Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

Remembering Leela Roy

On the eve of her 112th birth anniversary, countless people remember the firebrand revolutionary Leela Roy née Nag who sacrificed her life for the country. Following are the highlights of her revolutionary life:
 

1921
  • An All Bengal Association was formed to mobilise public opinion in favour of women's suffrage with Sm Kumudini Bose as Secretary and Sm Leela Nag as Assistant Secretary. Several meetings were held at Dhaka on this issue.
  • On her demand Dacca University introduced co-education and Roy was the first lady student of the University.

1923

  • With 12 friends, Roy founded Deepali Sangha for all-round development of women in all fields of life. She founded many schools, of which were Nari Siksha Mandir (now named Shere Bangla Mahavidyalaya, and Deepali School (now known as Kamarunnesa Girls' School - one of the biggest schools of Dhaka city).
  • As Deepali Sangha set up branches in different districts of Bengal, a students' wing under the name of Deepali Chhatri Sangha was set up in Dhaka and Kolkata. Roy also established Chhatri Bhavan, a residential house for students and working girls in Kolkata.

1926

  • Joined revolutionary group Sri Sangha under the leadership of Anil Chandra Roy

1928

  • Roy spoke on women's movement in Bengal at the women's session of the Calcutta Congress

1930s

  • Formed Gana Siksha Parishad to spread mass education. An appeal for financial help on behalf of the Parishad was signed by Rabindranath Tagore, Ramananda Chatterjee, Acharyya Prafulla Chandra Roy, and JN Sengupta
  • In 1931, Roy started publishing Jayasree - a Bengali Monthly journal with the blessings of Tagore. Jayasree, although suppressed twice by the British Government, is one of the few journals to be published till date.
  • Roy was imprisoned twice and remained in Suri, Midnapore, and Hijli Jails from 1931-37, and at Dinajpur and Presidency Jail at Calcutta, from 1942-46.
  • In 1938, she was nominated as a member of the Women's Sub-committee of National Planning Commission when Subhas Chandra Bose was Congress President.
  • In 1939, she became a member of the BPCC (Bengal Provincial Congress Committee), and formed women's wing of the Congress.

1940

  • Roy took up the responsibility of editing Forward Bloc weekly after Subhas Chandra Bose was arrested.

1946

  • Roy was elected to the Constituent Assembly from a general constituency of Bengal, but resigned in protest to the proposal of partition of India by the Congress leadership.
  • She instead focused on relief and rescue work in Noakhali, independently of Gandhi, who praised her work. She showed extraordinary courage in rescuing both Hindus and Muslims during the Calcutta killings of 1946.

1950-51

  • In the post-independence years, Roy worked tirelessly on rehabilitating refugees. She settled refugees between Tollygunge to Ranikuthi and adjacent areas on behalf of the East Bengal Minority Welfare Central Committee. She opposed Unauthorised Person's Eviction Bill 1951, and organised protest meetings and demonstrations. Due to her constant struggle the Bill was revised and was enacted as "Resettlement of Refugees and Eviction of persons in Unauthorised Occupation of Land Act 1951".

1961-1970

  • From 1961 onwards Roy lived in Naktala, Kolkata. After she suffered a severe cerebral attack, she was taken to the PG Hospital and remained in coma from 4th February 1968 to 11 June 1970 till she passed away. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi PM sent a specialist from Delhi to see that she was properly treated.
  • On her demise, Lok Sabha paid homage on 27 July 1970. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said, "Srimati Leela Roy was widely respected for the courage and devotion with which she worked for the national cause braving many dangers. She encouraged and stood by a very large number of revolutionaries. Her work for women's franchise in Bengal and her intrepid services to organize relief at the time of Noakhali riots will be long remembered...". Shri HN Mukherjee (Calcutta North East) said, "Shrimati Leela Roy had the distinction of having in her own life time something of a legend in Bengal, and as an associate of Subhas Chandra Bose she has left a mark in our freedom struggle which would not be easily obliterated."

2008

  • On 22 December, Roy's portrait was unveiled at Parliament Central Hall by PM Dr Manmohan Singh

2009

  • On 10 January, a bust of Roy was unveiled at Deshpriya Park in Kolkata.

 

Jayasree Foundation, Jatiya Mahila Sanghati, Chattagram Parishad & Information & Cultural Department of Govt of West Bengal will jointly observe Biplabi Leela Roy's Birth Anniversary in front of Bust Statue at Deshapriya Park, on Rash Behari Avenue at 10 AM on 2nd October 2012.