The Red Sea

Mozoomdar had cause to feel lonely. For the past decade, he had been struggling to reconcile the warring Brahmo Samaj factions in the wake of Keshub Chunder Sen’s controversies and death, with little success. Bereft of his friend and alienated from other Brahmos because of that friendship, PCM became the object of scorn by many Brahmos who felt threatened by the idea that he might try to succeed Keshub as leader of the group.Note: 20Suresh Chunder Bose, The Life of Protap Chunder Mozoomdar (Calcutta: Nababhidan Trust, 1927), 114-5. For Mozoomdar, whose global aspirations for the Brahmo Samaj and its New Dispensation were more pronounced than most, the opportunity to leave such squabbles behind in order to bring Keshub’s vision to life in the West was surely a welcome one.

Yet Mozoomdar expressed disappointment in the behavior of his shipmates. In a piece he wrote for The Interpreter, titled “Red Sea, Why Red,” PCM suggested that the Red Sea was so-named because of the excruciating heat experienced when traveling its waters. With tongue in cheek, he added that even “the freezing attitude of his fellow passengers” could not cool him down.Note: 21Mozoomdar, “Red Sea, Why Red,” The Interpreter 2, no.1, (1893): 27. Though there is no evidence that anyone treated him poorly at sea (to the contrary, he described being pampered by a British servant named Harris, who massaged him with medicinal oils),Note: 22Mozoomdar, Letters, 21. PCM expressed to Saudamini that religious life aboard the ship did not meet his expectations. After several Sundays without the promised religious services, Mozoomdar resigned himself to dissatisfaction, writing “it turns out that neither Kolkata nor this ship can afford me those luxuries.” Note: 23Ibid, 16. Without friends or occasions for religious fulfillment, and sweltering in the sun besides, Mozoodmdar was not at his best upon the Red Sea.

  1. Suresh Chunder Bose, The Life of Protap Chunder Mozoomdar (Calcutta: Nababhidan Trust, 1927), 114-5.
  2. Mozoomdar, “Red Sea, Why Red,” The Interpreter 2, no.1, (1893): 27.
  3. Mozoomdar, Letters, 21.
  4. Ibid, 16.