Bankim Chandra Chatterjee

He is the author of India’s Nation Song Vande Mataram. He wrote many novels. “Anandamatha” is one of them. This novel holds an exciting story of a struggle for freedom. Vande Mataram’ is as a part of this novel.

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was born on 27 June 1838 in the village Kanthalpara in Naihati, the youngest of three brothers, to Yadav Chandra Chattopadhyaya and Durgadebi. He belonged to a Brahmin family.  Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was one of the greatest Bengali poet, author and writer of nineteenth century. He was a person who would take initiative and was a separatist who had an outstanding skill to correspond with and stimulate the audience. He is the author of India’s Nation Song Vande Mataram. He wrote many novels. ‘Anandamatha’ is one of them. This novel holds an exciting story of a struggle for freedom. Vande Mataram is as a part of this novel.

Bankim Chandra’s father was in government service who went to become the Deputy Collector of Midnapur. Bankim Chandra’s mother was a religious, good and affectionate lady. In Bengali the word ‘Bankim Chandra’ means ‘the moon on the second day of the bright fortnight’.

He did his education from Mohsin College in Hooghly for six years and afterward at the Presidency College, graduating with a degree in Arts in 1857. He was one of the first graduates from the University of Calcutta. He later took a degree in Law, in 1869. He was extremely brilliant. He learnt the whole alphabet in just one day. He passed his examinations in the first class and won many prizes. He was very much interested in the study of Sanskrit.

He was appointed as Deputy Collector, of Jessore. Chatterjee went on to become a Deputy Magistrate. He retired from Government service after thirty-two years of his job in 1891. He was a very meticulous worker. He would oppose any unfair person and teach him a lesson. . This attitude of his was not expectable by some British officers and he had to go through lots of difficulty. They tortured him a lot. During his job as a Deputy Magistrate there was a senior officer named Munro, who was the Commissioner. Once Bankim Chandra met Munro around Eden Garden. In those days British officer expected all subordinate Indian official to respects him by humbly bowing before him. But Bankim Chandra just walked away. Munro was annoyed. He moved Bankim Chandra to a different place. Bankim Chandra tolerated everything without any complain.

There were also some problems in his personal life. Bankim Chandra got married when he was only eleven year old. When he was twenty-two he lost his young and beautiful wife which made him very unhappy. After some time he married again to Rajalakshmi Devi. They had three daughters. His youngest daughter Utpala kumari is said to have committed suicide.

Bankim Chandra arises as a great writer in Bengali. He wrote novels and poems. He wrote articles, which inspired neutral thinking. He also became famous outside Bengal. His novels have been translated into many Indian languages.

Bankim wrote fifteen novels in all. ‘Durgeshanandhini’,'Kapalkundala,”Mrinalini,’ ‘Chandrashekar’ and ‘Rajsimha’ are famous for their interesting stories. ‘Anandamatha.’ ‘Devi Chowdhurani’ and ‘Seethararn’ are based on the history of our land. ‘Vishavriksha’, ‘Indira’, ‘Yugalanguriya’, ‘Radharani’, ‘Rajani’, and ‘Krishna kanther Will’ – these reflect the good and the bad in society.

After his retirement he was keen to write many books. But he was unable to dedicate much time on writing due to his health problem and he died in 1894 when he was only fifty-six.

Towards his end he grew very theoretical He was no more interested in worldly pleasure. Though he was ill he refused medicine. For him Bhagavad-Gita was his medicine. The Bhagavad-Gita steadily changed him. He gave up writing novels. He started writing ‘Krishna Charitra’, and books on religion. He started translating the Gita and the Vedas. But he died before translating the Vedas.

In 2003, ‏BBC World Service organized an international poll to select 10 most famous songs of all time. Vande Mataram was ranked second in the top ten songs.

The British Government honored Bankim Chandra with the title “Ray Bahadur” in 1892. He passed away on 8th April 1894.

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