Draft:Rammohun Library

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Rammohun Library and Free Reading Room (RL&FRR)
CountryIndia
TypePublic
Established28 December 1904; 114 years ago (1904-12-28)
Location267, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy Road, Kolkata, West Bengal
Coordinates22°34′54″N 88°22′28″E / 22.58178°N 88.37452°E / 22.58178; 88.37452Coordinates: 22°34′54″N 88°22′28″E / 22.58178°N 88.37452°E / 22.58178; 88.37452
Websiterammohunlibrarykolkata.org

Rammohun Library and Free Reading Room (RL&FRR) was established in the year 1904 in memory of Raja Rammohun Roy, for bearing the torch of reason and knowledge which the Raja had endeavored to inculcate in the mind of his countrymen for their enlightenment and uplifting..[1]

History[edit]

Rammohan Library, Kolkata entrance.jpg

The first mention of the library is found in the minutes of a meeting, held on 27th September 1886, chaired by Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar at the City College Hall, when a motion was forwarded to establish a memorial in the name of the Brahmo reformer — it was felt that the best way of remembering him was to set up a library. Later, in the year 1893, Carl Erich Hammergren, who came to India to do research work on Rammohun Roy, conveyed his intention of helping set up a library in the memory of Rammohun Roy. Dr. Mohini Mohun Bose of Rajabazar at the funeral of Hammergren made a donation of ₹100 to the Rammohun Library projected by Mr. Hammergren. The foundation of the Library was ultimately conceptualised in a meeting held on 28th December 1904 under the chairmanship of Nabin Chandra Bidyaratna. In this congregation, a temporary committee was formed with members like Pt. Narayan Chandra Bidyaratna, J. N. Bose, Dwijendralal Ray, Rajendra Lal Ganguly, D. N. Pal, Deb Kumar Roy Choudhury, Basanta Kumar Nag and Sarat Chandra Majumder. The chairman of the committee was advocate Pannalal Bose.

On 24th January 1905, Rammohun Library started functioning from a rented premise at 101, Upper Circular Road. The First Chairman was Narendranath Sen, the General Secretary was Prof. Pramathanath Bandyopadhyay and Sarat Chandra Majumder became the first Librarian. The ceremonial inauguration was held on 18th March 1905 near the Calcutta Deaf and Dumb School.

Soon, due to space constraints, there arose a need to have an exclusive building for the library and an appeal was made throughout India for financial help. This plea was well received and aid started pouring in from all over the country . Gobardhan Das and Damoder Das from Bombay pledged to donate ₹ 5000 through Satyendranath Tagore with a few conditions —

  • Library should be accessible to anyone irrespective of caste and religion,
  • No fees should be charged for this purpose and,
  • Above two conditions should be reflected in the name of the library itself.[citation needed]

On 9th June 1909, the name of the library was changed to Rammohun Library & Free Reading Room. On 15th August that year, the library was registered under Act 21 of 1860 [citation needed]. During the meeting of the Executive Council of the library, the library became an institute and reformed rules were framed —

  • To perpetuate the memory of Raja Rammohun Roy,
  • To stimulate intellectual and moral culture among the people by affording facilities for the study of healthy literature in different branches and to promote social interaction among other like-minded institutions as well as literary men by providing a common meeting place for the interchange of ideas,
  • To organize and allow meetings for the discussion of subjects of literary, scientific and social interest,
  • To resist any attempt to use the library or the institute for any religious ceremony and,
  • To do all such other things as are incidental and conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.[citation needed]

In October 1910, the Library was shifted to its new premises at 22/1, Cornwallis Street. In 1911, an appeal was made to the Calcutta Corporation (vide letter No. A/s 34 dt. 6th April 1911) asking for a plot of land for construction of the Institute’s own building. The appeal was accepted and a piece of land, measuring about six kattah, at the junction of Upper Circular Road and Sukia Street, was handed over to the governing body on perpetual lease and on condition that the land should be returned to the authority when the Institute ceased to exist [citation needed]. In 1930, the lease amount was revised to ₹ 1 yearly.

