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For a few glorious decades in the nineteenth century, bengal would witness a revolutionlike it never had before, and never would since it was a revolution of the mind and of a handful ofmen and women, but it would change the fabric of indian society irrevocably it began with a band of englishmen, led by the brilliant orientologist, william jones then there was the enigmatic rammohun roy who invented a reformed hinduism called the brahmo samaj; and his close friend, david hare, who conceived the idea of an institution which could teach the youth of bengal western thought, an idea that became the hindu college there was the 'poet, philosopher, madman' derozio who inspired a generation of youths at thehindu college; the tempestuous michael madhusudan datta who created new forms of bengaliverse on european lines; and michael's well - wisher, the scholar vidyasagar, who fought fiercely forthe cause of hindu widows and women's education there was bankimchandra, a civil servant whohelped create the novel in indian literature there were two remarkable women, rassundari deviwho taught herself to read and write and was the first indian woman to pen her autobiography; andthe ill - fated toru dutt who wrote poems and novels in english and french at a time when womencould scarcely readthere were jagadish bose and prafulla chandra ray, two lonely workers in laughably primitivelaboratories who became the frontiersmen of modern indian science; and vivekananda, the monkwho preached a new form of vedantism, both at home and abroad there was, finally, the hypnotic,impossibly gifted rabindranath tagore, the very epitome of the bengal renaissance, renaissancepersonified woven into these lives was calcutta, the 'second city' of the british empire; and aconstellation of places of learning for the first time comes a gripping narrative about the story of the bengal renaissance and theextraordinary men and women who were part of it
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