Bankim Chandra Chatterjee 182nd Birth Anniversary: Remembering The Exalted Bengali Writer Who Penned India’s National Song Vande Mataram

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was a renowned Bengali novelist, poet and journalist who is remembered for writing India’s national song Vande Mataram. His writings have inspired activists during the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule during the late 19th and early 20th century. Today India is remembering the exalted Bengali novelist on his 182nd birth anniversary for his contributions.

Popularly known as Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, he was born in the village Kanthalpara in the town of North 24 Parganas in Naihati on June 27, 1838. His family was an orthodox Bengali Brahmin family and Bankim Chandra was the youngest of three brothers. His father — Yadav Chandra Chattopadhyaya — was the Deputy Collector of Midnapur. Bankim Chandra got remarried to Rajlakshmi Devi, after his first wife died in 1859. With his second wife, Bankim Chandra had three daughters. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee 127th Death Anniversary: Nation Remembers The Writer Who Wrote National Song of India ‘Vande Mataram’.

Early Career:

Bankim Chandra did his schooling from from Hooghly Collegiate School along with his brother Sanjib Chandra Chattopadhyay. Following this, Bankim Chandra went to Presidency College in Kolkata and graduated with a degree in Arts in 1958. After this, he attended University of Calcutta and was among the two candidates who passed the final exam to become the school’s first graduates. Following this, he was appointed as Deputy Collector of Jessore in 1958 under the British government. He retired as Deputy Magistrate in 1891.

Contributions to Indian freedom struggle:

During the Swadeshi Movement movement, Bankim Chandra’s written song — Vande Mataram — became prominent. Though Bankim Chandra was conscious of foreign rule, however, his works have been criticised for often seeing Muslims as ‘foreign’ too. Historian Tanika Sarkar pointed in one of her paper — Bankimchandra and the Impossibility of a Political Agenda — that Bankim Chandra believed in revivalist nationalism.

Literary Career:

Bankim Chandra’s first fiction that was published, was Rajmohan’s Wife in 1864. This was the Bankim Chandra’s first novel to have been written in English. Following this, Bankimchandra wrote his first Bengali novel Durgeshnondini, which was published in 1865. Later, Bankim Chandra went to write historical and political novels like Rajsimha (1881) and Anandamath (1882). These books called for rise of Indian nationalism, which further became the source to write the song — Vande Mataram.

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote 13 novels, 4 religious commentaries, 4 essays and 1 poetry collection in his literary career. He also wrote the Sanskrit poem — Vande Mataram — in 1870s, which was first sung by Rabindranath Tagore in 1896. Later, the first two verses of the song were adopted as the National Song of India by the Congress Working Committee in October 1937, prior to the end of colonial rule in August 15, 1947. He died on April 8, 1894.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 27, 2020 07:00 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website

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