Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (27 June 1838 – 8 April 1894), an Indian novelist, poet and journalist.
He was born on 27 June 1838, in West Bengal, India. After studying at Hooghly Mohsin College, he joined the Presidency College, and graduated in 1859 with a degree in arts. Later, he joined the Kolkata University and earned a law degree in 1869.
He joined the SES. In 1858, he became a Deputy Magistrate of Jessore. When the services merged in 1863, he became a Deputy Magistrate and Deputy Collector, and retired in 1891. He also got the title Rai Bahadur in 1891.
Ishwar Chandra Gupta’s Sangbad Prabhakar published Chattopadhyay’s first story. He started his career as a poet then turned to fiction. Initially, he wrote a Bengali novel. His first published fiction was Rajmohan’s Wife, in English.
His first Bengali novel, Durgeshnandini, was published in 1865 — the first ever in Bengali. Kapalkundala was also one of his earliest major works in Bengali. After that, he wrote many stories and novels. Among his works are Mrinalini, Vishabriksha, Indira, Chandrasekhar, Rajani, Anandamatha and Sitaram. Anandamatha is about sanyasis fighting against the British. This novel often refers to Vande Mataram.
He personified India as a Mother Goddess called Bharat Mata, drawing on the Shakti traditions of the Bengali Hindus.
For contributions to Bengali fiction, the Bankim Memorial Award is the highest honor given by the Government of West Bengal.
He died on 8 April 1894, in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
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