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Matangini Hazra

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Early Life

Matangini was born in the small village of Hogla, near Tamluk I 1869. She did not obtain a proper education due to her father Thakurdas Maity’s poor financial condition. She was married early with Trilochan Hazra of Alinan village, who was much older than her. She was widowed by the age of eighteen. Thereafter she devoted herself to social service, working tirelessly for others.

 

Role in Freedom Fighting

In 1905, she became actively interested in the Indian independence movement as a Gandhian. A notable feature of the freedom struggle in Midnapore was the participation of women. In 1932, she took part in the Civil Disobedience movement and was arrested for breaking the Salt Act. She was promptly released, but protested for the abolition of the tax. Arrested again, she was incarcerated for six months at Baharampur. After being released, she became an active member of the Indian National Congress and took to spinning her own Khadi. In 1933, she attended the subdivisional Congress conference at Serampore and was injured in the ensuing baton charge by the police.

 

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Involvement in the Quit India Movement

As part of the Quit India Movement, members of the Congress planned to take over the various police stations of Medinipore district and other government offices. This was to be a step in overthrowing the British government in the district and establishing an independent Indian state. Hazra, who was 71 years at the time, led a procession of six thousand supporters, mostly women volunteers, with the purpose of taking over the Tamluk police station. When the procession reached the outskirts of the town, they were ordered to disband under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code by the Crown police. As she stepped forward, Hazra was shot once. Apparently, she had stepped forward and appealed to the police not to open fire at the crowd.

As she was repeatedly shot, she kept chanting Vande Mataram, "hail to the Motherland". She died with the flag of the Indian National Congress held high and still flying.

 

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