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Ramadevi Choudhury

(1899 – 1985) – (Odisha)

Ramadevi Choudhury (Aged 86) was born on 3 December 1899 in Satyabhamapur, Cuttack, Odisha, India. She was an Indian freedom fighter and social reformer, affectionately known as “Maa” (Mother) by the people of Odisha. Her parents were Gopal Ballav Das and Basant Kumari Devi, and she was the niece of Utkal Gaurab Madhusudan Das. At the age of 15, she married Gopabandhu Choudhury, who was then a Deputy Collector.

In 1921, she met Gandhiji for the first time and, along with her husband, joined the Non-Cooperation Movement. That same year, they joined the Indian National Congress and started wearing khadi. In 1930, she played an active role in the Salt Satyagraha movement at the Orissa level, going to Inchudi and Srijang with other activists like Kiranbala Sen, Maltidevi, Sarala Devi, and Pranakrushna Padhiari.

She was arrested several times (in 1921, 1930, 1936, 1942). In November 1930, she and her colleagues were arrested and placed in different jails by the British. After her release from Hazaribagh jail in 1932, she was actively involved in Harijan welfare. Under instructions from Gandhiji, she established the Asprushyata Nibarana Samiti for the eradication of untouchability.

She was closely involved in Gandhiji’s visits to Orissa in 1932 and 1934, as well as the visits of Kasturba, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru, and others. During the Quit India Movement of 1942, members of Rama Devi’s entire family, including her husband Gopabandhu Choudhury, were arrested.

After the death of Kasturba Gandhi, Gandhiji assigned her work as the representative of the Orissa chapter of the Kasturba Trust. She passed away on 22 July 1985.