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Bankim Chandra Chatterjee

Chatterjee, Bankim Chandra (bəngˈkĭm chŭnˈdrə chäˈtərjē) [key], 1838–94, Indian nationalist writer, b. Bengal. He popularized a Bengali prose style that became the vehicle of the major nationalist literature of the region. Born a Brahman, he received an English education and his first novel was written in English. In 1872 he founded the Bangadarshan, a journal modeled on the Spectator. Chatterjee, who frequently used the pseudonym Ramchandra, wrote many novels that wedded political and philosophical commentary with historical romance. His favorite theme—India as a divine motherland—did much to reinforce Hindu orthodoxy and alienate the Indian Muslims. Bandemataram ( Hail to the Mother ), the title of a song in his novel Anandamath (1882), became a slogan of the Indian National Congress, and the song became an anthem of the nationalist movement. However, Janaganamana ( Thou Art the Ruler of All Minds ) by Tagore, was ultimately adopted as the Indian national anthem. Other writings include The Poison Tree (tr. 1884) and Krishna Kanta's Will (tr. 1895).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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