Rare Photographs of Dilip Kumar Roy

Dear Friends,

Dilip Kumar Roy (22.1.1897—6.1.1980) was a famous poet, author, singer, composer, lyricist, musicologist and dramatist. After obtaining his B.Sc degree with first class Honours in mathematics from Presidency College (Kolkata) he left for England in 1919 to pursue higher studies at Cambridge. He passed Part I mathematical Tripos and Part I music special in Cambridge. In 1922 he went to Germany to study Western Music. In the same year he lectured at an international conference at Lugano (Switzerland) and also toured Vienna, Prague, Budapest and other cities to speak on Indian music and culture. He met Sri Aurobindo in January 1924 and interviewed him twice. By the time he joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram on 22 November 1928, he had established himself as a popular singer and composer. In 1953 he went on a world tour as the cultural ambassador of India sponsored by the Government of India. He left Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1953 and settled in Pune where he set up his own Ashram, Hari Krishna Mandir. He received the title of Sur-sudhakar from Sanskrit College (Kolkata) and D.Litt from the universities of Calcutta and Rabindra Bharati. His published works in English and Bengali include The Flute Calls Still, Smriticharan, Sri Aurobindo Came To Me, Among the Great, Yogi Sri Krishnaprem, Hark! His Flute, The Upward Spiral, Netaji: The Man, Pilgrims of the Stars, Aghotan Ajo Ghate, Ashruhashi Indradhanu, Chayapather Pathik, Alochaya Akapakhi, Smriti Joware Dukul Cheye, The Beggar Princess, etc.

22 January 2014 marks the 117th Birth Anniversary of Dilip Kumar Roy. As our humble homage to him a set of his rare photographs has been uploaded in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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2Dilip Kumar Roy with Sahana Devi.

3Dilip Kumar Roy with Uma Bose alias Hashi.

4Dilip Kumar Roy with M.S. Subbulakshmi.

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6Dilip Kumar Roy with Sahana Devi.

7Dilip Kumar Roy with Yogi Krishnaprem.

8Dilip Kumar Roy with Kalipada Guharoy.

9Dilip Kumar Roy with Swami Sitaram Das Omkar and Indira Devi.

10Dilip Kumar Roy with Swami Ramdas, Krishnabai and Indira Devi.

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12Dilip Kumar Roy with Champaklal.

13Dilip Kumar Roy on his 80th birthday in Kolkata.

[Photographs courtesy: Hari Krishna Mandir Trust, Pune and Anurag Banerjee.]

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Fifty-five photographs of Nolini Kanta Gupta

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Dear Friends,

Nolini Kanta Gupta (13.1.1889—7.2.1984) was an active participant in the Swadeshi and national education movements from the tender age of sixteen. He was introduced to Barindra Kumar Ghose, noted revolutionary and Sri Aurobindo’s younger brother, towards the end of 1907 who influenced him to join the Maniktolla Secret Society at 32 Muraripukur Road in Calcutta. On 2 May 1908 Nolini Kanta was arrested in connection with the Muzaffarpur bomb outrage along with the other members of the Maniktolla Secret Society. The trial later came to be known as the ‘Alipore Bomb Trial’. After spending a year in Alipore Central Jail as an undertrial he was acquitted in May 1909 due to lack of evidence to prove his involvement in any conspiracy of waging war against the British Empire. He withdrew from active politics after his acquittal from prison and became the chief associate of Sri Aurobindo (whom he had met during the Swadeshi movement) when the latter started the publication of his two weeklies (the Karmayogin in English and the Dharma in Bengali). When Sri Aurobindo left Bengal and migrated to Pondicherry in April 1910 Nolini Kanta too followed him seven months later. When after 1926 Sri Aurobindo withdrew into complete seclusion and the Mother took charge of the newly-formed Ashram, Nolini Kanta became its Secretary. When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust was formed by the Mother she appointed Nolini Kanta as one of the founder-trustees. Regarded as one of the most advanced sadhaks of the Integral Yoga he was equally prolific in Bengali, English and French and went on to author more than fifty books in Bengali, thirty in English and five in French. In the Aurobindonian community he was known as ‘Sri Aurobindo’s manasputra’.

