Sri Aurobindo’s Birthplace in Kolkata

The shrine at Sri Aurobindo’s birthplace at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, No. 8, Shakespeare Sarani, Kolkata.  The structure containing Sri Aurobindo’s relics is cube shaped and cladded in marble. A marble bust of Sri Aurobindo is some distance behind it.

The marble bust of Sri Aurobindo. (wet patches on the wall caused by rains.)

Entrance of Sri Aurobindo Bhavan. Only parts of the house is visible in this photo, behind the gate and greenery. It is an impressive house but stands in some disrepair with fading and peeling off paint.

Signboard for Shakespeare Sarani

The following interesting account of the house was found on internet – from a letter dated August 1, 1978 from Nirmal Singh Nahar addressed to the Editor, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives and Research:

“It has not yet been established exactly in which year the house was built, although I was able to ascertain that in 1872 the house belonged to a Jewish gentleman (most likely, one Mr. Ezra) and it is most likely that Sri Mono Mohan Ghosh, Bar-at-Law, had either taken it himself, or on behalf of his friend Dr. Krishna Dhan Ghosh, rented it to provide accommodation for the family of Dr. K. D. Ghosh, Sri Aurobindo’s father.

…….There is a curious coincidence that during the initial period of his stay in England, Sri Aurobindo lived in a house on the street named after Shakespeare at Manchester and it bore both Nos. 8 and 4. The coincidence is this that the original Theatre Road of Calcutta was also eventually changed to be named after Shakespeare and this house in Calcutta (Sri Aurobindo Bhavan) also bears the Nos. 8 (new) and 4 (old).

….the house was purchased by Mono Mohan Ghosh and changed hands afterwards and eventually it was purchased by the Government of Bengal….

Previous to 1935 normally it was the official residence of Commissioner, Presidency Division and later on became official residence of Premier or Chief Minister, First of Bengal, then of West Bengal. After Dr. B. C. Roy became Chief Minister, it was the official residence of the Home Minister. After his death (Kiron Shankar Roy), the house was allotted as the official residence of the Central Rehabilitation Minister, Government of India. Afterwards it remained vacant for sometime until 1970, when it became the head-quarters of the First Free Independence Bangladesh Government in exile, at a time when General Yahya Khan unleashed the massacre in East Pakistan.

Afterwards on August 7, 1972 the West Bengal Assembly passed and enacted “The Sri Aurobindo Memorial Act, 1972 (Act XXIV of 1972)” – (copy of the Gazette Extraordinary was also given by me for the records of the Archives) – which thus gave and converted Sri Aurobindo Bhavan as the National Shrine, with full concurrence and blessings of the Mother. (Coincidentally August 7, is a historic date when the people took a vow and proclaimed their determination to attain Swaraj) – birthday of Indian Nationalism on that date in the year 1905).”

P.S. There is also a claim that Sri Aurobindo was born at a different house in Kolkata. You may find the details about it and counter arguments on the net. Having gone through them it appears certain to me that the one in Shakespeare Sarani described in my article here must be the actual place.


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