Bina Das – The unsung patriot

                                            

                                                                 Bina Das ( 24th August 1911- 26th December1986)

On 6th February 1932, the whole ambience of convocation Hall of Calcutta University was disrupted by volley of bullets fired by a young girl. The young and courageous girl was arrested on attempt of assassinating Stanley Jackson, the British governor of Bengal. This girl was none other than Bina Das, the courageous student who dared to shake the British Empire with her revolutionary action.

Even women have equally contributed to free India from foreign rule and Bina Das was one of them. Though Bina participated in rallies and protest marches, she started realizing that armed revolution is only the way to strike a terror in the minds of British. With a fierce resolution to gain freedom, Bina Das plunged into action by joining “Chhatri Sangha”, a revolutionary group in Calcutta. The first action of this revolutionary party was to kill a ruthless and tyrant British Governor during the convocation ceremony. Since Bina Das was also going to get her graduation degree on that event, she decided to take the initiative of assassinating the ruthless Governor. The convocation ceremony was filled with several young graduates and Bina Das was one of them. When Stanley Jackson was about to arrive at her side, Bina Das immediately fired five bullets from her revolver. But the governor managed to escape unscratched from the attack. Since Bina Das had just started practising shooting, her grip on the weapon was not strong. Bina Das was arrested and was sentenced to 9 years of painful imprisonment. Even though the mission was a failure, Bina Das was glad that she had succeeded in striking a terror in mind of British supremacy.

After her release in 1939, Bina continued her protests against the British rule. She was imprisoned for her participation in “Quit India movement” and had to suffer several hardships. Later, Bina Das got married to Jatish Chandra Bhaumik, a member from Jugantar Group.

Last Days – After the demise of her husband, Bina Das preferred to lead a solitary life and breathed her last on 26th December in Rishikesh, Uttar Pradesh. It is very sad to know that majority of Indians are unaware of the sacrifice made by countless revolutionaries and Bina Das was one of them. Through this blog post, I have taken a stride to throw a light on the struggle made by the courageous and strong willed patriots like Bina Das. Hope you like this article.

After 4 years of this article, I never realized that article will be a medium to connect one to lost relatives. On request of my senior colleague Jay Bhattacharjee, I am adding his contact details so that his relative can get in touch with him.

Contact Details – Jay Bhattacharjee
(jay.bhattacharjee@gmail.com) / 011-4182-8165/ 9810239986

Thanks
Prashant Badiger

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28 thoughts on “Bina Das – The unsung patriot

  1. A very moving piece, my young friend. I have just read it today. She was my chhoto mashi (my Ma’s younger sister) and her contribution to the freedom struggle was epic. Please write more. Thank you, once again.

    Jay Bhattacharjee

    • are you a son of kalyani das mr. jay bhattacharjee? when i read about beena das in a book i learnt that her elder sister’s name was kalyani das & she was also involved in indian freedom struggle. please share your memories about your great mother & great aunty (mashi) in this blog.

      • Dear Dr. Patil : Thank you so much for your gracious reply. I am indeed the son of Kalyani Das (nee). My mother was the elder sister of Bina Das and inspired my mashi to follow her into the freedom struggle. My mother was imprisoned for more than 5 years during the independence movement ; released on health grounds, she was externed from Bengal by the British government. After marriage to my father, Nirmal Bhattacharjee, she moved to Bombay in 1940 and did not further take an active part in politics, because of her delicate health. She returned to Bengal to lead the relief movement during the Bengal famine for 1 year. In my aunt’s book, there is a moving account about how deeply she was affected by the inhuman treatment meted out to my mother in a British prison. If the blog editor permits, I will post the link of my mother’s book (translated into English) that was published in another portal.

      • Dear Dr. Patil : would you please let me know the name of the book where you read about my mother being the elder sister of Bina Das ? Many thanks in advance.

  2. respested sir, it is the matter of great honour for me to communicate with you as you are the family member of bina das , kalyani das & benimadhav das. i read about your mother in a marathi book nahi chira, nahi panati ( which means no monument, no candle (deepak) for these great women). this book was written by famous marathi writer y d phadake. i am a great fan of bina das and i am searching for her autobiography “shrinkhala jnankar” since quite a long time. please give the link of the english translation of your mother’s book as well as any other information you will like to share about your great mother & aunty. i am requesting the blogger mr. prashant to allow the link as these matter are of great historical importance and a source of inspiration for every indian. if you wish i will like to meet you personally to know more about bina das & kalyani das. so please give me your address. thank you!

    • Dear Dr. Patil : Many thanks for your gracious post on the blog on the 31st July.

      As far as material on my mother and aunt are concerned, I have, of course, lots of them, but they are unfortunately in WORD format and I cannot send them to you on this portal. However, I would be grateful if you could contact me on my E-Mail address, (jay.bhattacharjee@gmail.com), and then I will send you some of the major documents that are in WORD format. I will also let you know my address. I look forward to receiving your E-Mail.

