Bireswar Sen portrait Born in 1897 at Calcutta, Bireswar Sen grew up in stirring times. His grandfather, Joggeswar Sen, a solicitor at the Calcutta High Court, took great delight when young Bireswar began to dabble in water-colours, as his father, Rai Bahadur Saileswar Sen, Professor of Literature at the Calcutta University.
In 1918, when Bireswar was still a bit short of taking his bachelor’s degree in English, he met with two men who had by then acquired the status of icons in artistic circles: Abanindranath Tagore and his foremost pupil, Nandalal Bose.

Bireswar Sen studied in the Indian Society of Oriental Art for six years under the celebrated artist Dr. Abanindronath Tagore D.Litt, C.I.E.
RabindraNath Tagore with Mrs.Poornima Sen And Children
There were two clear, though not competing, interests that Bireswar Sen had, however: painting and the pursuit of English literature. In 1923, he started teaching English in a College at Patna in Bihar. But painting claimed at least an equal amount of his attention and his energies even then.
Bireswar Sen abandoned teaching English – without losing any part of his interest in English literature, though – in favour of teaching art at the School of Arts and Crafts, Lucknow, which he joined in 1926.
The meeting with Nicholas Roerich in 1932 changed him in many ways. “To most of us”, he wrote in a journal, “Roerich is a legendary figure of romance.” But, he added: “Against the wild glare of the flaming West, his mighty figure looms large like the motionless and benevolent Buddha in the midst of a vast cosmic cataclysm.” At the same time, he wrote that if Roerich was ‘great’, ‘greater still’ were his works. For he saw in them, especially in his paintings of the Himalayas that he so loved, a luminosity which seemed to come as much from the startling brilliance of the colours he used as from the fire that burned within.