Abala Bose

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Abala Bose
Lady Abala Bose.jpg
Born 8 April 1864
Barisal, Bangladesh
Died 26 August 1951(1951-08-26) (aged 87)
Kolkata, India
Occupation Social worker
Spouse(s) Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose

Abala, Lady Bose (Bengali: অবলা বসু Ôbola Boshu) (8 April 1864 – 26 August 1951) was an Indian social worker well known for her efforts in the field of women’s education and her contribution towards the alleviation of the condition of widows.[1]


Daughter of the renowned Brahmo reformer Durga Mohan Das, sister of Satish Ranjan Das and Sarala Roy, and cousin of Chittaranjan Das, and also Chief Justice of India Sudhi Ranjan Das. She was born at Barisal on 8 April 1864. She belonged to the famous Das family of Telirbagh, Dhaka, now in Bangladesh. She was married to Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, the renowned scientist, and had occasion to travel abroad with him many times.[1]

Early life[edit]

She was amongst the early students of Banga Mahila Vidyalaya and Bethune School (established by Bethune), and passed entrance with a scholarship in 1881. As she could not secure admission to Calcutta Medical College, being a woman, she went to Madras (now Chennai) in 1882 on Bengal government scholarship to study medicine but had to give up because of ill health. She was married in 1887.[1]

She was one of the early feminists, apart from being an educator. Writing in the Modern Review, a leading English magazine in those days, she argued that women should have a deeper and extended education, 'not because we may make better matches for our girls… not even that the services of the daughter-in-law may be more valuable in the home of her adoption, but because a woman like a man is first of all a mind, and only in the second place physical and a body.' It was from her that Kamini Roy, who studied with her in Bethune School, picked up the threads of her feminism.[2] Upon her husband's knighthood in 1916, she became Lady Bose.

Later life[edit]

Sister Nivedita, Sister Christine, Charlotte Sevier, and Lady Abala Bose in Mayavati

She set up the Nari Shiksha Samiti for the spread of women’s education and for providing financial assistance to widows. This organisation had established around 200 schools in rural areas. In order to provide teachers for these schools she set up Vidyasagar Bani Bhaban, Mahila Shilpa Bhaban and Bani Bhaban Training School for young widows. After her husband’s death she donated Rs 10,000,000 (US$200,000 in 2015 dollars) to set up the Sister Nivedita Women’s Education Fund, which set up the Adults Primary Education Centre. She was Secretary of Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya from 1910 to 1936. She died on 26 April 1951.[1]

The principal aim of Nari Shiksha Samiti, set up in 1915, was to establish primary schools, prepare suitable text books and open maternity and child welfare centres. In its earlier years it established several schools, including Muralidhar College for girls but from 1921 on it shifted its focus to backward villages.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Bose, Anjali (editors), 1976/1998, Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biogrphical dictionary) Vol I, (Bengali), p23, ISBN 81-85626-65-0
  2. ^ a b Ray, Bharati, Women in Calcutta: the Years of Change, in Calcutta The Living City Vol II, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri, Oxford University Press, first published 1990, paperback edition 2005, pp. 36-39, ISBN 0-19-563697-X.

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