India@75: Story of Mathangini Hazra, who dared to face bullets for freedom
Born in Hoghla, Tamluk in West Bengal's Purba Medinipur district to a poor peasant family, Mathangini Hazra was married at 12 and widowed at 18. Heeding Mahatma Gandhi's call, she threw herself headlong into the freedom struggle. Here's her story
She became a martyr for the motherland's freedom at the age of 72. She was Mathangini Hazra.
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Quit India movement was roaring. In 1942, Hazra was leading a march of more than 6000 Congress activists carrying the tricolour to the police station at Medinipur. The place was in Tamluk, which was declared an independent state by nationalists.
As the march approached the police station, the British officer ordered the marchers to disperse or face firing. Ignoring the order, the marchers proceeded ahead loudly shouting 'British Quit India'.
Shoot me first, Mathangini dared. The officer screamed; fire! The first shot landed on Mathangini. Yet she marched ahead, flag held aloft and shouting 'Gandhi ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram'. Two more bullets pierced Mathangini, who fell into a pool of blood and attained martyrdom.
Born in Hoghla in Tamluk to a poor peasant family, Mathangini was married at 12 and widowed at 18. Heeding Gandhi's call, she threw herself headlong into the freedom struggle. Having participated in the Salt Satyagraha and civil disobedience movement during the 1930s, Mathangini faced arrests and police torture many times.
Mathangini Hazra's statue was erected in Kolkata in 1977. It was the first statue of a woman in the city.