Bankim Chandra Chatterjee also known as Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was one of the greatest novelists and poets of India.Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was the first writer to use the Western form of the novel successfully in an Indian language. He is famous as author of“Vande Mataram”, the national song of India.
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was born on June 27, 1838in the village Kanthalpara in the district of North 24 Parganas.He belonged to an orthodox Brahmin family.The word 'Bankim Chandra' in Bengali means 'the moon on the second day of the bright fortnight'.His father Yadav Chandra Chattopadhyaya was in government servicewho went on to become the Deputy Collector of Midnapur.One of his brothers, Sanjeeb Chandra Chattopadhyay, was also a novelist and his known for his famous book "Palamau".
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee had his early education in Midnapur. He was a brilliant student.After his early education in Midnapur Bankim Chandra Chatterjee joined the Mohsin College at Hoogly and studied there for six years. He was very much interested in the study of Sanskrit. His study of Sanskrit stood him in good stead. Later, when he wrote books in Bengali his knowledge of Sanskrit helped him immensely.In 1856, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee joined the Presidency College in Calcutta. In 1857, there was a strong revolt against the rule of East India Company but Bankim Chandra Chatterjee continued his studies and passed his B.A. Examination in 1859. He was one of the first two graduates of the University of Calcutta.He later obtained a degree in Law as well, in 1869.
He was appointed as Deputy Collector, just like his father, of Jessore, Chattopadhyay went on to become a Deputy Magistrate, retiring from government service in 1891. His years at work were peppered with incidents that brought him into conflict with the ruling British. However, he was made a Companion, Order of the Indian Empire in 1894.
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was married when he was only eleven. At that time his wife was only five years old. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was only twenty two when his wife died. After some time he married again. His second wife was Rajlakshmi Devi. They had three daughters.
In due course Bankim Chandra emerged as a great writer in Bengali. He wrote novels and poems. He wrote articles, which stimulated impartial thinking. He became well known outside Bengal too. His novels have been translated into many Indian languages.Bankim Chandra Chatterjee began his literary career as a writer of verse. He then turned to fiction. Durgeshnandini, his first Bengali romance, was published in 1865. His famous novels include Kapalkundala (1866), Mrinalini (1869), Vishbriksha (1873), Chandrasekhar (1877), Rajani (1877), Rajsimha (1881), and Devi Chaudhurani (1884). Bankim Chandra Chatterjee most famous novel was Anand Math (1882). Anand Math contained the song "Vande Mataram", which was later adopted as National Song.
Bankim Chandra's novels made him famous. But he has also written excellent books which are not novels. 'Krishna Charitra', 'Dharmatattva' (Philosophy of Religion), 'Devatattva' (Principle of Divinity) and a commentary on 'Srimadbhagavadgeetha' are some of his other books. He wrote articles on Hinduism both in English and in Bengali. He had deeply studied choice books in English.
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wanted to bring about a cultural revival of Bengal by stimulating the intellect of the Bengali speaking people through literary campaign. With this end in view he brought out monthly magazine called Vangadarshan in 1872.
Bankim Chatterjee was superb story-teller, and a master of romance. No Bengali writer before or since has enjoyed such spontaneous and universal popularity as Chatterjee. His novels have been translated in almost all the major languages of India. He passed away on April 8, 1894.