[email protected]: Where Bankim Chandra Wrote His Seminal ‘Vande Mataram’

India @ 75: Where Bankim Chandra Wrote His Seminal ‘Vande Mataram’

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By: Joymala Bagchi | KOLKATA
Updated: 15 August, 2022 2:32 pm IST

Around 140 years back in 1882 sitting in his parlour at his Naihati home, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay penned what later gave India its epochal strength to raise its voice against the dominance of the British: Vande Mataram.

The national song, which was included in Bankim Chandra’s path-breaking novel ‘Anandamath’, received its political recognition for the first time in 1896 when Rabindranath Tagore sang it at a session of the Indian National Congress.

The New Indian visited the parlour of Bankim Chandra that he built in 1866-67 just opposite his ancestral home to facilitate various literary meetings and where he composed the ‘Vande Mataram’.

The ancestral home of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay

 

Today, the parlour stands as the only museum of the literary genius, which showcases his manuscripts, his used shawls and turbans, his notepad and photographers of his friends who used to come to the literary meets.

Gautam Sarkar, the curator of ‘Bankim Bhawan Gabeshona Kendro’ (research institute) who has been on this job since 2004, said, “This museum is under the higher secondary department of West Bengal government and it’s being maintained well. We have archived several documents, wills, photographs and things he used daily. In his ancestral house, we have opened three of the rooms for the public among which Bankim Chandra’s bedroom is also listed.” There is also a proposal of further opening the other rooms for the viewers.

Sarkar said, “We are receiving grants from the state government regularly. A large number of people come here to see the museum routinely. Researchers also visit the place. Our only request to the government is that we want to extend the museum and open the rest of the rooms for the public to come and see. Hence, a slight increase in the grant can be more helpful for all.”

Bankim Chandra, who bought a house at Kolkata’s Pratap Chatterjee Lane and used to stay there wherever he visited that part of the city, wears a deserted look now.  The residence was turned into a library by the government. However, for the last year, the library has not opened.

Local residents pointed out, “At times, meetings do take place here and people do come but that’s very rare and mostly, it stays closed.”

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