Biography of Chandraprova Saikiani

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Indian Social Reformer Chandraprova Saikiani Biography
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A feminist and a rebel, she was the forerunner of the women`s liberation movement at Assam.

Chandraprova was a born rebel and a feminist. She lived to liberate the women of Assam from the prejudices of a male dominated society. It was time, when Assam was dominated by blind conservatism and women generally remained confined to their homes, while their spouses were free to enjoy life. Protest was a word unknown to women.

Chandraprova Saikiani  wanted women to be free and independent. She aimed at making Assamese women self-reliant She was the forerunner of the women`s liberation movement at Assam.

Chandraprova was a strong-willed woman, who firmly believed that every human being, male or female, has equal right to enjoy all the facilities available. She was deeply impressed by the Mahatma`s role in uplifting the weaker sections of society.

Chandraprova dedicated herself to uplift women and for the emergence of a progressive Assamese society. She encouraged the Assamese society to take to spinning and weaving in their homes. She was responsible for obtaining the entry of the low-caste people into the temple of Hayagriba Madhava at Hazo, thus opening a new chapter in Assam`s social system.

Chandraprova was born on 1901 in Assam. Her father Ratiram Majumdar, was the headman of a tiny village in Kamrup district of lower Assam. She along with her sister attended the boy`s school. They had to hear many adverse criticisms but they were unconcerned about it.
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After completing her primary education she took up to teaching. At an early age, she joined Nagaon Mission School and she had to constantly raise her voice to protest against the discriminatory attitude of the missionary teachers.

After a few years, she herself established a primary school and became the Head Mistress of M.V School at Tezpur. She participated in the movement for prohibition of opium. She was invited to deliver a speech at the annual session at Tezpur. Her speech inspired countless number of students to dedicate themselves to social reforms.

Chandraprova was married to Dandinath Kalita, a well-known novelist, however, she could not enjoy a happy life at her in-laws home and she was subjected to mental tortures. As a result she separated from her husband. With her one-year-old son she started a new life.

Despite such personal problems she actively involved herself with the freedom movement. She was against the prejudices of the society. Her mission in life was to unite the women folk against the social disorder and injustice of the society.

Chandraprova Saikiani wanted women to be free from the clutches of men. She wanted to strike on the foundations of the patriarchal society. She was against male chauvinism. She even refused to retain the surname of either her father or her husband and assumed a fresh surname “Saikiani”.

Chandraprova Saikiani  came to be known as “Saikiani Baidew”. She brought up her son as a responsible citizen.

Under Gandhiji`s guidance Chandraprova went ahead to organize a women`s front. She resigned her job as Head Mistress and wholeheartedly devoted herself to the freedom movement. She took to khadi in response to Gandhiji”s call for boycotting foreign goods. She was arrested and jailed many times.

At the Nawgaon session of Assam Sahitya Sabha, Chandraprova was the only lady invited to address the gathering. She was honored along with other noted persons. She noticed that all women participating in the meeting had to sit behind a curtain.

Chandraprova considered this a disgrace and an abuse to women. She ordered the women delegates not to take part in the meeting. At the Dhubri session of Assam Sahitya Sabha she raised the demand for a women`s organization.

Chandraprova Saikiani  established the “Mahila Samiti”, a state level women`s organization, which in due course became the foremost women`s association in Assam. She had to face the wrath of powerful men in her struggle to secure equal status for women.

Chandraprova Saikiani  passed away on 16 March 1972. Her service for the cause of women can never be forgotten. She will forever remain in the heart of all Indian women.

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