The Unsung Hero: The Tale of Womesh Chandra Banerjee
Womesh Chandra Banerjee, his original name being Umesh Chandra Banerjee, can be doted as one of the pioneers of the Indian political movement when the British Raj was prevalent in the length and breadth of the nation!
Born in an affluent family of Brahmins in Calcutta, Umesh Chandra Banerjee was an educated man who graduated from the famous Middle Temple Law College in London, where he just carried on his family’s legacy at the maximum. While this great man made it huge in the domain of law in his times, while his tenure in London, United Kingdom, he single-handedly helped in the creation and formation of the London Indian Society, which later went on get incorporated into the East India Association. While as a law student, he was pretty much effective in his education, his understanding and patriotism led him to pioneer the pride of India in the foreign nation as well. Such was the greatness of this Indian visionary!
In his time, Umesh Chandra Banerjee was a big name who started as a lawyer in the Calcutta High Court, where he became extremely famous, which made him more successful in his later years. As a patriot, this great Indian personality took over the extremely sensitive case of Surendranath Banerjee at the Calcutta High Court, in which he was the defense lawyer in the year 1883 as well.
Personally, the man Umesh Chandra Banerjee was a liberal and educated one who got married early and settled in Calcutta to serve his nation as a barrister. Being a learned person, Umesh Chandra Banerjee was unorthodox about his perspective towards life in general. He was such a liberal person that he strongly disagreed with the prevalent social customs and the norms of the times and even tried to contradict the same. His religious views were also open, and he believed in humanity more than anything else. While it was when widows and child marriage were some of the societal issues that India was facing, he stood at the forefront, trying his level best to abolish the concept of child marriages and the issues with widows who were not allowed to remarry at that time. He strongly believed that widows should be given the chance and has the right to settle in life again and that child marriage does not do any good to the betterment of society as a whole!
In his political career, Umesh Chandra Banerjee was nowhere short. He was the first President of the Indian National Congress, also known as the INC, founded in 1885 by the educated and elite crowd of India under British rule. While in the initial time of the establishment of the Indian National Congress saw the support of the British government because it was laid by the Indians who were all educated in Britain mostly, where they thought that these foreign return Indians would be happy to work under them when the others were trying to rebel against the British Raj.
While things turned sour for the British administrative people as time passed, the formation of the Indian National Congress led the newly educated Indian middle-class people to take an active part in politics and thus transform the face of the Indian political scenario for the best. Umesh Chandra Banerjee was just a part of the movement, and thankfully he was!
While he was one of the most sought-after lawyers of the Calcutta High Court in his peak time, Umesh Chandra Banerjee took an active interest in politics, leading him to join the Indian National Congress, which he pioneered to a great extent. He was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress for the first time in 1885 and led on to become the President in 1891.
As a patriot and politician, Umesh Chandra Banerjee always believed in the moderate approach where he strongly acted against the British rule concept of suppressing the rights and reasons of the Indian countrymen; he also openly acknowledged the benefits that the Indian people got under foreign rule as well. As a true-blood Indian, Umesh Chandra Banerjee is known to fight with the British government asking for equal rights and facilities in Britain. Apart from all this vision that this man had, he pretty soon understood the power of Western education and the way Indians could benefit from it. Thus, in his political career tenure, he tried his best to bring the impacts of Western education to India for the improvement and betterment of his countrymen too.
Also the founder of the famous East India Association in the year 1865, a follow up from his work done in Britain where he was studying and growing up as a man, he was the one who proposed the formation and execution of the standing committees of the Indian National Congress, which according to him would help out in better coordination among the province’s work.
Umesh Chandra Banerjee was a man who was a strong believer that India as a nation could gain political freedom from the reigns of the British Raj when the others around him were wary of the idea.
While our tribute to this great human would be more or less not worthy enough because we Indians have years chosen to recognize his greatness, it is sometimes never too late to start all over again.
The short period that this man was a part of Indian politics may be called a game changer for the entire political scenario in the nation, after which he chose to retire and get back to England in 1901 and settle there. While in Britain in his last days, he is also one of the entities who is the first Indians to have contested the election in the British House of Commons.
He is a proud Indian, making it big in his homeland and otherwise! Would you choose to ignore him?
📎 Related Articles
1. Param Vir Chakra: Remembering Lance Naik Albert Ekka
2. Remembering Lt. Col. Niranjan Kumar, NSG’s Valiant Hero
3. The Environmental Crusade of Arun Krishnamurthy
4. The Lionhearted Subedar Major Fateh Singh: His Legacy
5. Kalyanasundaram’s Journey: From Librarian to a Beacon of Humanity