Many great personalities of various countries of the world are born from time to time who keep their own name and fame high as well as their own countries where they are born in.
Toru Dutt was one of such personalities who was born in Calcutta(Now Kolkata), India on 4th March 1856. Her father’s name was Govind Chundar Dutt who had four others brothers besides himself. They were Raj Narain, the eldest Hurchunder, the second Govind chundar himself, third Omeschunder, forth and Sosheechunder the youngest brother respectively of the Dutt family.
At the age of 12 Toru accompanied her father to Europe where she joined a school at Nice Mr.Govinf chundar Dutt embraced Christianity with all his brothers where the family was baptised in 1862. A year later they went to London where Toru took lessons in music. In 1871 she went to Cambridge where she attended the higher lectures for women. In 1873 after a stay in abroad for four years they returned to Calcutta.Toru also learned Sanskrit in the hope to be able to bring out another sheaf not gleaned in French but in Sanskrit Fields according to her wish.
Toru was frail and dedicated since her birth.She obtained Hindu myths and legends both through books and through oral tradition. Her father loved Toru very much when she was a litte girl. English education had impact on India and on the indian people through which they could write English prose and verse in British India, but not in their own mother tongues or any of the Indian languages and Toru was not an exception to those Indian writers who wrote English prose and verse.
While in India I had read a poem in my student life entitled ‘Jogadhya Uma’ by Toru Dutt with a textual note like this. Toru Dutt was a Hindu lady by birth, a christian lady by faith and a French lady by education. A French lady by education could mean she knew French language more than any Indian languages including her mother tongue “Bengali” and English language.
The greek Mehander used to say that they-whom the gods love die young and have been the inheritors of the unfulfilled renown.And Menander’s saying has proved to be true in the early deaths of Toru Dutt and her sister Aru Dutt. Toru Died on 30 Aug 1877 in Calcutta. while her elder sister Aru Dutt died in 1874 aged 20.
She published her first book,’A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields’. Consisting of translations from the works of 70 or 80 different authors, including 30 pieces from Victor Hugo-displaying thus a truly remarkable aquitance with Franch literature. She published it in 1878 also from Calcutta. Messers Kegan paul and Company published the third edition in 1880. Toru wrote also a Franch novel ‘Le Journal de Mademaiselle d Arvers’.
She wrote a romance in English called ‘Bianca’ which she could not finish it due to her premature death.In 1882 appeared ANCIENT BALLADS AND LEGENDS with an interduction by Edmund Gosse.
For literary works Toru Dutt had many admirers in which one of them reviewed her works admiring. There in every reason to believe that in intelluctual power Toru Dutt was one of the most remarkable women that ever lived. Had George Sand or George Eliot died at 21, they would certainly nor have left behind them and proof of application or of orginality superior to those bequeanthed to us by Toru Dutt. The Saturday Review Aug 1979.
Let Toru Dutt remain eternally young, for ever fresh and for ever fair, till this universe remains with us(Humans), animals and other creatures on this planet still dreaming the glittering dreams of youth.
Source: ANCIENT BALLADS AND LEGENDS OF HINDUSTAN by Toru Dutt