Abhinav Khare deep dives into how a poor woman - Matangini Hazra changed the pages of history. Though she is rarely celebrated; she is a name which will forever be etched in the documents of our Freedom Struggle.

She was born on October 19, 1870, in a small village called Hogla in Tamluk in Midnapore District of West Bengal. 

Her poverty forced her to be a child bride to a very rich widower in his sixties named Trilochon Hazra who already had a young son. She was a widow at the age of 18 and returned to her maternal village where she dedicated her life to the service of people around her.

She was an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi and joined the Freedom Movement in 1905. Matangini actively took part in salt satyagraha and civil disobedience movement. She was arrested for manufacturing salt in Alinan, the village of her in laws. She was later arrested again for protesting against the chowkidari tax and was put in the Baharampur Jail for 6 months.

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In 1933, Matangini Hazra was grievously injured by a baton charge that was unleashed. However, later when the governor of Bengal visited Tamluk, she managed to escape from the guard and reach the dias where she displayed a black flag to them. She was again sentenced to six months in prison for her bravery.

On 29th September 1942, Matangini led six thousand people- mostly women - in blocking the Tamluk Police Station. Section 144 was imposed and they were asked to disperse. Matangini took a step forward to request the police not to shoot at the crowd but the police shot her. 

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Despite the bullet, Matangini kept moving forward with the tricolour held high and she also asked others to do the same. Bullets kept coming at her but she continued chanting Vande Mataram. She fell flat on the ground and passed away due to her injuries but even then she held onto the tricolour and did not let it fall! Such was her undeterred dedication for her Motherland!

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This Independence Day, let us remember the sacrifice of this lady from Bengal, lovingly called Gandhi Buri (Old Gandhi Lady), who India fly high even when she was lying lifeless!