Sir Surendranath Banerjee ( 10 November 1848 – 6 August 1925) was one of the earliest Indian political leaders during the British Raj.
After graduating from the University of Calcutta, he traveled to England in 1868, along with Romesh Chunder Dutt and Behari Lal Gupta, to compete in the Indian Civil Service examinations. He cleared the competitive examination in 1869, but was barred owing to a claim he had misrepresented his age.
After clearing the matter in the courts by arguing that he calculated his age according to the Hindu custom of reckoning age from the date of conception rather than from birth, Banerjee cleared the exam again in 1871 and was posted as assistant magistrate in Sylhet.
In 1883, Surendranath Banerjee became the first Indian journalist to be imprisoned. In an angry editorial in “The Bengalee” Banerjee had criticised a judge of Calcutta High Court for being insensitive to the religious sentiments of Bengalis in one of his judgments.
He founded the Indian National Association, through which he led two sessions of the Indian NationalConference in 1883 and 1885, along with Ananda Mohan Bose.
He welcomed Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms, unlike Congress, and with many liberal leaders he left Congress and founded a new organisation named Indian National Liberation Federation in 1919.
He was also known by the sobriquet Rashtraguru. He was editor of “The Bengali” newspaper. He was also known as Indian Edmund Burke.