13 January 2014 marks the 125th Birth Anniversary of Nolini Kanta Gupta. As our humble homage to him a set of fifty-five photographs of Nolini Kanta Gupta has been uploaded in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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1Nolini Kanta Gupta at the age of twenty-five.

2Nolini Kanta Gupta [seated extreme right] with Sri Aurobindo, Bijoy Nag [seated extreme left] and Suresh Chandra Chakraborty alias Moni [standing behind Nolini Kanta].

2.5Top (left to right): Rajangam, Tirupati, Khitish, Nolini Kanta Gupta, Satyen alias Vindyeswari Prasad, Kanailal Ganguly, Bijoy Kumar Nag, Ambalal Balakrishna Purani and Nagaratnam.
Centre: Punamchand, Champaben (Punamchand’s wife), Mrs. Kodandaraman and Kodandaraman Rao.
Bottom: Champaklal, Suresh Chandra Chakraborty alias Moni, K.Amrita and Manmohan.

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6Nolini Kanta Gupta at the inauguration of Sri Aurobindo Memorial Convention on 24 April 1951. [From left to right] Surendra Mohan Ghosh, Surendranath Jauhar, Navajata, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Madhav Pandit, Soli Albless, Nolini Kanta, Pavitra, the Mother [seated], Amiyo Ranjan Ganguly, Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya and Udar Pinto.

6.5Nolini Kanta standing next to the Mother at the inauguration of Sri Aurobindo Memorial Oration on 24 April 1951.

7Nolini Kanta with the Mother, Tejendranath Mukherjee, Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya and Udar Pinto in the Sports Ground. The Mother is seen here starting a football match between the Adults and the Youth.

8The Mother at the inauguration of “Senteurs” in September 1958. Behind the Mother are Tanmaya, Udar Pinto, Nolini Kanta Gupta and Gautam.

9The Mother at “Senteurs” in September 1958 with Nolini Kanta Gupta, Minoo, Udar Pinto, Dyuman and Millie.

10The Mother at “Senteurs” in September 1958 with Nolini Kanta, Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, Tanmaya, Udar Pinto and Panu Sarkar.

11The Mother at the Handmade Paper Unit on 9 December 1959 with Prabhakar, Udar Pinto, Tarachand, Pavitra, Kiran and Nolini Kanta Gupta.

12The Mother at the Handmade Paper Unit on 9 December 1959 with Panu Sarkar, Nolini Kanta Gupta, K. Amrita, Dayakar, Prabhakar, Pavitra and Udar.

13The Mother watching hand-lifting of paper at the Handmade Paper Unit on 9 December 1959 with Nolini Kanta, Panu Sarkar, K. Amrita, Dayakar, Prabhakar, Udar Pinto, Kiran and Pavitra.

14The Mother at the Island (1958) with Ananta, Amiyo Ranjan Ganguly, Udar Pinto, Nolini Kanta, Eleanor, Huta and Amrita.

15The Mother visiting New Horizon Sugar Mills on 12 April 1959 with Kesarimal, Dayabhai, Chandrakant, Amrita, Nolini Kanta, Udar Pinto and Laljibhai.

16The Mother laying the foundation stone of the New Horizon Sugar Mills on 12 April 1959. Nolini Kanta Gupta and Udar Pinto are standing on her right.

17Nolini Kanta Gupta with K.M. Munshi, Madhav Pandit, Udar Pinto and Charupada Bhattacharya.

18Nolini Kanta Gupta with Vinoba Bhave, Udar Pinto, Madhav Pandit and Indra Sen (August 1956).

19Nolini Kanta Gupta at the inauguration of Sri Aurobindo’s Action with Dr. Kireet Joshi, Kalyan, Prapatti, Udar Pinto, André Morisset (the Mother’s son), Shyam Sundar Jhunjhunwala and Pradyot Kumar Bhattacharya.

20Nolini Kanta with Manubhai Shah, Udar Pinto, Surendra Mohan Ghosh and Navajata.

21Visit of Jawaharlal Nehru to the Ashram Library on 13 June 1963. Seen with him—Nolini Kanta, Medhananda, Kewal Singh, Madhav Pandit and Udar Pinto.

22Jawaharlal Nehru with Nolini Kanta Gupta.

