Barindra Kumar Ghosh was an Indian revolutionary freedom fighter and a journalist. He was the founding member of ‘Jugantar,’ a Bengali weekly, which was later transformed into a revolutionary group to fight against the British rule in India. Sri Aurobindo was his elder brother who was a great Indian philosopher, yoga guru, maharishi, poet, and Indian nationalist.
Barindra Kumar Ghosh was born on Sunday, 5 January 1880 (age 79 years; at the time of death) in Upper Norwood, London, England. His zodiac sich was Capricorn. He received his initial school education from a local school in Deoghar, a city in Jharkhand. In 1901, he joined Patna College.
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Dr Krishnadhan Ghosh, and he was a physician and surgeon. His mother’s name is Swarnalata. He had three brothers and a sister. He was the youngest among the five siblings. In total, his parents had five sons and a daughter. One of his brothers died in childhood.
(Background, from left) Benoybhushan (12 years old), Dr K.D. Ghose (35 years old), Manmohan (10 years old) Foreground (from left) Sarojini (3 years old), Swarnalata (27 years old), Aurobindo (7 years old)
The name of his eldest brother is Benoy Bhushan. The name of his second elder brother is Manmohan Ghose, and he was an Indian poet.
Barindra Kumar Ghosh’s brother Manmohan Ghosh
His third elder brother was Sri Aurobindo, and he was a great Indian philosopher, yoga guru, maharishi, poet, and nationalist.
Barindra Kumar Ghosh’s brother Sri Aurobindo
He had a sister named Sarojini Ghosh.
Wife & Children
He got married to Sailaja Dutta (a widow of a respectable family) in 1933.
The ancestors of Barindra Kumar Ghosh were from the Konnagar village in the Hooghly District of West Bengal. He was the maternal grandson of Indian social reformer ‘Rajnarayan Basu.’ Basu was a follower of the Brahmo religion. His mother was suffering from mental illness since 1873. His father, Dr Krishnadhan Ghosh, decided to move to England along with his family at the end of 1878 to give his children a European upbringing and mental treatment to his pregnant wife. Soon, Dr Krishnadhan Ghosh sailed with his pregnant wife, three sons, and a daughter, and they landed in England in January 1879. According to some media sources,
He had brought his sons to England because he wanted them to “receive an entirely European upbringing.” He left his sons with an English clergyman and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Drewett in Manchester and then his wife — in the care of a London physician, Dr. Mathew.”
In 1880, Dr Krishnadhan Ghosh left his wife and children in England and came back to India to join his service again. But, in the same year, Swarnalata, Barindra Kumar Ghosh’s mother, along with her daughter Sarojini and newborn Barindra Kumar Ghosh, came back to India. Swarnalata was not mentally stable and Dr Ghosh decided not to live with her anymore. He left her and started living alone in Khulna city in Bangladesh. By 1880, Swarnalata became totally insane, and by that time, she was living with Barindra Kumar and her daughter, Sarojini in the Rohini village in Bengal. For ten years, Barindra Kumar lived with his insane mother. His childhood was not easy. His possessed mother used to tie him to the bed at night. She also used to thrash his sister Sarojini during the fit attacks. Dr Ghosh took possession of Sarojini from her mother, but Swarnalata denied the possession of Barindra Kumar Ghosh. Later, his father managed to steal him from Swarnalata and took the children to Calcutta, and he kept the two children under the care of a woman whom they used to call Ranga Ma. The lonely, Dr Ghosh started drinking alcohol a lot. In 1893, Dr Ghosh died, and his two children were taken away by their maternal uncle ‘Jogindranath’ to Deoghar from Ranga Ma. At Deoghar, Barindra Nath received his school education. One of his school teachers ‘Sakharam Ganesh Deuskar’ was a great patriot, who influenced him towards patriotism. Later, Barindra Nath was introduced to his brothers Sri Aurobindo and Manmohan Ghosh by his maternal uncle. His brothers were then returned from England. Sri Aurobindo often came to Deoghar in the Puja holidays. Aurobindo was a Cambridge educated, and a grown-up Barindra Kumar who loved to interact with his brother was attracted towards Aurobindo’s revolutionary ideas against the British rule in India. Barindra Kumar Ghosh got admission to Patna College in 1901, where his second elder brother Manmohan Ghosh was working as a professor of English. Manmohan Ghosh was also a great poet and English literary scholar. He used to teach at Dhaka University too. Barindra Kumar Ghosh stayed with his three brothers for some period of time. Once, he opened a tea stall opposite Patna college to earn some income and named it,
B. Ghose’s Tea Stall – Half anna cup, rich in cream.”
Barindra Ghosh was earning good income from the tea stall, but a sudden breakout of the plague led him to close his business in Patna. Soon, he started living with his brother Sri Aurobindo in South India. There, he read and wrote poetry books and enjoyed playing the esraj. He also enjoyed gardening and bird-hunting in his leisure time. At Sri Aurobindo’s place, the history books Barindra Kumat enjoyed reading were Burke’s French Revolution, Ranade’s Rise of the Maratha Power, and William Digby’s ‘Prosperous’ British India. While his stay in Bombay, he used to sit and chat with his Maharashtrian friends who were involved in secret revolutionary freedom fighting activities against the British rule in India.
