The Last Boat – Cemetery of Brahmo Samaj
We know about Cemetery or Graveyard of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Chinese etc etc and the architecture of grave helps us to understand, the graveyard is belongs to which religion. But there is cemetery or graveyard in Kolkata (Earlier Calcutta) of a religion, the architecture of Graves speaks only about Secularism.
Presently we, Indians living in such liberal conditions that we can not imagine how rigid was our society during 18th or 19th century. Earlier, the society was cast ridden, decadent and hugely rigid, more of it our country was under foreign domination. We are really lucky today and the present conditions is the gift from our ancestors. British ruled our country , rather ruled brutally but along with it they came up with modern ideas. Idea of social, economic, liberty, justice, democracy and that hugely impacted on our nation.
We are so fortunate that there were some great Indians like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Dayanand Saraswati and many others. They contributed so much towards our nation and Religious Reforms movement was started in India, Raja Ram Mohan Roy started Brahmo Samaj, Prarthana Samaj was established in Bombay by Dr. Atma Ram Pandurang, Arya Samaj by Mool Shanker leter came to be known as Dayanand Saraswati, The Young Bengal Movement by Henry Lui Vivian Derozio, , The Ramakrishna Mission and Swami Vivekananda. Even Religious reforms ware started among other religions like Islam, Sikhism ,even in Zoroastrian or Persis. Sayyid Ahmed of Rai Bareilly was the most notable Muslim reformer of 19th century. Religious reform was started among Persis in middle of 19th century, Rehnumai Maz’dayasan Sabha was founded by Dadabhai Naoroji, Nauroji Furdonji, S.S. Bengalee and others.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833) – He was born in a Hindu Brahmin family in the year of 1772. He was a scholar and had extreme command over many languages like Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, and English. He worked for a period of ten years in British East India Company not at a stretch, had been as an on and off worker. He was a social reformer, was not merely a religious reformer. He stood against the rigidity, caste system, falsehood, superstitions, sacrificial rites and many other meaningless rituals of orthodox Hindu. In the year of 1828, he founded Brahmo Samaj or Divine Society or Society of Brahma. Brahmo Samaj attracted Indians who sought to reconcile the values of the West with the religious traditions of India. They outlawed many of the abuses in India such as slavery prohibitions against widows remarrying. The result of it prohibitions against widows remarrying were revoked in 1856. Even this society was also fought against female infanticide and it was made a crime in 1870. Raja Ram Mohan Roy died on 27 September 1833 in Bristol, United Kingdom and born Hindu, he was not cremated by Hindu Law. He was originally buried abides the rule of Brahmoism on 18 October 1833, in the grounds of Stapleton Grove.
After the death of Roy, the legacy of Brahmo Samaj was in safe hands of many great sons of India and among them was Keshab Chandra Sen (1838 – 1884) deserves special mention.
Brahmo Samaj was established with the influence of many religions like Hindu, Christianity and Islam and that also can be noticed in the process of after life. As I have mentioned that being born as Hindu, Raja Ram Mohan Roy was buried because as per Bramoism they buried after death. Rabindranath Tagore was also a Brahmo but he was cremated. Last year I went to cemetery of Brahmo that is located near Rajabazar of Kolkata (Earlier Calcutta), India called Nabadebalaya or Nabodebalaya. The literal meaning of Nabadebalaya is New place of God (Naba or Nabo is Bengali word meaning in English is New, Deba is God and Alaya meaning is A Place). Basically, I don’t have any clear idea of what they call it as Cemetery or Graveyard but I found a prayer hall inside the premises, so I refer it as Cemetery. Nabadebalaya was established in the year 1884 by Keshab Chandra Sen. Inside the premises there is hall in memory of great Keshab Chandra Sen called Keshab Memorial Hall and just beside of the hall there is Kamalkutir.
There I found the grave of Keshab Chandra Sen and his family members. The architecture of the mausoleums are little bit different. In some mausoleum, at top OM is made of stone and on it there is a symbol of Jesus Christ Cross and just below of it there is a half cut moon. The grave stone also written in three different languages, Bengali, English and Arabic or Urdu (As I can’t distinguish in between Arabic or Urdu).
Keshab Chandra Sen had ten children, five sons and five daughters. His Five sons were Karuna Chandra Sen, Nirmal Chandra Sen, Prafulla Chandra Sen, Saral Chandra Sen, Dr. Subroto Sen but I found graves of his three sons, Karuna Chandra Sen, Nirmal Chandra Sen, Prafulla Chandra Sen. Also found grave of Mrinalini Devi wife of Nirmal Chandra Sen and grave of Jagonmohini Sen wife of Keshab Chandra Sen.
His Five daughters were Suniti Devi, Sabitri Devi, Sucharu Devi, Monica Devi and Sujata Devi but I found graves of his four daughters Suniti Devi, Sabitri Devi, Sucharu Devi and Sujata Devi. Sunita Devi was Maharani of Coochbehar, Sucharu Devi was Maharani of Mayurbhanj and Sujata Devi was wife of Surendranath Sen.
These days when we fight on the basis of religions, I think this is the perfect place from where we can learn something on real secularism.
Special Thanks to Samrat Dey Sarkar (Sammy) for his support throughout the photowalk.
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