A forgotten prophet Ashish Alexander Brahmabandhab Upadhyay I N the sixtieth year of Independence, the nation looks forward to build on the struggles and sacrifices of freedom fighters, social reformers and entrepreneurs. It is also the time to reflect on the lives and thoughts of those revolutionaries whose names are not so readily remembered. Year marks the death centenary of Bengali firebrand reformer, educationist, theologian, journalist, teacher and revolutionary Brahmabandhab Upadhyay. The man has fallen into oblivion though once the force of his personality was felt and acknowledged by the stalwarts of Bengali renaissance such as Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Keshabchandra Sen and Aurobindo Ghosh.
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His grand father was known to have married fifty six wives. His father, Debi Charan Bandyopadhyay was a police officer of the British regime. Debicharan had three sons. The eldest was Hari Charan, who became a doctor in Calcutta, the second was Parbati Charan who practiced as a pleader, and the third was Bhavani Charan.
Bhavani Charan lost his mother Radha Kumari when he was only one year of age and was raised by one of his grand mothers. Bhavani Charan was hailed from a religious Hindu Brahmin family.
At 13 he had undergone the Upanayana ceremony, the investiture of the sacred thread necessary to mark the coming of age of a Brahmin boy. While he was in the college, he was inclined to Brahmoism, under the influence of Keshub Chandra Sen and Debendranath Tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore. In he adopted Brahmoism and became a preacher. He went to Hyderabad town of the province of Sindh presently in Pakistan as a school teacher of a Brahmo school.
On February he was baptized a Christian by the Reverend Heaton of Bishop's college,  an Anglican clergyman, and six months later, conditionally, in the Catholic Church of Karachi. It was a remarkable journey in his life exploring the theological beliefs and ideologies which did not end there being converted to Catholicism, though, during this phase he was successful to attract a large number of educated Bengali Hindu youth to be converted to Christianity. In January , Bhrahmabandhab started editing "Sophia", an apologetical journal, in Karachi.
There he established Kanthalik Math, a hermitage for the converts. He also initiated the Concord Club, and initiated a religious journal titled Concord. Within a short distance was Bethune Row, where he had established his office to run his weekly magazine "Sophia". He published a series of articles through which he defended the catholic church and its manifestations. Brahmabandhab claimed himself to be called as a Hindu Catholic , and wore saffron clothes, walked barefoot and used to wear an ebony cross around his neck.
We are Hindus so far as our physical and mental constitution is concerned, but in regard to our immortal souls we are Catholic. We are Hindu Catholic. Brahmabandhab envisioned as indigenous church in India embracing fundamental manifestation of Indian living. He is identified as one of the first Christians propagating Sannyasi life style in Ashram.
Brahmabandhab toured England and Europe during The Archbishop of Calcutta gave him a recommendation: "By means of this statement we declare Brahmabandhav Theophilus Upadhyay, a Calcutta Brahmin, to be a Catholic of sound morals, burning with zeal for the conversion of his compatriots. In course of time Brahmabandhab's attachment to Hinduism became evident.
During August , two months before his untimely death, he declared to undergo prayashchittya expression of reparation in Hindu custom through a public ceremony for the purpose of readmission in the Hindu society Samaj , completing a full circle in his religious voyage throughout his life.
While Bramhabandhab was in Brahmosamaj, he initiated a boys' school in Sindh in the year He brought out a monthly journal titled The Twentieth Century in association with Nagendranath Gupta Brahmabandhab and his disciple Animananda started a school in Kolkata in Aim of the school was to teach and propagate the Vedic and Vedantic ideas of life along with modern education among the elite class of the society.
Rabindranath tagore was very much attracted to this idea of reviving the old Indian ideal of paedagogy, and offered them to shift their school to Santiniketan in his father's estate. During to Brahmabandhab toured Europe. When he came back, he saw Bengal as a hot seat of political activities, and he too fervently plunged into the political doldrums. He was gradually coming to the conclusion that before India could become Catholic, she must be politically free.
His journal "Sofia" soon became the strongest critique of the British imperialism. When he was in the high school, Bhavani Charan became inclined towards the Indian nationalist movement for freedom, and during his college education, he plunged into the freedom movement. His biographer, Julius Lipner , says that Brahmabandhab "made a significant contribution to the shaping of the new India whose identity began to emerge from the first half of the nineteenth century".
According to Lipner, "Vivekananda lit the sacrificial flame or revolution, Brahmabandhab in fuelling it, safeguarded and fanned the sacrifice.
