Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Unsung Heroes Detail

Paying tribute to India’s freedom fighters

Nellie Sengupta

Kolkata, West Bengal

August 09, 2021 to December 30, 2021

Nellie Sengupta (née Edith Ellen Gray) was an Englishwoman who fought for Indian Independence, after she relocated to India post her marriage to Jatindra Mohan Sengupta. She was elected president of the Indian National Congress at its 48th annual session at Calcutta in 1933.

Nellie participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1921. She also forcefully protested against the district authority’s imposition of a ban on assembly, addressed mass meetings and courted arrest. She defied the law by selling Khadi (hand-spun cloth) door to door. In 1931 she suffered four months' imprisonment at Delhi for addressing an unlawful assembly.

When many senior leaders of the party were arrested during Salt Satyagraha, Nellie was appointed as the President of Congress She became the third woman to be elected to the post.

She was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 1973.