Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar


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    • Recently, the 201st birth anniversary of Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar was observed.

                                                                     Image Courtesy: ET


    • The title ‘Vidyasagar’ (ocean of knowledge) was given to him due to his vast knowledge in almost all the subjects. 
      • Poet Michael Madhusudan Dutta while writing about Ishwar Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar Chandra said: “The genius and wisdom of an ancient sage, the energy of an Englishman and the heart of a Bengali mother”.
    • He was a well-known writer, intellectual and above all a staunch follower of humanity. 
    • He was the great scholar, academician and reformer 
    • Early Life : 
    • Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay was born on 26 September 1820 in Birsingha village of Midnapore district, West Bengal. 
    • His father Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay and mother Bhagavati Devi were very religious persons. 
    • He spent his childhood days in abject poverty as the economic condition was not that stable
    • Education
    • He was a brilliant student. His quest for knowledge was so intense that he used to study on street lights as it was not possible for him to afford a gas lamp at home. 
    • He cleared all the examinations with excellence and in quick succession.
    •  He was rewarded with a number of scholarships for his academic performance.
    • In the year 1839, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar successfully cleared his Law examination. 
    • In 1841, at the age of twenty-one years, He joined Fort William College as a head of the Sanskrit department.
    • Contributions
      • He was a part of the larger social movement called the Bengal Renaissance, which started with the enlightened leadership of Raja Rammohan Roy. 
      • He brought a revolution in the education system of Bengal. 
        • In his book, “Barno-Porichoy” (Introduction to the letter), Vidyasagar refined the Bengali language and made it accessible to the common strata of the society. 
      • He used to spend a part of his scholarships and salary for the welfare of those poor people. He would also buy medicine for the sick.
    • He proposed and pushed for the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856 in India and raised concern for the abolition of child marriage and polygamy
    • He also opened the doors of the colleges and other educational institutions to lower caste students, which was earlier reserved only for the Brahmins. 
      • For his immense generosity and kind-heartedness, people started addressing him as “Dayar Sagar” (ocean of kindness).
    • Demise: He passed away on 29 July 1891 at the age of 70 years. 
      • After his death, Rabindranath Tagore said, “One wonders how God, in the process of producing forty million Bengalis, produced a man!”

    Source: Print