|Beena Das, Freedom fighter. prashantb.wordpress.com|
Bina Das (1911–1986) was one of the most daring women revolutionaries and nationalists of Bengal. Daughter of a well-known Brahmo teacher, Beni Madhab Das and a social worker, Sarala Devi, at a very young age Bena Das was very much saddened by the painful freedom struggle going on across India against the unjust and oppressive British rule. Since, the Colonial India had its capital in Calcutta (Kolkata), it is quite obvious that Bengal became a breeding ground of freedom well-known fighters such as Nataji, Sri Aurabindo, C.R.Das, et al (the list goes on). The suppression of freedom movements by the ruthless British administration who broke every law of human decency, the untold suffering and racial slurs and discrimination faced by the millions of impoverished Indians left a deep wound in the mind of Ms. Bena Das and impacted her psyche. Drawn more by patriotism than by her studies and, further, to have more involvement in the freedom struggle. she joined the "Jugantar" revolutionary club ( it was one of the two main secret revolutionary organizations operating, in the guise of a fitness club in Bengal for Indian independence) to fight against the British. Besides, she was a member of Chhatri Sangha, a semi-revolutionary organization for women in Kolkata. The interesting aspect of this unique young woman is she carried on her patriotic activities while she was a student of St. John's Diocesan Girls' Higher Secondary School, South Kolkata. Then she was not even 21 years old.
In those days when freedom movement was going on vigorously, a section of patriots, took to violence as a way to free India unlike Gandhian who preferred non-violence to achieve the same goal. Bena Das, being a gutsy woman, thought violence was one of the ways to get the attention of the higher ups in the government and the scoop-hungry media world over; in addition, it will instill fear among the British officials. Weighing the pros and cons, she decided to assassinate a leading British official to get the global attention and other western countries will come to know more about the British misrule and how the Indian nationalists are being hounded like dogs by the British using the brute force of the police.
|Stanley Jackson, Cricket player. Stanley Jackson © Getty Images|
Above image: Stanley Jackson: He was a conservative politician and the Governor of Bengal 1927–1932. Jackson was a great batsman with 15,901 First-Class runs at 33.83 and 31 centuries; he played 20 Tests and scored 1,415 runs (average of 48.79). He captained the English team five times. He spotted the cricket talents of Ranjitsinghi and was responsible for his inclusion in the Cambridge First XI and the awarding of his Blue.. .........
On 6 February 1932, Bena Das, neither a trained assassin nor good at handling hand guns, made an abortive attempt to assassinate the Bengal
|Gov. of Bengal, Stanley Jackson,CricketCountry.com|
jiffy, jumped towards Ms. Bena to pin her down, not before three shots rang out from her gun, whizzing past dangerously. One bullet injured Prof. Dineshchandra Sen. The Governor, who happened to be the all-England cricket captain, had a close call. Fortunately, no major mishap had happened. Ms. Bena Das faced the trial and during grueling interrogation, she never gave in and refused to reveal her accomplishes. She was sentenced to nine years RI - rigorous imprisonment.
|Photo: Article published on Reading Eagle,in1932www.inuth.com/i|
|hoto: Article published on Glasgow Herald in 1932InUth.com|
As ill-luck would have it, Bena Das' life in her last days was a poignant one, spent in loneliness and isolation in Rishikesh after her husband's death. Here, she died in obscurity on 26th December 1986 The most heartrending fact is this great woman patriot's body was recovered from the road side in a partly decomposed state and the passers-by had no idea who she was and her selfless contribution to India's freedom. Her identity was established only after a month or so. In countless cases, neither the central or the state governments fail to recognize the contribution made by certain freedom fighters, not to speak of giving them a decent and comfortable shelter and medical care till they die. Bena refused the dole offered by the government. Many of these worthy patriots die either unsung or unheard of and Bena Das is an unsung freedom fighter
In the southern states like Tamil Nadu, because of the prevalence of linguistic chauvinism, the contribution made by women freedom fighters like Bena Das from other states is not known.