23Nolini Kanta with the Mother at Jhunjhun Boarding. Also seen: Abhay Singh Nahar, Pavitra and Dr. Kireet Joshi.

24The Mother with V.V. Giri in her room. Seen with the Mother: Nolini Kanta, Champaklal and Tara Jauhar.

25The Mother, V.V. Giri and Nolini Kanta Gupta.

26The Mother with Nolini Kanta (left) and Amrita (right).

27The Mother in the Exhibition Hall with Nolini Kanta, Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya and Udar Pinto.

28The Mother with Nolini Kanta Gupta and Udar Pinto.

28.5Nolini Kanta Gupta with the Mother.

29The Mother with Nolini Kanta Gupta.

30The Mother in the Playground with Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya and Nolini Kanta Gupta.

31The Mother looking at the decorations of Christmas 1960 with Udar Pinto, Nolini Kanta Gupta and Mona Pinto.

32The Mother in the Playground with André Morisset, Nolini Kanta, Amrita, Madame Kobayashi and Gauri Bhattacharya.

33Nolini Kanta Gupta at the opening of Trésor Nursing Home on 2 January 1970.

34Nolini Kanta and Udar Pinto at the opening of Trésor Nursing Home on 2 January 1970.

35The Mother at the Ashram Press on 23 August 1961 with Nolini Kanta Gupta, Robi Ganguly, Amrita and Udar Pinto.

36Nolini Kanta sealing the Urn at Auroville on 28 February 1968. His eldest son Samir Kanta Gupta is standing next to him.

37Nolini Kanta Gupta with Dr. Karan Singh, Udar Pinto, Dr. Kireet Joshi, Charupada Bhattacharya, Sisir Kumar Mitra and Arabinda Basu.

38Nolini Kanta and Udar Pinto with Indira Gandhi (12 February 1971).

39Nolini Kanta following the Mother’s coffin to the Samadhi vault on 20 November 1973.

40Nolini Kanta and André Morisset scattering rose petals on the Samadhi (20 November 1973).

41Nolini Kanta Gupta with Chinmoy.

42Nolini Kanta Gupta with his youngest son Robi Gupta.

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Nolini Kanta Gupta after leaving his physical sheath (7 February 1984).

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[Photographs courtesy: Ms. Gauri Pinto (Sri Aurobindo Ashram), Ms. Paulette Hadnagy (Auroville) and Mr. Anurag Banerjee.]

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Robi Gupta: In Memoriam

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Dear Friends,

On Sunday, 22 December 2013, Robi Gupta—the foremost Bengali poet of Sri Aurobindo Ashram—has passed on to the Beyond at the age of eighty-seven. Born on 25 July 1926 at Nilphamari in Rangpur (now in Bangladesh) he was the youngest son of Nolini Kanta (13.1.1889—7.2.1984) and Indulekha Gupta (20.4.1905—12.8.1987). Nolini Kanta had settled in the newly formed Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry a few months before Robi’s birth.

Robi started writing verses at a very early age. Even when he was asleep he used to feel certain lines of poetry coming to him but when he would get up in the morning and try to put them down on paper he found it difficult to do so. So he would go to bed armed with a pencil, a notebook and a torch so that whenever he got any poetic inspiration during his sleep he would get up and note it down. When this news was reported to Nolini Kanta Gupta at Pondicherry he had remarked about his youngest son: “Genius!” Robi would send some of his poems to his father and these poems were seen and corrected by the likes of Dilip Kumar Roy, Sahana Devi and Nishikanto Raichowdhury and sent back to him.

Robi visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the first time on 19 April 1944 after appearing for his school final examination. His elder brothers Samir Kanta (7.2.1922—6.6.2013) and Subir Kanta (19.10.1923—7.12.2013) had already joined the Ashram as permanent members. On 24 April he had the Darshan of Sri Aurobindo. The impact of the Darshan was such that he had made up his mind to stay in the Ashram for ever. To quote his own words: “To me, the word darshan had ceased to become a mere word and had become like a glorified Canto. When he informed the Mother about his wish, she replied: “I agree.” Thus, he became an inmate of the Ashram even before he turned eighteen and did not step out of Pondicherry ever since.

