Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

French biography of Sri Aurobindo by Prithwin Mukherjee

18th May, 2008 Dear Readers, NRI's are working silently to uphold the image of the nation worldwide in their own quiet way. They have helped spread Indian culture and introduced to the common westener the concept of Indianness. As part of their quest for survival they have overcome obstacles, befriended the common man in the west, adapted and improvised their way of living and thinking. Today if many a common westener knows about India and its people and its culture it is only because each Indian living abroad is doing his / her bit in their own silent way. We present one such Indian from Paris, France shri Shri Prithwin Mukherjee, the grandson of one of the greatest revolutionaries of Indian Independence movement Shri Bagha Jatin or Jatindra Nath Mukherjee (1879-1915). Please visit this link to read the article. Regards, The Undercurrent Team

My father Tejendra Nath Mukherjee (1909-1989) was the eldest son of the revolutionary leader Bagha Jatin or Jatindra Nath Mukherjee (1879-1915)...Soon, fed up with the erratic Mahatma, Tejendra met Subhas Chandra Bose who held my grandfather in a great esteem. Towards the end of his life, Tejendra was heard regretting the behaviour of the Congress leaders which threw away Netaji out of his orbit, preventing him from serving the Nation with a positive programme. After Netaji’s departure, during the War, Tejendra turned to Sri Aurobindo : considering Bagha Jatin to have been his friend and trusted right-hand man, Sri Aurobindo had kept an eye on the becoming of this family; his sister Sarojini was a good friend of Vinodebala, and they met often.

Having consulted Sri Aurobindo, Tejendra stood by the side of Dr Syamaprasad Mookerji, under the direct leadership of Ashutosh Lahiri, another disciple of Bagha Jatin. Tejendra founded the Sanatana Dharma Parishad and re-issued the militant organ Sarathi, to look after the fate of the Hindus under the Muslim league Government in Bengal. One day, desirous to have Sri Aurobindo’s guidance, Dr Mookerji sent a word through Surendra Mohan Ghose. The Master from Pondicherry replied : “Had Jatin Mukherjee been there, he would have accomplished the needful, before coming to tell me : Look here, Aurobindo, this is what I could do!” In 1951, Dr Mookerji went to Pondicherry and received the Mother’s guidance...

Making use of our parents’ second visit to Pondicherry, we three brothers accompanied them in August 1948. Finding there the Home of our soul, we approached the Mother and received her permission to become inmates of the Ashram. She entrusted Tejendra with the creative task of teen-agers’ artistic blossoming. Side by side, he kept himself busy with several activities: in spite of a difficult soil, he got choice plants sent from Mihijam and grew roses very much liked by the Mother; he helped his Marxist friend Pramode Sen to turn to Sri Aurobindo and convert his organ, Shrinvantu, into a mouthpiece of Pondicherry; I remember Shri Eknath Ranade coming to see my father several times with his project for the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. Conscientious subscriber to The Indian Express, Tejendra was happy when I took to contribute in its supplement, the Sunday Standard.

Seven years after settling at Pondicherry, in 1955, before completing my studies in history, philosophy, languages and musicology, I started teaching at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education and composing for the Ashram band pieces based on Ragas, with harmony and counter-point. At the same time I began publishing. Before I was twenty, anthologies and manuals of the Sahitya Akademi mentioned me as a promising poet. I was the first to introduce in India through my writings, lectures and translations important French writers like Albert Camus, Rene Char, St-John Perse. Since my coming to France, I have translated volumes of Bengali literature for the Unesco and other publishing concerns. Nobody in French has written as much on Tagore as I have done. In fact, nobody has ever published as much in French as in Bengali, as I have done : it is worth citing in books of records. My French anthology of one thousand years of Bengali poetry has been well appreciated, as much as my works on the 9th century Charyapada and the Baul songs. These corpora are directly influenced by the sahaj yana school of spiritual and philosophic practice.

It was also in 1955 that I started my research on Bagha Jatin. Having corresponded with and met people who knew him, I consulted under the guidance of Bhupendra Kumar Datta archives in Calcutta and New Delhi, having access to microfilms with the Indo-German Plot (freshly received from the USA). In 1966, with a French Government scholarship I came to Paris and had ample time to go to major European archives. This all led me to complete my Thesis in French for State Doctorate (PhD), supervised by the world-famous historian Raymond Aron at the University of Paris IV. Aron considered this thesis – Intellectual Roots of India’s Freedom Movement (1893-1918) – to bring a missing link in the understanding of contemporary History. He sensed that having caught a glimpse of Truth in History, I was determined to reveal it by all means. He helped me as much as he could. In 1981, with his backing, I obtained a Fulbright scholarship and went to the US archives, coast to coast.

As a patriot, I had never thought that I could stay abroad for such a length of time (more than forty years). But, had I remained home (or if I went elsewhere in the world), no university would grant me the facility of writing such a thesis... The Governor of West Bengal has honoured me with the annual Sri Aurobindo Award, recognising my contribution in the understanding of the Master’s vision of the Future. My French biography of Sri Aurobindo ordered by a famous publishing house, had been a much expected work in France.

To download the compilation by shri Prithwin Mukherjee on the life and times of one of the great revolutionaries of India Shri BAGHA JATIN QILLA click here.

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