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Bratachari Movement


Bratachari Movement (from vrata, vow) a movement for spiritual and social improvement initiated by gurusaday dutt in 1932.The movement aimed at creating a sense of universalality as well as national awareness among people, irrespective of caste, religion, sex and age. The movement aimed to nurturing the mind and the body and to encourage people to work for national and individual improvement through encouraging traditional and folk culture, especially folk dance and folk song. The Bangla Bratachari Samiti, set up by Gurusaday, helped to spread the ideology of the movement to Europe.

The bratacharis, or followers of the movement, pledged themselves to build their moral fibre and serve the country on the five principles of knowledge: labour, truth, unity and joy. They also undertook to perform good deeds and strengthen fellowship and to develop the mind and body through dance. Each bratachari had to take the following oath:

brata laye sadhaba mora bangladesher kaj

tarunatar sajib dhara anbo jiban-majh

chai amader shakta deha, mukta udar man,

ritimato palbo mora moder pratipan.

(We vow to serve the cause of the land of Bengal;

We'll bring the vivacity of youth back to life;

We'll build our bodies, open our minds;

We'll stick to our pledges till we die.)

There were three other pledges a bratachari had to make:

ami banglake bhalobasi;

ami banglar seba karbo;

ami banglar bratachari habo.

(I will love Bengal;

I will serve Bengal;

I will be a bratachari of Bengal.)

Bratachari societies were established in many places of undivided Bengal; especially noteworthy were the Hooghli District Bratachari Samiti and Kalighat High English School Bratachari Sangha (Calcutta) in west bengal. There were also a South India Bratachari Society and a Sarbabharatiya Bratachari Samaj (All-India Bratachari Society).

There were also a number of societies set up in East Bengal, among which the most famous was the Faridpur Bratachari Samiti. Other societies in the region were Comilla Bratachari Samiti, Madaripur High English Bratachari Sangha, Pangsha Bratachari Sangha, Khulna District Bratachari, Dhaka District Bratachari, Gopalganj Mathuralay High English School Bratachari Sangha, Shibchar Nandakumar High English School Bratachari Sangha, Mymensingh District Bratachari Upasana Shibir, Sirajganj Subdivision Bratachari etc. The members of the societies took part in workshops and had to prove their standard through examinations.

A monthly newsletter called Bratachari Barta was published from the Faridpur Bratachari Samiti from November 1934. This was the only magazine on the Bratachari movement. The associate editor of the magazine was Khan Sahib Daliluddin Ahmad. The bratachari movement faded out shortly after the death of Gurusaday Dutt in 1941. [Sambaru Chandra Mohanta]