Rajnarayan Basu (1826-1899) educationist, litterateur and intellectual. He was born in Biral village in 24-Parganas, son of Nanda Kishore, who was for some time the secretary of Raja rammohun roy . After studying initially at Guru Pathshala in Calcutta , he studied at Hare School and Hindu College (1840-43). Rajnarayan was a bright student and qualified for a scholarship at school. His close friends included prominent personalities of his time such as michael madhusudan dutt , Jnanendra Mohan Thakur, bhudev mukhopadhyay , Ananda Krishna Basu etc. Due to ill health he had to give up his studies.
Rajnarayan was for some time the house tutor of rabindranath tagore . He was an English translator of upanisad at tattvabodhini sabha (1846-49) and English teacher at sanskrit college (1849). He also served as headmaster of Midnapore Zila School (1851). During early 1846, Rajnarayan was converted to Brahmoism. He became president of Adi Brahma Samaj and remained in that position till the end of his life. He founded the House of brahma samaj . He established literary societies and debate associations, as well as girls' schools, a night school for workers at Midnapore, and a music college at Shobha Bazar. He also founded a public library at Midnapore. In 1868 he retired from government service, and, in 1868, he left for Deoghar where he lived the rest of his life. While at Deoghar, he was awarded the title of 'Risi' (Saint).
A nationalist, Rajnarayan founded the Jatiya Gaurab Sampadani Sabha (National Association for Achieving Pride) and Brahmabodhini Sabha. He was a member of the Indian Association as well as of a political association named Sanjibani Sabha. He inaugurated the hindu mela (1875), established by Naba Gopal Mitra. He joined the movement against the law restricting the vernaculars (1878). He wrote in both Bangla and English. Among his books are Rajnarayan Basur Baktrta (Speeches of Rajnarayan Basu, 1st part 1855, 2nd part 1870), Brahma Sadhan (Serving Brahma, 1865), Dharmatattva Dipika (Lights of Religious Theory, 1st part 1866, 2nd part 1867), Atmiya Sabhar Sabhyadiger Brttanta (About Members of Atmiya Sabha, 1867), Prakrta Asampradayikata Kahake Bale (What is Real Non-Communalism?, 1873), Hindu Dharmer Shresthattva (Superior to Hinduism, 1873), Se Kal Ar E Kal (The Past and the Present, 1874), Brahma Dharmer Uchcha Adarsha O Amader Adhyatik Abhab (High Ideals of Brahmoism and Our Spiritual Deficiency, 1875), Hindu Athaba Presidency Colleger Itibrtta (History of Hindu College or Presidency College, 1876), Bangla Bhasa O Sahitya Bisayak Baktrta (Lectures on Bangla Language and Literature,1878), Bibidha Prabandha (Varieties of Essays, 1st vol. 1882), Sar Dharma (Essence of Religion, 1866), Tambulopahar (Gift of Tambul, 1866), Brddha Hindur Asha (Hopes of an Old Hindu, 1887), Rajnarayan Basur Atmacharita (Autobiography of Rajnarayan Basu,1909). His English books writings include 'A Defence of Brahmoism and the Brahma Samaj', a lecture delivered at the Midnapore Samaj Hall on 21 June 1863, Brahma Question of the Day Answered (1869), Brahmic Advice, Caution and Help (1869), The Adi Brahma Samaj, its views and principles (1870), Theistic Toleration and Definition of Theism (1872), The Adi Brahma Samaj as a Church (1873), Hints Showing the Feasibility of Constructing a Science of Religion (1876), Hindu Theists' Brotherly Gift to English Theists (1881), Brahma Catechism (1982), Old Hindu's Hope (1889).
Rajnarayan Basu died on 18 September 1899. [Badiuzzaman]