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Com. Ila Bhattacharjee

Illa BhattComrade Ila Bhattacharjee, a veteran communist leader and a stalwart of the women emancipation movement in Tripura .

 

Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee was born on 25th September, 1921 at Dibrugarh, Assam in a respected family. Her father late Jatindra Mohan Bandopadhyay was an Engineer in PWD, and her mother was late Saraju Bala Bandopadhyay. Her ancestral house was at Madharipur village under Faridpur District of erstwhile East Pakistan.

 

          Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee started her education in Tezpur(Assam) and thereafter went to Calcutta. She lived in a rented house at Balliganj. In 1937, she passed metric examination and a few years after marriage she completed graduation from Ashutosh College, Calcutta.  While studying in Calcutta, she got married to Narendranath Bhattacharjee, a professor of that college. she was a regular reader of ‘Swadhinata’ which inspired her to join communist movement.

 

          Following transfer of her husband to MBB College, Agartala, she came to Tripura and she settled here permanently. She worked as a mistress in a private school in Agartala town. After coming to Tripura, she found that the leaders and workers of the communist party were arrested illegally on the eve of general election in 1952, and large number of party workers were compelled to go underground, Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee joined the election work with some party leaders. Her sincerity and responsibility in the party work drew the notice of the party leaders. After the election in 1952, Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee was first elected in the LOC (local Organising Committee) and after the party conference she was included in the LC (Local Committee). From that time Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee had joined the communist party activity and she gave stress for imparting education of Marxism and Leninism to the party workers. She was Secretary, State unit of the Ganatantrik Nari Samity for long time and was instrumental in building it as a powerful organisation, both among the tribal and nontribal women. She worked for tribal nontribal democratic unity. 

 

          In 1953, Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee was elected state Committee member of CPI in the second State Conference at Durga Chowdhury Para. After division of the party in 1964, she sided with CPI(M) and became the state committee member since inception, and she continued to hold the position till 17th State Conference which relieved her from the State Committee on health ground in 2002. 

 

          In 1980, Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee was elected to Rajya Sabha as CPI(M) candidate. In 1978, she was nominated as Chairperson of the Tripura State Social welfare Board. Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee went to Bulgaria and China in 1980 and 1987 respectively.

 

          Even during the period of Emergency in the country, Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee bravely arranged shelter to the party comrades hiding to escape arrest and continued her Organisational and party works simultaneously. 

 

          After coming of the Left Front in power in 1978, the part played by Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee was worth mentioning for implementation of the various programmes for the welfare of women and creating movement programme on various popular issues. In 1980, Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee tried her best to stand by the side of the helpless mothers and sisters who had lost everything due to communal disturbances created by the TNV extremists. She arranged milk for the babies who had taken shelter in the camps and distributed collected clothes amongst the women in the camp.     

 

          In 1988, Congress-TUJS alliance captured the state power playing a mockery of democracy in a rigged election. During the period of Congress-TUJS coalition Government common people known to be CPI(M) workers and supporters were subjected to inhuman torture and  especially the women had no security at all. In the hands of the anti-social forces of the Congress-TUJS Government large number of people were killed, tortured and many women were raped. Ujan Maidan got a national fame for notoriety of a section of AR jwans who committed mass–rape on more than a dozen of innocent tribal women. Corruption and nepotism took the shape of institutional rules of administration. The Ganatantrik Nari Samity under able leadership of Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee was in forefront of movement against all such misdeeds of the then Congress-TUJS Government.

 

          The life and works of Comrade Ila Bhattacharjee  will ever remain a source of inspiration in the struggle of toiling masses particularly the movement for women’s right and emancipation.

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