(Last Updated on : 09-03-2012)
Upendranath Das was the son of a famous lawyer. He was born in the year 1848. He left home after matriculation and graduated from Sanskrit College, Kolkata. Upendranath Das committed himself to social reconstruction and philanthropic movements for widow remarriage, inter caste marriage, establishment of schools, and publication of newspapers, which made him incur huge losses and entrapped him in debt.
Biography of Upendranath Das
As an extension of his reformist zeal, he joined the theatre to promote social upliftment. To fill the void of stage worthy plays, he wrote Sarat-Sarojini i.e. "Sarat and Sarojini" in 1874 and Surendra-Binodini "Surendra and Binodini" in 1875 under the pen name of Durgadas Das. He was appointed Director of the Great Indian National Theatre
by the end of 1875.
In his farce Gajadananda o jubaraj i.e. 'Gajadananda and Crown Prince' in 1876, he lampooned the Prince of Wales's visit to Kolkata
. It included a reception by the women of the household of Jagadananda Mookerjee, who was a lawyer. The British police, smelling sedition, banned the production. Das changed the title to Hanuman-charit "Hanuman
's Life" and re-enacted it. He also wrote The Police of Pig and Sheep, blasting the police. As a result, he was arrested along with the manager Amritalal Basu
during a performance of Sati ki kalankini i.e. "Chaste or Fallen Woman". This happened on 4th March 1876, sentenced to a mondi's simple imprisonment on the charge of obscenity in Surendra-Binodini, but released on 20 March, having been found not guilty. The episode led to the promulgation of the Dramatic Performances Act dated 16 December 1876. Upendranath Das went to England in 1877 with a view to becoming a barrister. He spent twelve years in utter distress abroad without accomplishing his goal. On his return, he no longer involved himself with theatre but continued his social activities. This theatre personality of West Bengal
died in the year 1895.
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