Rupa publications has done a good thing of publishing Books of our eminent freedom fighters of early period that is last two decades of 19th century and early years of 20th century like Surendranath Banerjea, Bipin Chandra Pal etc. I just read the first book of S N Banerjea "A NATION IN MAKING"
This book of S N Banerjea (1848-1925) is a kind of reminiscences of his 50 years public service -continuous fight against British well within the spirit of constitutionalism. He fought for his ICS, higher educational institutions like universities, Against Bengal partition, Vernacular Press Rights( he himself edited a popular newspaper Bengalee for 40 years), Local Government- Municipalities Act and Self govt within British Commonwealth. This book is a kind of autobiography- full account of his and his compatriots’ dedicated services for the welfare of Indians- especially for the educated Indians of that British Period. There were serious differences and even clashes between Moderates like Banerjea and Extremists like Tilak, CR Das etc and that led to split in Congress(INC of 1885) for more than 10 years (after Bengal partition). He was dead against any kind of revolutions and extremist actions and he named them as rowdyism in many pages. He was at London when Dhingara killed British Officer William Wyllie- police enquired him and many Indian students were harassed on account of that and kept in fear psycho. This aspect in indian history was not discussed much like Gandhi- Bhagat Singh. In his meetings even great personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Tagore etc attended. He mentioned words like communists, anarchists, comrades in one or two places. No mention about soviet October of 1917. In one or two places he referred Gandhi as Mr Gandhi. Motilal Nehru, Patel’s name was also mentioned. He was president of INC for two times. He had chances to come to Madras for congress sessions and addressed meetings at Esplanade. He mentioned names of G Subramaniya Iyer, Rt Hon Srinivasa sastri and their contribution. He had his own appreciation and misunderstanding with Annie Besant.
Reading this book one can have, how the educated upper class/upper caste indians organised themselves against British and how it was made a mass movement eventually. A detailed report about Bengal Partition, slogan of Bande matram etc can be found. One can understand how eloquent speaker was Banerjee and how the leaders of his period negotiated and won their demands with the die hard/ some times friendly British Viceroys/Governors and other higher officers of British. His narration is poetic in some pages and stylish also. Unfortunately I failed to read these kind of voluminous Books during my younger years. My earnest desire is to read all the books of our earlier generation whatever possible for me to get and to know firsthand account about the periods they lived and laboured for the cause of our Freedom. Unfortunately India is not celebrating leaders like Banerjea, Bipin, Das of earlier generation. I appreciate Rupa for bringing back the write ups of these eminent but forgotten leaders to people like me.
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