Meet Kalpana Dutta, revolutionary freedom fighter who fought against the British disguised as a boy

The contribution of Kalpana Dutta, who fought alongside the revolutionaries in Bengal to liberate the country from the British, can never be forgotten. She supplied ammunition to freedom fighters in disguise, in addition to being trained in the use of firearms and knew how to manufacture cartridges. Not only that, she used to go from place to place in the guise of a boy to meet revolutionaries.

Born on July 27, 1913 in the village of Sreepur in Chittagong, East Bengal (now Bangladesh), Kalpana Dutta loved listening to adventure stories since childhood. While in high school, she read many biographies and stories of freedom fighters, which had a huge effect on her psyche. In college, she met revolutionary women like Bina Das and Pritilata Waddedar. She also met Surya Sen, popularly known as “Master Da” and joined his organization, the Indian Republic Army.

Sent to jail; Posted Later

After taking part in the campaign against the British, her party looted the Chittagong Armory in 1930, after which she was noticed by the British. Under these circumstances, she had to drop out of school, but she kept in touch with Surya Sen.

On September 19, 1931, Surya Sen, along with Pritilata Waddedar, gave him the task of attacking a European club in Chittagong. However, she was captured by British troops while surveying the area before the attack, but was released on bail after the charges were not proven. After the incident, she went into hiding for two years with Surya Sen and continued her movement.

On February 16, 1933, the police raided his hiding place. Surya Sen was captured as Kalpana managed to escape by firing on the British army. Following this, they prosecuted her and she was finally arrested on May 19, 1933. The trial of the Chittagong Armory robbery case resumed, in which Surya Sen was sentenced to death while Kalpana was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Named ‘Veer Mahila’

However, after many efforts by Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, Dutta was released from prison in 1939. After her release from prison, she completed her studies and graduated from the University of Calcutta in 1940.

In 1979, she received the title of “Veer Mahila”. She wrote her autobiography in Bengali, translated into English as “Chittagong Armory Raiders: Reminiscence”. The revolutionary woman, who fought the British with fearlessness and courage, died on February 8, 1995.

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Thelma J. Longworth