Pritilata Waddedar, born May 5, 1911, was a Bengali revolutionary nationalist. She was from a middle class family and was well educated, attending the Dr. Khastagir Government Girls’ School where she was inspired by stories of Rani Lakshmibai. After graduation, Pritilata was admitted to Eden College and for higher education to Bethune College. Here she graduated with distinction, but her diploma was withheld by the British authorities at Calcutta University. (In 2012, the diploma was conferred on her posthumously.)
After graduation, Pritilata began a short-lived teaching career in Chittagong where she grew up. In June of 1932, she joined the Indian freedom movement. She took part in several raids with the group over the next few months. In September, the group decided to attack the Pahartali European Club which posted a sign that read “Dogs and Indians not allowed.”
On the morning of September 23, Pritilata dressed as a man and with 7 or 8 other associates attacked the club. A few police officers were at the club and started shooting. One woman died, 11 people were injured, and Pritilata was wounded. Her body was found the next day, but it was determined that the bullet wound was not the cause of her death. She had taken cyanide to avoid capture by the British.
Birkannya Pritilata Trust (Brave lady Pritilata Trust) has been founded in her name and celebrates her birthday each year.
Find out what else happened on May 5 in Women’s History.