Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shashibhushan Raychaudhury radical revolutionary

shashibhushan Raychaudhuri also known as Shashida (1863-1922) was a patriotic educationist connected with the radical revolutionary activities that had their origins in Bengal. He was the pioneer in what came to be known as the night-school movement, for building up a self-reliant society
With the Alipore Bomb Case, when associations were officially banned by repressive laws, Bagha Jatin and other leaders of the Anushilan Samiti started the Bengal Youngmen’s Zamindari Co-operative Society in the Sundarban area: “the idea was to place revolutionary young men in the rural agricultural sector (…), organising small-scale cottage industries andswadeshi stores…,” remembers Arun Chandra Guha. Others went to Shashida’s village. In 1909, Shashida was to leave for Dehra Dun as a private tutor at the house of Prafullanath Tagore; on learning that Rasbehari Bose was suspected by the Police of involvement in the bomb making, Shashida arranged to send Bose to Dehra Dun for safety. He himself went to Daulatpur College as the Superintendent of its hostel. He shared his room with Manindranath Seth, the Vice-Principal and member of the secret society, and Bhupendra Kumar Datta, a brilliant student leader : all the three were to be arrested in 1917. Every morning and evening, after some physical culture, the students assembled for meditating, accompanied by select readings, and devotional and patriotic songs conducted by Shashida. Since 1911, drawn by Shashida and the promising students he had been training, Bagha Jatin visited the campus, while touring these districts regularly. Advised by the latter, the students took to intensive riding, rowing and military drills. In 1913, Shashida formed a volunteers’ corps to assist Jatin in the Damodar flood relief. Shattered by the sudden martyrdom of Bagha Jatin in 1915, in the teeth of massive arrests under the Defence of India Act, Shashida with his students concentrated on social work, while helping the stray revolutionaries to reorganise the party. He was arrested in 1917. Judging from the state of this TB patient, the Government decided to home intern him with his wife Urmila Devi, his daughters Rani and Durga, and son Ashok, first in Daulatpur, then in Khulna. Released in 1919, Shashida returned to Tegharia to improve the status of his school and to campaign against malaria. In spite of his poor health, he maintained his social activities till his death in April 1922.

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