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Remembering Jyotsna Bose

A precious link with the legendary Bose Brothers of Bengal and India, has been lost with the passing away on Sunday 1 March 2015, of Jyotsna Bose. Jyotsna was the wife of eminent barrister, parliamentarian and diplomat the late Amiya Nath Bose, son and nephew of Sarat Chandra and Subhas Chandra Bose.

Jyotsna was the youngest of five children of Satish Chandra, a senior public servant, and Pushparani Ghosh. Her family came originally from the eastern part of Bengal, which became East Pakistan after Partition and then later Bangladesh. Whilst she was born in Dhaka, she lived most of her life in Calcutta (Kolkata).

Jyotsna and Amiya Nath were married on 7 March 1948 at the Bose family home at 1 Woodburn Park in Calcutta, a home which she came to love and which in her heart she never left. The wedding was a most joyous occasion, a week-long celebration personally organised and overseen by Sarat and wife Bivabati.

Jyotsna was to recall that her most treasured wedding gift from Sarat and Bivabati was a baby grand piano, which forever remained a centre-piece of the sitting-room at 1 Woodburn Park. The sound of her playing compositions of western classical masters as well as Rabindrasangeet and patriotic songs, soon became a distinctive feature of life in the Bose residence. When Sarat became more house-bound after his heart attacks in 1949, he would often ask Jyotsna to play the piano for him, which she did. From his bedroom Sarat would listen to the soft strains of Mozart or Chopin wafting across the hallway.

Jyotsna was a great beauty, with innate qualities of honesty, fortitude and loyalty, and with a noticeable aversion to pretence in any form. She was at heart a very private person. Modern in outlook, she still maintained the best of Indian traditions. Though reticent by nature, she was also known for her fearlessness in speaking her mind when she deemed it necessary.

Jyotsna was always on hand to offer the strongest support to her husband Amiya Nath, in his distinguished career at the Calcutta Bar, in his tenures as a Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha and as Ambassador of India to Burma, and in their joint efforts to raise a family of two boys and a girl, namely Surya, Chandra and Madhuri.

Since the tragic passing of Sarat Bose in 1950 and of Bivabati four years later, Jyotsna steadfastly stood by Amiya Nath to care not only for their own immediate family, but also the extended family. At the same time, she actively supported Amiya in his determined efforts to ensure that the legacy of the brothers lived on for the succeeding generations.

Even before her marriage into the Bose family, Jyotsna grew up as a strong believer in the nationalist cause and recalled evening soirees of patriotic songs at home with her mother and siblings. Jyotsna also remembered a chance meeting of her mother with Sarat's mother Prabhabati sometime during the 1940's, when the latter had mentioned in passing that one of her favourite grand-sons was studying in England at the time. That grandson was none other than Amiya Nath.

When Amiya suddenly passed away on 27 January 1996, it was Jyotsna who ensured that the priceless archive of materials relating to Sarat and Subhas collected by her husband, was retained and preserved. This archive, now as the Private Collection of Amiya Nath and Jyotsna Bose, is being progressively released in the public interest on this dedicated website www.TheBoseLegacy.com.

Saturday 7 March 2015

 

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