Do And Die: The Chittagong Uprising tells the tale of ‘Masterda’ Surya Sen and his comrades in a little known struggle for independence that began in 1930 in Bengal.
Summary Of The Book
On April 18, 1930, a group of freedom fighters lead by Surya Sen, Nirmal Chandra Sen, Lokenath Bal, Ambika Chakrabarti, Ananta Singh, Ganesh Ghosh and their comrades consisting of Naresh Roy, Ardhendu Dastidar, Sasanka Datta, Harigopal Bal, Jiban Ghoshal, Tarakeswar Dastidar, Anand Gupta, Kalpana Datta, Pritilata Waddedar, and Subodh Roy who was 14 years old at the time, and many others took over two armories of the British and flew the Indian flag under a provisional republican government. This was done in an effort to gather enough arms and ammunition and in the hope that the move would gather enough popularity among people to stage an uprising against the British. The raid was a feat indeed as the army they were up against was a modern army that had centuries of experience in war.
The series of events that followed lasted for 4 years, and was called by the British as the 1930 Chittagong Armoury Raid, a move made to discourage the gang’s activities from gaining popularity. But that was not all. Chatterjee uses many reliable sources including British records and both Indian and British official publications of the time to gather facts. She spoke to survivors of the time, read newspaper reports, and political records to get her information. The fact that she is a journalist meant that she knew what questions to ask and the myriad facts that came to light, including the fact that the naming of the revolution as a revolt was an attempt by the British to dispel all talk of the fact that the army was shaken by the raid. Do And Die: The Chittagong Uprising is based on strong facts and her story is well researched.
The armory raids saw its fair share of women shedding domestic duties and shouldering responsibilities with men, which was a rarity in those times. After the raid, the events that transpired at Jalalabad, Dhalghat, and Pahartali and what became of the leaders, is revealed. Feelings of patriotism and the revolutionaries’ passion and energy toward their cause is depicted in the book.
Manini Chatterjee’s wide resource base makes Do And Die: The Chittagong Uprising a rare book on the subject and a book of much praise. The book won the Rabindra Puraskar Award in 2000. In 2010, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, a Hindi movie based on the book, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, was released.
About Manini Chatterjee
Manini Chatterjee is a veteran political journalist and award-winning writer. She holds a diploma in journalism from Dateline School of Journalism and worked at Dateline Delhi. She eventually moved to Vancouver, Canada, to study at Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific. She returned to India to continue her career in journalism with a brief stint at Surya magazine and then moved on to The Telegraph. She has also worked at The Indian Express and India Today Online. Her work in journalism got her the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Political Journalism in 2007. She is now the Editor, National Affairs, for The Telegraph and lives in New Delhi.
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