      I am deeply grateful to the blog editor, Mr. Prashant Badiger, for his exemplary service to the cause of Indian history. More than that – he is doing very important work for India’s collective conscience. Without his initial post on my aunt, Bina Das, I would never have read his portal.

      I would also not have known about the Marathi book on the freedom struggle that you have referred to.

      My regards and best wishes to both of you, once again.

  3. Today only I came to know about Bina Das through FM gold channel and then I checked google. My ‘pranam’ to this unsung freedom fighter.

  4. Always admired Bina Das as she was a legend in St. John’s Diocesan School where I also studied – this was a collegiate school & soon after her assassination attempt the college was shut down . Did she ever taught anywhere later in her life or was only involved in politics ?

  5. Dear all, it is indeed a strange coincidence,
    Whatever I write is collected from various facts that I have heard from my family of my paternal side.
    Benimadhab Das had 4 daughters, Kamala, Sushila, Kalyani and Bina.
    I happen to be the grand daughter of Sushila Das nee Mukherjee, who was married to the artist Kushal Kumar Mukherjee and the Principal of Jaipur Art College.
    I remember Kalyani thakuma even now, as my first pet dog was gifted to me by her.
    Very strange knowing about a very very extended family.

    • This is a joint reply to Kamalinee Chatterjee, Rita Kar and Deepty Sen.

      To clarify, Bina Das was my Chhoto mashi, my Ma’s younger sister and the youngest of five sisters. There was another aunt of mine, Punnya Prabha, who was the third sister. The ranking of the five sisters was as follows (in descending order) : Kamala, Sushila, Punnya Prabha, Kalyani (my Ma) and Chhoto mashi.

      Only Ma and Chhoto mashi participated in the freedom struggle. Ma, who was 5 years older than Chhoto mashi, was associated with a number of radical organisations that were active in the freedom movement. She was arrested by the British administration of Bengal under a Preventive Detention law which was then in force. She was in jail when Chhoto mashi made her attempt on Stanley Jackson at the Calcutta University convocation in July 1932.

      Both Ma and Chhoto mashi withdrew from active politics after independence. They gave their time to social work selflessly and with complete dedication.

      Kamalinee – from what you have written, you must be Bapon da’s daughter. The dog in question was Mita (a golden retriever) that I had originally got. Since I was transferred out of Delhi, Ma and Baba took Mita to Kolkata where Ma gave the dog to you and Bapon da. Your post brings back many pleasant memories. Actually, you happen to be a niece of mine whom I had last seen when you were very young. Please get in touch with me at the E-Mail / phone numbers below, which I hope Mr. Badiger allows me to post.

      My thanks also to Rita Kar and Deepti Sen

      My heartfelt thanks to Mr. Prashant Badiger, who has become a friend of mine, thanks to this priceless portal of his. I am requesting him to allow me to write my E-Mail and telephone number in this post, so that my “lost” niece can contact me.

      Best wishes and regards to all of you,

      Jay Bhattacharjee
      (jay.bhattacharjee@gmail.com) / 011-4182-8165/ 9810239986

  6. Dear Jay ( Kaka)
    I believe in miracles and it is actually happening to me. Cannot believe that I could be connecting with you, Jay Bhattacharya may I call you Kaka.. its wonderful.
    Will get in touch with you soon.
    Thank you all.
    Prashant Bhai specially you.

  7. Great to know all these details. My deep respect to these self less women. I wish we Indians give proper acknowledgement to their sacrifices.

    • Dear Prashant :

      Esteemed young friend, many thanks indeed. You are truly a committed warrior in the struggle to remember the unsung patriots who worked so hard to bring freedom to our country.

      My warmest wishes and best regards, as always,

      Jay Bhattacharjee _______________________

      On 13 October 2016 at 20:12, Prashant’s blogworld wrote:

      > Aniruddha Ray Mahasay commented: “Great to know all these details. My deep > respect to these self less women. I wish we Indians give proper > acknowledgement to their sacrifices.” >

  8. I came to read about Bina Das and Kalyani Das recently while looking up their father Beni Madhav Das. Bina and Kalyani Das excellently represent the determination of the Indian people to emerge as an independent nation. Hope to read the memoirs of Bina Das one day. The incredible response Mr Jay Bhattacharya has recieved from this blog is only a small example of how iconic people can still affect our lives. I have two children and making them repeat the names of these two sisters has been an honour. Netaji Subhas Bose and so many hundreds of freedom fighters deserve better mention in our communal lives in independent India and I hope our small efforts make a difference.

    • Dear Sri Ghosh :

      I am deeply touched and moved by your post.

