Binod Bihari Chowdhury, a leader of the anti-British movement and a close associate of the celebrated revolutionary Mastarda Surya Sen, died on Wednesday night.
He was 103.
He died at 9:40pm local time at the Fortis Hospital in Kolkata while undergoing treatment there, his grandson Soumo Shuvro Chowdhury told bdnews24.com at around 10:15pm Bangladesh time by telephone.
Binod Bihari is survived by two sons.
He was born on Jan 10, 1911, at Boalkhali’s Uttarvurshi village in Chittagong. His 100th birthday was celebrated in a grand manner two years ago.
In an interview with bdnews24.com at that time, the one of firebrand leaders of the undivided India’s independence movement had said, “We have fallen back from where we were before. The country is filled with communalism, fundamentalism and militancy,” a statement which is relevant in the current context.
Binod Bihari lost his wife of 70 years, Biva Das, on Dec 29, 2009,. She had always supported him through the movements and at times when he was in prison.
He was the fifth child of his parents, lawyer Kamini Kumar Chowdhury and Roma Rani Chowdhury.
He passed the matriculation examinations from Saroatoli High School in 1929.
Two years earlier, he had joined the revolutionary organisation ‘Jugantor’ after coming in contact with Ramkrishna Biswas in school.
He passed the entrance examinations, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Bachelor of Law in 1934, 1936 and 1939 respectively while in jail.
Mastarda Surya Sen and his group of revolutionaries had traumatised the British through raiding the armoury of police and auxiliary forces on Apr 18, 1930, in Chittagong, now the Damparha Police Lines.
Sen was eventually arrested on Feb 16, 1933 and hanged on Jan 12, 1934 following trial. His death subdued the anti-British movement briefly, but it eventually played a major role in the Indian independence movement.
Binod Bihari played the role of a leading vanguard in the movements to liberate Bengal and in realisation of the rights on the post-independence Bangladesh.
He got involved with the Indian National Congress in 1939 and became the Assistant General Secretary of its Chittagong district committee. He was a member of the Bengal Provincial Congress’ Executive Committee from 1940 to 1946. In 1946, Binod Bihari was elected the General Secretary of the Chittagong branch.
After the Partition of India in 1947, he was elected a member of the then East Pakistan Provincial Assembly and carried out his duties until 1954.
He spent at least seven years in jail in different terms during the British and Pakistan periods.
Many of the Hindus had left the country after the Partition and the 1971 Liberation War due to different reasons including communal riots, but nothing could make Binod Bihari to leave the country he had fought for.
He survived many adverse situations only because of his passionate love for his country and promise to the country he had made a long time ago.
Even after his other family members including his sons settled in Kolkata in 1968, he could not leave the country. He and his wife stayed back in his Momin Road residence in the port city.
The evergreen revolutionary did not join politics after Bangladesh became independent in 1971. But he always played a leading role in all cultural, social and rights-based movements.
Binod Bihari received the Independence Award, the highest civilian award in Bangladesh, in 2000. He also received numerous awards and was honoured many times for his contribution to the country.
He had also received the Bhorer Kagoj Sammanona-1998, Janakantha Gunijan Sammanona-1999, Shaheed Notun Chandra Smrity Padak, to name a few.