Matangini Hazra was a freedom fighter to succumbed to British bullets during the Indian struggle for freedom. On October 19, 1870, Matangini Maity was born in penury in Hogla village located under Tamluk police station in Midnapore district, West Bengal. Due to her family’s abject poverty, she could not even get primary education. As a result, she remained unlettered and unschooled all her life.
To secure her future her father got her married off while still a child to Trilochan Hazra, a prosperous 62-year-old widower with a son. Subsequently, she became a widow at the age of 18, returning to live with her father but later moving to a hut near her husband’s former home. She lived a pious life, often helping others in distress.
After her husband’s death, she entirely devoted her life to social service. In 1905 when Nationalist Movement was at its peak she was so inspired by Gandhi’s ideology that she became a true Gandhi follower and rigorously followed his ideology and because of this, she was later known as Gandhi Buri.
The declaration of Purna Swaraj resolution was followed by the announcement of the Civil Disobedience Movement. Protesting the taxation on salt production, Gandhi led his followers on a 26-day march which lasted from 12 March 1930 to 6 April 1930. 26 January 1932 was the turning point of Hazra’s life.
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 29 September 1942, she led a procession of around 6000 supporters, mostly women to capture Tamluk police station. When they reached the outskirts the procession was ordered to disband under section 144 of the Indian Penal Code by the Crown police. But despite this Hazra continued to move forward police open fire on her.
Matangini Hazra was shot once but continued to move forward and was appealing to the police to not shoot the crowd. She was repeatedly shot, she kept chanting Vande Mataram. She died with the flag of the Indian National Congress held high and still flying.