|Rani Rasmoni's home, venue of Durga puja, Kolkata. Indiablooms|
Born on 28 September 1793 into a Zamindar family in Kona village, in present-day North 24 Parganas, she was brought up with love and care by her family Her father was Zamindar Harekrishna Das of Mahishya family. When she was just eleven years old, as it was a custom in those days among the Hindus, her father gave her in marriage to one Babu Rajachandra Das of Janbazar, Kolkata, another wealthy Zamindar family. When she was into the prime of life, misfortune had struck the family and unexpectedly her husband died at an young age. In a short time, her happy and care-free life became strenuous, mournful and gloomy.
Firmly determined to take charge of her family welfare and business, she learned the various aspects of Zamindai system, her family's holdings and business. In no less time, she proved herself to be a natural and committed leader. Her upbringing was such that Rashmoni had been pious and god-fearing since her childhood and never failed to distinguish herself by her piety and austerity of her life. She became a popular figure in Kolkata known for her courage, piety and charity. Since she had an astonishing aura about her, people used to call her Rani.
She also made her foray into the social life of Bengalies and played an active role in fighting out social issues that affected the poor people. During the colonial time the British imposed tax on fishing in the Hoogley river at the mouth of the Ganges river and innumerable impoverished fishermen were very much affected by the tax. She devised a way to teach a lesson to the British. Her successful blocking of the shipping trade in the Ganges with support from the public after getting fishing rights from the British forced them to abolish the tax imposed on fishing in the river. Thus Rani Rashmoni removed the bottleneck that threatened the livelihood of poor fishermen. As part of Durga puja, etc., in those days it was common to conduct puja processions on the street. The British stopped the religious procession on the ground of disturbing the peace. In the face of arrest, imprisonment, etc, she boldly defied the orders and finally made the British withdraw the penalty imposed on her in the face of public opposition and rioting in her support.
|Rani Rashmoni,W.Bengal. iStampGallery.Com|
|Rani Rashmoni temple, Kol;kata. Wikimapia|
Driven by a divine revelation, Rani Rashmoni in 1855 founded the famous temple Dakshineswar Kali Temple complex on the banks of the Ganges at Dakshineswar in the North 24 Parganas. It was here Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa (then known as Gadadhar) was appointed as its head priest under her patronage. She remained closely associated with Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and the Ramakrishna Mission. She was pious through out her life and her house at Janbazar was well-known for the yearly Durga puja during the Navaratri festival.
On the premises of Dakshineswar Kali Temple, there is a shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni. She died on 19 February 1861 and the Department of Post of Government of India issued a postage stamp on the occasion of the bicentennial of Rani Rashmoni in 1993. There are many memorials in Kolkata in her honor. She has made a permanent mark in the history of social life of Bengal. Lokamata Rani Rashmoni Mission is today at Nimpith, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal. A remarkable wealthy women who dedicated her life to the cause of other people in the lower strata of the society in Bengal in those days. She never aspired for materialistic life and became its slave. Instead, she found solace in being charitable and religious till the end of her life.