Das, Ashutosh

Das, Ashutosh (1888-1941) medical doctor, social worker and revolutionary leader, was born on 17 October, 1888 in serampore in Hughli district, where his father, Shyamacharan Das, was posted as a government officer. He got scholarships at Middle English, Entrance and Intermediate examinations. Ashutosh was inspired by nationalism early in life under the influence of Satishchandra Sengupta. While at college in Kolkata he joined the anushilan samiti, carrying out daring revolutionary acts in and around Hughli. He had close associations with the famous revolutionaries like Jadugopal Mukherjee, Bepin Ganguly and Jatin Mukherjee.

In 1914 Ashutosh graduated from calcutta medical college and joined the Indian Medical Service. He served in India, Mesopotamia and Arabia. At the end of the war, he left the IMS and returned to India, and joined the Indian medical service. However, he resigned from the job in 1921 and joined actively in the non-cooperation movement. In 1922, he went to the village of Haripal in Hughli where various types of malarial fevers were razing. Working tirelessly, he succeeded in freeing the area of malaria. He also trained a group of youths to provide health service in rural areas. In 1922, during devastating floods in North Bengal, Ashutosh helped to organise relief activities. He set up Kalyan Sangha, a welfare organisation.

Ashutosh Das was very close to Gandhi and was actively involved in the nationalist struggle. He played a significant role in the Tarakeswar Satyagraha Movement in 1925. During the civil disobedience movement of 1930-1934, he was arrested several times. He was one of the leaders of Gandhi's movement (1932) to defy the salt law. For many years, he was a member of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee and of the All-India Congress Committee respectively. He set up the Congress Eye Treatment Camp with Dr Anadicharan Bhattacharya.

A bachelor all his life, Ashutosh Das was a patriot and a dedicated social worker. While moving on foot from village to village in the course of his personal satyagraha, he contracted malignant malaria, succumbing to the disease on 31 July 1941. [Sambaru Chandra Mohanta]