Chittaranjan Das

Chittaranjan Das(Nov 5, 1870 – Forever)

Chittaranjan Das (1870-1925) was an Indian lawyer and poet who became a nationalist leader. His main aim was swaraj, or self-rule, for India. Everybody in India has heard the name of Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das. He was one of the greatest men of modern India.

He was born in Calcutta on the 5th November, 1870. His father’s name was Babu Bhuban Mohan Das. He was an attorney of the Calcutta High Court. He belonged to a respectable Vaidya family of Vikrampore, Dacca, now in Bangladesh.

Chittaranjan at first read in the London Missionary School at Bhowanipur in South Calcutta. He passed the Entrance Examination in 1886. He passed the B. A. Examination from the Presidency College in 1890. Then he went to England and became a Barrister-at-Law.

He came back to India and joined the Calcutta High Court as an advocate. At first he could not make much progress as a lawyer. But he worked hard, and soon became the most successful barrister. He earned a lot of money in this profession. He was also a poet.

He was a great lover of his country. His great ambition was to make India free. So he fought against the Government. He was a leading figure in Bengal during the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1919-1922, and initiated the ban on British clothes, setting an example by burning his own European clothes and wearing Khadi clothes. He brought out a newspaper called Forward and later changed its name to Liberty to fight the British Raj. When the Calcutta Corporation was formed, he became its first Mayor. He resigned his presidency of the Indian National Congress at the Gaya session after losing a motion on “No Council Entry” to Gandhi’s faction. He then founded the Swaraj Party, with veteran Motilal Nehru and young Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, to express his immoderate opinions.

He was a believer of non-violence and constitutional methods for the realisation of national independence, and advocated Hindu-Muslim unity, cooperation and communal harmony and championed the cause of national education. His legacy was carried forward by his disciples, and notably by Subhas Chandra Bose.

People gave him the title of Deshbandhu, because he was a true friend of his countrymen. He worked so hard that his health soon broke down. He died at Darjeeling in 1925. His dead body was brought down to Calcutta. There was a grand procession when his dead body was carried to the burning ghat at Keoratala from Sealdah station. People showed great respect to their departed leader. They all came out in the streets to see his dead body for the last time. No one had seen such a big gathering in a funeral procession ever before.

Deshbandhu was one of the greatest of men… He dreamed… and talked of freedom of India and of nothing else… His heart knew no difference between Hindus and Mussalmans and I should like to tell Englishmen, too, that he bore no ill-will to them.

A few years before his death Das gifted his house and the adjoining lands to the nation to be used for the betterment of the lives of women. Today it is a huge hospital called Chittaranjan Seva Sadan and has gone from being a women’s hospital to one where all specialties are present. The Chittaranjan Cancer Hospital which was established in these premises in 1950 is now the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute. Chittaranjan Park is a locality adjoining Greater Kailash II in South Delhi, which houses many Bengalis who fled to India during partition.

A Collection By Upendra Kumar.

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