If you fall in love with a writer, you will never die

I was searching for a relevant title that would complement my story and this quote was tailor-made for it. A writer never dies; he lives through his words in form of stories and poems. Perhaps this is the only way to become immortal. If someone has really loved you from the depths of heart, the person will live forever through your words. For me, my love is my inspiration, my muse who will go on to live forever, everywhere in the pages of my written materials. In this exclusive article, I am throwing a light on some tragic romances of popular authors who never found the happiness they deserved for. 

Jane Austen & Lefroy – The genre of rom-com begun with Jane Austen’s novels – Pride & Prejudice, Emma and Sense & sensibility. Though Jane Austen succeeded to become a best-selling author of her times, but Jane was deprived of her love in her personal life. The inspiration for ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and the character ‘Darcy’ came to Jane after meeting Thomas Lefroy, a young man aspiring to enter in world of politics and law. Though Lefroy and Jane courted, but the affection was destined for a short span. A certain set of unfavorable circumstances and class differences forced them to separate. At the time of their courtship, Lefroy was a struggling law student and Jane Austen a writer in making. Though Lefroy attempted to wed Jane, he was not in financial position to feed his family. Thus Jane decided to sacrifice her emotions to let Lefroy succeed as a judge.

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Jane Austen later went on to become a popular author and Lefroy a successful judge. Though Jane breathed her last on 18th July 1817, her love ‘Lefroy’ became immortal through the character ‘Mr.Darcy’. To know more untold romance of Jane Austen, do see the 2007 movie – Becoming Jane featuring actress Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen.

John Keating & Fanny – A struggling poet of his own generation, John Keats was leaving no stone unturned to make his mark in world of writings. Though he was an unsuccessful poet, he did find success in winning the heart of Fanny Brawne, a fashionable girl of 19th century. John Keats’ poetries found a place in Fanny’s heart.&nb

Both were diverse in characters. John was an introvert while Fanny was a care-free, tomboy type aristocratic girl who loved flirting. Despite of such diverse natures, they fell in love with each other. But their love was not destined for happiness.

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John’s untimely death due to tuberculosis at tender age of 25 left Fanny depressed. John did live in the letters he specially wrote for Fanny during his last days. Fanny preserved the letters that John had written for her. John’s works never got the deserved recognition while he was alive. Ironically his works got popular posthumously. Though Fanny and John were not destined to stay together for a long span, his emotions for Fanny became immortal through his poem ‘Bright Star’ and his love letters. To know more about their love story, do watch the 2009 romantic Hollywood movie – The Bright Star.

Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan – Charles Dickens’ affair with an actress was the famous infamous episode in his life that was well guarded and hidden from the world. Very little is known about this story which became an inspiration for author Claire Tomalin. The book by Tomalin was titled ‘The Invisible Woman’ which threw a light on the dark phases in life of Dickens. Dickens popularity as author was attracting lot of attention and Nelly Ternan was one of them. The 18 year old actress was attracted to Dickens’ writings, ideas and his persona. 

There was a huge age difference between Dickens and Nelly. Since Dickens’ wife never showed her likings towards literature and writings, Dickens found that admiration in Nelly who had fondness for literature and books. She became his secret mistress. But destiny was never in favor of this love. Nelly got pregnant from Dickens’. But misfortunes were high on their relationship. Nelly’s child died during birth. Since Dickens couldn’t accept their relationship in public, Dickens and Nelly got separated forever.

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Though they were separated, Nelly still loved Dickens and remained his secret mistress till the death of Dickens in 1870. World lost a great figure in literature who introduced the readers to David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. Nelly later got married. But she never let the world know that she was once a mistress of the great Dickens.

Rabindranath Tagore and Kadambari Devi – Even in poems and short stories of Tagore, his sister-in-law ‘Kadambari Devi’ found a great place. Kadambari was the muse of Tagore, an inspiration which took his writings to great heights. But unfortunately after the marriage of Tagore, Kadambari committed suicide in mysterious circumstances. Tagore had lost his inspiration and a soulful companion who was his best friend since their childhood days. The short story ‘Broken nest’ was based on bonding between Tagore and Kadambari Devi. The family and society never approved of affection between Tagore and Kadambari. Though Tagore went on to become a great figure in Bengali literature, but he couldn’t forget Kadambari who motivated him to become a writer.

