(Last Updated on : 23/06/2012)
Basanti Devi was the first Indian woman to be arrested during the non-cooperation movement for selling khadi. She received affection and blessings from leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Motilal Nehru and Sarojini Naidu. Basanti Devi was a mother figure for the youths devoted to the cause of the nation. Subhash Chandra Bose addressed her as 'Ma' (mother). Basanti Debi presided over the state-level Congress Conference at Chittagong. Her eloquent speech enables one to get a glimpse of her integrated personality. She called upon the people of Bengal to make politics an integral part of their life. She believed that human excellence in its totality only could enable one to get near the truth.
Basanti Devi was born on 1880. She was the daughter of Baroda Nath Halder, a rich and well-known person. She was married to Chittranjan, a lawyer , when he was struggling for for his debts to be repaid. She loved her husband whole-heartedly without any complaint.
Basanti Devi carried on the work of Chittaranjan with utmost potential when he was arrested for his leadership of non-cooperation movement. She edited the journal brought out by him. She showed extreme valor and boldness in pub-lishing the famous revolutionary poem of Kazi Nazrul Islam and received appreciation of the youths. She lost her husband at a very young age ,after which she retired from politics. She founded the Chittaranjan SevaSadan for thewelfare of the needy mothers at the site of their historic house on Russa Road.
Tragedy again overtook her with the death of only son ,a year after her husband's death. Basanti Devi remained firm for she had to look after her son's wife along with his three daughters. Subash Chandra Bose repeatedly en-treated her to join politics to manage the disorganization in the political scenario but she refused to enter active politics. However she worked among the people East Bengal as a part of the 'Harijan' movement headed by Mahatma Gandhi.
Though death has claimed her, Basanti Devi will forever remain in the hearts of all Indians.