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Henry Derozio: The Maverick Marvel

Henry Derozio: The Maverick Marvel

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The nineteenth century saw poets like Henry Derozio, Kashiprasad Ghosh, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Toru Dutt, among others, voice their aspirations and angst in the colonizer’s lingo. The poets famously called “The Young Bengal” heralded the literary Renaissance in Bengal in general and Calcutta in particular. These poets were also known as “Derozians” because it was Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809-31), who ignited this flame. The way Derozio blazed a path against the set order prompted many others to follow suit. He and Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1821-73), were associated with the Hindu College, later known as the Presidency College, which became an intellectual power center because it housed many young men simmering with revolutionary ideas which fueled the Renaissance fire. The hallmark of the Bengal Renaissance was an acute sense of individualism and emotionalism. Though the "stormy-petrel" lived a short life, his range of influence, consummate with his genius, was immense. He revitalized social and nationalistic concerns in literary discourse in India and laid the foundation of Indian Writing in English.