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Keshub Chunder Sen

(1838-1884), Religious reformer

Sitter in 4 portraits
Born in Calcutta into a prominent financier family, Sen's father died when the boy was ten years old. He continued to be raised in the luxuries he was already accustomed to. Educated at the Hindoo College (later renamed Hindu School and Presidency College), he attended the Presidency College until 1858 where he was the chief organiser of the British India Society. It was in this role that he developed his public speaking abilities. His philanthropic family set up Colootola Branch School, a free school for underprivileged children, in 1856. In this same year he married the nine year old daughter of Chandranath Majumdar, Jaganmohini. Sen founded the Goodwill Fraternity, a club for friends to discuss spiritual matters. His own spiritual journey was leading him to question his ancestral Hindu faith and it's idolatrous practices. He took guidance from the Brahmo Samaj, a theistic group led by Debendranath Tagore. To explore spiritual pathways, he left his ancestral home with his wife to live with the Tagores in 1859. By 1861 he had quit his job at the Bank of Bengal to pour himself into the work of the Samaj. He concentrated on relief, health and welfare initiatives for the poor. In 1870 he travelled to England where he was received by Queen Victoria and made contacts with other influential people. His trip warmed him to the idea of British rule in India.

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Keshub Chunder Sen, by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company - NPG x74570

Keshub Chunder Sen

by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company
albumen carte-de-visite, 1870
NPG x74570

Keshub Chunder Sen, by Henry Joseph Whitlock - NPG x197548

Keshub Chunder Sen

by Henry Joseph Whitlock
albumen carte-de-visite, 1870
On display in Room 22 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x197548

Keshub Chunder Sen, by Wilson & Beadell - NPG x197549

Keshub Chunder Sen

by Wilson & Beadell
albumen carte-de-visite, 1870
NPG x197549

Keshub Chunder Sen, by Wilson & Beadell - NPG x197550

Keshub Chunder Sen

by Wilson & Beadell
albumen carte-de-visite, 1870
NPG x197550


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