Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay

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Category: Social Work

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Profile

  • Name:
  • Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
  • Born:
  • April 3, 1903
  • Died:
  • October 29, 1988
  • Father:
  • Ananthaya Dhareshwar
  • Mother:
  • Girijabai

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Biography

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter. She has done significant contributions for the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, handlooms, and theatre in independent India. She has also strived hard for the uplift of the socio-economic standard of Indian women. She has contributed a lot for the institutions like National School of Drama, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, and the Crafts Council of India. She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in the year 1974.


She was born on 3 April 1903 as the daughter of District Collector of Mangalore, Ananthaya Dhareshwar. Her mother Girijabai belonged to an aristocratic family from Karnataka. Her grandmother was a scholar. Her mother was also well educated. In the midst of educationalists, she was respected for her thoughts and voice. She took part in swadeshi nationalist movement at a younger age. She married in 1917, when aged 14. But she became a widow two years later. When she was 20, she got remarried when widow remarriage was prohibited in the society. Their only son Ramu was born in the following year. She worked in many silent films of Karnataka too, a time when cinema and drama were considered taboo to upper class families. She acted in the first silent film of Karnataka, 'Mricchakatika’ followed by Hindi film, Tansen in the year 1943. Her marriage with Harin too didn’t last too long and the couple parted in good ways. When she herself filed for a divorce, it was something like, ‘against tradition’.


She received a diploma in Sociology soon after her second marriage when she departed to London along with her husband. She returned to India and joined Non-Cooperation Movement in 1923. She was the first woman to run for a Legislative seat in India, though she lost it. She founded the All-India Women's Conference in 1927and became its first Organizing Secretary. She was a part of the seven member lead team of famous Salt Satyagraha of 1930. She became the first Indian woman to get arrested too, for selling salt. After Indian independence and partition, she actively took part in rehabilitation. Her set up organizations include -Theatre Crafts Museum in Delhi and Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography (NIKC), Bangalore.

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Updated: January 08, 2014


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