Anandamath was written at a time when Bengal was hit by three famines one after another, Anandamath was the story of a group of monks who fought the British during the Fakir-Sanyasi Rebellion of the early 1770s.
Banned by the colonial authorities, it was in this masterpiece that Vande Mataram was first published as a poem.
Sadly, two years after he published this novel, an ageing Bankim breathed his last on April 8, 1894, unaware that his poem would go on to be immortalised in the annals of Indian history.
In the 1896 session of the Congress, Rabindranath Tagore gave a sublime tune (that he had composed himself) to Vande Mataram and sang it publicly for the first time.
In 1905, it became Freedom Fighter’s rallying cry during the partition of Bengal and soon graduated to becoming fiercely emblematic of the Indian freedom struggle.
That Every Freedom Fighter Who Sacrificed Their Lives For This Country Had #Vandemataram On Their Lips Till Their Last Breath. The Misplaced Secularism of Congress & Left Have Denied Him His Place, Nevertheless #BankimChandra Will Always Be Soul Stirrer For Crores of Patriots
Tributes to the legend #BankimChandraChatterjee, on his jayanti.
Please read the English Translation of Anandmath by Shri Aurobindo & Barindra Kumar Ghosh for originality.
Bankim’s commentary on the Gita was published 8 years after his death & contained his comments up to the 19th Verse of Chapter 4.
Here, he attempted to reassure Hindus who were increasingly being exposed to Western ideas. His belief was, that there was “No serious hope of progress in India except in Hinduism-reformed, regenerated and purified”.
Bankim’s earliest publications were in Ishwar Chandra Gupta’s weekly newspaper Sangbad Prabhakar.
Following the model of Gupta, he began his literary career as a writer of verse. His talents showed him other directions & turned to fiction.
The first English Novel from a Bharatiya was written by him. The novel was Rajmohan’s Wife. Bankim Chandra’s Novels except for Anandmath had women as Protagonists & #KapalaKundala is published by Delhi based Left Books who claims to be champions of Marxism.
Born on 27 June 1838 in Bengal Presidency, Bankim Chandra got married at the age of 11. However, after his wife passed away in 1859, he remarried. He and his second wife, Rajlakshmi Devi, had three daughters.
He went on to become one of the first graduates from Calcutta University.
After graduation, he was appointed the deputy collector of Midnapur.
He later also acquired a degree in law from Presidency College in 1869.
He worked as the deputy collector for 32 years & retired in 1891.
Between, he started a monthly literary magazine, #Bangadarshan in 1872 through which Bankim is credited with influencing the emergence of a Bengali identity and nationalism. Many of his novels were published in this magazine in the form of serials. Besides, it had works by scholars, literary critics, other intellectuals. There were articles on the Puranas and the Vedas —
exhorting the intellectual community to stay rooted while embracing the ideas of modernity.
Bankim Chandra wanted the magazine to work as the “medium of communication between the educated & the uneducated classes” at a time English had become language of communication between the educated class, widening the gulf between the higher and lower ranks of society. The magazine carried fiction too, and his serialized novels were a hit with the readers — especially the literate women. Almost all of Bankim’s novels were published in it.
Tagore was 11-year-old when Bangadarshan was launched. He would read the magazine with great enthusiasm, as the Nobel laureate later wrote in his recollections of childhood, “It was bad enough to have to wait till the next monthly number was out, but to be kept waiting further till my elders had done with it was simply intolerable.”
The magazine stopped publication in the late 1880s, but was resurrected in 1901 with Tagore as its editor. While it carried Tagore’s writings including his first full-length novel Chokher Bali, the ‘new’ Bangadarshan retained its original philosophy, nurturing the nationalistic spirit. During Partition of Bengal, the magazine played a vital role in giving an outlet to the voices of protest & dissent. Tagore’s Amar Sonar Bangla, Bangladesh’s anthem now was first published in Bangadarshan.
On 08th April 1894, Maa Bharati decided to take her beloved son back into her arms, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was around 56 years then, probably if he had lived up for another 2 decades, Bharat’s history would’ve been different.
Here’s the link for the tweet, where I wrote about Women in Bankim Chandra’s Novels.