Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya ( 1838-1894 )


Bankim Chandra is acclaimed as a great Bengali novelist.

The fact, however, is that a great writer can also become communal, like the Urdu poet Iqbal, or a writer who at one time was against oppression, later start advocating turning the other cheek ( i.e. that one should not oppose oppression ), like the Russian writer Dostoevsky.

Bankim Chandra, like Iqbal, had great literary talent. But unlike Sharad Chandra or Premchand, he was communal, and disliked Muslims, often calling them 'yavanas'..
Here is a dialogue in his well known novel 'Anand Math' :

 That dialogue, in the last chapter, describes a divine force persuading the leader of the Sanyasis, Satyananda, to stop fighting.

 The dialogue is as follows (He implies the divine force and S implies Satyananda):


"He: Your task is accomplished. The Muslim power is destroyed. There is nothing else for you to do. No good can come of needless slaughter. 

"S: The Muslim power has indeed been destroyed, but the dominion of the Hindu has not yet been established. The British still hold Calcutta. 

"He: Hindu dominion will not be established now. If you remain at your work, men will be killed to no purpose. Therefore come. 

"S: (greatly pained) My lord, if Hindu dominion is not going to be established, who will rule? Will the Muslim kings return? 

"He: No. The English will rule." 

Satyananda protests, but is persuaded to lay down the sword. 

"He: Your vow is fulfilled. You have brought fortune to your Mother. You have set up a British government. Give up your fighting. Let the people take to their ploughs. Let the earth be rich with harvest and the people rich with wealth. 

"S: (weeping hot tears) I will make my Mother rich with harvest in the blood of her foes. 

"He: Who is the foe? There are no foes now. The English are friends as well as rulers. And no one can defeat them in battle." 

While earlier Bankim Chandra had written that the Bengali intellect shone under the rule of Pathans ( Afghan ), he later took a somersault, and started criticizing Muslims, thus furthering the British policy of divide and rule.
In the fifth edition of Anandmath, Bankim says 'that the British have been forced to rule in India in order that Hinduism might regain its pristine power. I tell you what the wise know. True religion is not to be found in the worship of 33 crores of gods.

True Hinduism consists in knowledge, and they ( the British ) are good teachers. Therefore we must accept the English rule.The English power will remain unbroken. Under the English our people will be happy: and there will be no impediment to our teaching our faith. So, wise one, stop fighting against the English and follow me'.
Is this not rank chamchagiri ( sycophancy ) of the British ? This was the brand of Hindu nationalism propagated by Bankim Chandra. According to him, the English were the 'Saviour of Hinduism'. 

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