BOSE, SARAT CHANDRA (1889-1950). Sarat Chandra was the second son of Janaki Nath Bose, a high-caste Bengali school teacher and lawyer who settled in Cuttack. Sarat studied at the Protestant European School in Cuttack, the Ravenshaw Collegiate School, and Presidency College, Calcutta. He became a fine orator in English and as a student was witness to the politics of resistance to the 1905 partition of Bengal and the Swadeshi movement. He was enrolled at Lincolns Inn, London from 1912-1914 to qualify for the Bar and became a firm believer in the rule of law and individual freedom as he observed them practiced in England.
Throughout his career he argued for their application and against preventive detention in India whether by the British or, later, the independent government of India.
Sarat Chandra Bose practiced civil and criminal law in Calcutta and was actively involved in politics from the 1920s onwards. He joined the Indian National Congress, was a member of the Swaraj Party, and made his home a meeting place as well as a communication and nurturing center for those resisting British rule, especially for his charismatic younger brother Subhash Chandra Bose who was very close to him. Sarat reached the peak of his own political career between 1937 and 1946 as an elected member of the Bengal Legislative Assembly, the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party in Bengal (q.v.), a member of the Congress Working Committee, and a member of the Interim Government in 1946, before his resignation in November of that year. His role, both as lawyer and as politician, was essentially one of mediator among communities as well as classes, seeking to reconcile differences in the larger public interest.
The thrust of Sarat Chandra's work was for civil and political liberty and against the increasing communalization of Bengal politics after 1937. He opposed Fazlul Huq's Muslim League government in Bengal as well as the activities of the Hindu Mahasabha and bitterly opposed Partition. Along with Husain Suhrawardy, he proposed a united, socialist Bengal in a loose federation of autonomous states and denounced Congress acceptance of Partition as the "result of a defeatist mentality" that risked increased "armed communal conflicts" and a retreat to medievalism.
Sarat Chandra Bose left Congress in 1946, formed a new Socialist front. Sarat Chandra died in 1950.
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