(1898 – 1987) – (West Bengal)
Nalinaksha Sanyal (Aged 89) was born on November 1898, Baharampur, West Bengal,India. He was an Indian politician, economist, and freedom fighter. He completed his education at Krishnath College, Baharampur, and Presidency College, Kolkata, and later became an economics professor at Krishnath College. He also earned a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a PhD in economics from London University, where he conducted research under Harold Laski.
While in London, Sanyal served on several committees for the London branch of the Indian National Congress, which was a banned organization. He was arrested twice for his participation. After returning to India, Sanyal’s appointment as a professor at Calcutta University was disallowed by the government due to his activism. Nevertheless, Sanyal continued to protest actively against British colonial rule and was imprisoned seven times.
Sanyal was elected to the Bengal Assembly and served as Chief Whip of the Indian National Congress of undivided Bengal before the province was partitioned. He was also a vocal critic of the colonial government’s policies during the Bengal Famine in 1943. In 1946, Sanyal was at the forefront of efforts to prevent the Partition of India. Although his suggestion of a loose federation was widely circulated and debated, it was ultimately not adopted.
Sanyal was a modern personality and a free thinker in his time. Despite being a Brahmin, he was strongly against dowry, casteism, and religious formalities. He even invited his Muslim friend Kazi Nazrul Islam to his marriage ceremony, defying social policing and restrictions. Sanyal passed away on October 29, 1987.