Arun da Pioneer soul-spirit    

Arun da was the pioneer soul-spirit at Lakshmi's House. As per The Mother's instructions, he set up residence at Lakshmi's House from Feb 1968. With Her blessings he started Arun Nursery School in 1972. He was instrumental in setting up Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture.

  • Arun da

Shri Arunendra Nath Tagore

1914-1975

Shri Arunendranath Tagore was born in Kolkata on 15th March 1914 to an illustrious family of Pathuriaghata. A descendant of Raja Ramanath Tagore, he was the third child of Shri Arabinda Tagore and Shrimati Anuja Devi. Anuja Devi was the daughter of Sunayani Devi, sister of Abanindranath Tagore.

He grew up in an atmosphere steeped in culture- exemplified by his interest in music and his capacity to play the sitar and the piano mellifluously.

After he finished his schooling, he joined Presidency College where he came in touch with Shri Jyoti Basu and Shri Siddharth Shankar Ray among others. He married Shrimati Minakshi Devi( Minkudi) in 1937.

He completed his LLB in 1939, standing first in viva-voce, for which he was awarded the Rash Behari Ghose Medal. He started practising law and gradually started his own Attorney firm, A.N.Tagore & Co. on Hastings Street. His firm went on to become one of the renowned legal and Tax Advisory firms in the city during those days.

He had three sons. The eldest, Arup was born in 1939, followed by Joy in 1940 and Barun in 1942.

It was during this time that he felt a strong inclination towards spirituality which manifested itself when he came in contact with Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Mother. This was in 1949. Gradually he felt peace and the Divine Power that he was looking for.

His family, more specifically Minkudi, his wife, was also turning towards the Mother. Finally in 1956, he sent his wife and sons to the Ashram at Pondicherry to remain under the Mother's care. The Mother asked Minkudi to take charge of an Ashram Boarding House, which she named Minku's Boarding.

Arunendranath Tagore unfortunately could not join them as the Mother wanted him to stay on in Calcutta. But he took every opportunity to visit the Ashram, to receive the Mother's Blessings and meet his family.

Gradually he was introduced to Shri Pradyot Kumar Bhattacharya, Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram who would visit Calcutta every month on engineering Consultancy assignments.

When this house was offered by Shrimati Lakshmi Devi Loyalka to the Mother in 1967, the Mother named it 'Lakshmi's House' and that it would become the 'Home of Grace'. She asked Arunendra Nath Tagore to take charge of 'Lakshmi's House' and referred to it as Her home in Calcutta. He moved here in 1968 and remained till 1975, the year he passed away. He had found his true calling.

The subsequent years saw Lakshmi's House flower under his able stewardship. The very essence of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother seemed to pervade the atmosphere as more and more people were drawn into the fold.

Arun Tagore was ably supported by Shri Pradyot Kumar Bhattacharya, Shrimati Rani Mukherjee and other devotees who had gathered around him.

He made 'Lakshmi's House' the Calcutta office for Auroville and also of Sri Aurobindo Memorial Fund Society and Sri Aurobindo Society.

Working tirelessly and armed with his legal background, he created on his death bed in 1975, the Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture as a Registered Society under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961.

1968 marked the birth of Shakti Centre, our Cultural Educational Unit helmed by Shrimati Asha Rajgarhia, Shrimati Maya Mitra and Shrimati Rekha Mitra. The unit that was started with such love and devotion has been going strong till date.

1968 also saw the birth of the Public Library, named as Sri Aurobindo Library - he was instrumental in getting a large number of rare books for the library. It was the foundation of what was to become the Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture Library.

A laboratory for Science students enrolled in Calcutta colleges to practise their Practical Skills was set up by him in what currently houses Arun Nursery. Shri Subodh Ranjan Moitra, Founder Secretary of the Institute, was the brain behind this unique effort.

Farming – Hard to believe but fact remains that the present basketball court and Hall of Light was a large tract of land where vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes and paddy were grown.

