Written in the last years of Sir Surendranath Banerjea's life, 'A Nation in Making is not only the autobiography of a' pioneering leader in Indian politics but also a commentary on public life.
In the pages of this book, we are offered insights into the life of the founder of the Indian National Association and twice president of the Indian National Congress, We grasp the vision motivating his landmark appeals-including one to the British to modify the 1905, Partition of Bengal, reinstitute habeas corpus and "grant India a Constitution based on..the Canadian model. Most of all, we- understand the mind of a phenomenal leader=a trailblazer with the refrain; 'agitate, agitate'; a moderate in a quarrel with B.G. Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi; and an ardent exponent of nationalism and a representative form of government:
Insightful, honest and sincere, this book immortalizes the work of those who, like Banerjea, 'placed India firmly on the road to constitutional freedom ... by constitutional means'.
Sir Surendranath Banerjea (1848-1925) was one of the founders of modern India and a proponent of autonomy within the British Commonwealth. He served as an Indian Civil Service officer till 1874, before becoming a teacher. Sir Banerjea founded Ripon College, later renamed after him, in Calcutta and worked on the idea of nationalism. He purchased The Bengalee, a newspaper he edited for forty years to propagate his nation- alist viewpoint. He was twice appointed as the president of Indian National Congress, appealed to the British to modify the 1905 par- tition of Bengal and in 1921 he was knighted and accepted office as minister of Local Self-government in Bengal. He retired to write his autobiography, A Nation in Making, in 1925.
I HAVE for some time been thinking of writing the Reminiscences of my life. I have been encouraged in the idea by some of my friends, who think (and I share their view) that they may throw light on some of the most interesting chapters in our current history and help to elucidate them from the Indian standpoint. I belong to a generation that is fast passing away; and I have been in dose touch, and I may add in active association, with some of its most illustrious men, devoted workers in the public cause, who by their labours have largely contributed to our own Province and to foster the beginnings of a real national life throughout the country. Their work lies buried in the forgotten columns of contemporary newspapers. Perhaps a generation hence it will all be forgotten. I hope in these pages to do some justice to their honoured memories; and these Reminiscences will not have been written in vain if I am able even in part to accomplish this object.
The need for Reminiscences such as these has become all the more pressing in view of recent developments in our public life, when unfortunately there is a marked, and perhaps a growing, tendency among a certain section of our people to forget the services of our early nation-builders-of those who have placed India on the road to constitutional freedom to be achieved by constitutional means.
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