On 11th May 1912, the foundation stone was laid Bijay Chand Mahtab of Barddhaman. Under the supervision of architect Rajendra Nath Mookerjee, Martin Co. agreed to construct the building as a non-profitable venture. Many eminent persons contributed financially towards the construction, notable among them being Lord Carmichael (₹ 2500), Bijay Chand Mahtab (₹ 2000), Raja of Bamrar Tribhuban Deo (₹1000), Raja Resheecase Law (₹1000), Prafulla Nath Tagore (₹2000), Chittaranjan Das (₹500), Prithvinath Deo (₹1000), Manindra Chandra Nandy (₹1000) and others.

The inauguration of the new building was held on 9th December 1913 by Lord Carmichael. The initial structure consisted of a hall in the ground floor for conducting various meetings and the main library on the first floor with peripheral balconies containing spaces for books and a reading area.

In the year 1972, on the bicentennial anniversary of Raja Rammohun Roy's birth, Suniti Kumar Chattopadhyay laid the stone for construction of another floor of the library. During 1986 - 87, large scale renovation work was conducted by the members to give the building its present shape. On 6th October 1988, the construction work of the second and third floors started with Dr. Ashin Dasgupta, Director, National Library, providing encouragement to the library members in their attempt. On 23rd April 1989, the library shifted to the second floor.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation's Heritage Conservation Committee recommended this structure as a Grade I building in its list of heritage structures with classified usage type as Institutional [2]

Museum and Archive[edit]

Sasipada Banerji, the renowned social reformer, gifted to the library a cluster of hairs, the sacred thread, and a letter written by Raja Rammohun Roy. Additionally, the library possesses the Raja's death-mask and the table on which he used to write his books and discourses, obtained via Prof. Kshitish Prasad Chattopadhyay. On 30th November 1914, Prafulla Nath Tagore presented to the library a life-size oil painting of Raja Rammohun Roy. It was done by the artist Surendra Nath Das, under the guidance of Jamini Prakash Ganguly, and is a replica of the oil painting by Henry Perronet Briggs kept in the Bristol Museum.[3] The painting was kept long under the supervision of Bhunath Mukherjee. In 1918, Prafulla Nath Tagore also presented to the library a life-size oil painting by Jamini Prakash Ganguly of Maharshi Debendra Nath Tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore. Rabindranath Tagore himself is commemorated with a photograph taken, along with his close associates and the members of the library, at the main gate of the Rammohun Hall on the occasion of a felicitation ceremony organized by the library upon his receiving the Nobel Prize. Other items include a bust of Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray and three portraits by Bhunath Mukherjee — of Rabindranath Tagore, of Prof. Charu Chandra Bhattacharya, and of Sri Aurobindo.There is also a life-size portrait of Ramananda Chatterjee, the editor of Modern Review and an erstwhile member of the library.

Past Presidents[edit]

Name Tenure
Narendranath Sen 1905 - 1909
S. P. Sinha 1910 - 1912
Jagadish Chandra Bose 1913 - 1937
Prafulla Chandra Roy 1938 - 1944
Pramathanath Bandyopadhyay 1945 - 1949
Charu Chandra Bhattacharya 1949 - 1961
Vinayaknath Bandyopadhyay 1962 - 1964
Jyotsnanath Mullick 1965 - 1983
Akhil Neogi 1984 - 1985
Sarojmohan Mitra 1985 - 2003
Shibani Roy 2004
Prabhat Kumar Ghosh 2010 -

Visiting[edit]

The Rammohun Library is located on Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road in Garpar, Kolkata. It is open from 1pm to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 7am to 10am on Sunday. It is closed on Saturdays and Government of India holidays.

Library statistics[edit]

  • Over 64,184 books in Bengali, Hindi and English (including 10,080 rare books)
  • Over 50 manuscripts (including 2 punthis)
  • Over 1048 little magazines

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rammohun Library and Free Reading Room".
  2. ^ "Graded List of Heritage Buildings (I, IIA and IIB)" (PDF). Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC). Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  3. ^ Christopher Wright, Catherine May Gordon and Mary Peskett Smith.(2006) British and Irish Paintings in Public Collections: An Index of British and Irish oil paintings by artists born before 1870 in public and institutional collections in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Compilation. New Haven, Conn; London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300117302, 9780300117301 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.

External Links[edit]