Smritish Gandhi's disciple

Smritish Bandopadhyay: The Martyr of Non-Violence and Brotherhood

Smritish Bandopadhyay, a name etched in the annals of Uttarpara’s history, symbolizes the unwavering spirit of India’s freedom struggle and the quest for communal harmony. Born in October 1910, Smritish’s life was a testament to dedication, courage, and the relentless pursuit of justice. His untimely death at the age of 37, mere days after India gained independence, underscores the profound sacrifices made by countless individuals in the fight for a free and harmonious India.

Early Life and Education

Smritish Bandopadhyay was born into a distinguished family in Uttarpara, Hooghly, West Bengal. His grandfather, Sir Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay, was a renowned figure, and Smritish inherited a legacy of intellectual curiosity and public service. His father, Shyamdas Bandopadhyay, resigned from British service on moral grounds, further instilling in Smritish a sense of integrity and justice. Smritish pursued his early education in Bhawanipore School, Calcutta, where his formative years were marked by a deep engagement with the social and political issues of his time.

Joining the Independence Movement

In 1927, at the young age of 17, Smritish Bandopadhyay joined the Indian independence movement. He quickly became a prominent figure, known for his leadership and organizational skills. Smritish played a crucial role in organizing night schools to educate the underprivileged and edited the publication ‘Gana Nayak,’ which became a voice for the masses and a tool for disseminating revolutionary ideas.

As a leader of the Uttarpara Karmi Sangha, Smritish was actively involved in student movements and farmers’ agitations. His efforts to mobilize students and farmers against British rule were instrumental in fostering a spirit of resistance and unity. His activities drew the ire of the British authorities, leading to his imprisonment multiple times between 1934 and 1942. Despite the hardships of jail, Smritish’s resolve remained unshaken, and he continued to inspire others with his dedication.

Pioneer of Peasant Movement

One of Smritish’s notable contributions was his pioneering role in the peasant movement in Hooghly. He mobilized peasants to renovate canals and sluice gates, significantly improving agricultural productivity and livelihoods. His efforts in this area not only addressed immediate economic needs but also fostered a sense of community and collective action among the peasants.

National Art Exhibition

Smritish’s greatest achievement was the organization of the National Art Exhibition in association with leading artists of contemporary Bengal. The exhibition captured the history of the protest movement by the people of India against British oppression, from the Battle of Plassey to Gandhi’s drive for communal peace in Bengal. This exhibition was not confined to Bengal; it was also hosted in Mumbai, Delhi, and Indore, spreading the message of resistance and unity across the country.

Champion of Communal Harmony

The year 1947 was a tumultuous period in Indian history, marked by the partition and the ensuing Hindu-Muslim riots. In the face of escalating violence, Mahatma Gandhi called for a movement against the communal strife. Responding to Gandhi’s call, Smritish Bandopadhyay emerged as a beacon of peace and tolerance.

During the riots, Smritish took it upon himself to preach Gandhi’s message of non-violence and communal harmony. He bravely ventured into Muslim neighborhoods, spreading the message of friendship and brotherhood. His efforts were aimed at bridging the communal divide and fostering a sense of unity among Hindus and Muslims.


Tragically, Smritish Bandopadhyay’s mission of peace cost him his life. On September 3, 1947, while preaching non-violence and communal harmony at the intersection of Park Street and Lower Circular Road in Calcutta, Smritish was attacked and stabbed to death by an irate mob. His martyrdom at the young age of 37 was a profound loss, not only for Uttarpara but for the entire nation.

The next day, Mahatma Gandhi wrote to his father, Shyamdas Bandopadhyay, “Brother, Shyamdas, the world always needs death like your son’s that will help thousands of martyrs rise in the country. Like you, we also feel proud to recall the name of your son. He has not died really; countrymen will cherish in their hearts the memory of his sacrifice forever.”

Smritish’s death came just days after India attained independence. He had dedicated his entire life to the struggle for freedom, and his dream of an independent India had finally become a reality. However, he did not live to see the fruits of his efforts. His sacrifice remains a poignant reminder of the high price paid by many for the freedom and unity of the nation.

Legacy and Remembrance

Smritish Bandopadhyay’s legacy is a beacon of inspiration and a symbol of the values that underpin India’s freedom struggle. His commitment to education, social justice, and communal harmony continues to inspire generations. In Uttarpara and beyond, his life and sacrifice are commemorated through various initiatives aimed at promoting the ideals he stood for.

Educational institutions, community organizations, and social activists draw inspiration from Smritish’s life. His story is a powerful reminder of the importance of courage, tolerance, and the relentless pursuit of justice. The ideals of non-violence and brotherhood that he championed are as relevant today as they were during his lifetime.


Smritish Bandopadhyay’s life and sacrifice embody the spirit of India’s freedom struggle. His unwavering dedication to the cause of independence, his efforts to educate and uplift the underprivileged, and his courageous stand for communal harmony are a testament to his enduring legacy. As we remember Smritish Bandopadhyay, we honor not only his contributions but also the broader struggle for a free, just, and harmonious India.

Smritish’s life story serves as a beacon of hope and a call to action for future generations. His commitment to the ideals of non-violence, unity, and social justice continues to inspire and guide us in our ongoing quest for a better and more equitable society.