(1884 – 1973) – (West Bengal)
Nellie Sengupta (Aged 84) born as Edith Ellen Gray on January 12th, 1884 in Cambridge, United Kingdom, was an Englishwoman who fought for Indian independence after she moved to India following her marriage to Jatindra Mohan Sengupta. She participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1921 and was elected President of the Indian National Congress at its 48th annual session in Calcutta in 1933.
After moving to India, Nellie’s husband Jatindra Mohan became a successful lawyer in Calcutta and joined the Indian freedom struggle in 1921. He was Mahatma Gandhi’s right-hand man in Bengal, Mayor of Calcutta for three terms, and head of the Legislative Assembly. Nellie also participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1921 and protested forcefully when her husband was imprisoned during the Assam-Bengal Railwaymen’s strike. She spoke at mass meetings and was arrested for defying the district authorities’ ban on assembly. She also sold Khadi door to door to defy the law. In 1931, she was imprisoned for four months in Delhi for addressing an unlawful assembly. Jatindra Mohan Sengupta was imprisoned in Ranchi and passed away in 1933.
When many senior leaders of the Congress were arrested during the Salt Satyagraha, Nellie was appointed as the President of the party, becoming the third woman to hold the post. She was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 1973. She passed away on October 23rd, 1973 in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.