Early Life of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was born in the traditional family of Saraswat Brahmins in Mangalore. She was the daughter of a retired Deputy Collector. She was a victim of child-marriage and also became a widow at the young age of 12. She again married, at age of 16, against the wishes of her relatives who were caste-conscious. She married Harendranath Chattopadhyay, youngest brother of Sarojini Naidu.
Social Works by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
Kamaladevi wanted to revive the age-old crafts from extinction. She found beauty in everything and had a special love for the rural and rustic life. The Indian embroidery she liked were the trappings for animals, horses, elephants and bullocks. She was highly esteemed in the crafts world. The weavers and crafts men used to take of their turbans and lay it on her feet in reverence.
She was the Chairman of the All India Handicrafts Board for 17 years and Vice-President for some years of the World Crafts Council with its office in New York. The Central Cottage Industries Emporium in Delhi was her idea. She was the moving spirit behind the Bharatiya Natya Sangh, the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Theatre Crafts Museum in Delhi. Entire communities of artisans gained recognition and livelihood as a result of her vision and drive.
Political Life of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
Kamaladevi fought for equal rights for women. She wanted women to be free and independent. At the age of 23, she secured for women the right to vote. Kamaladevi was the founder-member, and later, the President and Patron, in shaping AIWC’s basic structure, policies and programmes.
Kamaladevi became the commander of the women's volunteers' corps during the civil disobedience movement. She was sentenced four times and she spent a total of five years in jail. After Independence, she refused the political rewards she received.
Bibliography of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was also a notable author. Some of the books written by her are as follows:
Achievements of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was the recipient of many national and international awards, including the prestigious Magsaysay Award, Vishwa Bharati’s Deshikotamma conferred on her by Indira Gandhi in 1970, and the Padma Vibhushan Award.
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay alone had the insight and the will to champion a neglected cause. This great saga of patriotism and mother of handicrafts breathed her last in 1990.