In fact, in those days, the Ashram kitchen got its vegetable supply mainly from the kitchen garden. This effort was the brain child of Shri Sushil Ranjan Moitra, Founder Vice Chairman of the Institute.

In 1972, Arun Tagore asked the Mother for permission to start a nursery school. The Mother gave her permission and her Blessings. She also named the school Arun Nursery School, much to his embarrassment. Thus on September 04, 1972 the pre-school began its journey and there has been no looking back.

Shrimati Bharati Dutt, was chosen as the Headmistress of the fledgling school by the Mother. The small seed he had sown with just three children and three teachers is now firmly embedded with strong roots that have dug deep into the soil.

A fantastic sense of humour characterised him and anyone who came in touch with him will recall the peals of laughter that echoed through the rooms upstairs, specially when Shri Pradyot Bhattacharya was present and there was a circle of friends and devotees assembled here.

Arun Tagore passed away on 19th July 1975 after a brief illness, leaving Joya Mitter to take over from where he had left.

A century of his birth has elapsed and it seems but yesterday that he was striding over Lakshmi's House like a colossus.

With inputs from Shri Manujendra Nath Tagore, Arun da's nephew

Photo-Album

  • Shri Arunendra Nath Tagore

  • Arabindanath Tagore - Arun da's father

  • Anuja Tagore - Arun da's mother and daughter of Sunayani Devi, Abanindra Nath Tagore's sister

  • Arun Tagore - in his early thirties

  • Arun Tagore - in his early thirties

  • Minakshi Tagore - Arun da's wife

  • Sharing moments with his wife

  • With his wife Minakshi and sons, Arup, Joy and Barun

  • (L to R) Arun da, Shibani Ghoshal (sister), Minakshi (wife), Asit Ghoshal (brother-in-law), (Top L to R) Sons, Arup, Joy, Rupa (daughter), Bena (daughter-in-law), Barun (son)

  • With his grandson Manabendra Nath Tagore (Bhaiya) in 1968

  • Arun da at his home in Swinhoe Street in 1951

  • The Mother's Flag hoisting by Pradyot da at Arun da's residence (3, Swinhoe Street) in 1954

  • Arun da (seated extreme left) with WB Chief Minister - Prafulla Sen - in his office

  • At a meeting of Sri Aurobindo Society (seated on the front row in shorts)

  • Arun da with friend - Dr. Mondal

  • Arun da with Navajata, the first General Secretary and Treasurer of Sri Aurobindo Society

  • Minakshi Devi

  • Arun da

  • A letter written by Arun da (Part 1 of 2)

  • A letter written by Arun da (Part 2 of 2)

  • A letter written by Arun da

  • Lakshmi's House in 1968

  • Sharing a light moment with Pradyot da and other devotees

  • Arun da, Minakshi devi, Pradyot da and others (L to R)

  • With Rani Mukherjee at Lakshmi's House in 1969

  • Performance by children of Arun Nursery School during its early years

  • Maya Mitra playing the Sitar at Lakshmi's House in the late 60s

  • Sri Aurobindo's Relics being taken from Lakshmi's House to Sri Aurobindo Bhavan

  • At Bangabani with Uttara di

  • At Tara Jauhar's brother's wedding in May 1963

  • Arun da in his office

  • Lakshmi's House in the 70s

  • Arun da with wife Minakshi - 1967

Video

Remembering Arun da

Shrimati Bharati Dutt, who was chosen as the first Headmistress of Arun Nursery School by The Mother in 1972, remembers Arun da

Tribute

Arun da - by Sulekha Das

Arun da's Birth Centenary

15.Mar.2014:

A Photographic Exhibition on Shri Arunendranath Tagore

Inaugurated by Shrimati Bharati Dutta

Remembering Arun da

Reminiscences by Shrimati Bharati Dutta

 


All extracts and quotations from the written works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the Photographs of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry -605002 India.
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