All about Bengali Women.

Archive for the ‘Great Women’ Category

Kanika Bandyopadhyay

Kanika Bandyopadhyay , popularly known by the nickname Mohor di, was called “Nightingale of Rabindrasangeet.

Kanika was married to Birendra Chandra Bandypadhyay, former deputy librarian of Viswa Bharati University, in 1945 and a renowned poet. Kanika led the simple life of an ashramite in Santiniketan.

Kanika is also referred to as Ashram Kanya or ‘girl of the Ashram’ as she was trained in Santiniketan. She was fortunate to take music lessons from none other than Rabindranath Tagore. It was Tagore who christened her Kanika (her original name being Anima)

Her gramophone records came out even in the lifetime of the Poet (Tagore) and there are over 300 gramophone discs to her credit.


Rani Rashmoni

Rani Rashmoni was born into a poor family she was married to Babu Rajachandra Das of Janbazar, Kolkata, a member of a wealthy zamindar family, when she was eleven years old. After her husband’s death she took charge of the zamindari and business. She soon proved herself a natural leader. While the prestige of the zamindari grew.

Rani Rashmoni, being very pious from childhood, continued to lead an extremely religious and austere life, befitting a widow in Indian Bengali Hindu society.

This Hindu widow was extremely courageous and is popular for her clashes with the British. By blocking the shipping trade on a part of Ganges she compelled the British to abolish the tax imposed on fishing in the river, which threatened the livelihood of poor fishermen. When Puja processions were stopped by the British on the charge that they disturbed the peace, she defied the orders. The British had to withdraw the penalty imposed on her in the face of public opposition and rioting in her support.

She was responsible for the revival of Hindu religion when it was on wane in Bengal. Thus she disproved the western myth that widows are a marginalized and oppressed lot in Hindu society.

The Dakshineswar Temple was built by Rani Rashmoni in 1855.

Rani Rashmoni also had to her credit numerous charitable works and other contributions to society. She funded the construction of Babughat (in memory of her husband), Ahiritola Ghat and Nimtala Ghat for the daily bathers in the Ganges.

Rani Bhabani

Rani Bhabani is also famous as ‘NATORER RANI’ was married off to Raja Ramkanta, the then zamindar of Rajshahi. After his death, Bhabani became the de jure zamindar, and started being referred to as Rani, meaning queen. A woman as a zamindar was extremely rare in those days, but Rani Bhabani managed the vast Rajshahi zamindari most efficiently and effectively for over four decades. The annual rent of the estate to the crown was 7 million rupees, the real revenues being about 15 million.

However, what made Rani Bhabani a household name among the common people was her philanthropy and general generosity, combined with an austere personal life. The number of temples, guesthouses and roads she constructed across Bengal is believed to be in the hundreds. She also built numerous water tanks, alleviating the acute water problem of her subjects.

Her great contribution was in Tarapith & in Benaras.. In Varanasi there are two Durga temples. One is established by Rani Bhabani & another is by Rani Ahilyabai Holkar  of Indore. Till today the golden Durga is being worshipped in Benaras.

Leela Majumdar

She was married to Sudhir Kumar Mazumdar renowned dentist, in 1933. For two decades she devoted herself to housekeeping. Her son Ranjan and daughter Kamala were born in 1934 and 1938 respectively. Her husband died in 1984. Apart from her children, she had, at the time of her death, two grandsons, two granddaughters and three great-grandchildren.

An incomplete bibliography lists 125 books including a collection of short stories, five books under joint authorship, 9 translated books and 19 edited books can be attributed to her.

She joined the women’s section of Asutosh College in Calcutta but again did not continue for long. Thereafter, she spent most of her time as a writer. After two decades as a writer, she joined All India Radio as a producer and worked for about seven-eight years

She stood first in English (literature) both in her honours (graduation) and Master of Arts examination at the University of Calcutta.

The family she belonged to made a notable contribution towards children’s literature. Her uncle was Upendrakishore Ray Chaudhuri ,her cousin Sukumar Ray ,her nephew Satyajit Ray .

Aballa Bose, A Worthy Wife

The Great Scientist Acharya Jagadish chandra Bose has a permanent place in the world of science, especially in Botany. He began the Age of Modem Science in India and deserves honour for this.

 Jagadish chandra Bose was very busy throughout his life. He had no time to think of the problems of the household. His wife Abala Bose looked after their home all by herself; he did not have to think of the management of the house. She was herself a student of medicine when her marriage to Bose was settled. Bose’s parents were very kind and generous; they had helped many people with money. So, at the time of Bose’s marriage the family was in heavy debts. Jagadishchandra Bose had to repay the debts. So Abala Bose was very, very careful in spending money, and saved as much as possible. Unfortunately the Bose couple had only one child, which did not live long. They looked after the students as-their children. Abala Bose started girls’ school in Calcutta and took upon herself the responsibility of maintaining it. She went with her husband when he went to foreign countries, and even helped in his scientific work.