedom fighter.

Das was a student of St. John's Diocesan Girls' Higher Secondary School and Bethune College, Calcutta.

Participation in India's freedom struggle

Das was a member of Chhatri Sangha, a semi-revolutionary organisation for women in Kolkata. On 6 February 1932, she attempted to assassinate the Bengal Governor Stanley Jackson, in the Convocation Hall of the University of Calcutta. The revolver was supplied by another freedom fighter Kamala Das Gupta.[1] She fired five shots but failed.[2] Her confession, which ran to five pages long and was written in English, was censored by the British colonial administration, but still found itself widely circulated. In it, she wrote that:

"My object was to die, and if to die, to die nobly fighting against this despotic system of Government, which has kept my country in perpetual subjection to its infinite shame and endless suffering – and fighting in a way which cannot but tell... I have been thinking – is life worth living in an India so subjected to wrong, and continually groaning under the tyranny of a foreign Government, or is it not better to make one's supreme protest against it by offering one's life away? Would not the immolation of a daughter of India and of a son of England awaken India to the sin of its acquiescence to its continued state of subjection and England to the iniquities of its proceedings?"[3]

The Special Tribunal convened to judge her sentenced her to nine years of rigorous imprisonment on charges of attempted murder under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code.[4][5]

After her early release in 1939, Das joined the Congress party. In 1942, she participated in the Quit India movement and was imprisoned again from 1942 to 1945. From 1946 to 1947, she was a member of the Bengal Provincial Legislative Assembly and, from 1947 to 1951, of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly. In 1947, she married Jatish Chandra Bhaumik, an Indian independence movement activist of the Jugantar group.[6]

She was a friend of Suhasini Ganguly, a freedom fighter.[7]

Death

After the death of her husband, Das led a lonely life in Rishikesh and died in anonymity.[8] Her dead body was recovered from the roadside on 26 December 1986 in a partially decomposed state.[9] It was found by the passing crowd. The police were informed and it took them a month to determine her identity.[6][10] An alternate report by the current relatives of Bina Das says she was found unconscious at a bus stand and was taken to hospital by the police, where she died the next day. This was stated in a documentary on Bina Das broadcast on 26 December 2021 on DD Bangla.[11]

Legacy and awards

Her sister Kalyani Bhattacharjee edited a book called Bengal Speaks (published in 1944), and dedicated it to her.[12]

Das won the Padma Shri award in 1960 for her "Social Work".[13]

In 2012, Das and Pritilata Waddedar were conferred the Graduation Certificates posthumously by Calcutta University, nearly 80 years after British government withheld them.[14]

Works

Das wrote two autobiographical works in Bengali: Shrinkhal Jhankar and Pitridhan.[6]

References

  1. ^ Kumar, Radha (1997). The History of Doing: An Illustrated Account of Movements for Women's Rights and Feminism in India 1800-1990. Zubaan. ISBN 9788185107769.
  2. ^ Five shots fired at governor Glasgow Herald, 8 February 1932, p. 11
  3. ^ Ghosh, Durba (2013). "Revolutionary Women and Nationalist Heroes in Bengal, 1930 to the 1980s". Gender & History. 25 (2): 355–375. doi:10.1111/1468-0424.12017.
  4. ^ Girl, would-be assassin, gets nine years in India at Reading Eagle, 15 February 1932
  5. ^ "Bina Das, Forgotten female freedom fighters". dnaindia.com. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Anjali Basu (ed.) (1988) Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (in Bengali), Kolkata: Sahitya Sansad, p.663
  7. ^ Chatterjee, India (1988). "The Bengali Bhadramahila —Forms of Organisation in the Early Twentieth Century" (PDF). Manushi: 33–34. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  8. ^ Rajesh, K. Guru. Sarfarosh: A Naadi Exposition of the Lives of Indian Revolutionaries. Notion Press. ISBN 978-93-5206-173-0.
  9. ^ "Bina Das: 21-yr-old who shot Bengal Governor got Padma Shri, but died in penury". The Indian Express. 8 March 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  10. ^ Pinaki Biswas (2021). Rabindranath Hatya Shorojantra (Bengali). Kolkata: Lalmati Prakashan. p. 22. ISBN 978-81-953129-3-1.
  11. ^ Biplabi Bina Das - Ek Ajana Jiban (in Bengali). DD Bangla. 26 December 2021.
  12. ^ Sengupta, Subodh; Basu, Anjali (2016). Sansad Bangali Charitavidhan (Bengali). Vol. 1. Kolkata: Sahitya Sansad. ISBN 978-81-7955-135-6.
  13. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2014)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs (India). 21 May 2014. pp. 11–37. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  14. ^ "After 80 yrs, posthumous degrees for revolutionaries - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 21 December 2017.