The Bengali surname, Bose, packs a rich history. There was Jagadish Chandra Bose, scientist extraordinaire, Satyendranath Bose, after whom the subatomic particle, boson, is named, and Subhas Chandra Bose, freedom fighter. And, now, Amar Gopal Bose has enriched the list. The son of another freedom fighter who fled from India to escape the colonial rulers, the name of Amar Gopal features in the US national inventors’ hall of fame alongside Thomas Edison, Graham Bell and the Wright brothers. What is special about him is that he made a name for himself around the world in a field which was in its infancy at the time of the other Boses.
Since one of the most enthralling of art forms — music — is dependent on the propagation of sound waves, it is the closeness or fidelity of the sound created by the musicians during its transmission by microphones which is of prime importance. Otherwise, only those who are closest to the performer will be able to appreciate his or her talent. Bose’s achievement as a pioneering genius in modern acoustics was that he made the world sit next to the musician. As has been said, he brought the concert hall into the living room.
The Bose “speakers’, therefore, earned a fame which was a tribute the mastery of their inventor over the entire auditory range. Although no more than a consumer product, what the scientist-engineer-academic-entrepreneur who marketed it has done is to make the country of his origin as well as the country of his birth and working life proud of him along with the countless Boses in the Silicon Valley, in West Bengal and elsewhere. As a Bengali, it is not surprising that it was his love for Rabindra Sangeet or Tagore’s songs which was the inspiration for the famous sound systems.