Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm – A refreshing classic

Novel: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Author: Kate Douglas Wiggins

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggins: Rebecca’s gaiety, kindness is her biggest quality that has won the heart of million readers for several generations and I am one of them. I appreciate the characters, beautiful scenery of Riverboro and the tactfulness of Kate Douglas Wiggin’s writing style which instantly connects the reader with the book in the first page itself. What I liked most about this novel is its sincerity, simplicity without any excessive melodrama.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm is a simple story of an ordinary, happy go lucky girl for whom her dreams are everything. The opening scene of the novel begins with Rebecca moving to her aunt’s house on stage coach for further education. Due to growing debts and miserable poverty, Rebecca’s mother is unable to up bring her children with all the necessities and so that’s why Aunt Miranda takes the responsibility of giving Rebecca a sound education. On her journey to Aunt’s house from Sunnybrook, Rebecca discovers a new friend in Jeremiah Cobb, the stagecoach carrier. As Rebecca reaches the house, she is given a very cold welcome by her aunt Miranda and is further taunted many times. On one hand Rebecca faces the humiliation but on the other hand she gets a great support from her elderly friend Jeremiah Cobb who motivates her to stay back and pursue her dreams. Rebecca endures every humiliation with courage and continues to become a bright, intelligent student of the school as her only goal is to make her mother proud. Does Rebecca succeed in pursuing her dreams? What is the reason behind Miranda’s resentment towards Rebecca? What setbacks does Rebecca have to face? Does Rebecca succeeds in winning the heart of her aunt?  Come, accompany with Rebecca in her journey and pursuit to achieve her dreams no matter how worse the adversities may be.

Though I don’t read feminine novels, but reading Rebecca was an enlightening experience worth the price. After Little Women, Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm is other novel which I adore a lot and have read several times. Hope someday a motion picture on Rebecca will be made with a powerful star cast like Emma Roberts playing the role of Rebecca, Meryl Streep as Aunt Miranda and Robin Williams as Jeremiah Cobb. If you love this book, you will also like other novels like Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Emma by Jane Austen and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. These are the books you would love to treasure forever.

Thoroughly enjoyable, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is highly recommended.

Thanks
Prashant Badiger

Surya Sen – The Chittagong Hero

Surya Sen – The Chittagong Hero
(March 22 1894- January 12 1934)
Birth Place: Naopara, Chittagong

On January 12, 1934, British officials entered the cell of their captured revolutionary and brutally tortured him by breaking all his teeth, limbs and joints with hammer. The torture was so cruel and painful that the revolutionary couldn’t even scream. The revolutionary was hanged unconsciously and later his dead body was put in a metallic cage and was thrown into sea. What was such fear in minds of British that they had to brutally hang the revolutionary? This revolutionary was none other than Surya Sen, the valiant Bengali revolutionary who shook the British Empire by simultaneously attacking British cantonment, European club, Telegraph office, railway line and armory in Chittagong. Through this revolt, Surya Sen had created a strong awakening in minds of Indians to lift up weapons against the tyrant British supremacy.

The martyrdom of Bagha Jatin & Khudiram Bose had inspired several bengali youngsters to plunge themselves in the freedom struggle and Surya Sen was one of them. Surya Sen’s only dream was to make his nation free from the grip of British and his first initiative was to attack the British resources and make Chittagong Independent. A teacher by profession, Surya Sen was fondly known as Masterda (teacher brother) who inspired and motivated students by narrating the stories of famous revolutionaries like Khudiram Bose. He participated in all the freedom movements and activities of Indian National Congress and highly admired the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. But his dreams were short lived. The violent Chauri Chaura Incident not only hurt Gandhiji, but also compelled him to withdraw the non co-operation movement. With the coming times, Surya Sen realized that revolutionary action is only the way to resist the British force. Such was his fervour for freedom struggle that he even sacrificed his marital happiness for cause of independence. Very less is written about the personal life of Surya Sen. His wife Pushpa Kuntala couldn’t bear his separation and breathed her last in a very young age. It is been said that Surya Sen preserved the belongings of his late wife and remembered her often. It is very sad to know that despite making so much painful sacrifices, Surya Sen never got the due and familiarity he deserved for.

The initiative and action plan of Surya Sen was supported by his fellow members and colleagues- Ganesh Ghosh, Ambika Chakravarti, Anant Singh, Lokenath Bal, Nirmal Sen and prominent women revolutionaries like Kalpana Dutta and Pritilata Waddedar. With help of bunch of teenagers, Surya Sen devised a strategy to raid the British armoury, cantonment, telegraph office, railway line and European club on the same day – 18 April 1930 and free their homeland Chittagong from British Empire .Though the raid was successful, the revolutionaries later realized that there were weapons, but no ammunition. Collecting the minimum weapons, Surya Sen and his team confronted the British army and managed to hoist the Indian Flag in police armoury. After the raid, Surya Sen and his group marched to Jalalabad Hills where they again had to face the bullets fired by the British Army. Several teenage revolutionaries lost their lives in the encounter and Tegra, the younger brother of Lokenath Bal was one of them. Later a revolutionary among the group of Surya Sen betrayed him by giving clues and information about their activities to the British. Slowly all the members were captured or killed in the encounter planned by the British. Even Pritilata Waddedar sacrificed her life during the attack on Pahartali European Club.

