Chittaranjan Das

Bengali politician, poet and author and leader of the Bengali Swaraj Party (1870-1925)

Chittaranjan Das (5 November 187016 June 1925), popularly called Deshbandhu (Friend of the Nation), was an Indian freedom fighter, political activist and lawyer during the Indian independence movement and founder-leader of the Swaraj Party (Independence party) in Bengal during the period of British colonial rule in India.

Chittaranjan Das

Quotes edit

  • In my whole legal career I have not met worse types of criminals than in politics.
    • Chittaranjan Das, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [1]

1917 edit

  • We cannot forget that we live and have been living for many years in the midst of an empire. We cannot forget that the different provinces of India are gradually coming closer to one another and a new nationality which comprises not only the different provinces but the whole of India is growing up in our midst and we cannot forget that our interests, even our selfish interests, our hopes, our ambitions are indissolubly connected with the interest of the empire.
    • Speech delivered at Dhaka on 11th October 1917. Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu (with Bengali title but text in Bengali and English) edited by Manindra Dutta and Haradhan Dutta, Tuli Kalam, Kolkata. No copyright.
  • In the days of Ram Mohan Roy when English education was introduced in this country, the Mahomedans did not accept it… They did not accept English education and at the same time they were divorced from the culture which their fathers had advanced. The result was that whereas the Hindus got on in life, got into government employment, got many things which people value in life, the Mahomedans were left without it and gradually there came to be a sort of estrangement between the two nationalities at the time of the Swadeshi movement.
    • Speech delivered at Barisal on 14th October 1917. Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.
  • Each province has got a speciality of its own, I admit, but over and above that, all these different provinces are bound together in one common culture… If the whole of the Hindu races are bond up in that way you must also realise that the whole of the Mahomedan races all over India are also similarly bound up together and we must not forget that the two great cultures must meet together, and the result will be a great culture which is not purely Hindu, not purely Mahomedan but something which is made up of the contact of these two great races. And that is the ideal of Indian Nationality which must be preserved and developed to the fullest extent.
    • Speech delivered at Barisal on 14th October 1917. Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.

1918 edit

  • Gentlemen, when I consider the objections put forward to the grant of self-government I can hardly keep my patience. What is it that they say? They say that we are not educated enough to get self-government. My answer is: whose fault is it? For the last 150 years you have been governing this country and yet you have not succeeded in educating the people of this country to such an extent that they may be fit for governing themselves.
    • Speech delivered on 18th March 1918, at Rammurti’s pavilion at a meeting held to support the deputation to England. Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.

1921 edit

  • Swaraj means that we must live within ourselves, we must be self-contained. I tell you we are great slaves to-day. Our economic slavery is greater than our political slavery… From Manchester comes 60 crores rupees worth of cloth every year. You will not have to pay these 60 crores rupees which go out of India. If a householder works by Charkha for one o two hours a day at the end of the year he will find himself with all the necessaries of his family.
    • Address delivered on 11th February 1921 at a meeting held in Maulana Mazhar-ul-Haq’s compound at Patna. Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.
  • We stand then for freedom, because we claim the right to develop our own individuality and evolve our own destiny along our own lines, unembarrassed by what Western civilisation has to teach us and unhampered by the institutions which the West has imposed.
    • Undelivered presidential address for the session of Indian Congress held at Ahmedabad in December 1921. Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.

Legal edit

  • If it is suggested that I preached the idea of freedom for my country and this is against the law, I plead guilty to the charge. If that is the law here I say I have done that and I request you to convict me, but do not impute to me crimes I am not guilty of, deeds against which my whole nature revolts and which, having regard to my mental capacity, is something which could never have been perpetrated by me. If it is an offence to preach the ideal of freedom, I admit having done it. I have never disputed it. It is for this I have given up all the prospects of my life. It is for this that I came to Calcutta, to live for it and labour for it. It has been the one thought of my waking hours, the dream of my sleep. If that is my offence, there is no necessity of bringing witness to bring into the box to dispose different things in connection with that. Here am I and I admit it… If that is my fault you can chain me, imprison me, but you will never get out of me a denial of that charge.
    • Speech in defence of Aurobindo Ghosh in the Maincktala Bomb Case. The judgement was issued in 1909. Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.

