(Last Updated on : 21/07/2020)
Basanti Devi was an Indian activist during the British rule in India
. She was arrested for selling khadi
during the non-cooperation movement. She was wife of the activist Chitaranjan Das
. After her husband died, she became an active participant in protests. She has also continued to work for various social movements post-independence. She received the Padma Vibhushan award
in the year 1973.
Early Life of Basanti Devi
Basanti Devi was born on 23rd March in the year 1880. She was born to father Baradanath Haldar, diwan of large scale zamindary in Assam during the British colonial rule. She studied at the Loreto House
in Kolkata. She met her husband Chitaranjan Das here and got married at the age of seventeen. They gave birth to three children.
Activities of Basanti Devi
She participated in the Khilafat movement
and Civil Disobedience movement following her husband. Later to that, she also participated in the Nagpur session of Indian National Congress in the year 1920. In the following year, she joined the Das sisters, Sunita Devi and Urmila Devi to establish a training center for women activists that was known as the 'Nari Karma Mandir'. During the non-cooperation movement, the congress called for strikes and encouraged to ban foreign goods. A small loop of five people was employed to sell Khadi and hand spun clothes on the streets of Kolkata
. The group was led by Chitaranjan Das and Basanti Devi led one such group. She went to streets despite of warning that it can make the British arrest her. As predicted, she was arrested for the same but released at midnight. The arrest released widespread agitation.
Contributions of Basanti Devi
After her arrest, she took charge of the weekly publication of Das known as "Bangalar Katha". She was also the president of Bengal Provincial Congress in the years 1921 and 1922. She gave a speech at Chittagong conference in the year 1922. It encouraged grass root agitation. She travelled around India, and made cultural developments of arts that opposed colonialism. She is also known for showing extreme boldness and valor for publishing the famous revolutionary poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam
. She founded the Chittaranjan Seva Sadan for the welfare of needy mothers. Basanti Devi College in Kolkata was developed by the government in her honor. She was also awarded with the honor of Padma Vibhushan.