Upendranath Banerji

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(Peter Heehs:) “Scores of young men, many of them still in their teens, wandered in from the districts and found their way to the Jugantar office. One of them was Upendranath Bannerjee of Chandernagore. After passing his F. A. examination and winning a gold medal in French, Upen became a medical student and then a sannyasin. Two years in a Himalayan ashram were enough for him however and he came back to Bengal and found work as a schoolteacher. Then in a copy of Bande Mataram he read Pal's demand for “absolute autonomy free from British control”. Electrified, he rushed to Calcutta and volunteered his services.
         ... Upen became one of Jugantar's principal writers, sharing the responsibility with Debavrata and Barin. ”[1]

(T. Kodandarama Rao:) “Barindra, the younger brother of Sri Aurobindo, was a great revolutionary who was sentenced to transportation for life in the Alipore Bomb Case in 1908 along with others and he went to serve his sentence in the Andamans. After the termination of the First World War, as a result of the royal amnesty, he was released in 1919 along with Upendranath Banerji, Hrishikesh Kanjilal and others. So these three persons came to stay with Sri Aurobindo in 1921. Barindra lived in one of the ground floor rooms in the Master's house and Upendra and Hrishikesh lived in the rented guest house. Both Barindra and Upendra were great humorists, talented journalists and story writers like Moni.”[2]

(T. Kodandarama Rao:) “Upendranath Banerji had the highest regard for the Master, but he was a rationalist and political revolutionary and an unbeliever in supernatural or superconscious phenomena. He often joked and made fun of Supermind and its descent and was sceptical about the dawn of the New Era as visioned by the Master. When once I told him of the visions seen by me with eyes open and closed, he pooh-poohed me and since then I ceased to talk to him about them. He attended the evening sittings before the Master only to talk about politics and somehow convert Sri Aurobindo to his views and lead him into the political arena. But the Master was too astute and elusive a personality to be hoodwinked by such persons. All the same, the Master had a soft corner in his heart for everyone, and condescended to come down to our level and be compassionate to all that came into contact with him.”[3]

  1. Peter Heehs, The Bomb in Bengal: The Rise of Revolutionary Terrorism in India 1900-1910, p.97, “Tribulations and Trials”
  2. T. Kodandarama Rao, “At the Feet of the Master: Reminiscences”, p.21
  3. Ibid., p.23

See also