Jatindramohan Tagore

16 May 1831
10 Jan 1908
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Maharaja Bahadur Sir Jatindramohan Tagore KCSI (Bengali: যতীন্দ্রমোহন ঠাকুর) (16 May 1831 – 10 January 1908), was a theatre enthusiast, art-lover, and philanthropist.

The son of Hara Kumar Tagore (1798 – 1858) and grandson of Gopi Mohan Tagore, one of the founders of Hindu College, he belonged to the Pathuriaghata branch of the Tagore family. On completing his studies at Hindu College, he studied English and Sanskrit at home.His father, Hara Kumar Tagore, was learned in the Hindu scriptures, Sanskrit and English. He had compiled critically admired books and assisted Radhakanta Deb (1783 – 1867) in compiling Sabdakalpadrum.

When Gnanendramohan Tagore, son of his uncle, Prasanna Coomar Tagore, converted to Christianity in 1851 and was deprived of inheritance for that reason, he inherited the vast property of his uncle.

The first house, on the land where Tagore Castle now stands on at 26 Prasanna Kumar Tagore Street in Pathuriaghata, was built by Kali Kumar Tagore. It was a simple three-storey structure. Kali Kumar had given the house to his younger brother Prasanna Coomar. Jatindra Mohan Tagore inherited the property from Prasanna Coomar. In 1895, Jatindra Mohan demolished the old building and started construction of a new building. The plan for the building was prepared by Macintosh Burn and Company from England. It had a 100 feet high centre tower, inspired by the Windsor castle, a flag staff, and a clock imported from England. The building had large rooms as in the castles of England. There was an auditorium on the second floor, meant mainly for the staging of plays. In 1954, S.B. House and Land Pvt. Ltd. of Haridas Mundhra took over the building and has altered most of it to beyond recognition.

Jatindra Mohan Tagore and his brother Shourendra Mohan Tagore, both theatre enthusiasts, started the Banga Natylalay in Pathuriaghata. His plays were reviewed by contemporary newspapers such as Hindu Patriot which flourished under Harish Chandra Mukherjee, and Dwarkanath Vidyabhusan’s Somprakash. The first play to be staged at Banga Natyalaya was Kalidas’ Mālavikāgnimitram in Sanskrit, in July 1859. A year later, a Bengali translation of Pandit Ramnarayan Tarkaratna’s play was staged.Even prior to the Banga Natyalaya, plays were staged at their house in Pathuriaghata from time to time. He inspired Michael Madhusudan Dutta to compose Tilottamasambhav Kabya and paid the expenses for the printing it.

Jatindramohan was drawn towards music. Under his patronage Kshetramohan Goswami was the first in India to experiment with orchestra or group music. It was a path-breaking achievement in a country with the tradition of solo music and was an attempt at fusion of western music with Indian traditions.

He was one of the influential art patrons of the day, featuring both as a donor and a purchaser of European paintings at Exhibitions. India’s first ever ‘Surbahar’ concert was featured in his court.

The famous ‘Nulo Gopal’ who was also one of the first guru’s of sarode maestro Ustad Allauddin Khan resided in his court.

A man of varied tastes, he donated extensively for public causes. He spent unhesitatingly for the rehabilitation of widows. In 1870, he was appointed a member of the Legislative Council of Bengal, and was reappointed in 1872. In February 1877, he was appointed a member of the Legislative Council of the Viceroy, being reappointed in 1879.

He was secretary and president of British Indian Association, member of the Viceroy’s council, Education Commission, Calcutta University, and Indian Museum. He had a museum in Tagore Castle.

He wrote extensively in English, Bengali and Sanskrit.

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