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KALPANA JOSHI NEE DATTA (1913–1995)


Kalpana was a militant freedom fighter. She was born in Chittagong to a middle class Kayastha family. Her uncle was a physician with great influence in the town, and from him she got her first exposure to the wider issues of politics and freedom. She matriculated in 1929, came to Kolkata and joined Bethune College. There she came in contact with associates of the revolutionary Surya Sen. She was entrusted with the couriering of explosives to and from Kolkata, and the making of gun cotton, which she did at home under the noses of the authorities.

She was the main architect of the Dynamite Conspiracy to blow up the Court while the Special Tribunal was in session, but the plot miscarried. She was released for lack of evidence. In spite of surveillance she managed to continue meeting Surya Sen and his group at dead of night. She and Preetilata Waddedar (q.v.) practised shooting with revolvers together. They were supposed to attack the European Club, but Kalpana was arrested a week before the event. In jail she heard of Preetilata’s heroic sacrifice. Later she escaped the police several times, only to be captured in 1933 and sentenced to transportation for life. A year after her release in 1939 she graduated from Calcutta University. Subsequently she joined the Communist Party of India.
 
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