Macmillan Publishers and Dadu’s Pen

First Posted on November 15, 2012 by sitardivine

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Raisaheb Rajendra Lal Banerjee

It was mid 80′s. I first chanced to have a glimpse of Dadu’s book in one of the many book-shelves at Anjanda’s house1. The two storied building is so much packed with books that once you go in you have to almost breathe through the books. I always enjoyed this academic ambiance. Till then I did not know that Macmillan Publishers took interest in Dadu’s pen. I was very glad to discover this! I saw Dadu, my grandpa, as a saintly person in saffron, a person of very high reverence. I saw him with long white beard. A person who had very simple Bengali diet served with western cutleries. A spoon, a fork and a knife to savour machher jhol, bhaat, khichudi or shukto! Isn’t it interesting? I witnessed him spending time  in reading of the slokas from the Bhagavat Geeta loudly or  copying the Geeta with his wooden handled pen-nib taking ink from an ink-pot or running charkha or writing letters to his sons in English! I hear that one of his pass-time was to multiply nine digits with nine digits and directly getting the answer without a pen and a paper. What an unusual combination of activities!!

Back to the main story. McMillan published ‘Mensuration and Elementary Surveying’ by Raisaheb R.L. Banerjee. Another book titled ‘Elements of Surveying and Relaying’ was first published in January 1926 from The Art Press, Calcutta. Here is the book in pdf format. Thanks to my dear Anjanda who very kindly allowed me to digitize the copy of the book in his collection.

Writing continues…

When I was happy to be able to lay my hands in one of Dadu’s books, I felt a bit uncomfortable without any link to his Macmillan publication. I faintly remembered that I saw the card-board covers of that book in a huge wooden box at Ramnagar (3). I also remembered that I had a piece of outer-bind of that book. I tried to find that but could not locate easily. Last week [last week of November 2012] I was talking to Dada (2) over the phone. He was writing on Banerjee’s and was Mensuration & Elementary Surveying

looking for as many details as he could. He was happy that I digitized Dadu’s book. He asked me if Dadu wrote something about himself in that book and so on. During the discussion I mentioned to him about Dadu’s Macmillan publication. He immediately said that he had a copy. It was really very exciting! I asked him if I could digitize the book. He readily agreed. Finally he brought the book today. (4) I set the light, the camera and all… my tiny DIY set-up [Do It Yourself set-up]. Dada turned the pages, put the glass sheet over the pages and I went on clicking my LUMIX. Finally I had all the snaps and took the files to the computer. The thing got ready shortly for uploading. and here it is… Here is Dadu’s book Mensuration and Elementary Surveying by R.L. Banerjee [Rai Sahib], published by Macmillan & Co.,  Ltd, St. Martin’s Street, London published in 1934

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Four years have passed by since I wrote the upper part of this page. Today is Bijoya – 2016, the precise date is October 11. We were frantically searching for some horoscopes in all our cupboards, drawers, and all possible places—but failed to find them. Suddenly, I saw a postcard and became curious why we might have kept it with so much care! Then, I discovered that it was written by Dadu. I saw that the postcard space was divided into three sections. The first part was a letter to his youngest son—that was my father, this brief next part to his six-year-old grandson—that was I, and the third part was used for writing to his daughter in law—that was my mother.  Today, in 2016, it is also interesting to see the 5 paise postcard and our Behala address written to fill the address space. I would like to share the image. Here it goes—

(1) Anjan Chakravarty  is a very serious book-collector. He is my brother-in-law and married to my cousin-sis Arundhati [Banudi]

(2) Mahiruha Shekhar Banerjee [widely known as M.S. Banerjee]

(3) Ramanagar was our farm-house near Bangaon. Click for some details.

(4) 02 December 2012

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