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Bankim Chandra Chatterjee Birth Anniversary: Lesser-known Facts About the Man Who Wrote Vande Mataram

Bankim Chandra was the first person to hail Rabindranath Tagore as Viswakavi (Universal Poet).

Bankim Chandra was the first person to hail Rabindranath Tagore as Viswakavi (Universal Poet).

Vice-president, others remember Bengali novelist, poet and journalist on his birth anniversary

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya, or the anglecised version Chatterjee, was a Bengali novelist, poet and journalist. With many serious, comical, satirical and scientific novels to his credit, the polymath earned the sobriquet ‘Sahitya Samrat’ (Emperor of Literature) in Bengali. Bankim was born on June 27, 1838.

On his birth anniversary, we bring to you some lesser-known facts about the composer of Vande Mataram – the national song of India:

  1. Bankim was born to Yadav Chandra Chattopadhyaya and Durgadevi in an orthodox Bengali Brahmin family in Naihati in West Bengal.
  2. He was married at the age of 11. After the death of his first wife, he went on to marry Rajlakshmi Devi who bore him three daughters.
  3. Bankim wrote the novel Anandamath – published in 1882 - which has Vande Mataram.
  4. He penned the Indian national song way before he authored Anandamath – a political novel which depicts a Sanyasi army standing up to the East India Company.
  5. Bankim was the first person to hail Rabindranath Tagore as Viswakavi (Universal Poet).
  6. He founded Bangadarshan – a monthly Bengali literary magazine – in April 1972.Durgeshnandini (1865) and Kapalkundala (1866) were his first two novels which were well-acclaimed and translated into other languages.
  7. Bankim served as the Deputy Collector of Jessore before taking up the post of Deputy Magistrate. He retired as a civil servant in 1891.
  8. Rajmohan’s Wife was his debut fiction work in English and it has the distinction of being the first Indian novel to be written in English by an Indian.
  9. The novel Bishabriksha (The Poison Tree, 1873) was his first work to be published serially in Bangadarshan.
  10. His popular novel Krishnakanter Will - first published in 1878 - has an eponymous film adaptation in Bengali.
  11. Bankim was one of the first two graduates from the University of Calcutta.
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