Sri Aurobindo had once written in jest that he was the Head of the Department of Poetry in the Ashram. The members of this Department of Poetry—who have enriched the treasures of spiritual or mystic poetry—included the likes of Dilip Kumar Roy, K.D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran, Harindranath Chattopadhyay, Sahana Devi, Arjava, Nirodbaran, Nishikanto Raichowdhury, Pujalal etc. Robi happened to be the last surviving member of the said department. Some of his poems in Bengali were read out to Sri Aurobindo by Nirodbaran. As a mark of his appreciation, Sri Aurobindo had given him the title of ‘Tagore of the Ashram. His anthologies of Bengali poetry include titles like Swapani (1950), Marmomoral (1952), Mandakini (1953), Sarani (1965), Gitiargha (1965), Shiulijhora Bhorer Alo (1998) and Ahoroni (2009). His style of writing was so unique that even his prose-works (for instance, his reminiscences Smritipote which was serialized in the Bengali monthly magazine Srinvantu in the early 1980s) had become impeccable poetry.

About Robi’s book of poems Swapani, the renowned newspaper of the yesteryears Amrita Bazar Patrika had reported:

‘Poetry is the highest form of language that should express Truth, Beauty and Harmony in a beautiful way which, ordinarily, our ears cannot hear and eyes cannot see. If this is the real purpose of poetry, nay, if the true aim of the poet is to make reader’s mind enriched with profound thoughts and ennobled with lofty ideas, then “Swapani” the recently published poetical work of Sri Robi Gupta, a young poet of Pondicherry Ashram, has seen a splendid success.

‘The book is a fine collection of forty four poems in Bengali. There is poetic ecstasy that has sprung from his deep personal experience. The verses, therefore, have the rhythm of spiritual joy. The style has elegance and fluency in giving out perfect and happy expression of sober idea and intense feeling.

‘Some of the poems are concise but direct in appeal, some are hymns of love and devotion, some are lyrics which hold sweet melody for listeners. And at the end, there is one beautiful translation from the original French poem ‘Elevation’ of Charles Baudelaire, to inspire one’s mind to move beyond the blue horizon. The most significant thing is that the high ideal of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga has been nicely portrayed through the verses, and one truly finds, in going through the poems, that the transformation of this earthly life into the life divine is a living reality. It is this Truth that has been sung by the young poet in different ways; and now, the Beauty of these songs will bring Harmony into the heart of listeners.’

Robi was a linguist and an avid footballer and hockey-player. For a number of years he had taught in the Ashram School. For his contribution in the field of Bengali literature, he was awarded the ‘Sri Aurobindo Puraskar’ and ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ by Sri Aurobindo Bhavan (Kolkata) and Overman Foundation respectively.

Robi-da was a perfect gentleman. He always encouraged budding poets and writers and also conveyed his appreciation to them either directly or through someone else whenever he read anything good authored by them. Like the late poet Nishikanto Raichowdhury he would gift poems written by him to individuals on their birthdays or other occasions.

In November 2013 Robi-da had spent a fortnight in the Ashram Nursing Home. On 7 December he lost his elder brother Subir Kanta Gupta—better known as Manju-da in the Aurobindonian community. The eldest brother Samir Kanta alias Ranju-da had already passed away on 6 June 2013. The death of his elder brothers had made him lonely and sad. In the late hours of 22 December 2013 he joined them in the Mother’s lap.

With Robi-da’s demise the firmament of Aurobindonian poetry has lost its brightest star. His poetry has immortalized him so he would continue to shine like a Sun in the heart of every lover of poetry.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARobi Gupta with Anurag Banerjee.

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Robi Gupta with Dr. Ananda Reddy and the late Togo Mukherjee at the second ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ ceremony in August 2011.

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Robi Gupta with Prof. Kittu Reddy and the late Togo Mukherjee at the second ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ ceremony in August 2011.

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Robi Gupta receiving the ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ from Ms. Suprabha Nahar.

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Robi Gupta with Prof. Kittu Reddy and Ms. Krishna Chakravarti.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARobi Gupta with Ms. Suprabha Nahar and Ms. Jhumur Bhattacharya.

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Robi Gupta with Anurag Banerjee and Ms. Jhumur Bhattacharya.

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