Described as “one of the mightiest prophets of nationalism,” Bipin Chandra Pal was associated with India’s political history during its phase of the struggle for freedom with Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai. The trio was termed the “extremists” as they stood for the ideal of Swaraj or complete political freedom to be achieved through courage, self-help and self-sacrifice
Teacher, journalist, writer and librarian, Bipin Chandra Pal started as a supporter of Brahmo Samaj, turned to Vedanta and ended up as an upholder of the Vaishnava philosophy of Sri Chaitanya.
He was ardent social reformer-he married a widow of a higher caste twice in his life and gave his powerful support to the Age of Consent Bill of 1891. He wrote a series of studies on the makers of modern India such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Keshab Chandra Sen, Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, Rabindranath Tagore, Ashutosh Mukerjee and Annie Besant. He preached a “composite patriotism” that implied a universal outlook.
“Paridarsak” (1886-Bengali weekly), “New India: (1902-English weekly) and “Bande Mataram” (1906-Bengali daily) are some of the journals started by him.
Born on November 7, 1858, in a village in Sylhet (now Banglagdesh), of well-to-do parents, Pal had to cut short his education at the Intermediate stage. He came under the influence of eminent Bengali leaders of his time such as Keshab Chandra Sen and Pandit Sivanath Sastri. He was imprisoned for six months on the grounds of his refusal to give evidence against Sri Aurobindo in the Bande Mataram sedition case. He visited England (three times) and America.
Pal opposed Gandhiji’s non-cooperation Movement of 1920. The first Congress session he attended was in 1886 as a delegate from Sylhet.
Pal virtually retired from politics from 1920 though he expressed his views on national questions till his death on May 20, 1932.