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Yesterdate: This day from Kolkata’s past, February 12, 1871

Charles Freer Andrews, English missionary who took part in the Indian freedom struggle was born on this day

Chandrima S. Bhattacharya | Published 12.02.23, 05:59 AM
Charles Freer Andrews

Charles Freer Andrews

Wikipedia

Charles Freer Andrews, English missionary who took part in the Indian freedom struggle and knew Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore closely, was born on this day. He died on April 5, 1940, in Kolkata.

Born in Carlisle, England, Andrews was ordained as an Anglican priest. He came to India as a missionary in 1904 and began to teach at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, where he was deeply disturbed when he witnessed the racism practised against Indians. He began to study Indian cultures, literatures and religions. On reformer and nationalist Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s request, Andrews travelled to South Africa to campaign for Indian rights there. There, in Durban, Andrews met Mahatma Gandhi. The meeting would lead to long, close association began between the two.

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After returning to India, Andrews joined Visva-Bharati at Santiniketan, founded by Rabindranath Tagore. According to the VisvaBharati university website, Andrews and Tagore had met in 1912 at artist William Rothenstein's home in England, on the evening when W.B. Yeats did a reading of the Gitanjali poems. They met frequently after that and Tagore invited Andrews to Santiniketan.

Andrews was a friend of Tagore, and also of Santiniketan and VisvaBharati. He interpreted Gandhi to the West, keeping open the possibility of a dialogue between Indian leaders and the British Government, and worked closely with Tagore to build Visva-Bharati and travel with the poet in India and abroad, the website adds.

Last updated on 12.02.23, 05:59 AM
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