The present volume is a collection of some very stimulating papers on the contributions of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in the various fields of Indian life and culture. The papers were delivered by eminent scholars from the humanities as well as from science in a seminar organised by the Asiatic Society of Calcutta to commemorate the death anniversary of Bankimchandra in 1994. The inaugural address to the seminar was given by the Honourable K. V. Raghunatha Reddy, the then Governor of West Bengal. His short address is a brilliant resume of the achievements of Bankimchandra.
Each of the fourteen papers delivered in the seminar threw in some way or other new light on the different aspects of Bankimchandra's genius. His attitude towards the muslim community, his ideas and their impact on his creative activities, his deep and critical stories in contemporary western thinkers and ancient Indian culture, particularly the epics and the Sanskrit literature in general, his rationalist-humanist approach towards everything he saw around him in the colonial situation, his studied analysis of the socio-religious conditions and his delightful historical novels which turned out to be specimens of the earliest and the most finished fictional form of Indian literature art the issues which have been sincerely dealt with by the scholars. Moreover, Bankimchandra's impact on the creative activities in other Indian languages, particularly, Hindi and Oriya, his own attitude towards his contemporary fiction-writers and, above all, his amazing interest in the different branches of science: Anthropology, Astronomy etc., and his eagerness for disseminating scientific knowledge through mother tongue are the issues which have been dealt with by the scholars with all the niceties necessary for them.
I earnestly hope the collected papers will go a long way towards a fresher approach to the future study of the myriad-minded genius of Bankimchandra.
10 March, 2000
Ujjal Kumar Majumdar
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