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Tagore, Dwijendranath


Tagore, Dwijendranath (1840-1926) poet, philosopher, mathematician, developer of Bangla shorthand and swaralipi (musical notations), painter and patriot, was born in the tagore family of Jorasanko in Kolkata on 11 March 1840. He was the son of Maharshi debendranath tagore and Sarada Devi and was the elder brother of rabindranath tagore. His pseudonym was 'Banger Rabga Darshak' (humorous spectator of Banga) and 'Desher Byathar Byathi' (sympathiser of the soil).

Dwijendranath completed his primary education at home. He then studied at St Paul's School for two years and at hindu college for some time. He continued to pursue knowledge on his own throughout his life. Known as 'Bara Babu' (the elder one) to his family, he was an absent minded character right from his boyhood. He had a passion for Bangla language and literature. He was also adept in sanskrit. He was able to do a poetic rendition of Meghdut into Bangla at the tender age of 20.

As a poet Dwijendranath established a special place for himself. Svapnaprayan, a book of verse written in 1875, has earned him a permanent niche in bangla literature. So far as language, rhyme and style are concerned, Svapnaprayan combines the ideals of Bodhendubikash (1863) by ishwar chandra gupta and Saradamabgal (1870) by biharilal chakravarty. In 1920, he brought out yet another book of verse titled Kavyamala.

Dwijendranath has the distinction of being the first to introduce the swaralipi (notation) in Bangla and Rekhaksar Varnamala, a book on shorthand (1912). He also studied Bangla grammar. Inspired by his love of his country, he organised hindu mela (1867) and was its secretary during 1870-73. He was involved with organisations such as Bidvajjan-Samagam (1874), Saraswata Samaj (1882), Bharatvarsiya Bijnan Sabha, National Society, Bengal Theosophical Society, vangiya sahitya parishad, Bangiya Sahitya Sammelan etc.

Dwijendranath was made a distinguished member of the Vangiya Sahitya Parishad in 1894 and elected its president, for three consecutive terms (1897-1900). He also became president (1913) of the Bangiya Sahitya Sammelan (Bengal Literary Conference) and secretary (1866-71) of the Adi Brahma Samaj. He edited the magazine bharati for seven years from 1887 and the tattvabodhini patrika for 25 years from 1884. He was the founder of the weekly Hitabadi (1891).

Thereafter, Dwijendranath devoted himself to the study of ancient Indian philosophy and sociology. He has some valuable writings on these subjects. He tried to disprove Shankara's Advaitavad (monotheism) in his philosophical writings. Following his father's ideals, he wrote about the meditative Brahmavad (theory of Brahma). In his sociological writings Dwijendranath discussed, after meticulous observation, the significance of the conflict between the ideals of the East and West. In this respect there is a similarity between him and Bankimchandra.

Dwijendranath was also a gifted painter. In addition, he wrote a number of books on mathematics, philosophy, literature etc. Notable of them are Bhratrbhab (1863), Tattvabidya (4 vols, 1866-69), Sonar Kathi Rupar Kathi (1885), Sonay Sohaga (1885), Aryami ebang Sahebiana (1890), Samajik Roger Kaviraji Chikitsa (1891), Advaitamater Samalochana (1896), Brahmajvan O Brahmasadhana (1900), Banger Rabgabhumi (1907), Haramanir Anvesan (1908), Gitapather Bhumika (1915), Prabandhamala (1920) etc. He also published a few books in English, such as Boxometry (1913), Ontology (1871) etc. In addition, he published a notable book in English on geometry, in which he rejected 12 old axioms and replaced them by 12 new ones invented by him.

Dwijendranath received wide appreciation for his composition of a few brahma sangit and patriotic songs. One popular patriotic song he composed for the Hindu Mela is: 'Malin mukhachandrama Bharat tomari' (pale is your face, o India). He published innumerable writings in different magazines such as Jvanabkur, Pratibimva, Tattvobodhini, Bharati, sadhana, new look bangadarshan, manasi, sahitya parisad patrika, Xantiniketan, Budhbar, Shreyasi, prabasi, sabujpatra, Suprabhat, etc. After the death of his father (1905), he began to live in santiniketan and died there on 19 January 1926. [Dulal Sarker]