In 1902, he came back to Kolkata and started forming revolutionary groups with his companion Jatindranath Banerjee. He formed his own publishing house and Bengali weekly named ‘Jugantar’ in 1906. Jugantar was a part of Anushilan Samiti, which was trying to form an army of revolutionaries against the British empire in India. Barindra Kumar Ghosh and Jatindranath Mukherjee were given the responsibility to recruit new people in the Jugantar organisation. Another group, ‘The Maniktala group’ was formed under Anushilan Samiti to manufacture bombs and gather arms in Maniktala, Kolkata for the new revolutionary freedom fighters. Soon after Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki tried to kill British Magistrate Douglas Kingsford on 30 April 1908, the British government strictly tried to arrest the Indian revolutionaries following which Barindra Kumar Ghosh, Aurobindo Ghosh, and their many companions were detained by police on 2 May 1908. Barindra Kumar Ghosh and Ullaskar Datta were given a death sentence. But, later, this sentence was changed from death to life imprisonment. He was arrested in the Alipore Bomb Case. In 1909, he was deported to the Cellular Jail in Andaman along with his companion Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das.
Barindra Kumar Ghosh was released from cellular jail in 1920 when the government pardoned some prisoners under amnesty. Soon, he came back to Kolkata.
Barindra Kumar Ghosh posing as an undertrial prisoner in 1908
After his release, he wrote a book titled ‘The tale of my exile – twelve years in Andamans’ in which he described his jail journey. He started writing books and joined journalism. Later, he quit journalism and started a new ashram in Kolkata. In 1923, he went to Sri Aurobindo’s place in Pondicherry and involved himself in spiritualism. He again returned to Kolkata in 1929 and started journalism. In 1933, he started an English weekly named The Dawn of India. He was also working with the newspaper ‘The Statesman’ at the same time. He was appointed as the editor of the Dainik Basumati in 1950. The books written by him are Dvipantarer Banshi, Pather Ingit, Amar Atmakatha, Agnijug, Rishi Rajnarayan, The Tale of My Exile, and Sri Aurobindo. The other books are ‘Upendra Nath Bandyopadhyaya, Nirbasiter Atmakatha, Calcutta (1945)’ and ‘RC Majumdar, History of the Freedom Movement in India, II, Calcutta (1963).
The cover of the book ‘The Tale of My Exile’ by Barindra Kumar Ghosh
- In Baroda, during his school days, Barindra Kumar Ghosh received formal military training.
- Reportedly, Barindra Kumar Ghosh tried to break the iron rods of his prison when he was detained at the Alipore jail.
- In his book ‘The Tale of my Exile,’ on page number 7, he explained the physical torture faced by the Indian revolutionaries in the Cellular jail. He wrote,
And yet, the sense of wit and humour sometimes burst forth despite the descriptions of inhuman treatment, “What a funny spectacle we must have offered then! A wooden ticket dangling from an iron ring round the neck — just like the bell that is hung on to the neck of a bullock — fetters on the leg…”
He continued writing about the ill-treatment provided by the British authorities, the jailers, supervisors, wardens, and security guards and the food provided to the prisoners was briefly explained by Barindra Kumar. He wrote that “rice, dal and kachu leaf” was the only food that he ate for twelve years. He further explained the mental instability of the prisoners. He stated,
Also the lack of human contact, companionship and conversation reduced some of the prisoners to brutish beasts; some even indulged in sexual perversity while many became mentally unstable.”
He narrated the suicidal tendencies of prisoners in the jail, on page number 131 of the book, which was the last resort for the prisoners to escape from the Cellular jail. He wrote,
It will unhinge any man even in ordinary circumstances, not to speak of a prisoner, to be so hunted and insulted all the 24 hours. It is quite an inevitable eventuality that many should try to find release through suicide. Those only whose hearts have turned to stone can bury their pain and count their days in the hope of a future.”
- Barindra Kumar Ghosh was a follower of Sakaria Swami.