Pushpalata's memories live on

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 20.11.03

Nov. 20: Noted citizens of the city paid rich tributes to veteran freedom fighter and parliamentarian Pushpalata Das at a memorial meeting held today at Pandit Tirthanath Sarma Sabhaghar.

The meeting was presided over by Amoya Chaliha, noted social worker and wife of Bimala Prasad Chaliha, former chief minister of Assam.

Noted educationist Indira Miri said, “Pushpalata Das is not dead. She will always remain immortal for us. She had a strong faith in power of women and took part in the freedom struggle and set an example for others.”

Elucidating her role in the freedom struggle from her early childhood, Surabala Bordoloi, wife of Gopinath Bordoloi, the first chief minister of Assam said, “We have lost a sublime soul. She was an intelligent and diligent lady and the younger generation would gain a lot if they emulate her ideals.”

Former chief minister, Sarat Sinha also paid glowing tributes to her. “She was a fearless lady who raised her voice against any kind of injustice,” he said.

Simple living high thinking — was the ethos that governed the life of Pushpalata Das. Hemo Bharali of the Kasturba Gandhi Memorial Trust and a close associate said, “She led a Spartan life in a two-room house with two small cane chairs for visitors. But she kept everything sparkling clean.”

Her daughter Nandini and son-in-law Shashank Dutta were also present on the occasion. An all-religion prayer meet was also held at the Kasturba Ashram in South Sarania.

The residents of South Sarania, under the aegis of Rhino Club, have sent a proposal to the government to erect a statue in her honour at an open space near Kasturba Ashram. The noted Gandhian, breathed her last at a private hospital in Calcutta at the age of 88 on November 9.

Born on March 27, 1915, at North Lakhimpur, Padmabhushan Puspalata Das joined the freedom movement at the tender age of six when she joined “Banar Sena” (monkey brigade) to popularise khadi among the people and organised Charkha Sangha.

She was selected by Mahatma Gandhi for individual Satyagraha and remained in jail for two-and-a-half months as an under trial.

In 1934, Pushpalata Das passed the Matriculation examination as a private candidate and joined Benaras Hindu University from where she passed Intermediate. She then enrolled with Andhra University for graduation. She did her MA in Political Science in 1938 from the same university.

Afterwards, she joined Earle Law College, Guwahati, and was elected secretary of the college union in 1940. But her study in law came to an end when she was jailed for joining “individual satyagraha”.

She was elected member of the Rajya Sabha in 1951 and retained the seat for the next term till 1961. In 1958, she was elected as a member of the All-India Congress Working Committee. She was also a member of Assam Legislative Assembly.