Pictures from Amar Chitra Katha’s comics on Surya Sen

Capture and Death Sentence: Even though Surya Sen managed to escape from the eye of British, he was fatally captured on February 1933 in Gairala Village.  The death sentence to Surya Sen completely shattered the dreams of his members who had cherished a dream to free motherland from clutches of foreign supremacy. Surya Sen was hanged along with another patriot Tarakeshwar Dastidar on January 12, 1934. These were the last words Surya Sen addressed to his friends through a letter –

“Death is knocking at my door. My mind is flying away towards infinity … this is the moment to myself to embrace death as the dearest of friends. In this happy, sacred and crucial moment, what am I leaving for you all? Only one thing, my dream, a golden dream, the dream of a Free India. Dear friends, march ahead; never retrace your step. Days of servitude are receding. Freedom’s illuminating ray is visible over there. Arise and never give way to despair. Success is sure to come.”

Though his efforts didn’t succeed, his dream to free India finally came true on 15th August 1947. It is very sad to know that the effort of the Chittagong martyrs hasn’t been told to young generation in detail.

Statue of Great revolutionary and martyr – Surya Sen

Literary  Adaptations: The Chittagong armoury raid was been retold into a novel called – Do or Die : The Chittagong Uprising, written by Manini Chatterjee.  Even India Book House published a graphical story book on life, struggle and martyrdom of Surya Sen.

Front cover of Amar Chitra Katha issue on Surya Sen

Recently a Hindi motion picture: Khelein Hum jee jaan se, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker was based on Chittagong uprising and how Surya Sen played a pivotal role in attacking the British resources with full might. Even Bedrata Pain’s movie – Chittagong was based on Chittagong armoury raid.

The 2010 periodic thriller by Ashutosh Gowariker was based on Chittagong Uprising

Even the movie ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’ was equally inspiring and retold the legend of Surya Sen whose efforts got dispersed in pages of history. Abhishek Bachchan portrayed the role of Surya Sen with perfection and showcased the patriotic emotions with finesse. Manoj Bajpayee’s performance as Surya Sen in 2012 movie ‘Chittagong’ made ‘Masterda’ was more believable and inspiring. Though Bollywood has come up with movies on Chittagong Uprising, a full fledged biopic on ‘Masterda’ Surya Sen is yet to be made.

Through this blog post, I have taken a small, humble effort to inform you about the martyrdom of a brave son of motherland who sacrificed everything for sake of our nation’s independence. I am looking forward to write more blog posts on revolutionaries like Khudiram Bose, Veena Das, Jatin Das, Sukhdev, Babu Ghenu and make their efforts informed to the world. Hope you support me in this initiative by reading these blog posts and convey your suggestions.

Vande Mataram
Prashant Badiger

An Episode from life of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa

The young generation of India is so highly influenced by westernised culture that they have hardly any time to pay respect to their teachers, parents and elders. Through this short story I want to emphasize on greatness of our Indian spiritualism, culture and tradition that will remain firm in our minds for endless decades. This inspirational episode highlights the last days of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, his devotion to god and his dedication to imbibe the moral ethics, culture and spiritualism in minds of students studying in his ashram. There was such divine charm in his spiritual teachings that it attracted several students to attend his discourse on Hindu puranas and epics. The ashram of Ramakrishna was marked by arrival of a young, charismatic disciple named Narendranath who was keen to enquire about the existence of God by teachings of Ramakrishna. In a few days, the disciple became the favourite of Ramakrishna through his dedication, commitment and his unconditional urge to serve mankind.

Even though Sri Ramakrishna was suffering from throat infection, he never cared for his health and continued to teach his disciples. The condition of Paramhansa became so worse that he faced severe throat pain even while taking his meals and had to undergo medication. Sri Ramakrishna was diagnosed with throat cancer and the Doctor had advised that the people serving Ramakrishna Paramhansa should take special precautions. With a fear of getting contracted from the disease, not a single disciple took the initiative and effort to serve their guru. But Narendranath continued to serve his guru with his fullest dedication and care day and night. Day by day, Ramakrishna’s condition worsened to such an extent that blood oozed continuously out of his throat and Narendranath used to collect the blood from the throat in a vessel and clean it with fresh water. Even in these worse circumstances, not a single disciple came forward to support the disciple in serving Ramakrishna. This young disciple later came to be known as Swami Vivekananda who carried the spiritual legacy started by his guru and represented India at Parliament of the World’s religion event held in Chicago. What a great disciple of a great guru! Even though Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Swami Vivekananda are no more, they are still alive inspiring and motivating the masses through their teachings.