Bina Das: the brave freedom fighter who died anonymously

Bina Das: the brave freedom fighter who died anonymously

This article is part of the #IndianWomenInHistory campaign for Women’s History Month to remember the incalculable legacy of women who have shaped India, especially India’s various feminist movements. An Indian woman is profiled every day for the whole month of March 2019.


“Is life worth living in an India so prone to wrongs and continually groaning under the tyranny of a foreign government or is it not better to make a supreme protest against her by offering her life? ”

A decomposed body was found by the side of a road in Rishikesh on the 26thand December 1986. It took a whole month to identify the body – it belonged to a certain Bina Das. The pitiful circumstances of this woman’s death – “unknown, unmourned and unrecognized” — are cruelly ironic, given his political and moral commitment to the struggle for freedom that gave birth to our nation. Even the Wikipedia page dedicated to him is relatively sterile. Since it’s Women’s History Month, I want to honor her legacy by writing a fuller account of the person she was.

Revolutionary beginnings

Bina Das’ family was made up of revolutionaries of one kind or another. Bina’s mother, Sarala Devi, established a hostel dedicated to the struggle for freedom. Bombs were stockpiled and distributed among its members. Bina’s father, Beni Madhab Das, was a well-known Brahmo teacher. Brahmo was a movement that aimed to reform Hindu practices, emphasizing the importance of reason, based on influences from monotheistic religions and modern science. Bina’s older sister, Kalyani Das, was also a freedom fighter.

Bina fired two bullets at Stanley Jackson, the governor of Bengal.

It was no surprise that Bina had also inherited her family’s revolutionary instincts. Be that as it may, Bina cultivated her sense of political righteousness independently, joining the Chatri Sangha (Student Association) at the end of her secondary studies. Chatri Sangha played the role of equipping women who were dedicated to the cause of Indian independence with the skills to become revolutionary figures. He organized study groups through which women learned everything “lathi and swordplay to cycling and driving.”

The assassination attempt

6and In February 1932, Bina Das entered the convocation room of her “sacred alma mater” with five bullets loaded into a revolver hidden under her skirt. She was prepared to assassinate the Governor of Bengal Stanley Jackson as an act of defiance against the British Raj. However, the attempt failed.

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Using an excuse, Bina approached the stage where Stanley Jackson was giving his speech. She fired two bullets. He dodged both. The Vice Chancellor jumped in to protect him by overpowering Bina. Even as she was overpowered, she fired three rounds. Stanley Jackson’s ear was grazed by one of the bullets, but he was not otherwise injured.

Bina did the securities, and was sentenced to nine years in federal prison.

The trial

It’s hard to imagine how a failed attempt on the life of a member of the British Raj by a “fragile-looking” 21-year-old woman could play such a profound role in the expansive struggle to liberate India. I believe the gravity of Bina Das’ revolutionary impact lies in the statement she provided to the Calcutta High Court after the assassination attempt.

It was more than an admission of a crime. It was a glimpse into the mind of a woman who acted despite being a big violence on [her] own nature. » However, the violence that the country’s men and women suffered at the hands of the British colonizers was more important to Bina, causing her to set aside her Christian teachings for what she saw as a greater cause.

His religious beliefs and morality were tied to the desire for political freedom.

Even though she stood before the High Court in Calcutta waiting their judgment was the judgment of God that she was really looking for, according to her statement. His religious beliefs and morality were strongly tied to his desire for political freedom. She resentfully noted that the Christian spirit of freedom was not embodied in the British system, as evidenced by the many instances of cruelty and inhumane treatment that defined the British Raj. Bina was so deeply affected by the tyranny and the lack of political freedom that she was ready to give her life, just to contribute to the country’s liberation struggle.

In his statement, Bina made an interesting distinction between Stanley Jackson as a person and Stanley Jackson as a governor. Her grudge was never personal and she claimed she would have opened fire on anyone who stood on the podium and held the title of Governor of Bengal. His action was a symbol of protest against the British colonial system, which “has kept 300 million of my compatriots and compatriots in slavery”.

Read also : Kasturba Gandhi: the least known freedom fighter | #IndianWomenInHistory

I could go on and on about the depth of her statement, but you have to read it yourself to get a real sense of who Bina Das was.

His memorytranslated by Dhira Dhar, was published by Zubaan Books. In addition to this, Kalyani Bhattacharjee (his sister) has edited a book titled Bengal speaks (published in 1944) and dedicated it to him.

Ongoing activism

Bina continued her activism after her nine-year sentence, until Independence in 1947. In 1960, she received the Padma Shri social work award. A serious misuse of language, one might say.

After the death of her husband, another freedom fighter, she withdrew from public scrutiny in Rishikesh. She had spent her life refusing every pension payment the government gave to freedom fighters.

Read also : Kanaklata Barua: The forgotten teenage freedom fighter | #IndianWomenInHistory

She died in loneliness and anonymity, but her contributions to India’s independence struggle will be remembered forever. Hopefully, it will be given its place in mainstream accounts of the struggle for freedom and in history books, and not just in unconventional internet sources.

References

1. Best India
2. Zubaan Books
3. World Cat
4. India of the past

Thelma J. Longworth