Pratapaditya Utsav (Bengali: প্রতাপাদিত্য উত্সব) is an annual ceremony commemorating Pratapaditya's declaration of independence and his coronation as the sovereign monarch of Jessore. The Pratapaditya Utsav was started by Sarala Devi in 1903.
Sarala Devi was close to Satish Chandra Mukherjee, the editor of Dawn. Mukherjee's nephew Manilal Ganguly used to visit her. Manilal was inclined towards literature and used to run a youth literary society in Bhowanipore. In early 1903, Manilal requested Sarala Devi to preside over the annual program of their society. Sarala Devi proposed that they should hold the Pratapaditya Utsav instead of their literary meet. She also requested Manilal to defer the program till Poila Baisakh, the day when Maharaja Pratapaditya was crowned as the sovereign ruler of Jessore. She further proposed that no speeches should be given at the function. Instead the biography of Maharaja Pratapaditya should be read out. Sarala Devi asked Manilal to look for Bengali youths who were proficient in wrestling, fencing, boxing and stick fighting and invite them to the program to display their skills. She would award them medals in different categories.
Accordingly, Manilal Ganguly organized the first Pratapaditya Utsav in Bhowanipore. The boys from the Goho family of Masjidbari Street were invited to display their wrestling skills. Sailen Bose, the nephew of Bhupen Bose came along with his friends to show their boxing skills. A few expert stick fighters were invited as well. The program begun with an introductory speech by Sarala Devi. Manilal Ganguly then read out a biography of Maharaja Pratapaditya. After that the invitees displayed their martial skills. In the end, the performers were awarded medals by Sarala Devi. On the medal were inscribed the words devAH durbalaghAtakAH in Bengali script.
The function was attended by the press. Sanjeebani praised the fact that a woman had presided over a men's function in the heart of Kolkata. Bangabasi commented that the glorious days of Bengal were back.
- Bandyopadhyay, Sandip (1991). "Women in the Bengal Revolutionary Movement (1902-1935)". Manushi (Manushi Trust) (65): 30. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
- Dutta, Krishna (2003). Calcutta: A Cultural and Literary History. Signal Books. p. 144. ISBN 1902669592. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
- "Sarala Devi Chaudhurani". milansagar.com. Retrieved April 19, 2012.