Kumudini and the Tanka Movement
Kumudini, the 85 year old veteran, is looked upon as the pride in women from her area and the Hajang tribe to which she belongs too for being one of many to have shown courage in retaliating the British rule through the Tanka Movement.
The Tanka Movement was run under the leadership of Comrade Moni Singh during the British regime. It had started from the Susang Pargana area that included Durgapur and Kalmakanda Upazilas of Netrokona, Haluaghat and Dhubaura Upazilas of Mymensingh, and the Jhenaighati Upazila of Sherpur. The movement was basically targeted against the zaminders (landlords) who - more of slave-drivers - used to torture people working for them on the fields and used to snatch away all revenues earned from cultivating paddy on the lands.
Kumudini Hajang, along with many other young tribal men and women at the time had joined the Tanka Movement through being members of the Krishak Samity (Farmers' Association), to try and oust the tyranny of the zaminders. Kumudini was a newly married woman in 1946, and used to reside on top of a hill at Baheratoli village in Durgapur upazila of Netrokona district with her husband Longkeswar Hajang. The Krishak Samity used to hold very many meetings at the time, and it was at one such meeting that the British Police had raided the gathering. Failing to have arrested anyone at the time, they had reverted to arresting people at random, and so had nabbed Kumudini from her residence on their way back to the station. Learning of the development, some of the samity leaders rushed to her rescue, and violent clashes between the police and the tribal members had taken place that night. Kumudini was liberated, but not without casualties. Two of the tribal leaders, Rashimoni Hajang and Surendra Hajang were killed in the clashes along with two other policemen. Cases against the tribal members and leaders were lodged at the station for murder of the two policemen. Many of them, including the tribal leaders, had to go into hiding, while many more had to flee the country and migrate to India to escape the torture. But Kumudini was amongst the few who stayed back to fight for the cause they had taken up.
Kumudini still resides on the very same hilltop, which is now owned by the government. She is supported by her day laboring sons, and she spends her days with her grandchildren. She is now about 85 years old, and is seen spending her days stricken with poverty.
She was taken to Mymensingh to attend a programme held at the Udichi Mymensingh Sangsad auditorium by the Birkannya Pritilata Waddeder Janma-shata Barsha Utjapon Parishad. The function was held on July 22 this year to mark the birth centenary of Birkannya Pritilata Waddeder, a woman who had sacrificed her life to free the country from the clutches of the British rulers. Kumudini's role was acknowledged and praised by Prof. Zatin Sarker, eminent personality in cultural movement Kamal Lohani and Parishad secretary Prof Nazrul Hayet, among many other speakers.
Prof. Sumita Naha, president of "Birkannya Pritilata Waddeder Janma-shata Barsha Utjapon Parishad" said that they were proud of Kumudini who glorified the women in British regime joining anti-British movement, and were honored by her presence in the inauguration of the ceremony.
(R) thedailystar.net 2011