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Woman freedom fighter Pritilata Waddedar, who not only fought against the British but also forced them to leave India

Pritilata Waddedar is not just a name but a real epitome of patriotism. Her name could be erased from the Book of time, but if ever it appears, everyone remembers her as the iron lady of Bengal.

Pritilata Waddedar’s sacrifice can never be ignored. She was the first woman freedom fighter of Bengal. She was one of the revolutionaries who picked up arms against the British Raj and was the first woman in Bengal to do so. However, she died at the age of 21, but her story still inspires many people. 

Born on 5 May 1911 in Dhalghat village in Patiya Upazila of Chittagong (now in Bangladesh). Pritilata came from a middle-class Vaidya family. Waddedar was a title given by one of the ancestors of the family who originally had the surname Dasgupta. It is believed that Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi was her role model and was deeply inspired by her. She chose the revolutionary way for herself to take revenge. Pritilata began to teach after completing her studies. She became the first Headmistress of the local English medium secondary school where she worked. 

To avenge the death of innocent Indians in the Jalalabad encounter, some revolutionaries made a plan to attack the Pahartali European club which had a sign-board titled – “Dogs and Indians are not allowed.” Pritilata was handed over a team of 40 people for the mission in September 1932. She was also given a responsibility to supply explosives to the revolutionaries. She dressed as a Punjabi male resulted in unrecognizable, while her associates wore lungis and shirts. She succeeded in laying a siege and her team torched the club.

(Photo: Sampath Speaking)

She was fatally wounded in an attack carried out by British officers. When she found no way to escape from the Britishers, she ordered her fellow fighters to run away and laid down her own life instead. She never wanted to be captured by the British army because of love for her motherland. Hence, Pritilata consumed cyanide and died in order to avoid being arrested. She was just 21 when she sacrificed her life for the nation. Her birthplace has earned huge popularity in Bangladesh. She will always be remembered by generation and will always inspire millions of people.

Written by Dharam Sikarwar

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