RANI RASHMONI (1793 - 1861)
Rani Rashmoni of Janbazar, Kolkata was a pillar of strength in the mid-nineteenth century, amidst the male dominated society. Born in 28th Sept. 1793, the Bengali year being 1211. At the tender age of 11, Rashmoni was married to Babu Rajchandra Das of Janbazar. When she gained maturity and came to live with her in- laws and husband, the greatest possible tragedy happened to her.
Her husband passed away leaving her all alone. Though initially thunder struck, Rashmoni was quick to recover from the shock and took charge of the family business and drove away the vultures hovering around. With the help of her son-in-law Mathur babu, who was married to her third and youngest daughter, Karunamoyi, she not only expanded the business but also became a champion for the people. The responsibility of administration the zamindari and commerce after her husband's bereavement brought out her management traits and inbuilt supervisory skills.
The Rani was an autonomist in her viewpoint and stood by what she measured reasonable and just. Her daring performance and confrontations with the British in India had grown to be family stories in her time. Rani Rashmoni also had to her glory copious generous workings and other offerings to humanity. The manufacture of a street from Subarnarekha river to Pari for pilgrims, Babughat, Ahirtola Ghat and Nimtola Ghat for the everyday bathers in the Ganges, and the considerable charity to the then majestic Library (now National Library) and Hindu College (now Presidency College) are a small number of occurrence of her generosity. A celestial exposure led her to establish the renowned temple compound on the banks of the Ganges at Dakshineswar in the North 24 Parganas. She set up a new bathing ghat on the Hooghly and called it Babu ghat after her late husband She took a bold step to help the fishermen thriving on Hooghly waters, whose livelihood were hampered by the speeding British steamers. Rashmoni blocked the river traffic by iron chains and did not remove it until her demands were met. However, her greatest contribution was the founding of the Dakshinshwar Kali temple. She patronized Shri Ramkrishna Paramhangsha as the guardian of the Dakshinshwar temple. She held high the aspects of Hinduism which was the result of her spiritual attitude. Her outstanding social work, philanthropic nature were notable aspects behind a great soul for which people started calling her Rani or the queen.
Rani Rashmoni passed away on 19th February; 1861.As in the precedent, the enormous achievements of her life will carry on motivating many a generation to approach. The Department of Posts is glad to pass out a postage stamp to memorialize the bicentennial of this memorable persona.
Born- She was born into a Mahishya family, a Zamindar in Kona village, in present-day North 24 Parganas.
Places of interest- Janbazar,Dakshineswar.