Pritilata Waddedar (5 May 1911 – 23 September 1932) was a Bengalirevolutionary nationalist from the Indian subcontinent who was influential in the Indian independence movement.[
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Pritilata Waddedar (5 May 1911 – 23 September 1932) was a Bengalirevolutionary nationalist from the Indian subcontinent who was influential in the Indian independence movement. After completing her education in Chittagong andDhaka, she attended Bethune College inKolkata. Pritilata graduated in philosophy with distinction.
Born5 May 1911
Dhalghat, Patiya,Chittagong, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now in Bangladesh)
Died23 September 1932(aged 21)
Chittagong, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now in Bangladesh)
Cause of deathSuicide by consumingpotassium cyanideNationalityBritish IndianOther namesRani (nickname)Alma materBethune CollegeOccupationSchool teacherKnown forPahartali European Club attack (1932)Parents
Jagabandhu Waddedar (father)Pratibha Devi (mother)
After a brief stint as a school teacher, Pritilata joined a revolutionary group headed by Surya Sen. She led a team of fifteen revolutionaries in 1932 attack on the Pahartali European Club, which had a sign board that read "Dogs and Indians not allowed". The revolutionaries torched the club and were later caught by the British police. To avoid arrest, Pritilata consumed cyanide and died.
Pahartali European Club attack (1932)
Pritilata & Kalpana: Remembering The Unsung Heroines Who Shook The British Raj!
These women were amongst the initial members of the armed independence movement lead by prominent Bengali revolutionary, Surya Sen, whose names would forever remain synonymous with the Chittagong Uprising.
by Lekshmi Priya SAugust 13, 2018, 6:57 pm
As the nation approaches its 72nd Independence Day, we bring you stories of #ForgottenHeroes of #IndianIndependence that were lost among the pages of history.
The names of Pritilata Waddedar and Kalpana Datta might have faded away with the sands of time, but for the people of Bengal, these were women with an iron will and nerves of steel, whose efforts to liberate India from the shackles of British colonists were as legendary as that of every other young revolutionary.
Yet, the women fail to find any mention across the pages of history textbooks.
Both these women were amongst the initial members of the armed independence movement led by prominent Bengali revolutionary, Surya Sen or Master Da, whose name in historical annals of the Indian struggle for independence will forever remain synonymous with the infamous ‘Chittagong armoury raid’ as its chief mastermind and conspirator. You can read more about Master Da here.
History books have always been biased that way, and because of this, the sacrifices of countless young men and women in India, whose love and loyalty for their motherland clubbed together with the blatant refusal to bow down to the British should have been common knowledge, slowly faded away into obscurity before being wholly erased from the public memory.
This is especially true when it comes to women radicals. What else would otherwise explain their miniscule representation in the national and international documentation of Indian freedom fighters, while most of us are aware that women were equally involved in the freedom struggle?
In fact, we have featured many extraordinary women from the independence era whose legendary exploits against the British deserve to be documented. You can read thesehere.
This Independence Day, we bring you the story of these unsung legends, whose legacy deserves to not just be celebrated but also made famous across the country so that they are bestowed an honourable and dignified space among the young soldiers of India who spared no effort when it came to the nation and gave their lives for its liberation.
￼Original archived photo of Pritilata Waddedar. Source: Wikimedia.
Pritilata is till date revered as the iron lady of Bengal, who chose to kill herself than surrender to the British officers in 1932, following a bloodstained encounter that left her fatally wounded. She was only 21.
If you’re already in awe of Pritalata, let me tell you that this was probably one of the least momentous acts from this exceptionally bold revolutionary. The fact that she was the first Bengali woman to pick up arms against the British and even lead several anti-British campaigns under the guidance of Master Da should give you an idea about what a fearless stalwart she was.
Born in the very village that witnessed the legendary armoury raid in 1930, Pritilata hailed from a middle-class background and her father was a clerk. One amongst six siblings, she was quite a meritorious student whose motivation to partake in the fight to end British supremacy rooted from the contemporary movements of resistance. It is said that Pritilata was greatly inspired by Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi when she decided to choose the revolutionary road for herself.
In the biographical work, Chittagong Armoury Raiders, Kalpana, who was Pritilata’s classmate and fellow woman revolutionary, wrote about the impact the fearless queen had that would go on to change their lives forever.