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Surendranath Bannerjee Biography

Surendranath Bannerjee is one of the many eminent freedom fighters that Bengal has produced for the Indian freedom movement. He was an academician, a teacher, an able politician and an ardent patriot. His initiatives led to the formation of the Indian National Association. He was a prominent member of the National Congress and also served it as its President.

S.N.Bannerjee was born on 10th November, 1848 in Kolkata, West Bengal. His father was a well-known pysician.After receiving the degree in English literature from Calcutta University, Bannerjee left for England to compete in the Indian Civil Service Examination. Despite an official effort to exclude him, he passed the exam successfully. Bannerjee was appointed as an Assistant Magistrate in Sylhet but was dismissedowing to racial discriminations. He went to London to protest against this and to fight for similar injustices met by his helpless countrymen. During his stay in London, he did intense study of various subjects including the writings of great liberal thinkers of the west.

Bannerjee returned to Calcutta in 1875 and started teaching English Literature at the Metropolitan
Institution. He published an English newspaper called the ‘Bengali’ through which he spread liberal
ideas and nationalistic messages to the people. He founded the Indian National Association in 1876 and later merged the association with the Congress as both had similar principles and objectives. Later he became the President of Congress in 1895 and 1905. Bannerjee led the agitations against the partition of Bengal in 1905 and devoted himself to the Swadeshi movement. People admired
him as the ‘uncrowned king of Bengal’.

Bannerjee was neither an extremist, nor did he support the Gandhian way of non -cooperation. Despite the fact that moderates like him were losing popularity, he supported the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms of 1919, which isolated him further. Bannerjee was defeated in the Legislative Council elections, which he had won previously.

He was knighted in the year 1921 in respect of his services to the government. He passed away on 6th August, 1925. His book ‘Nation in making’ is looked upon as a valuable source of Indian History.