Chittaranjan Das

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Chittaranjan Das
Chittaranjan Das.JPG
Chittaranjan Das
Born (1870-11-05)5 November 1870
Died 16 June 1925(1925-06-16) (aged 55)
Nationality Indian
Ethnicity Bengali people
Occupation Lawyer
Known for Major figure in the Indian independence movement
Title Deshbandhu ("Friend of the nation")
Political party
Indian National Congress
Movement Anushilan Samiti
Indian Independence movement
Religion Hinduism[citation needed]
Parents Bhuban Mohan Das

Chittaranjan Das About this sound pronunciation  (C. R. Das) (Bengali: চিত্তরঞ্জন দাস Chittorônjon Dash) (popularly called Deshbandhu "Friend of the country") (5 November 1870 – 16 June 1925) was an Indian politician and leader of the Swaraj (Independence) Party in Bengal under British rule.

Personal life[edit]

He belonged to the famous Das family of Telirbagh (Vaidya-Brahmin), in Bikrampur, Dhaka (now in Bangladesh). He was the son of Bhuban Mohan Das, and nephew of the Brahmo social reformer Durga Mohan Das. Some of his cousins were Satish Ranjan Das, Sudhi Ranjan Das, Sarala Roy and Lady Abala Bose. His eldest grandson was Siddhartha Shankar Ray and his granddaughter is Justice Manjula Bose.

Career[edit]

Educated in England, where he became a Barrister, his public career began in 1909 when he successfully defended Aurobindo Ghosh on charges of involvement in the previous year's Alipore bomb case.

He was a leading figure in Bengal during the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1919-1922, and initiated the ban on British clothes, setting an example by burning his own European clothes and wearing Khadi clothes.

He brought out a newspaper called Forward and later changed its name to Liberty to fight the British Raj. When the Calcutta Corporation was formed, he became its first Mayor. He resigned his presidency of the Indian National Congress at the Gaya session after losing a motion on "No Council Entry" to Gandhi's faction. He then founded the Swaraj Party, with veteran Motilal Nehru and young Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, to express his immoderate opinions .

He was a believer of non-violence and constitutional methods for the realisation of national independence, and advocated Hindu-Muslim unity, cooperation and communal harmony and championed the cause of national education. His legacy was carried forward by his disciples, and notably by Subhas Chandra Bose.

He is generally referred to by the honorific Desh Bandhu meaning "brother of the nation."

In 1925, Das's health began to fail and in May he withdrew to a mountain home in Darjeeling, where Mahatma Gandhi visited him. On 16 June 1925, with a severe fever, he died.

The funeral procession in Calcutta was led by Gandhi, who said:

Deshbandhu was one of the greatest of men... He dreamed... and talked of freedom of India and of nothing else... His heart knew no difference between Hindus and Mussalmans and I should like to tell Englishmen, too, that he bore no ill-will to them.[1]


He married Basanti Devi (1879- 1974)and had three children, Aparna Devi (1898- 1972), Chiraranjan Das (1899- 1928) and Kalyani Devi (1902- 1983). Basnati Devi also plunged into the freedom movement and was the first woman to court arrest with her sister-in-law Urmila Devi in Non Cooperation movement in 1921. Her warmth and affection for everyone was legendary and she held the position of a matriarch in the freedom fighters fraternity. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose used to regard her as 'Ma'.

Legacy and commemoration[edit]

A few years before his death Das gifted his house and the adjoining lands to the nation to be used for the betterment of the lives of women. Today it is a huge hospital called Chittaranjan Seva Sadan and has gone from being a women's hospital to one where all specialties are present. The Chittaranjan Cancer Hospital which was established in these premises in 1950 is now the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute.[2]

Chittaranjan Park is a locality adjoining Greater Kailash II in South Delhi, which houses many Bengalis who fled to India during partition

His name (and his nickname as samiran), is commemorated by the names of the following places and institutions: Chittaranjan Avenue, Chittaranjan College, Chittaranjan High School, Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Chittaranjan Park, Chittaranjan Station, Deshbandhu College for Girls, and the Deshbandhu Mahavidyalaya.

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