(Last Updated on : 23/07/2012)
Early life of Kamaladevi Chattopadhay tells the tale of Indian freedom struggle
. She was born on 3rd April in the year 1903, and was the fourth and youngest daughter of a Saraswat Brahmin couple in Mangalore. Ananthaya Dhareshwar, her father, was the District Collector of Mangalore
, and her mother Girijabai, from whom she inherited an independent streak, belonged to an upper-class family from Indian state
Kamaladevi's grandmother was a writer and scholar herself. She wrote ancient Indian texts, and her mother was also pretty well educated which was mostly received from home. Jointly their presence in the house gave Kamaladevi a strong grounding and also provided yardstick to respect for her intellect as well as her voice, sometimes that she was came to be called for in the coming years, when she stood as voice of downtrodden s well as unheard.
As a student she was an exceptional talent and also showed qualities of courage and determination from a very early age. While she was growing up, her parents befriended many well-known freedom fighters and intellectual brains like that of Mahadev Govind Ranade
, Gopal Krishna Gokhale
, and women leaders like Ramabai Ranade
, and Annie Besant
, this made young Kamaladevi an early enthusiast of the swadeshi nationalist movement. She studied at great length about the ancient tradition of Sanskrit theatre
in the Indian state
known as Kutiyattam, from its greatest Guru and authority of Abhinaya, Natyacharya Padma Shri Mani Madhava Chakyar by staying at Guru's home at Killikkurussimangalam.
At a very early part of life tragedy struck her when Saguna, her elder sister, whom she considered as a role model died in her teens, soon after her early marriage and when she was just seven years old her father expired as well. To add to the trouble of her mother - Girijabai, he died without leaving a will for his vast property. Hence according to property laws of the times, the entire property went to her stepson, and they only got a monthly allowance. Her mother rather defiantly refused the allowance and decided to raise her daughter on her dowry property. Rebellious streak of her was visible even as a child, when young Kamaladevi questioned the patrician division of her mother's household, and favoured to mix with her servants and their children wanting to understand their life as well.