‘In memories, love lives forever’ – quote

Lefroy, Fanny, Nelly and Kadambari are forgotten. Lefroy became immortal as Darcy in Austen’s novel – Pride and Prejudice. Fanny became a bright star through the poems written by John Keats. Nelly Ternan always loved Dickens till the last breath of her life. Kadambari Devi lived on forever through short stories written by Tagore.

Memories never let the love die. It lives forever somewhere in the page of dusty books once written by a lover to his beloved.

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A smiling welcome

Dejected by past numerous interview failures and discouraging work experiences, I had no expectations with the new job offer I had received after undergoing pain-staking rounds of interview with the HR and the creative director. Since it was my first day, I reached one hour prior to the joining time. Since I was only the new joiner that moment, there was no soul around to talk except the peon who offered a glass of water. As the in time arrived, employees started swiping their cards. I was sitting impatiently for the HR to come so that I could complete my formalities of joining. As the HR arrived, I completed all my joining formalities. I think I had some fault in my stars that very first day. While submitting documents and an exchange of words over rules and regulations I landed up in a light argument with the HR manager. The joining formalities ended on a sour note.

Now it is the turn of the system administrator to arrange a personal desktop for me. Again the waiting rounds started. To my surprise, even my sweet heart never kept me waiting on my date. A little nervousness and anxiety was gripping my mind. I was going to be a corporate slave again with a new ID and mountainous responsibilities. The blood sucking vampire hadn’t still arrived – the creative director of the company. Though he looked frail in physique, he was strong enough to drive anyone to suicide through his negative and interrogative talks.

There was a strange commotion of nervousness happening in my mind till it was disrupted by a question. A girl sitting beside my workplace raised that question. She enquired whether I was the new joinee. I was so engulfed in my own anxiety that I didn’t even notice a person working besides my workplace. I anxiously replied that I was the new employee joining the firm. There was a sweet kindness and positivity in her smile that made me feel at home. Her friendly gesture wiped off all the nervousness which I had accumulated in my mind. I not only felt welcomed by her words, but I also had found a new colleague in her. Though there were other people besides my workplace, no one cared to inquire. Usually for the existing employees, the new employee is like an extra-terrestrial being landed mistakenly on earth.

After the arrival of my team lead, I attended the meeting with my new team mates. Though I was feeling alone for the lunch, the group with whom I had joined the lunch gave me a friendly welcome by sharing their lunch and gulping my lunch bites too  the first day ended on a smiling note. The people had a friendly vibe and that reflected in their kindness. I came back home on a happy note, sharing my first day experience about the person who made me feel happy on my very first day. But in this midst, I forgot to thank the friend who gave me a smiling welcome. I think that person’s presence was a godsend. I really thanked God for it. He is always creating some little miracles, letting me know he is always there for me.

Remembering Kalpana Datta

History text books have always been biased on revolutionaries. Very less was mentioned about the Indian revolutionaries whose martyrdom got hardly any space in hearts of Indians. As students, we mugged the history chapters only to qualify in exams. We read about a revolutionary named ‘Kalpana Datta’ in our history book, but rarely cared to know who she really was. Neither our teachers were interested to explain more about sacrifices of patriots nor were we keen to enquire about it.

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Kalpana Datta was the surviving member of Surya Sen’s group who knew every intimate details of bloody battle of Chittagong Uprising. This great patriot breathed her last on 8th February 1995. Prior to her death, Kalpana Datta had narrated every minute detail of Chittagong Uprising to her daughter-in-law Manini Chatterjee. This narration became an inspiration for Manini to write a non-fiction novel – Do and Die: The Chattagram Uprising (1930-34). This book is not just a reminder of Chittagong Uprising, but also on the struggle of teenagers and their brave leader Surya Sen who single handedly defied the mighty British Empire. Very few comrades survived in this uprising including Kalpana Datta. May be Kalpana survived so that she can re-tell the sacrifice behind the Chittagong revolt.

