Other States

BJP to celebrate Bankim Chandra

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. Photo: Wikimedia Commons  

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in West Bengal will celebrate Bengali author Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, who wrote the national song Vande Mataram, rather than Rabindranath Tagore. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said there is nothing new about Tagore to celebrate.

“There is nothing new to celebrate about Rabindranath Tagore. Everything has been said and done and he is revered. We will rather celebrate the achievements of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay as he is not properly recognised in Bengal,” Mr. Ghosh told The Hindu on Sunday.

The key reason for not engaging with Bengal’s favourite bard is however different. The Trinamool Congress has been over celebrating Tagore over the last years, he pointed out.

“The Trinamool has been able to get involved in a big way in celebrating Tagore’s works. The ruling party is even utilising government funds to celebrate the birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore,” said Mr. Ghosh. On the other hand, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s contribution to the “rise of Indian nationalism and the freedom struggle is hardly celebrated in Bengal”, he said. In fact, the BJP will hold a conference on Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay during national president Amit Shah’s Bengal visit later this month. Mr. Shah will be visiting Bengal on June 27 and 28, and he will visit Purulia district where two BJP workers died recently.

The 19th century author’s novel Anandamath — which was set in the background of the Sanyashi Bidroho (rebellion of monks in late 18th century) — is considered to be one of key works on Bengal’s nationalism.

Tagore and Hindutva

Asked if ideological difference is the reason behind the State BJP’s decision to not celebrate Tagore, Mr. Ghosh clarified that Tagore also spoke positively of Hindutva.

“Tagore also spoke of Hindutva and explained its meaning. He also said that Muslims and Christians of the country were originally Hindus who later changed their faith,” said Mr. Ghosh.

A senior State BJP leader admitted that “Mamata Banerjee has found a successful way to reach out to people by celebrating Tagore. But Trinamool has largely ignored Bankim Chandra. We want to fill up that gap.”

Moreover, “our Intellectual Cell has not been very active of late. Celebration of Bankim Chandra’s works will give fresh oxygen to the Cell’s effort to garner support of the civil society,” the BJP leader said.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 10:01:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-to-celebrate-bankim-chandra/article24130412.ece

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