Anandmath is an extraordinary political novel. The plot, which its epical dimensions, is based on the sanyasi rebellion in Bengali in the late 18th century. The sanyasis fought the British against all odds, whom they regarded as an arch enemy of the country, and responsible for the terrible famine of 1772.
In this novel Bankim also wrote Bande Mataram-Hail Motherland- and gave India its first national song, which later became a rallying call of the national freedom movement.
It is legend in the tradition of the Mahabharata, where dialogue is a important as the story.
Mulk Raj Anand
Bankim Chandra Chatterji was a supreme artist, a consummate story-teller
it is indeed the most peculiar of all works of Bankim, yet in no other work of his is Bankim so closely identified.
Sisir Kumar DasTagore Professor of Bengali literature, University of Delhi
First attempt at India's own historical novel
E.B. Cowell A Renowed Bankim Scholar
About the Author
Bankim Chandra Chatterji has been perhaps the most creative genius of Bengali literature. He is credited to have done for Bengali fiction what Michael Madhusudan dutt did for Bengali poetry; he brought in imagination. He broke the dry monotony of Bengali prose, pruned its ponderous verbosity and gave it a twist of informality and intimacy. Beginning his literary career as a writer of verse, he soon realized that poetry was not his métier and turned to fiction.
His first work of fiction was Rajmohan's Wife. It was probably an English translation of his unpublished Bengali novelette. Durgeshnandini (Daughter of the Feudal Lord) his first Bengali romance, published in 1865, was set against historical background, Kapalkundala is one of the best romances written by Chatterji. Mrinalini (1869) indicates an unexpected amateurishness and a clear falling off from the standard. In Krishnakanter Will, Chatterji added a great amount of feeling to imagination, and as a result it approaches nearest to the western novel.
The only novel of Bankim Chandra that can claim full recognition as historical fiction imbued with the spirit of nationalism and selfless patriotism is Anandamath. It is a political novel with a plot that definitely marks Chatterji's power as a novelist. It gave tremendous impetus to the various religious, patriotic and national activities beginning with Hindu Missionary activity and culminating in terrorist movement in Bengal in the first decade of the 20th century.
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