Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar: A Legendry Personality

On this date i.e. on 26 September in 1820 Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay/ at present many persons with same surname write
Banerjee instead of Bandyopadhyay) was
born in then Bengal, present West Bengal. Because of his vast knowledge later
on of his life, he is known as
Vidyasagar means knowledge of ocean. He was also
known as ‘Dayar Sagar’ or ‘Karunar Sagar’
(meaning ocean of kindness) because of his charitable nature and generosity.
His enormous contribution for the development of the society is gratefully
remembered by all not only in India but also in Bangladesh. 
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar: A Legendry Personality

He reconstructed the
Bengali alphabets and simplified Bengali typography into an alphabets.
He was a social reformer
and advocated widow remarriage and worked against polygamy.
Because of his initiative,
the Widow Remarriage Act was passed in 1856 making the widow marriage legal.
   Vidyasagar worked endlessly to provide equal
education to all men and women irrespective of their caste, religion and
was protagonist of women education. According to him with education only women
can live in the society with dignity and respect. He lobbied hard for girls’ school
and for this; he went door to door requesting heads of families to allow their
daughters to admit in the schools. And it is believed that he could open 35
schools for girls throughout then Bengal where around 1300 students were
enrolled. It is pertinent to mention that because of his arduous labour and
support received from John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune, the first girls’ school
in India, the Bethune School was established on 7 May, 1849 in Calcutta.
He worked as a Sanskrit
professor in Sanskrit College, Calcutta. While he was principal of the college undertook
some reforms and one of them was admission of students belonging to  marginalised group (present SC/ST) as earlier
they were not allowed admission. Further, when he was Professor in Sanskrit
College successfully included English and Bengali as medium of learning, in
addition to Sanskrit. He introduced courses of European History, Philosophy and
Science along with Vedic scriptures. During his lifetime, Vidyasagar wrote many
books and thus enriched education system.
In present days, he is
remembered in many ways, inter alia
of which are:
Vidyasagar Setu, which
connects Howrah and Kolkata, is a bridge over the Hooghly River in West Bengal.
fair/mela named Vidyasagar Mela (dedicated
to spreading education and increasing social awareness) is held annually in
West Bengal since 1994.
College in Kolkata is named after him, as well as Vidyasagar University in Paschim Midnapore, West Bengal.
street in then Calcutta now Kolkata has been named after him
West Bengal Government has established a stadium named after him at Barasat, North 24 Parganas, district.
his immense and selfless service for the marginalised people of then Bihar
present Jharkhand, a railway station has been named as Vidyasagar Station in Jamtara district of Jharkhand.
Post issued stamps featuring Vidyasagar in 1970 and 1998.
       In addition to above, I have observed
many persons in the states of South India keep their son’s name Ishwar Chandra
(prefix as family name). When I visited Bangladesh amazed to observe his
popularity among the people of Bangladesh.
Vidyasagar although has
passed away on 29 July, 1891 but he is still remembered by all Indians. After
his death Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “One wonders how God, in the process
of producing forty million Bengalis, produced a man!”

Dr Shankar Chatterjee
Former Professor & Head (CPME),NIRD & PR ( Govt. of India), Hyderabad,  India

Former Associate Professor, Eritrea

Former Assistant Prof, Govt. Degree College, Tripura, India
Former Senior Planning Officer, Govt of Assam, India 
Prof. Shankar Chatterjee 
Lidom Villa, No.13
Peranchuru, Bandlaguda(Jagir), Hyderabad-5000091

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