A new Bina Das was born. It certainly has a history. After her marriage to Jyotish Bhowmik, a veteran Freedom Fighter, she remained more or less aloof from the politics of power, profit and pelf in the name of patriotism and public welfare. The proverbial straw to break the camel's back came when the Congress sided with the management in the Amrit Bazar Patrika in their clash with the workers. Bina was on the side of the latter, more so because the much publicized policy of the Congress was the amelioration of the abject conditions of the woking class. And she was an important member of the organisation and a Congress MLA. There was another betrayal by the Congress. When the East Bengal Refugees entered India after the Partition, they were sent to far off Dandakaranya in M.P. Whenever they had attempted to come back to a congenial atmosphere in Kolkata, ruled by the Congress, they faced bullets and bayonets. Betrayal of promises could go no farther. Bina and her husband refused to accept any help from the Govt. such as the Freedom Fighters' pension. She and her husband were determined to face the realities of life. Bina served as a teacher in some Corporation school. But after her husband's death she decided to leave Kolkata for good. She had even to face trouble in getting her dues released by the Corporation for the teaching job she had done. Isn't enough to compel Binadi to revaluate her life and the political condition around her. She had lost all hopes to set things right, particularly in her own life. After the death of her husband, she naturally thought of changing its course, as many do out of sheer frustration. She was one of them.
At one time I had the occasion of meeting her frequently in her flat. We discussed many things, almost at random. I came to feel that she had a weakness for M.N.Roy and his rational thinking, which went to the extent of abjuring politics as of today and accepting the idea of an entirely new concept of radical humanism where man will be the measure of all thing. He established a Renaissance Institute at Dehradun. It was the outcome of the years he had spent in Dehradun jail. But Binadi did not have the stature and stamina to do it by herself. Moreover, she did not have the assistance of comrades that M.N.Roy had. I have a feeling that I had a hand at least in her abjuring active politics as understood and as Roy did.
Now, to deviate a little , and cover a more important aspect of Benaras life. According to Hindu mythology, the supreme spiritual triumvirate that rules the universe is constituted of Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Maheshwara (Shiva, the Destroyer). The sanctum sanctorum of Maheshwara is the 'Kasi Vishwanath' Shiva temple at Benaras, very close to Dashashwamed Ghat, situated on the bank of river Ganges and at a short distance from the temple. Actually, the lane leading to it is packed to suffocation on the Shivratri Day. And a group of Pandas take complete control of the situation.
After ablution in the holy water of the Ganges the ladies in particular rush towards the temple for their final salvation, as they think. The lane is so crowded that it is impossible to move even an inch. People rush forward still. The Pandas exploit the situation and openly molest the women whose body contour is visible and temptingly alluring under the wet clothes they are wearing. We, half a dozen young students of the University, decided to put an end to the obnoxious situation. With the blessings of our venerable Vice-Chancellor, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, and a nod of assent from my Tennis Court friend, the English IPS, Tom, we took up a few hockey sticks one each in our own hands. We mixed up with the crowd. Our plan was to beat any Panda within our reach whenever he would be found touching the body of any woman. We did exactly as planned and got out of the lane in a few seconds before the Pandas with bulging bellies and big lathis could pick them up. The lane had a way out at the Chandni Chowk end.
All was done as planned, and we emerged as the 'heroes of the city' in no time. The whole dramatic episode became the talk of the town. Incidentally, Tarapada Dev, the CID Inspector, who was my 'guardian' (guarding my activities as a revolutionary, externed from his Province) one-day showed me another despicable aspect of the life of the Pandas, the 'guardians' of Lord Shiva. They had large underground rooms, which they used, as Harems for the unfortunate women they could have their hands on. It was a hellhole for the latter. Unthinkable in the context of civilized life, Binadi was shaken to the depth. Her next choice was Haridwar where many go to settle down in their later life. I have also been there many times. Not when I was very old. Reaction on my mind was naturally different. Ganges descended on the plain at that place. The water was the same but did not appear to all as at Benaras where it flows in a peaceful manner. At Hardwar one finds the holy river in a turbulent form. It came from the unknown Himalayan origin at Gangotri. The unknown element itself has an added attraction to many. I have personally been always attracted but not to the unknown. Bina Das proved to be very different. She somehow got more attracted by the unknown and wended her way towards it, actually Rishikesh and beyond, and finally to oblivion. She ended her life by the roadside. The dead body was in a partially decomposed state. It was found by the passing crowd. The police was informed and it took them a month to determine her identity.
Tt was in independent India for which the once acclaimed Agni Kanya had staked her everything. Now lay her dead body there unknown, unwept and unsung. The nation should remember this somewhat poignant story even though late and salute her, the great lady.