Bengal museum for freedom fighter Batukeshwar Dutt awaits inauguration
Batukeshwar Dutt, one of the unsung heroes of India’s freedom struggle, had links with both West Bengal, and Bihar. While he was born in Bardhaman in Bengal, he spent his later years in Patna, Bihar.
A museum dedicated to Dutt, a freedom fighter and an associate of Bhagat Singh, was developed in Bardhaman in 2015 but awaits inauguration.
The museum is located close to Dutt’s ancestral house in Oanri village where he was born in 1910. Dutt was arrested along with Bhagat Singh in the Central Assembly bomb case in 1929. While Bhagat Singh was hanged to death, Dutt was awarded a life sentence and was deported to the Andaman Cellular Jail. Later, he was shifted to Hazaribagh Jail; from there to Delhi and then to Bankipur jails.
In 1938, he was released because of deteriorating health on the condition that he would not participate in any political movement. Dutt, however, joined Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom movement and was again jailed. He was finally released when the country gained Independence. The freedom fighter died on July 20, 1965.
On his 56th death anniversary on Tuesday, his daughter and retired Patna University teacher Prof Bharti Bagchi said, “The honours that he deserved continue to elude him even after five decades of his death.”
Though, she added, Dutt’s ancestral house at Oanri in Bardhaman has been renovated and has been declared a heritage monument. “The museum was developed by the West Bengal government, but I donated my land for it. The building was ready in 2015 but has remained locked since,” she said.
“Batukeshwar Dutt Sanrakshan Samiti, a committee of the locals, monitors the museum work. They say some work is still pending and that’s why the inauguration has been delayed,” she said.
HT tried calling committee members several times to ascertain what was causing the delay but could not get through.
Dutt’s house in Patna’s Jakkanpur locality, where he spent his last years, was also set to be declared a protected monument but nothing came of that either. “This house was built by my father. And in 2007-08, there was an initiative by the Archaeological Survey of India, Patna Circle, to get this house declared a protected monument. But soon, the official who took steps in this direction got transferred, and the matter got sidelined,” Bagchi said.