Chronicle of the forgotten female warriors: Suhasini Ganguly

Md. Yousof Alam

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In Kolkata on the way to Jadubabur Bajar via Bhawanipur’s Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Lane, nearHarish Mukherjee Sarani there is a lane named Suhasini Ganguly Sarani.It will be an injustice to this name if anyone asks who was Suhasini Ganguly. But unfortunately, in the vast history of this glorified country, some names remained less celebrated in the name of lanes only.

Suhasini Ganguly’s was a life dedicated entirely to the cause of her motherland’s freedom. Ganguly was born on 3 February1909 in KhulnaBengalBritish India to Abinashchandra Ganguly and Sarala Sundara Devi.She spent her teenage in her hometown and Dhaka. Their family was from  Bikrampur of present Bangladesh. She belonged to a family that was supportive of girls for their education. She passed matriculation in 1924 from Dhaka Eden School.During her bachelor's degree,She got a job at a deaf and dumb school while studying Intermediate of Arts and she had to come to Kolkata. This was that step that unknowingly she has taken to change the course of her life and thus wrote a new chapter in the history of India.

In her days in Kolkata, she came in touch with Kalpana Dutta, Kalyani Das, and Kamala Dasgupta. she may have been introduced to the Jugantar Revolutionary Group by Pritilata Waddedar, a member, who like Ganguly, was a former student of the Dhaka Eden School and Kamala Dasgupta, who had also moved from Dhaka to Calcutta for higher education. She became a member of Chhatri Sangha. Under Kalyani Das and Kamala Dasgupta's management, Ganguly, on behalf of the Chhatri Sangha, taught swimming in Raja Srish Chandra Nandy's garden. There she became acquainted with revolutionary Rashik Das, her political teacher in 1929. She met other personalities with similar socio-political beliefs and a desperate desire for freedom from British rule. She was noticed by the British government because of her activities making it difficult for her to continue operating from Calcutta.

Toelude arrest, young Ganguly escaped to Chandannagar leaving her job in Deaf & Dumb School, which was still a French territory at that time. The Chittagong armory raid of April 1930 was a surprise to the freedom fighters and along with Bhupendra Kumar Dutta,many members of the Jugantar party went underground into hiding.With the British out for blood, the rebels dispersed to various parts of undivided Bengal, with some choosing Chandannagar.

Leaders of the Chattri Sangha and rebels of Chandannagar like Basanta Banerjee instructed Ganguly to provide shelter to the revolutionaries coming from Chittagong in her rented house which was two-storied own by Dasarathi Ghosh. Together with a fellow member of Jugantar, Shashadhar Acharya of Bandel, Ganguly posed as husband and wife and opened the doors to the revolutionaries on the run. This is also an important matter of modern history that She was associated with Bina Das, who attempted to assassinate the Bengal Governor Stanley Jackson in 1932. Bina das was an equally important personality in Indian History and we will know about her in the coming days in this series named Chronicles of the forgotten female warrior.

At that timeChandannagarwas a French territory and paradise for the revolutionaries. She then joined as a schoolteacher in Chandannahar named Kashishwari Pathshala.That was not to be, and in September that year, British police officials under Charles Tegart based on the information leaked by Kalipada,raided Ganguly’s home in Chandannagar. The violence that ensued resulted in the death of Jugantar member Jiban Ghoshal. Suhasini Ganguly was arrested and brutally beaten along with Shashadhar Acharya and Ganesh Ghosh and the three were subjected to torture in prison. Under the Bengal Criminal Law Amendment (BCLA) Act, Ganguly was held in Hijli Detention Camp near Kharagpur from 1932 to 1938remains of this camp can be found on the campus of IIT Kharagpur and the Nehru Museum of Science and Technology.

Soon after her release, she participated in India's Communist movement principle which influenced her.She was attached to the women's front of the Communist Party of India. Although she did not participate in the Quit India Movement as the Communist Party of India did not participate, she helped her Congress friends &colleagues.She was again detained in jail for three years as she gave shelter toQuit India Movement activist Hemanta Tarafdar.

The sun of freedom rises in the mid-night. India earned independence in the year 1947. Post-independence scenario for Ganguly was not smooth enough.Her activities with the Communist Party in the early 1950s become the reason for Ganguly’s arrest under the newly enacted West Bengal Security Act of 1950. The aim of the act was the “prevention of illegal acquisition, possession or use of arms, the suppression of subversive movements endangering communal harmony or the safety or stability of the State and the suppression of goondas and for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community.” She handled that struggle with bravery and proved her potential.

Ganguly was involved in various social struggles throughout her life. She lived the life of a born fighter.In the year 1965,due to a road accident, she was admitted to P. G. Hospital of Kolkata. But it is claimed by many that due to negligence, she became infected with tetanus and died on 23 March 1965.

The Day 23rd march is already an important day for the country on which we all remember Shaheed E Azam.

Although, Very little information is publicly available on Ganguly and the only known image of her is one available at the Directorate of State Archives in West Bengal. In the black-and-white photograph, Suhasini Ganguly is seen wearing a khadi sari. Ganguly never married and died when she was only 53.



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