After qualifying in matriculation exam, Kalpana enrolled at Bethune College for Science stream. Like every patriotic Indian, Kalpana too had a desire to fight for independence. She actively joined Chhatri Sangha, a small revolutionary group which gave her an opportunity to plunge herself in freedom struggle. Here in this group she bonded with Pritilata Waddedar and Bina Das. It was Pritilata who introduced Kalpana to the great freedom of fighter of Chittagong – Surya Sen. Fondly known as ‘Masterda’ , Surya Sen was calm by nature, but had a tactical mind like a spy. Initially Surya Sen was reluctant to accept Kalpana in his group, but Kalpana’s die-hard patriotism impressed him and thus Kalpana became an active member of his group. Her tasks involved transportation of explosive materials and other supplies. She was also expert in making gun cotton.

Photo of young kalpana datta during her college days

Photo of young kalpana datta during her college days

Surya Sen’s strategic attack on British’s armory, telegraph office and railway lines cut off Chittagong from the rest of India. This attack was a blow on the British supremacy. This revolt was popularly known as Chittagong Uprising. But Surya Sen’s army couldn’t face the large battalion of British at Jalalabad hills. Several innocent teenagers were shot down by British soldiers. To avenge the death of Jalalabad encounter, Kalpana Datta and Pritilata were chosen to attack the European Club. But unfortunately before the execution of this action, Kalpana was arrested. Thus Pritilata took the task of attacking the European club which later ended with tragic death of Pritilata. (To avoid being arrested, Pritilata swallowed cyanide).

A rare pic of bengali braveheart Surya Sen

A rare pic of bengali braveheart Surya Sen

The news was a tragic blow for Surya Sen and his group. Kalpana had lost a great friend in Pritilata in whom she confided her feelings. Very less is written about Kalpana’s feelings for her mentor Surya Sen. She had an unspoken soft corner for the widower ‘Masterda’. Though she had expressed her affection to Surya Sen, Surya Sen never approved of her affection. For Surya Sen, his love for nation was greater than any affection. Sadly, there is no mention of this tender story in any article. On 17th February 1933, the hideout of Surya Sen was revealed to British Officials by one of the members in Surya Sen’s group. Though Kalpana and other fellow members managed to escape, but Surya Sen was arrested. Surya Sen was later tortured severely and hanged to death on 12th January 1934.

Arrest and later life – Kalpana was arrested on 19th May 1933 and sentenced to transportation of life. Later Kalpana was released in 1939. She later got married to Puran Chand Joshi, the general secretary of Communist party of India. She was blessed with two sons – Chand Joshi & Suraj Joshi. It was Chand Joshi’s wife Manini who later wrote the novel – Do and Die: Chattagram Uprising. It was Kalpana Datta who provided every intimate detail on the fellow members of Chittagong Uprising and the tragic martyrdom of her members – her dear friend Pritilata Waddedar and Surya Sen, the mastermind of Chittagong revolt. Sadly there is no full-fledged biopic on struggle of Kalpana Datta or any Facebook page dedicated to her patriotic spirit. Recently Amar chitra katha comics had published a 32 page comic on life of surya sen in 2010. Since the comic book was based on surya sen, kalpana datta’s description was very little in the story. I wish someday Amar chitra katha comes with a book on kalpana datta and pritilata.

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India book house published a comic dedicated to surjya sen and chittagong uprising. One can see kalpana datta holding a gun in the picture

Though Kalpana Datta is no more, her valor, indomitable spirit and patriotism is definitely inspiring. The role of Kalpana Datta was portrayed by actress Deepika Padukone in movie – Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey which was based on Chittagong Uprising.

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Deepika padukone as kalpana datta in movie 'khelein hum jee jaan sey' which was based on chittagong uprising

Through this article, I have taken a small, humble effort to tell the untold story of Kalpana Datta who left a remarkable mark with her revolutionary actions. Apart from Kalpana Datta, Subodh Roy (Jhunku) and Binod Bihari Chaudhary were two other surviving comrades who had closely participated in Chittagong armory raid under the leadership of Surya Sen. I will be definitely telling the story of these two comrades in my upcoming blog posts.

Kalpana Datta, Surya Sen and Pritilata Waddedar paid a heavy price for freedom by sacrificing not just their happiness, but also their life. Today the system is ruined by power-hungry politicians, corrupt officials and manipulating businessmen. Is our patriotism just limited to standing up for national anthem in multiplexes? Have we betrayed the sacrifice of Kalpana Datta? Nation really needs die hard patriots like Kalpana Datta, Pritilata and Surya Sen.