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KAMAL DAS GUPTA (1907–1963)

Kamala Das Gupta was a militant freedom fighter. She was born to a respectable Vaidya family of Bikrampur in Dhaka; the family later moved to Kolkata, where Kamala did her MA in history. Up to her joining the university Kamala was a model student and daughter, but once there a burning desire to be of use to the nation gripped her. She even tried to quit her studies and enter Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram, but her parents disapproved. Finishing her education, she befriended some members of the Jugantar party, and was quickly converted from her original Gandhism to the cult of armed resistance.

In 1930 she left home and became manager of a hostel for poor women. There she stored bombs and bomb-making materials for the revolutionaries. She was arrested several times in connections with bombings but always released for want of evidence. She supplied Bina Das (q.v.) with the revolver that she used to try to shoot Governor Jackson in 1932, and was arrested also on that occasion, but released. In 1933 the British finally succeeded in putting her behind bars. There she stayed till 1936, and subsequently was placed under house arrest. In 1938 the Jugantar Party aligned itself with the Indian National Congress, and Kamala also transferred her allegiance to the larger party. Thenceforth she became involved in relief work, especially with the Burmese refugees of 1942 and 1943 and in 1946–47 with the victims of communal rioting. She was in charge of the relief camp at Noakhali that Gandhiji visited in 1946. She also worked for women’s vocational training at the Congress Mahila Shilpa Kendra and the Dakshineshwar Nari Swabalambi Sadan. She edited the pathbreaking women’s journal Mandira for many years. She authored two memoirs in Bengali, Rakter Akshare (In Letters of Blood, 1954) and Swadhinata Sangrame Nari (Women in the Freedom Struggle, 1963).
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