|Described as "one of the
mightiest prophets of nationalism," Bipin Chandra Pal was associated with
India's political history during its phase of the struggle for freedom
with Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai. The trio was termed the "extremists"
as they stood for the ideal of Swaraj or complete political freedom to
be achieved through courage, self-help and self-sacrifice
Teacher, journalist, writer
and librarian, Bipin Chandra Pal started as a supporter of Brahmo Samaj,
turned to Vedanta and ended up as an upholder of the Vaishnava philosophy
of Sri Chaitanya. He was ardent social reformer-he married a widow of a
higher caste twice in his life and gave his powerful support to the Age
of Consent Bill of 1891. He wrote a series of studies on the makers of
modern India such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Keshab Chandra Sen, Sri Aurobindo
Ghosh, Rabindranath Tagore, Ashutosh Mukerjee and Annie Besant. He preached
a "composite patriotism" that implied a universal outlook.
weekly), "New India: (1902-English weekly) and "Bande Mataram" (1906-Bengali
daily) are some of the journals started by him.
Born on November 7, 1858,
in a village in Sylhet (now Banglagdesh), of well-to-do parents, Pal had
to cut short his education at the Intermediate stage. He came under the
influence of eminent Bengali leaders of his time such as Keshab Chandra
Sen and Pandit Sivanath Sastri. He was imprisoned for six months on the
grounds of his refusal to give evidence against Sri Aurobindo in the Bande
Mataram sedition case. He visited England (three times) and America.
Pal opposed Gandhiji's non-cooperation
Movement of 1920. The first Congress session he attended was in 1886 as
a delegate from Sylhet.
Pal virtually retired from
politics from 1920 though he expressed his views on national questions
till his death on May 20, 1932.