– Kaushik Mukherjee
Nanibala Devi was freedom fighter Amarendranath Chatterjee’s aunt and they lived in the same house in Uttarpara. Nanibala Devi was Bengal’s first State prisoner. She was a patriot, revolutionary, CI & a trained spy of sorts. Revolutionary Ramchandra Majumdar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._C._Majumdar) was arrested by the British looking for information on Amarendranath Chatterjee, Sri Aurobindo & Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and was placed in solitary confinement at Alipore jail. R.C. Majumdar was the custodian of the entire garrison of Mausar pistols that Netaji would require to deploy and Amarendranath Chatterjee needed to know where they were hidden. Someone had to penetrate the prison’s security. Nanibala Devi volunteered. Nanibala Devi was sent to the prison guised as R.C Majumdar’s wife. The police suspected her involvement and released a lookout notice. Nanibala Devi fled to Varanasi (Kashi) where she was arrested. Nanibala Devi underwent unimaginable torture under the direction of Superintendent of CID Jiten Banerjee. Everyday two CID officers would take Nanibala Devi to small interrogation room and strip her of her clothes and rub red hot chilli peppers in her private parts stripping her of her dignity and trying to break her. She didn’t break! She was eventually transferred from Varanasi to Presidency Jail in Kolkata. Everyday she would be taken at 9 am in the morning to the British officer Goldie’s office for torture and released at 5 pm. One day after immense torture Nanibala Devi agreed to give a written confession on the whereabouts of the freedom fighters. When Goldie handed over the piece of paper, all excited seeing himself a hero in the eyes of the Viceroy, all he got was a one liner “I want to go to Bagbazar to meet Maa Sharada”. Goldie was livid and he simply tore the paper and threw it at Nanibala Devi. This made Nani Bala Devi so angry that she stood up and slapped officer Goldie in full sight of his staff. That’s a woman of mettle. Nani Bala Devi was finally released in 1919 after which she became yogi and disappeared from the face of the earth.
Note: To know more about other revolutionaries and freedom fighters from Bengal click on this link: