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Bandyopadhyay, Brajendra Nath


Bandyopadhyay, Brajendra Nath (1891-1952) pundit, researcher, editor was born in the village of Bali in Hughli district on 21 September 1891. His father Umesh Chandra Bandhopadhaya was an expert in scriptural knowledge. Brajendra Nath lost his father in childhood and his mother when he was in class nine; hence, he came to Calcutta for employment in 1908 and started working as a typist in the office of a merchant. Later he left this job and joined James and Company.

Brajendra Nath developed interest in literary pursuits when he came in close contact with Nalini Ravjan Pundit and Amulya Charan Vidyabhushan. Under the supervision of Vidyabhushan, he wrote Banglar Begum (Woman of Bengal, 1319 [Bangla year]), adopting the history of the Nawabi period. This is his first publication. However, he came in close association of Jadunath Sarkar and became acquainted with the scientific system of studying history. During this time, he wrote few books on the Mughal period, such as: Begams of Bengal (1915), Nur Jahan (1323), Begum Somru (1324), Mughal Juge Stri Xhiksha (Female Education in the Mughal Period, 1326), Mughal Bidushi (Mughal Learned Woman, 1326), Jahan-Ara (1327), Delhixhwar (Lord of Delhi, 1330), etc.

Three books by Brajendra Nath Bandhopadhaya ' Rajah Ram Mohun Roy's Mission to England (1826), Dawn of New India (19270 and Vidyasagar Prosonga (About Vidyasagar, 1338) ' stirred the intelligentsia of Bengal. Especially, he provided much new information about Ram Mohun and Vidyasagar. He attained his objectives through obtaining his expertise in research work and through reliability and recognition of his work among the learned society. In 1929 he was appointed the Assistant Editor of Probasi and Modern Review. In Bangla year 1337 he became associated with the Bangio Sahitya Parishad (Bengal Literary Council). In 1339 he became a member of the executive committee of the Parishad; and in 1341 he became its life member. Later he held important positions of the Parishad, such as: Librarian (1340-41, 1352-55), Assistant Editor (1341-42), Editor of the periodical of the Parishad (1345-46) and Secretary of the Parishad (1347-51, 1356-59).

Meanwhile, he discovered the entire archive of the Bangla newspaper sumachar darpun (Mirror of News) and huge treasure of other periodicals from the library of Xhobhabazar Rajbari. The importance of these periodicals knows no bounds in understanding the literature, society, culture and history of the nineteenth century. On the basis of the information he received from these periodicals, Brajendra Nath wrote Sangbadpatrer Shekaler Katha (Stories of the Newspapers of the Past, 3 vols, 1339, 1340, 1342), Bangio Natyaxalar Itihas (History of the Bengal Theatre, 1342), Bangla Samoyik Patra (Bangla Periodicals, 1346), Bangla Samoyik Sahitya: 1818-67 (Bangla Periodical Literature: 1818-67, 1351), Samoyikpatra Sompadane Banganari (Bangali Women in Editing Periodicals, 1357).

Many books of the nineteenth century had become rare in the twentieth century. Many books had become difficult to obtain at all. In such a context, he edited a book entitled Dushprapya Granthamala (Rare Books, 1343-1346) in eleven volumes. Through his efforts and initiatives, the publication department of the Bangio Sahitya Parishad reshuffled its work plan and undertook decision to re-publish the writings of Bangla literary luminaries. By editing Mrittuvjoy-Granthabali (1346-B.S.), he initiated its new trend. Later, with Sajani Kanta Das, he edited the following works: Vidyasagar-Granthabali (Works of Vidyasagar, 3 vols. 1344-1346), Bankim-Rachanabali (Collected Words of Bankim, 9 vols. 1345-1350), Madhusudan Granthabali (2 vols. 1347-1348), Bharatchandra Granthabali (2 vols. 1349-1350), Dinbandhu-Granthabali (Works of Dinbandhu, 2 vols. 1350-1351), Ram Mohun-Granthabali (Works of Ram Mohun, 2 vols. 1351-1352), Dwijendralal-Granthabali (Works of Dwijendralal, 1353), Ramendra-Rachanabali (Collected Works of Ramendra, 5 vols. 1356-1357), Balendra-Granthabali (Works of Balendra, 1359), etc. As result, the source of the permanent income of the Bangio Sahitya Parishad was widened. Hence provident fund and puja bonus system for the works of the Parishad were introduced.

Another literary achievement of Brajendra Nath Bandhopadhaya is the regular publication of 'Sahitya-Sadhok-Charitamala' (biographies of the literary devotees) through the Bangio Sahitya Parishad. In this series of biographies, he himself wrote 95 biographies (1346-1358), these are treated as important document in the study of the life of the lover of the Bengali literature and the Bengali life literature.'

Brajendra Nath Bandhopadhaya's role in bringing changes in the shape and in the smooth running of the Bangio Sahitya Parishad is worth remembering. Equally, the Bangla and English books written and edited by him will remain highly valuable as research materials. Some features of his books and essays are: richness of new discoveries and documentaries, impassioned and hyperbole-free lucid language, and unbiased search for truth. He drew our attention by throwing new light in the Bangali literary practitioners, Bangla literature, society and periodicals of the nineteenth century. And this expanded the horizon of knowledge of nineteenth-century Bengali society and history.

He was given awards at different times for his research works. In 1928, the Calcutta Historical Society selected him as an Honorary Member; in 1937 the Bangio Sahitya Parishad awarded him with Rampran Gold Medal; and in 1951-52 the government of the West Bengal honoured him with Rabindra Memorial Award. In 1953, he obtained the Akshay Kumar Boral Silver Medal from the Bangio Sahitya Parishad. He died on 3 October 1952. [Muhammad Saiful Islam]