Kaalratri: Freedom Fighter, Pritilata Waddedar

On day 7 of Navratri, we celebrate Devi Kalratri. Devi Kaalratri is dark in complexion with blood-red tinge hues her mouth and eyes. Pritilata like the destructive form of Devi had come into the scene of India’s freedom movement like a flash of lightning with blazing guns.

By Sreejit Datta, Assistant Professor, Director of Civilisational Studies Practice & Resident Mentor at Rashtram.

The Mother Goddess manifests in the fiercest form among the goddess’ Navadurga incarnations on the seventh day of Navaratri as – Kaalratri. The Devi Kaalratri is dark in complexion. Blood-red tinge hues her mouth and eyes, and the physical remains of mortals hang in garlands around her neck. The deity is none but the death-dealing vanquisher who is purported to serve periodic dissolutions at the end of each cycle of time.

In the course of India’s modern history, one woman who had been instrumental in serving death-blows, bringing about the end of the era of British Raj in India was Pritilata Waddedar. Like the Devi manifesting on earth in her destructive form, Pritilata had come into the scene of India’s freedom movement like a flash of lightning with blazing guns (quite literally so) and the mettle of a tigress. A level-headed yet fiercely passionate revolutionary joining Bengal’s youth brigade under the freedom-warrior Surya Sen, bend upon ending the oppressive colonial era in India, Pritilata was fast raised to the ranks of a leader. Under her leadership, the Pahartali European Club was seized with full force, revealing the will of India against the British colonizing power.

At the end of an uneven skirmish breaking out at the Club between the meagerly numbered force of Pritilata against the armed guards of the establishment, Pritilata embraced death after sustaining a bullet wound, by consuming potassium cyanide. Her essence, like the Devi Kaalratri, is of annihilation. 

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