Surendranath Banerjea was the President of the Indian National Congress twice, in 1895 and 1902. He was largely responsible in canalizing the energy of the youth of Bengal to the service of the Motherland. He founded the Indian Association on July 26, 1876, which he wanted to be the center of an all-India political movement. He was the editor of a paper called “Bengalee” from 1878 and wrote with fervor and without fear on the subject of national interest with emphasis on freedom, unity and culture.Surendranath Banerjea was a member of the Calcutta Corporation (1876-99) and a member of the Indian Legislative Council. He was an ardent advocate of social reform including widow remarriage and the raising of the age of marriage of girls.
Born on November 19, 1848, Surendranath Banerjea had his early education in Calcutta. He appeared for the Indian Civil Service Examination in London and started his career in 1871 as an Assistant Magistrate. He had to leave the service on his dismissal on a flimsy charge. He went back to England and prepared himself for his future career as a national leader. He was a gifted orator and writer.Returning to India in June, 1875 Surendranath started his career as a Professor in English. Later, he started a college called Ripon College, now named after him. “He took full advantage of his teaching profession to make the Indian students inspired with a new patriotic spirit.”
Surendranath Banerjea passed away in 1925.