CAREER

Bipin Behari Bose

Bipin Behari Bose married Sarat Kumari Devi, the daughter of Mahendra Mazumdar of Kumartuli (Calcutta). After marriage, Bipin joined Benares College School as a teacher, and later, he moved to Moradabad School. Eventually, he moved to Allahabad High School, where he would soon be elevated to the post of principal. In Allahabad High School he was well-received by his students, his fellow teachers as well as the school administration.

A Turning Point

Sometime during 1879 to 1880, a Christian Father visited Allahabad to give a lecture, well-attended by many important figures of Allahabad. One hears that the lecture vilified Hinduism using disparaging and derogatory statements, and while most present at the lecture chose to forget it, an incensed Bipin Behari Bose later decided to pen a retort in the form of a poem. The poem, needless to say, had repercussions: Bose was summoned and asked to apologize. Bipin Behari Bose remained unrepentant, but he realized that as long as he was part of an institution, he would remain answerable to the authorities. He, therefore, thought it best to pursue an independent career and, to this end, he considered the legal profession to be the best.

Legal Profession

Within a couple of years, Bipin Behari Bose had successfully completed the B.L Exam, thereby gaining the required qualification to be a practitioner of law, and in the second half of 1881, he left for Lucknow where he would practice as an advocate. He would live in Lucknow for a period of over two decades.

The experience turned out to be a crucial turning point in Bipin Bihari’s life:

i. He felt that he needed to have a profession where he could have his independence and was not answerable to the British administration.

ii. To preserve the ideology of the Indians.

iii. To emphasise the importance of education (academic and physical), particularly among youth, both boys and girls.

However, he didn’t apologise but instead started looking for an independent profession where he did not have to depend on the Government. That is how he ventured into the field of law and attempted to become a lawyer. He appeared in the Bar examination held in 1880 but was not successful. On his second attempt, though, he was successful. After which, he took no pay leave from his job and went to Lucknow to commence his practice as a lawyer. He continued to practice from 1880 to 1902 (until the time of his death).

In 1869, Bipin got admitted to Kanpur Mission School, and at that time, he got a scholarship by writing a competitive essay. In 1871, he passed his F.A Exams, and in 1874, B.A (Hons). During this time, he got married to Sarat Kumari, the daughter of Mahendra Mazumdar of Kumartuli. He started his teaching career at Collegiate School in Varanasi. Later, he joined Moradabad School as a teacher and later became the Headmaster of Allahabad High School. At this time, he sat for his M.A Examinations.

In Allahabad, he came in touch with Keshab Chandra Sen and converted to ‘Brahma’ religion. During his seven years of service as a teacher in Allahabad, he longed for an independent professional career. For that purpose, he passed the B.L Exam and agreed to a two-month no-pay leave from teaching, and came to Lucknow to practice advocacy. After that, he never looked back.

More than a Profession

When Bose started his career in the legal profession, he did so wholeheartedly. Even if a minor lawsuit came to him, he never failed to give it his full attention. Very soon he became one of the more successful advocates around, and the demand for his professional services went up. But for Bose, legal justice was not just a privilege of the rich, and he knew that to build a just society, justice must reach the most vulnerable and weak. He often pleaded for the very poor without taking fees: wherever destitute people were being harassed unnecessarily or if some injustice had been done to them, he would go and plead for them for free.

As a lawyer

Bipin emerged as a very successful lawyer. From a financial point of view, the number of properties and land he acquired during his lifetime continued to remain for the next three generations.

He bought a big house near Aminabad in Jalalpur and named his residence ‘Bipin Ashram.’ The house was big enough to have a large football field at the back and a stable with horses and a big garden. He also owned several properties in Lucknow, including some commercial properties in the main shopping areas. He also had a Zamindari outside Lucknow (a place called Ono).

Though he had a liquidation practice, it was well-known that he did many cases for poor people, especially those who had been unnecessarily harassed and prosecuted by the Government.

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