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PREETILATA WADDEDAR (1911-1932)


Preetilata was born at Chittagong in what is now Bangladesh. Her father was a head clerk at the district magistrate’s office. She imbibed a strong sense of honesty and duty from her parents. In her youth she kept a diary in English, and also wrote in Bengali. As she grew older, she was determined to free her country from British rule. She began secretly to study revolutionary texts and involve herself in resistance activities in Chittagong. She joined Leela Nag’s Deepali Sangha and Kalyani Das’s Chhatri Sangha, both with strong revolutionary leanings. In Chittagong she came under the influence of Nirmal Sen of the Jugantar Party, who taught her boxing and firearm shooting and introduced her to Surya Sen, known as ‘Masterda’. While still a teenager, her activities brought her under constant police surveillance.

Academically brilliant, she graduated with honours from Calcutta University in English Literature, joining Nandan Kanan School as Headmistress. She had a narrow escape in 1932 when Captain Cameron raided the revolutionary centre at Dhalghat, killing Nirmal and Apurba Sen. Preetilata went into hiding. Three months later ‘Masterda’ chose her to lead a raiding party on the European club at Pahartoli. The club was bombed, wounding a dozen Englishmen. Her mission accomplished, Preetilata took poison and died near the club premises in June 1932. Several pamphlets written by her were found on her body.
 
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