India at 75 | In Kolkata, a tribute to forgotten revolutionaries

West Bengal State Archives bring the memory of lesser-known freedom fighters to life in a series of Independence Day exhibits

West Bengal State Archives bring the memory of lesser-known freedom fighters to life in a series of Independence Day exhibits

Sovarani Dutta was 29 when she was convicted in the Dalhousie Square Bomb case. She was a member of the revolutionary group Jugantar. Parul Mukherjee was 25 when she was convicted in the Titagarh conspiracy case which involved making explosives. A member of the Anushilan committee, she was sentenced twice in September 1935 and April 1937.

Sovarani Dutta

Sovarani Dutta

The stories of many such revolutionary women have been brought to prominence by the West Bengal State Archives through its physical and virtual exhibition which came to life as India celebrates the 75th anniversary of independence. From the Chuar uprising, one of the first popular uprisings of the late 18th century, to the Birsa Munda revolt towards the end of the 19th century, the Archives exhibition documents more than half a dozen public uprisings against the British. Raj.

“In the exhibition, a special section was dedicated to revolutionary women. Besides Pritilata (Waddedar) Bina Das and Matangini Hazra, there are several other revolutionaries who took part in the struggle for freedom and about whom we have no information in the textbooks… On these women there is a mine information in the archives,” Simonti Sen, director of the State Archives, said in a video message about the exhibition.

The State Archives, which is one of the largest collections of colonial documents in West Bengal, has also exhibited never-before-seen documents such as an action plan drawn up by the collector of Birbhum (spelled Beerbhoom in the documents) against Santhal’s rebellion.

Parul Mukherjee

Parul Mukherjee

In addition to the state archives, the Kolkata Circle of Archeological Survey of India has also held an exhibition on lesser-known revolutionaries at Metcalfe Hall in Kolkata, a protected monument. “We have tried to spotlight unknown revolutionaries like Mrigendranath Dutta, Brojo Kishor Chakraborty and Bhawani Prasad Bhattacharya among others. The exhibition on the occasion of the 75th anniversary features photographs of known and unknown revolutionaries,” said Subha Majumdar, Chief Archaeologists of ASI Kolkata Circle. Nearly 48 hours before the country’s 75th birthday, protected landmarks like Metcalfe Hall and the Currency Building will be lit up in the colors of the national flag.

Victoria Memorial Hall, the most majestic of the city’s colonial buildings, has taken major initiatives in recent years highlighting the struggle for freedom and the role of revolutionaries. The Biplobi Bharat Gallery, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narain on March 23, 2022, showcases the contribution of revolutionaries to the struggle for freedom and their armed resistance to British colonial rule.

A file photo of the illuminated Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata.

A file photo of the illuminated Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata.

Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) curator Jayanta Sengupta said that with the Biplobi Bharat exhibit spanning 5,000 square feet and 350 exhibits, the VMH has a major exhibit by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Freedom Struggle and a three-dimensional mapping show on the same subject. Biplobi Bharat can be translated as “Revolutionary India” and focuses on the revolutionary movement, the formation of important associations by revolutionary leaders, the spread of the movement, the formation of the Indian National Army and the contribution of the mutiny naval, among others.

The Indian Museum, which is the oldest museum in the subcontinent, in partnership with DAG, mounted an exhibition entitled “March to Freedom” in which, according to the organizers, instead of following a chronological order of historical events, The narrative of the exhibition has been divided into eight distinct thematic sections. The first section titled “Battles for Freedom” will explore the significance of the myriad wars scattered across India’s past.

Thelma J. Longworth