About Mr. Brojen Das  

Brojen Das was the first Asian to swim across the English Channel. He was born on 9 December 1927 in Kuchiamora village of Bikrampur, Munshiganj, in East Pakistan (Bangladesh). He was son of late Harendra Kumar Das, and did his primary education in his native village. He completed his matriculation in 1946 from the KL Jubilee High School, Dhaka and Intermediate and Bachelor of Arts from Vidyasagar College, Kolkata.

Brojen was an adept and champion swimmer from his boyhood. The turbulent water of river Ganga (Buriganga) was his training ground. His swimming ability motivated the East Pakistan Sports Federation to introduce annual swimming competition in Dhaka. The first competition took place in 1953. In most local and national swimming competitions and tournaments Brojen proved himself to be an outstanding swimmer. His swimming career took a new turn when he received an invitation to take part in the English Channel Swimming Competition in 1958. He took-up the challenge to become the first person from Asia to swim across the channel. Swimming the ‘English Channel’ was quite a risky affair in mid 50’s, because of bad weather many swimmers were unable to complete the crossing. Moreover, the water temperature of the Channel was very cold. However, Brojen made up his mind to go for the competition.  He then made the Sitalakhya and most turbulent part of the lower Megna River as his training field. Finally, he swam from Narayanganj to Chandpur, a distance of about 46 miles. He also accomplished with credit a non-stop 48 hours swimming, covering approx.60 miles in Dhaka swimming pool.

Immediately before going for the English Channel competition, Brojen successfully completed the Mediterranean swimming competition from Capri to Naples. The competition gave him added confidence and an opportunity to acclimatize himself with the Oceanic waters. Brojen arrived in England in June 1958 for the Billy Butlin Channel Swimming Competition. Swimmers from 23 countries joined the contest and Brojen Das was the only contestant from the South Asian countries. The swimming began at midnight of 18 August 1958 and it came to a close in the afternoon of the next day. Fatigue led many to withdraw from the competition on the way, but undaunted Brojen continued with the strongest determination and joined the ranks of the heroes crossing the Channel. He not only secured the first position in competition but also became the first Asian to cross the English Channel.

In 1959, he not only succeeded in swimming from the Capri Island to Naples in Italy, but also succeeded in three long-distance international swimming competitions. He also swam from English to France. In the subsequent year he crossed the Channel again from France-England.  In 1961, Brojen Das earned glory and fame when he created World records in channel swimming to put his name in the Guinness Book of World Records. Not only did he cross the English Channel in record time, he crossed it six times and created two world records on the same day.

Brojen Das, who was respectfully regarded as "Brojenda" by his near and dear ones, got the "Pride of Performance" award in 1959 from the Pakistan government and earned the trophy of "KING OF CHANNEL" from the Channel Swimming Association of the United Kingdom in 1986. Bangladesh government gave him the national award in 1976 for his valuable contribution in the field of sports and games. His name was also enlisted in the ‘International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame’ in 1965.