Brahmabandhab Upadhyay acted as editor of Sandhya , till the last day of his life. After the movement of partition of Bengal in , there was a boost in nationalist ideologies and several publications took active and fierce role in propagating them, including Sandhya. In March , Sandhya elaborated its motto as, "If death comes in the striving, the death will be converted to immortality.
And here whenever a feringhi is seen the boys throw a brickbat at him. And thrashing of European soldiers are continuing Mother's son do not tarry, but to get ready; go about from village to village and prepare the Indians for death. I had never been at any one's beck and call. I obeyed none. At the fag end of my old age they will send me to jail for law's sake, and I will work for nothing.
I won't go to jail, I have been called. On 10 September , Bramhabandhab was arrested and prosecuted on a charge of sedition. His articles were found to be inflammatory.
Bramhabandhab refused to defend himself in the court, and on 23 September a statement was submitted through his counsel to the court, Barrister Chittaranjan Das : . I accept the entire responsibility of the publication, management and conduct of the newspaper Sandhya and I say that I am the writer of the article, Ekhan theke gechi premer dai which appeared in the Sandhya on the 13th August , being one of the articles forming the subject matter of this prosecution.
But I do not want to take part in the trial, because I do not believe that, in carrying out my humble share of the God appointed mission of Swaraj, I am in any way accountable to the alien people, who happen to rule over us and whose interest is, and necessarily be, in the way of our true national development. During the trial Brahmabandhab reported pain his abdomen and was admitted to the Campbell Hospital of Calcutta. A detailed account of the last moments of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay and the funeral procession to the cremation ground can be found in Animananda, The Blade  p.
The news of his death spread fast and crowds began to gather at the Campbell Hospital. Due to the increasing number of people and mounting excitement, hospital authorities decided to remove the body from the hospital premises. Upadhyay's body was carried from the hospital and was placed on the roadside under a tree while further preparations were made. His friends and relatives carried the body in a flower decked bier towards the Sandhya office, occasionally stopping on the way.
Nearly five thousand people had gathered when the funeral process started from the Sandhya office at around 4 p. The procession, chanting bande mataram, proceeded to the cremation ground. When the body reached cremation ground, patriotic songs were sung and a number of poignant speeches were made. Since Upadhyay had no offspring, the funeral pyre was lit by his nephew, following Hindu custom.
Songs continued to be sung and people came up to the pyre to pay homage till well into the night. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Brahmabandhav Upadhyay. Khanyan, Bengal , British India. Calcutta , Bengal, British India. Aleaz, K. De Smet, Richard. Ivo Coelho. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, Nayak, Biren Kumar. Lipner, Julius. Gispert-Sauch, G. Lipner, Julius J. Fernando, Leonard. Joy Kaipan.
Bangalore: Kristu Jyoti Publications, Raj, Felix. Bagal, Jogescandra. Brahmabandhab Upadhyay. Calcutta: Bangiya Sahitya Parisat, Debsarma, Bolai. Calcutta: Prabartak Publishers, Guha, Manoranjan.
Siksa Niketan, Bardhaman, Lavaranne, C. Universite de Provence, Mukhopadhyay, Uma. India's Fight for Freedom or the Swadeshi Movement — Calcutta, Painadath, Sebastian and Jacob Parappally, eds. Bangalore: Asia Trading Corporation, Augustine and Brahmabandhab Upadhyay. Boston University, Spendlove, Gregory Blake. Deerfield: Trinity International University, Tennent, Timothy C.
Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya Born Bhabanicharan Bandyopadhyaya in Khanyan, Hugli, Brahmabandhab was a fiery patriot from an early age. Under the influence of Keshabchandra Sen he joined the Brahma Samaj and went to Sind to preach his new faith. Influenced by Swami Vivekananda, he retraced his steps back to Hinduism and in took the name Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya.
Among the pioneers of Indian Christian theology, Brahmabandhab Upadhyay is a towering figure. He was a Brahmin convert at the turn of last century who dreamt of a truly Indian Church freed from the remnants of colonialism, drawing on the Vedanta and other areas of Indian religious thought. He was a pioneer in journalism, education, inculturation and the ashram movement. Precisely this year marks the centenary of the publication of his most enduring gift to Indian theology and to the Indian Church, the "Canticle to the Trinity", as he called it, the Vande Saccidanandam, a gem of Christian hymnology which became the property of all Christians in India specially when it was so beautifully sung in the presence of Pope Paul VI during the International Eucharistic Congress of Bombay in