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Basu, Manorama


Basu, Manorama (1897-1986) revolutionary and feminist. At the age of 14 she was married to Chintaharan Basu, zamindar of the village of Bakai in Barisal. While living in Barisal, Manorama Basu began taking an active part in the freedom movement and set up a branch of Sarojnalini Mahila Samiti for safeguarding women's rights. This was the first women's organisation in Bangladesh. In 1930 she became a Congress worker. She joined the non-cooperation movement and was imprisoned for her political activities in 1932.

In the early 1940s, she joined the Communist Party. She was a leader of the Barisal branch of the Women's Self-Defense Society. In 1948, in the newly created state of pakistan, she led a movement for supplying food in Barisal and had to suffer imprisonment for a year. She had to suffer imprisonment for another three years under the Public Safety Act until she was released on 25 April 1952.

In 1954 the political instability in East Pakistan forced her to go into underground. When Manorama was able to move around restrictively, she devoted herself to the work of the Matrimandir Asram that she built earlier. She bequeathed all her property to the Matrmandir to help run its activities after her death. She also established a model primary school, Pallikalyan Amrta Pathagar, and a playhouse for children.

Manorama Basu played a prominent role in the popular movements of 1962 and 1964 as well as in the uprising of 1969. She also played a pioneering role in the liberation struggle of Bangladesh. Dedicated to the cause of socialism, she spoke boldly against social and political anomalies. satyen sen is her biographer. [Sambaru Chandra Mohanta]