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Purulia pioneer passes away

Purulia, April 12: Labanya Prova Ghosh, the freedom fighter and Gandhian who played a pivotal role in the amalgamation of Purulia district with West Bengal in 1956, died at her Shilpashram home here last night. She was 105.

Her body was taken out in a procession through the town to the burning ghat in Surulia. Left Front chairman Biman Bose, leading politicians from the district, senior officials of the administration and hundreds of people joined her last journey.

Born on August 14, 1897, Ghosh joined the non-cooperation movement with lawyer husband Atul Chandra Ghosh in 1921. Foregoing their household property, they set up the ashram, which later became a major centre for the Indian National Congress in the region. She was jailed three times during the freedom movement.

Between 1948 and 1956, Ghosh was instrumental in creating and leading a movement for the amalgamation of Bengali-speaking areas in Manbhum (Purulia) with Bengal. Several hurdles put up by the then Bihar government were overcome, notably through a march from Purulia to Calcutta and the Tusu Satyagraha, among other programmes.

After the amalgamation, she became one of the first MLAs from the region. In February this year, author Sunil Gangopadhyay felicitated Ghosh on behalf of the Bhasha Sahid Smarak Samity for her contribution to the language movement. That was perhaps the last of the many honours conferred on her.

“She was a spirited lady and fought for a just cause till her last,” said district magistrate D.P. Jana.

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