Chatterjee, Bankim Chandra

Chatterjee, Bankim Chandra bəng´kĭm chŭn´drə chä´tərjē [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).

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