We remember Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the Renaissance- man for his contributions in the society and in educational arena of Bengal. Today, we are remembering him in his birthday. Obviously, he was a modern man in nineteenth century Bengal as well as India .
He was born in Birsingha village in Hooghly district of Bengal on September 26, 1820. He is famous by the name of “Vidyasagar”. Because he was an eminent intellectual and scholar of contemporary India.
Eshwar Chandra Vidyasagar belonged to a Hindu Brahmin family. He was born to Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay and Bhagavati Devi. He was not privileged enough to have a gas lamp at his home and the desire to acquire knowledge made him study under the streetlights.
Through scholarships, he made a quick succession and joined Sanskrit College in Calcutta and graduated in the year 1841.
It took him 12 years to graduate from college. He was also pursuing his part-time job while studying at the same time. He had a qualification in Sanskrit Grammar, literature, dialectics, Vedanta, smriti, and astronomy.
In true sense of the term, Vidyasagar was a renaissance -man. He was also a social reformer, philosopher, philanthropist, and educationalist with a modern vision. He was a person with high morality, honest character, truthfulness, social reform, unselfishness, and liberalism.
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Contributions of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar:
He contributed to the removal of social justice, upliftment of women, allowing widow remarriage, and advocating against polygamy.
He played a major part in being appointed as the Head Pandit of Fort William College on December 29, 1841. During that time he felt the need to publish books. Because there’s available no books for learning Bengali and other subjects.
Ultimately, he started writing books for this purpose. For learning Bengali language, he wrote ” Barnaporichay ” which is ever remembered. We have read this book in our childhood. This was the only book in our childhood to be read for learning the Bengali alphabet, punctuation, meaning and so on.
The Pioneer Of English Education:
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the Renaissance- man opened schools for girls. He brought significant reforms in the education sector. He tried to bring justice and equality for women through education.
Besides, hee brought social reforms to change the orthodox Hindu society from within.
He was also a great intellectual activist of the 19th century. And he installed socio-religious reforms into modern history.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar established a number of model schools in Hooghly, Midnapore, Burdwan, and Nadia.
He introduced monthly exams instead of annual ones. Moreover, he introduced supervision of schools and changed the syllabus.
He brought the study of English, Western Science, and Mathematics into the syllabus.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar also started the acceptance of tuition fees and admission fees .Moreover, he made Sunday a weekly holidjay.
However, Eshwar Chandra Vidyasagar entirely reshaped the education system in Bengal.
Books He Authored:
Besides, Vidyasagar authored some books. His works involved Betaal Panchavinsati (1847), Banglar Itihaas (1848), Jivancharita (1849), Shakuntala (1854), Mahabharata (1860), Seetar Vanavas (1860), Bhrantivilaas (1869), Oti Alpa Hoilo (1873), Aabaar Oti Alpa Hoilo (1873), Brajavilaas (1884), Ratnopariksha (1886).
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s did some social reforms. It included ‘Bidhobabivah’ on the widow’s right to remarry (1855), ‘Bahubivah’ on the banning of polygamy (1871), and Balyabivah on the flaws of child marriage.