      Actually, all our thanks should go to my esteemed young friend Prashant Badiger, who has tirelessly written about the unsung warriors of our independence movement. Young people like Prashant are a beacon of hope for us. They are carrying on the torch that our generation could not carry forward very long.

      You and Prashant will be happy to know that the English translation of my mother’s Bangla book, জীবন অধ্যয়ন’ (Jeebon Adhyayan), originally published in 1952, will be released on the 2nd December (Friday) in the Ramkrishna Mission Cultural Centre, Gol Park (in the Shivananda Hall) at 6PM. With Prashant’s implicit permission, I am inviting all the friends who have written on this portal to join us on this occasion.

      The book is a non-priced publication meant for private circulation to libraries, researchers, friends and family. There will be some copies available for complimentary distribution, after the function. I look forward to seeing my friends on the 2nd December.

      Jay Bhattacharjee

      • Dear Sri Bhattacharya, I work in the middle east. I read about the two patriotic sisters while researching Netaji Subhas Bose, especially, his teachers and his academics. He was an exceptional student (which we all know ) and his teachers contributed considerably to his mental developmental. The gradual evolution of his mind and ideas is very well documented in the book on him by Prof Sugata Bose. Considering what was going on Bengal at the time – the great disparity between the ruling British class and the ‘native’ indian people, the two levels of social norms and moralities which separated both, lack of per capita income ( ie grinding poverty of the local populations ) and biased justice in courts and by the police – armed resistence to the British was a natural result. The contribution of these armed revolutionaries of Bengal doesn’t feature much in our natural lives anymore. Should school textbooks not mention the armed Indian revolutions of Bengal, Punjab or Maharastra at the turn of the 20th Century, Indian children will grow up not knowing what contributions these men and women have done. So the present blog, history books, autobiographies and small discussions between committed people are possibly the only sources to keep memories alive.

        Should I be in Kolkata at the time I will attend. History interests me a lot and you can look me up in facebook and see whether you like my profile. Please add me amongst friends should you so desire. Let me finish here by wishing you a good session on Friday, 2nd December with the release of the book ‘ Jeevan Adhyan’ in the RKMCC Gol Park.

        Jai Hind

        Tamojit

  9. Thanks to all. I have tried to collect copies of “Shrinkhal Jhankar” and “Jeevan Adhyan” in the College Street, Kolkata. I did not get a single copy. Is it possible to get a copy of these books (even a photocopy will do).
    Thanks,

    Amitava Ghosh

    • Both these books are out of print. However, I can send you the soft-copies of “Jeebon Adhyayan” (which has been recently translated into English) (in the English version) and also the PDF of the original Bangla edition published in 1952. As far as “Srinkhal Jhankar” is concerned, the English translation was published by Zubaan of Delhi in 2011 and you might be able to get a copy of the book online (from Amazon etc). Please post your E-Mail address on this blog and I will respond to you. Mr. Badiger has been very kind to me in the last few years.

      J. Bhattacharjee (son of the late Smt. Kalyani Bhattacharjee and nephew of the late Smt.Bina Das)

  10. I have great respect & admiration for Smt. Bina Das. Ihave heard from my mother that she was very close to my cousin sister. They used to study in the same college. I was from the same St.John’s School. Would like to come in touch with her. Please help me.
    With thanks & regard.
    Mrs. Mariam Wali.

  11. Dear Mrs. Wali : I am deeply touched by your comments on Mr Prashant Badiger’s blog. I was not in Delhi for the last two weeks and that accounts for the delay in my response.
    Prashant bhai is doing stellar service in commemorating the lives and sacrifices of India’s freedom fighters, specially those who moved away from the limelight after independence.
    Bina Das was my aunt (chhoto mashi), my mother’s youngest sister. My mother was Kalyani Das, 5 years older than Bina Das. The two sisters played a very important part in the freedom movement but the country has not remembered them to the extent it should have.
    I am requesting Mr. Badiger to allow me to put my E-Mail address on this post, so that Mrs. Wali can post hers. I will then be in a position to send her some files on Ma and Chhoto mashi .

    Jay Bhattacharjee

  12. Dear Jay Bhattacharjee,
    Delighted to get a note from your side. I am in the process of writing a short story book. One story is of a fearless brave lady who wanted to lay her life at the alter of freedom struggle. She wanted to hit at the British Imperialism where it hurts where it hurts the most.
    My intention is to bring her to the forefront for the present generation to know about her selfless sacrifice.
    With regards,Mrs. Wali.

  13. I am requesting Mr. Badiger to allow this post with my E-Mail address to appear on the blog, to enable Mrs. Wali to contact me directly by E-Mail. Thereafter, I can send her whatever material that she wants.

    This is the best way for us to interact. The blog cannot be used to send voluminous material.

    Best wishes and regards to Prashant bjai and Mrs. Mariam Wali.

    Jay Bhattacharjee : E-Mail – jay.bhattacharjee@gmail.com.

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