Pritilata’s 108th birth anniversary today

The 108th birth anniversary of Bangalee revolutionary nationalist Pritilata Waddedar is today (Sunday). To mark the day, Bengali daily Bhorer Kagoj will organize a seminar at Jatiya Press Club VIP lounge in the afternoon. Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni will join the seminar as the chief guest.

Pritilata was born in a middle-class Vaidya-Brahmin family on 5 May 1911 in Dhalghat village in Patiya upazila of Chittagong. Her father Jagabandhu Waddedar was a clerk in the Chittagong Municipality. Her mother Pratibhamayi Devi was a housewife.

Pritilata was nicknamed Rani. Waddedar was a title conferred on an ancestor of the family who originally had the surname Dasgupta. Jagabandhu tried to arrange the best possible education for their children.

He got Pritilata admitted in Dr. Khastagir Government Girls’ School of Chittagong. Pritilata was a meritorious student. Arts and literature were Pritilata’s favourite subjects. She passed out of Dr. Khastagir Government Girls’ School in 1928 and in 1929, got admitted to the Eden College, Dhaka.

To pursue higher education, Pritilata went to Kolkata and got admitted to Bethune College. Two years later, she graduated in Philosophy from the college with a distinction.

In 1932, Surya Sen planned to attack the Pahartali European Club which had a signboard that read “Dogs and Indians not allowed”.

In Pahartali European Club attack in 1932, Surya Sen decided to appoint a woman leader for this mission. Kalpana Datta was arrested seven days before the event. Because of this, Pritilata was assigned the leadership of the attack. Pritilata went to Kotowali Sea Side for arms training and made the plan of their attack there. On the day of the attack, Pritilata dressed herself as a Punjabi male. Her associates Kalishankar Dey, Bireshwar Roy, Prafulla Das, Shanti Chakraborty wore dhoti and shirt. Mahendra Chowdhury, Sushil Dey and Panna Sen wore lungi and shirt.

They reached the club at around 10:45 PM and launched their attack. There were around 40 people inside the club then. The revolutionaries divided themselves into three separate groups for the attack.

In the club, a few police officers who had revolvers started shooting. Pritilata incurred a single bullet wound. According to the police report, in this attack, one woman with a surname of Sullivan died and four men and seven women were injured.

An injured Pritilata was trapped by the British police. She swallowed cyanide to avoid getting arrested.

The next day, the police found her body and identified her.