With the rise in the torment of Britishers in India in the mid 80’s, when Indians were fighting for their freedom from the barbarous rule of Britishers, Bengal was one of the main points for the freedom struggle amist it a girl was born in a peasant family in a small village Hogla near Tamluk situated in the East Medinipur district of West Bengal. Being from a poor family she hadn’t done any formal education and got married at 12 years of age but unfortunately, her husband died and she became widowed at the age of 18.
Gradually growing up in an era marked by British colonial dominance was too painful, she witnessed to the social and economic injustices inflicted upon her fellow countrymen. This ignited a fire within her to challenge the Britishers and stand up for the rights of the people. She can’t tolerate the injustice done to the countrymen, the petrifying incidents going around the country lead her courage and stubbornness to the peak and took an oath to save the countrymen from the barbarous happenings. She became actively interested in the Indian independence movement as a Gandhian which lead to a notable movement of the freedom struggle in Midnapore. She took oath as the first woman freedom fighter to her countrymen in the district. Her dedication toward independence was not driven by personal gain but by a fervent desire to secure a better future for the country and its people.
During the significant Salt Satyagraha in 1930, she led a group of women and followed the order of Gandhiji, challenging the oppressive salt tax imposed by the British authorities. Her this active participation and affinity to her motherland lead her journey marked by resilience and determination, making her a symbol of strength for every individual who dared to dream of an independent India for breaking this salt law and active participation in the Civil disobedience movement she got arrested and tortured by British forces. She was again arrested and brutally tortured at Baharampur jail by the British forces for participating in the Chowkidari Tax Bandha” movement. After being released from jail she joined Indian National Congress and attended sub-divisional Congress conference at Serampore and was again injured by a baton charge by the police.
As a part of the Quit India Movement in 1942 the members of the Indian National Congress planned to take over all the police stations of Medinipur District, Matangini Hazra who was 73 years of age lead the masses of approximately six thousand people out of which mostly were women towards Tamluk police station. While the procession was moving towards the town, British forces were ordered to disband the crowd under section 144. As she stepped forward towards the town she was shot once, but she didn’t stop, with her full courage and urge to get freedom she stepped forward with the national flag held high and she was shot twice again Yet, even in the throes of pain, she clung to the flag and her unwavering spirit, chanting ‘Vande Mataram’ until her last breath
On 29th September 1942 Mother India lost one of her courageous child from her lap and countrymen lost one of their great leaders. The death of Matangini Hazra had led the fight for independence much more brawny and gave inspiration to young fighters. She showed the fact that the fight for freedom was not limited to the political leaders, but by the countless ordinary individuals who braved adversity for a greater cause. Her story tells us that the path to liberation was paved with the sweat, blood, and tears of countless unsung heroes. As India celebrates its hard-won independence, it is imperative to remember and honor individuals like Matangini Hazra, whose resolute dedication and sacrifice showed the path to an independent nation. Her bestowal continues to inspire generations to stand up against injustice, persevere in the face of poverty, and strive for a society based on equality and human dignity.
Written by Sayak Ghorai, B.sc Ag 4th Year