Tebagha Andolon Leader
The peasants' leader, who had played a significant role to free the ever neglected peasant community from the clutch of the then British rulers, is quite unknown in Jhenidah.
Neither her birthday nor her death anniversary is observed in the district to pay homage.
Ila Sen was born in 1925 in West Bengal of India. She was cared for and spent her entire childhood at her maternal uncle's house at Bagutia. Though she was very fond of the rural children's games, she was more habituated in playing football with same aged local boys. This had brought her recognition around the whole village at a very tiny age.
Azahar Biswas, a local resident and playmate of the then young Ila, reminiscing old times told Star Insight, “Ila was a good footballer. I used to play with her in our village frequently, where there existed a communal harmony among the then Hindus and Muslims of the community. Ila's uncles were very stable financially, and very wealthy. They were very open minded and kind people as well as they had arranged for a playing ground for us in front of their house.”
Although her forefathers were all residents of Sailkupa, she had left her native land for education to Kolkata with her father Nagendranath, who was a service holder in the city. She was involved in student politics in her student life. She was also an athlete in India and she was an good basket ball player.
Later Ila got married to Ramendra Nath Mitra of Ramchandrapur under Chapainawabganj and changed her maiden name to Ila Mitra. After her marriage she came to Bangladesh and started teaching at a girls' school which was established by her husband and his friend Altaf Hossain of the village.
From 1946 to 1950, Ila was the ring leader of the movement that raised uproar about legal claims on farmed crops, and the movement came to be known as the “Tebhaga Andolon”.
Bangladesh was under the British Rule during the Second World War in 1945. Ila, being the lion hearted person she was, could not bear to see people of her land being tortured by the British rulers at the time. It was the innocent peasants of the time that were on the receiving end of inhumane torture from the British rule. She had started a resistance to stop such acts of torture along with the locals in Nachol in the Northern territories. Soon people of the Santal (Shaotal) community, hardworking-brave and honest people, joined forces with her resistance to fight against the British rulers of Nachol. They were fighting to press home a three point demand, including legal claims on the farmed crops, and the movement thusly came to be known as the “Tebhaga Andolon”. Ila was the ring leader of the whole movement from 1946 to 1950.
Rani Ila Mitra passed away on October 13, 2002 at Chapainawabganj. The locals are unfamiliar about her deeds, except a few who were close to her and are from her time. It's quite surprising that some people of the area have not ever heard of her. Udichi Shilpi Goshthi organizers Alamgir Aranya and Sher Ali Mantu arranged a programme to show respect to Ila Mitra on October 13, 2010 on her 8th death anniversary at Sailkupa town, for the first time.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009