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Bose, Sir Jagadis Chandra - There is no such thing as failure



Type of Spiritual Experience


Jagadis Chandra Bose was born in Mymensingh, in his mother’s parental house, now in Bangladesh on 30th November 1858, the same year in which India, which was being administered by the East India Company since 1757, came directly under crown rule. Lord Canning  was proclaimed Viceroy.

Bose’s ancestral home was at the village named Rarikhal in Vikrampur, not far from Dhaka (then Dacca), the capital of present-day Bangladesh. His father Bhagaban(also spelt as Bhagwan) Chandra Bose served the British India Government in various executive  magisterial positions.

At the time when Bose was born, Bhagaban Chandra was Deputy Magistrate of Faridpu and it is here Bose’s early childhood was mainly spent. Bhagaban Chandra was no ordinary government servant. To quote Patrick Geddes, who was Professor of Botany at St. Andrews University, and the author of one of the most authentic biographies of Bose :

“Bose’s father – Bhagaban Chunder Bose, Deputy Magistrate of Faridpur – was the active defender, not only of the townlet but of the scores of villages around as well. The modern magistrate is mainly settled between his courthouse and his home; but here in those days a man was needed, picked not only for judicial capacity, intelligence and local knowledge, but for active initiative and courage and thus prepared at any moment to assume command of his own police and his people as well, and be ready even to raid the raiders. Of this readiness various stories might be told. As a single example, hearing of a gang of dacoits in his neighourhood, Mr. Bose mounted an elephant and with the very few police available, rode straight into the very heart of the dacoits’ camp. Taken by surprise, they broke and scattered; the ready magistrate dropped down, captured the leader with his own hands, and took him back for trial.”

Bhagaban Chandra had kept in his household a dreaded ex-dacoit, whom he had earlier sentenced to imprisonment, to look after young Jagadis Chandra.

Though Bhagwan Chandra served the British Government he was a staunch nationalist and also a dreamer. He undertook, not always with success, many educational, agricultural and technical projects aiming to provide employment and promote opportunities to his less fortunate countrymen. In 1869 Bose’s father went to Burdwan as Assistant Commissioner. Here he opened workshops in carpentry, in metal turning in general metalwork and even a foundry.

Bose was very much influenced by his father’s ideals. While speaking at the fiftieth anniversary of the Exhibition and Mela founded by his father at Faridpur Bose said

A description of the experience

A failure ! Yes, but not ignoble nor altogether futile. And through Michael Faraday Heinrich Rudolf Hertz witnessing this struggle, the son learned to look on success or failure as one, and to realize that some defeat may be greater than victory.

To me his life has been one of blessing, and daily thanksgiving. Nevertheless everyone had said that he had wrecked his life, which was meant for greater things.

Few realize that out of the skeletons of myriad lives have been built vast continents. And it is on the wreck of a life like his, and of many such lives, that will be built the the greater India yet to be.

We do not know why it should be so; but we do know that the Earth-Mother is always calling for sacrifice.”

The source of the experience

Bose, Sir Jagadish Chandra

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