Purnima Devi

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Purnima Devi
Born(1884-05-13)13 May 1884
Died24 November 1972(1972-11-24) (aged 88)

Purnima Devi also known as Sudakshina Devi (1884–1972), was the youngest child of noted Brahmo Hemendranath Tagore, and niece of Rabindranath Tagore, thus part of the larger Tagore family.[1]

She was married to Sir Jwala Prasada, Zamindar of Shahjahanpur and an Imperial Civil Service (ICS) officer.[2] She was later awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal by the British Raj[3][4]


Her only child, a son, Kunwar Jyoti Prasada, married Rajkumari Pamela Devi of Kapurthala State.[4] Her elder grandson, Jitendra Prasada (deceased), was a Congress politician and member 5th, 7th, 8th, 13th Lok Sabha. Her younger grandson, Jayendra Prasada (deceased), was an agriculturalist and his family continues to live in the main ancestral house, Prasada Bhawan, in Shahjahanpur. Her eldest great grandson, son of Jayendra Prasada, Jayesh Prasada, is a Member of Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Parishad from the Pilibhit-Shahjahanpur constituency. Her youngest great grandson, son of Jitendra Prasada, Jitin Prasada is an Indian National Congress politician, was Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas and represents Dhaurahra (Lok Sabha constituency) of district Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh in the 15th Lok Sabha.[2][5]

Kunwar Jitendra Prasada (deceased).(Elder grandson of Purnima Devi, son of Kunwar Jyori Prasada) Member of Parliament. Vice-President Congress Party. Married to Kunwarani Kanta Prasada.

Kunwar Jayendra Prasada (deceased). (Younger grandson of Purnima Devi, son of Kunwar Jyoti Prasada) Agriculturalist. Married to Kunwarani Ratti Prasada, daughter of Raja Jagdish Singh of Birwa.

Kumari Dr Jaya Prasada (Daughter of Kunwar Jyoti Prasada) PHD in History, a keen photographer and spiritualist.

Kunwar Jitin Prasada.(Son of Kunwar Jitendra Prasada) Member of Parliament. Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India.

Kumari Janhavi Prasada (Daughter of Kunwar Jitendra Prasada) Documentary film maker.

Kunwar Jayesh Prasada (Elder son of Kunwar Jayendra Prasada) Currently a member of the Uttar Pradesh State Legislative Council. Married to Kunwarani Neelima Rawat Prasada. Two sons – Jagrit and Jayaditya.

Kunwar Jivesh Prasada (Middle son of Kunwar Jayendra Prasada) Agriculturalist. Married to Kunwarani Radhika Sharma Prasada. Son – Jaidev.

Kunwar Jinesh Prasada (Youngest son of Kunwar Jayendra Prasada). Businessman (Fizz Clothing Company). Married to Kunwarani Mandakini Kaul Prasada. Son – Janmejay.

Early life and education[edit]

Smt. Purnima Jwala Prasada was born on 13 May 1884, at No. 6, Dwarkanath Tagore's Lane, Jorasanko, Calcutta to Hemendranath Tagore (1844–1884) of Jorasanko Thakur Bari and elder brother of Rabindranath Tagore, and son of Debendranath Tagore founder of Brahmo Samaj.

Purnima Devi was educated at the Loretto Convent, a school for European Girls at Park Street, Calcutta, as a day scholar and in addition to English she knew Bengali, Sanskrit, Urdu, Hindi, French, Piano and Violin. She passed the Cambridge Trinity College Music Examination.


She was the first Bengali lady married in the United Provinces, her husband being the Pandit Jwala Prasada, M.A., Deputy Commissioner of Hardoi, and an officer in the Imperial Civil Services, grandfather of Late Kunwar Jitendra Prasada, a veteran Congress party Leader) in 1903. She was the winner of the B. P. R. A. medal for Diana matches for schooling (1911 Meerut).

She was an expert rider going round her villages on horse back and an expert hunter having taken part in big game shooting with her husband. She took a very keen interest in the education and uplift of her sex in India. In memory of her husband she founded 'The Pandit Jwala Prasad Kanya Pathshala' at Shahjahanpur in UP. She helped in the establishment of the Hewett Model Girls' School at Muzaffarnagar, United Provinces, and founded Pardah Clubs at Shahjahanpur and Muzaffarnagar with a view to the improvement of Pardah ladies. She was the owner of several villages in Shahjahanpur District and a beautiful hill property at Nainital(Uttrakhand)called Abbotsford, Prasada Bhawan [1] (Now lived in by her 4th generation of Prasada's who carry their ancestral heritage at best till date), and a house acquired by the army in 1947 in Badami Bagh,Srinagar,Kashmir now the official residence of the Army Head and a house beach in Jagannath Puri. She is the author of a Hindi publication, "unki bunat ki PrathaiJi Siksha" adopted by the United Provinces Educational Text Book Committee for schools. She was engaged in writing a novel in English under the title of "The Last Lamp out."

She is the holder of a Kaisar-i-Hind medal and was the first Indian lady exempted from the operation of the Arms Act. [6]


  1. ^ Second supplement to Who's who in India: brought up to 1914. Nawal Kishore press, 1914. p. 56.
  2. ^ a b "Cabinet reshuffle: a mix of new and old: Jitin Prasad". Indian Express. 7 April 2008.
  3. ^ Tagore family genealogy Queensland University.
  4. ^ a b Kapurthala Genealogy royalark.net.
  5. ^ "Meet the chocolate boy of Shahjahanpur". Hindustan Times. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2010.