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The Seer of Bharatiya Awakening: Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay

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Item Code: HAX209
Author: Prashant Barthwal
Publisher: Indus Scrolls Press, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9789390981618
Pages: 325
Other Details 8.5x5.5 inch
Weight 324 gm
Book Description
About The Book

The book, The Seer of Bharatiya Awakening: Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, is the outcome of a modest attempt to critically analyze the body of work of one of the most important personalities of the Bharatiya Freedom Movement, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, and assess its impact on the national psyche. In all his writings, Bankim's refrain was nation. Bankim, whose works inspired legions of revolutionaries and freedom fighters, not only gave Bharat its national song but also a new dimension to the conception of the nation-Bharat Mata.

About the Author

Dr Prashant Barthwal teaches Political Science in University of Delhi. He has published numerous research papers in leading journals on Indology, South Asian Studies, and Subaltern Studies. He has also written columns in leading newspapers. Presently, he is working on different aspects of Indological studies and other significant areas.


This work is the result of a modest effort to revive the distinctive genre of Indological historiography in Bengali literature by tracing the development of nationalism historically, particularly in the 19th century. The main goal of this study is to trace the evolution and literary development of Bengali history in the years leading up to independence. To consider various yet potential components of literature is the goal of this study. Because of its inherent ability to interact with social context and societal norms, literature gradually plays a crucial role in establishing and representing an identity. It is a common misconception that non-European nations were colonized by Europeans and their literature. However, it is crucial to note the distinctive and typical storytelling techniques used by indigenous writers to adapt the approaches and techniques that address the needs of many others who were their target audience. Although I refer to it as Eurocentric, I only consider it to be the source where historicism themes present the West as the history. Neither the available conceptions nor the nationalist rhetoric broke away from Eurocentric discourses.

However, this study emphasized the critical significance of 'Rai Bahadur' Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's (also known as Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay) fiction, mostly religious and socio-political, in determining ordinary national identities at a particular juncture in Bengal's colonial history. Textual analysis becomes a concern when the narrative mode is a factor. An analysis is rigorously based on historical research in one sense and a study of historical fiction in another.


Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay is the 'Rishi' of the National Renaissance who, through his legendary works, rekindled the spirit of Rashtratva, or the swatva of Bharat. His works and the national song, Vande Mataram (Bande Mataram), had a magical and dramatic impact on the nation's psyche. Vande Mataram triggered a surge of patriotism in Bharat, which was reeling under the morass of despair and servitude. It unfolded before the Rashtra a vision-a powerful vision of hope and purpose- which continues to inspire its citizens to work for the ultimate glory of Bharat.

To understand 'Rashtra Rishi' Bankim's work and contribution, one must be aware of the concept of Rashtra. Although often used interchangeably, the term Rashtra cannot be translated as Nation. Rashtra is a Dharmic, cultural, and spiritual concept rather than a mere mundane political one. The etymology of Rashtra itself proves this claim. Rashtra etymologically means 'an instrument to attain enlightenment, and it is time-bound and people-bound forever.

All his works-he wrote 14 novels and many other works in Bengali, some of which are considered classics of Bengali literature-were a celebration of different dimensions of our national selfhood. As Aurobindo rightly puts it, Bankim 'was a seer and nation-builder'. All his works and the context in which they were set drive home a deeper message. Bankim believed that Bharat could only rise by realizing its true self.

As Swami Vivekananda puts it, "Each nation, beyond a general humanity, develops a certain peculiarity of character.


Political debates in the modern world tend to center on issues of nation and ethnicity. Nationalism has been a difficult topic in socio-political circles ever since the French proclaimed themselves 'la grande nation' in the 1790s. Nations and nationalism still matter in the modern world, despite the effects of globalization and the abundance of programming geared towards a post- national society. Instead, it has been the main cause of political unrest and criminality throughout the world.

A 'nation' is a collection of people bound together by a common oath of allegiance. It assumes a number of objective requirements, including a common language, a shared ancestral background, a homogeneous society, and a well-defined geographic area. Society was not as divided as it is now before the development of nationalism. Geographical lines were neither secure nor rigorous. The absence of defensive tariff barriers or preventative immigration regulations allowed for global trade and population flows. There was no Roman nationalism or any other kind of nationalism even in the Holy Roman Empire, which included many different language and cultural civilizations. The meanings of 'nationalism' as defined by various nations are quite complicated. While some nations saw nationalism as a means of creating independent states or freeing themselves from outside influence, others saw it as a cover for invasion and hegemony. It was used to justify a number of horrible crimes, including organized fanaticism- based violence, ethnic cleansing, forcible assimilation, and genocide.

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