President: 1886 - 1973
An English woman married to Jatindra Mohan Sengupta, a Bengali scholar, Nellie Sengupta actively participated in the national movement and struggle for freedom. She was born on 12 January 1886 in England. After her marriage to Sengupta, she moved to Chittagong to her husband’s home.
Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu, she participated in the non cooperation movement led by Gandhi ji and was arrested for her anti-British activity. When her husband was involved in the strike of the Bengal-Assam Railway workers and in the movement of steamer service workers, she constantly assisted him and fought for the recognition of the rights of the workers. She also supported and advanced the cause of the tea cultivation labourers who were stranded in Chandpur and were brutally tortured by the British police.
During the days of the Civil Disobedience Movement, she accompanied her husband on political tours to Delhi and Amritsar. When the health of Jatindra Mohan deteriorated, Nellie continued her political work. Despite being warned of the consequences of indulging in further political activity, she delivered a speech at a banned meeting in Delhi and was arrested and jailed for four months.
In 1933, as a recognition of her contribution towards the party and the country, Nellie was elected Congress President. She was later elected as alderman in the Calcutta Corporation in 1933 and 1936. After independence, she remained in her husband’s ancestral home and was elected as a member of the East Pakistan Legislature in 1954. She was an active social worker and stayed as a member of the Minority Board for a long time.
She died in India in 1973 due to failing health conditions.