Death of Freedom Fighter Chittaranjan Das: This Day in History – Jun 16

Chittaranjan Das, also known as C.R. Das, freedom fighter and eminent lawyer passed away on 16 June 1925 in Darjeeling. This article will give details about his life and legacy within the context of the Indian History Segment of the IAS Exam.

Biography of Chittaranjan Das

  • Chittaranjan Das was born on 5 November 1870 at Telirbagh in the Bengal Presidency, currently in Bangladesh.
  • He was the son of Bhuban Mohan Das, a lawyer, and his wife Nistarini Debi. His family members were actively involved in Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s Brahmo Samaj. Das’s uncle, Durga Mohan Das was a prominent Brahmo social reformer and worked in the fields of widow remarriage and women’s liberation.
  • In 1890, Das completed his graduation from Calcutta’s Presidency College and then went to England to pursue higher studies and take the Indian Civil Services exam. He, however, did not clear the ICS.
  • He finished his law studies from England and returned to India in 1893.
  • He practised law for many years at the Calcutta High Court.
  • In the 1908 Alipore Bomb Case, Das defended Aurobindo Ghosh and gained fame among Indians.
  • He also contributed to the English weekly ‘Bande Mataram’ along with Aurobindo and Bipin Chandra Pal (More on Pal at This Day in History dated November 7th).
  • He actively advocated the use of the Bengali language in university examinations.
  • He championed the cause of Khadi and cottage industries and gave up his own western clothes and luxurious lifestyle.
  • He became involved with the Non-Cooperation Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi.Chittaranjan Das
  • He became an important member of the Indian National Congress and was known for his public speaking skills and insight.
  • In 1921, he was arrested along with his son and wife for taking part in the movement. He spent 6 months in prison.
  • When Gandhi withdrew the non-cooperation movement in 1922 owing to the incident at Chauri Chaura, Das and others objected since the movement was going on in full swing. He, along with Motilal Nehru, established the Swaraj Party in January 1923.
  • He was a prolific writer and poet. He published his collection of poems in two volumes titled ‘Malancha’ and ‘Mala’.
  • Das’s health started getting worse in 1925 and he went on to stay in Darjeeling to improve his health.
  • Gandhi was a great admirer of Das and called him a great soul. Das was also revered by Subhas Chandra Bose. The people gave him the honorific title ‘Deshbandhu’.
  • Das died of a severe fever on 16 June 1925 in Darjeeling. His mortal remains were brought to Calcutta for the funeral. Hundreds of people turned up for his funeral. The funeral procession was led by Gandhi.

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Legacy of Chittaranjan Das

  • Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute of Kolkata had its humble beginnings in the year 1950 when the Chittaranjan Cancer Hospital was founded in the premises of the Chittaranjan Seva Sadan. A few years before his death, Das gifted this property including his house and the adjoining lands to the nation to be used for the betterment of the lives of women.
  • ‘Step Aside’, the last abode of Das in Darjeeling is now a Mother-and-Child Care Centre run by the Government.
  • A commemorative tower was erected at the Keoratala crematorium where Chittaranjan Das was cremated. Every year his death anniversary is regularly observed here.

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