Felix Raj The Statesman Oct 03, 2005
Brahmabandhav was a fiery patriot from an early age. He had joined the Brahma Samaj influenced by Keshabchandra Sen and went to Sind to preach his new faith. In Sind he met Reverend Kalicharan Bandyopadhyay who inspired his conversion to Christianity. On 26 February 1891, Brahmabandhav was baptised by Mr Heaton, a clergyman of the Church of England. But soon, as a protest against the British Raj, he decided not to attend the Church services.
Influenced by Swami Vivekananda, Brahmabandhav retraced his steps back to Hinduism. To propagate Vedanta in the West and to enlist the sympathies of European savants in his cause, he travelled to Europe in 1902. He gave a series of lectures on Hinduism with a view to winning the authorities of the Church over to his side. He wanted to make Europe pay homage to Hindu thought.
Christian and Hindu, holy man and savant, prophet and revolutionary, Brahmabandhav Upadhyay was a paradoxical figure who played a key role in the struggle for India’s independence, alongside Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Aurobindo Ghose and others. His fiery convictions and passionate rhetoric won him many admirers and branded him a dangerous revolutionary in the eyes of the British colonial establishment. He was an ardent nationalist, who died while under arrest — he had been arrested for alleged seditious activities — on 27 October, 1907. The author is professor of economics, vice principal, St. Xavier’s College and director, Goethals Indian Library and Research Society, Kolkata