Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was an Indian writer and novelist who is known most for writing the national song of India, Vande Mataram. Set to music by none other than Rabindranath Tagore, it went on to inspire the freedom fighters. Some journals at the time adapted this name.
Early Life and education
Bankim Chadra Chaterjee was born in a village in North 24 Parganas region in Bengal on 26th July 1838 to a civil servant, Jadab Chandra Chattopadhyay. He had three siblings, the younger brother also being an author.
Bankim Chandra was married at the age of 11. He had a son from his first marriage before his wife died. He married again and had three daughters from the second marriage.
He passed out from the Midnapore School after which he went to Hoogly Mohsin College and Presidency College to do a B.A. Of the first two graduates from the University of Calcutta, Chattopadhyay was one. Later he studied Law and got his degree in 1869.
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay is credited with being the first Indian novelist in English with ‘Rajmohan’s wife’. However his later writings were in Bengali. He is considered responsible for the literary renaissance in Bengal.
Some of his most famous writings include Durgesh Nandini, the first Bengali romance and the first Bengali novel written in 1865. His first major publication, however, was Kapalakundala written in 1866.
Other writings were Mrinalini in 1869, Chandrashekhar 1877, Rajani 1877 and Krishnakanter Will in 1878. In 1882 he wrote Anandmath, a historical novel in which he included his poem Vande Mataram.
His last two novels were Devi Chaudharani and Sitaram written in 1884 and 1886 respectively.
He also published a monthly magazine called Bangadarshan in which his novel Bishabriksha appeared serially.
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee also became a deputy collector and later a deputy magistrate under the British government. After his retirement from the government services in 1891 he was made the Companion, Order of the Indian Empire, an order of Chivalry, established by the Queen in 1878.
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee is considered one of the most important literary persons in India and the best novelist in Bengali literature.