Kamini Roy – A Bengali Poet, Social Worker and Feminist in British India

Kamini roy

The land of India is full of talented artists, writer, actors, poets and activists. A tribute to all the legendary personalities. However, India is a land where many women have worked incredibly and changed the world and thinking. We have previously observed that many organizations and activists were and are fighting for women rights and development. They are fighting for equal rights and empowerment of women. 

It is all about women, women empowerment and feminism. When there is a topic of feminism and women rights, a name cannot be deleted or escaped. You read it right. The light-bringer of Indian Feminism Ms Kamini Roy was an exceptional ironic lady. She has her glorious name in Indian feminist history. Kamini Roy was a prominent Bengali poetess, educationist and female activist during the pre-independent period. 

About Kamini Roy:

Kamini Roy was born to a famous writer and judge Shri Chandi Charan Sen, who was also a leading member of the famous Brahmo Samaj had given birth to a sweet baby girl on 12th October 1864, and he named her Kamini. Luckily, she was one of the first girls that attended school during the pre-independent days of India. She was an avid reader, and she had learnt a plethora of things related to literature, culture and India. She read a lot of books from her father’s library and did expand her knowledge in those days. Kamini Roy was of thinking that education, books and learning are the few vital aspects for a successful life. She is considered a child prodigy who was interested in maths and literature. Finally, she got interested in writing and words too. 

Despite coming from a well-educated family, graduating from college wasn’t an easy task. Despite multiple hassles and obstacles, she managed to graduate from the famous Bethune College, Calcutta University in the year 1886. She had been a graduate in Bachelor of Arts in Sanskrit Honours. 

Feminism and Writing – Two sides of the same coin for Kamini Roy:

As it is mentioned already, Kamini Roy is keenly interested in literature and writing beautiful poems, and this turned out to be an excellent weapon “Alo Chhaya” was her first official published work in the year 1889. She was so keen on writing, and Kamini always presented her thoughts beautifully through her writings. Abala Bose inspired her to write about feminism, women’s rights and respect and freedom of women in our society. Since then, Kamini Roy dedicated her life to women’s rights and freedom. 

She also strongly supported the “Ilbert Bill” or “The White Mutiny” written by Sir Courtenay Peregrine Ilbert, and English women opposed this. It was amended in the year 1884 by Lord Ripon. Kamini Roy supported this bill along with Indian citizens and social workers. Additionally, she also successfully created awareness through her write-ups, stories and beautiful poems. In the year 1921, she joined the “Nari Samaj” accompanying Mrinalini Sen and Kumudini Mitra. She highlighted women suffrage topic, and also, she was a member of the Female Labour Investigation Committee. 

Personal and Professional Life: 

After completion of her graduate studies, Kamini Roy started teaching in the same college. Also, she had published multiple books. She had to stop teaching as she got married in the year 1894 and she was married to Kedarnath Roy when she was 30 years old. There had been a lot of controversies in her career and writing profession. The couple gave birth to two children, and therefore, Kamini gave up her writing profession too. However, she resumed writing again after the death of her husband in the year 1909. 

Kamini Roy was deeply influenced by the great poet Rabindranath Tagore and Sanskrit literature. She had published a lot of books and poems since 1889. Kamini Roy also other young writer and poets to write well and truth. In the year 1923, she had visited Barisal and met Sufia Kamal, Bangladeshi writer and encouraged her too. 

Some of her notable contributions include:

  • Mahasweta
  • Alo Chhaya
  • Pundorik
  • Jibon Pathey
  • Nirmalya
  • Malya O Nirmalya 
  • Dwip O Dhup
  • Gunjan (Written for children)
  • Balika Sikkhar Adarsha (Consisted of songs and essays)

Kamini Roy was honoured by the Calcutta University (now Kolkata University) with invaluable and priceless Jagattarini Gold Medal. Since then, she became the honourable President of Bangla Literature Summit in the year 1930 and also, she held the position of Vice-President of Bangiya Sahitya Parishad in the years 1932 and 1933. In the year 1933, Kamini Roy died. She will always be remembered for her eternal quote that stated: “Why should a woman be confined to the home and denied her rightful place in society?”


Image Source: “Youtube.com – The Times of India”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Exit mobile version