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Sarala Devi Ghosal (Chaudhurani)

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(09.1873, Calcutta – 18.08.1945), a granddaughter of Devendranath Tagore, daughter of Janaki Nath Ghosal of Calcutta, one of the earliest secretaries of the Bengal Congress. Her mother Swarnakumari Devi was the first successful woman novelist of Bengali literature. Swarnakumari Devi was the daughter of ’Maharshi’ Debendranath Tagore, a leading Brahmo leader and elder sister of legendary poet Rabindranath Tagore.

In 1886, she passed her University Entrance examination. In 1890, she passed her B.A. examination in English literature from Calcutta University and received the Padmavati Gold Medal.

About the year 1897 she took the lead in organising a physical training movement in Bengal similar to the one she had seen in Maharashtra. She set up a gymnasium and appointed a famous gymnast of Goa to train the members in sword and lathi play. However, to Sarala Devi, the purpose of martial arts training was to develop physical strength and manly attitudes. To Jatin, Barin, and Sri Aurobindo, it was a step toward establishing militias for guerrilla warfare. Sarala Devi broke with the society over this issue.

In imitation of the Shivaji festival, Sarala Devi introduced a festival in honour of the memory of Pratapaditya. Her object was to rouse the national spirit and revive the national strength of Bengal. In 1905 she married a Punjabi lawyer, and thus secured ample scope for her work in Punjab.

In 1905, she was married to Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Chaudhary (1866–1923), a journalist, and member of Arya Samaj and Congress. Their son Dipak Dutt married Radha, grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi.


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