Ila mitra

Ila Mitra (Bengali: ইলা মিত্র; 1925–2002) was a peasants movement organizer of the Indian subcontinent, especially in Bengal (now Bangladesh). She was born to an upper middleclass Bengali family in Kolkata on 18 October 1925. She became a communist during her youth. In 1945, she married Ramendra Mitra, who was an active member of the Communist Party despite his lineage from a zamindar (landowner) family of Chapai Nawabganj.

Leading role in peasant uprising

Ila Mitra was the leader of peasants and indigenous Santhals in greater Rajshahi region, currently in the district of Chapai Nawabganj, and was often referred to by them as RaniMa (Queen mother). She organized a peasant-santhal uprising in Nachole Upazila, Chapai Nawabganj on 5 January 1950, but the uprising was thwarted by the police. Mitra was arrested by the police while trying to escape, and was sent to the Rajshahi Central jail on 21 January 1950, where she was tortured and raped for not accepting her involvement in the rebellion. After a trial for treason, Ila Mitra was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Later life

Partly due to the torture, Ila Mitra fell very sick in jail. In 1954, the United Front government of Pakistan paroled her and sent her to Kolkata for treatment. To avoid persecution, she did not return to Pakistan and stayed the rest of her life in India. She continued to participate in political activities in Kolkata under the banner of the Communist Party of India and was elected member of Bidhan Shabha (Provincial Assembly) four times between 1962 and 1978. She also participated in mobilizing public opinion and support during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

Ila Mitra died in Kolkata on 13 October 2002.

Awards

  • 'Soviet Land Neheru' for literary translation work
  • 'Tamra Patra from the government of India in recognition of her activities as a leader in the struggle against British Raj.

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