Note: This is not an original quote of C R Das. It is actually part of a letter of Sri Aurobindo that C R DAs was reading out while defending him in the Alipore Bomb Trial

  • I appeal to you, therefore, that a man like this stands not only before the bar of this court, but stands before the bar of the high court of History… Long after this controversy is hushed in silence, long after this turmoil and this agitation ceases, long after he is dead and gone, he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity. Long after he is dead and gone his words will be echoed and re-echoed not only in India but across distant seas and lands.
    • Speech in defence of Aurobindo Ghosh in the Maincktala Bomb Case. The judgement was issued in 1909. Quoted by Dr. Nitish Sengupta in his “History of the Bengali-speaking People.”

About others edit

  • About Raja Rammohun Roy: There is no doubt that he was the first who held before us the ideal of freedom. He was the first to sound the note of freedom in every department of life and in every different culture that has met to-day in India. It may be that we have to modify that, it may we have to analyse that more carefully and more in details for the purpose of scientific study but it is enough for our purpose to say that he inaugurated many reforms – you might call that reforming activity. He inaugurated the reforms which again, in turn, gave rise to reaction which, again, gave rise to further reforms which made the nation turn on itself, till at last, it began to be self-conscious.
    • Speech delivered at Barisal on 14th October 1917. Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.

  • About Swami Vivekanada: I am not saying that the message of the Swami was the final word in our nationalism… But it was tremendous – something with an undying glory of its own. If you read his books, if you read his lectures, you are struck at once with his love of humanity, his patriotism, not abstract patriotism which came to us from Europe but of different nature altogether a more living thing, something which we feel within ourselves when we read his writings.
    • Speech delivered at Barisal on 14th October 1917. Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.

  • About Mahatma Gandhi: Great in taking decisions, great in executing them, Mahatma Gandhi was incomparably great in the last stand which he made on behalf of his country. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest men the world has ever seen. The world hath need of him, and if he is mocked and jeered at by “the people of importance,” “the people with a stake in this country,” – the Scribes and Pharisees of the days of Christ – he will be gratefully remembered, now and always, by a nation which he led from victory to victory.
    • Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.

About Chittaranjan Das edit

  • Subhas Chandra Bose : Against the dawn of 1921, there now stood not merely a whole time politician but an emancipated soul – a soul reborn. Inspired by a taste of that fullness of life which brings man nearer to divinity and consciousness of a higher duty to his nation and to humanity, he plunged into the thick of the political strife. His complete renunciation in the cause of the nation roused the affection and gratitude of his countrymen who spontaneously conferred on him the title of ‘Deshbandhu’ or ‘friend of the country’.
    • Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.

  • Sarojini Naidu : Kingly was Deshbandhu Das in every impulse and gesture of his life, royal alike in the splendour of his bounty and the splendour of his renunciation. As the idol of the nation he served with unsurpassing devotion. To the generations of tomorrow, he will grow into a radiant figure of historic legend and romance, a vital portion of epic beauty and grandeur of their spiritual heritage.
    • Source: Collected Works of Deshbandhu.
  • Chittaranjan Das, whose life is a landmark in the history of India's struggle for freedom, was endearingly called 'Deshbandhu' (Friend of the country).
    • M. K. Singh - Encyclopaedia of Indian War of Independence 1857-1947, Vol. 13. Gandhi Era, Mahatma Gandhi and National Movement
  • Deshbandhu Chitta Ranjan Das passed away on June 16, 1925 at Darjeeling at the age of 55. His body was brought down from Darjeeling to Calcutta by train, and a procession, over two miles long and consisting of more than 300,000 men and women with Mahatma Gandhi at their head, followed his body to the cremation ground. In is conception of self-Government he was ahead of his time and regarded it as freedom and well-being, not only for the privileged few, but for the toiling masses of India.
    • M. K. Singh - Encyclopaedia of Indian War of Independence 1857-1947, Vol. 13. Gandhi Era, Mahatma Gandhi and National Movement

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