Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay

News: The Prime Minister has paid homage to Rishi Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay on his birth anniversary.

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (1838-1894)

  • Chattopadhyay was a revolutionary novelist, poet and journalist.
  • He was the composer of Vande Mataram, originally in Sanskrit, personifying India as a mother goddess and inspiring activists during the Indian Independence Movement. Chattopadhyay wrote fourteen novels and many serious, serio-comic, satirical, scientific and critical treatises in Bengali.
  • He is known as Sahitya Samrat (Emperor of Literature) in Bengali.
  • Anandamath is a political novel that depicts a Sannyasi (Hindu ascetic) army fighting a British force. The book calls for the rise of Indian nationalism.
  • The novel was also the source of the song Vande Mataram which, set to music by Rabindranath Tagore, was taken up by many Indian nationalists and is now the National Song of India.
  • The plot of the novel is loosely set on the Sannyasi Rebellion.
  • He imagined untrained Sannyasi soldiers fighting and defeated the highly experienced British Army; ultimately, however, he accepted that the British could not be defeated.
  • The novel first appeared in serial form in Bangadarshan, the literary magazine that Chattopadhyay founded in 1872. Vande Mataram became prominent during the Swadeshi movement, which was sparked by Lord Curzon’s attempt to partition Bengal.
  • Drawing from the Shakti tradition of Bengali Hindus, Chattopadhyay personified India as a Mother Goddess known as Bharat Mata, which gave the song a Hindu undertone.