Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Monday, January 18, 2021 11:17:48 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Vidyasagar Glow Of Bengal Renaissance

By Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed
12th-Jan-2021       
Share
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a great social reformer, writer, educator, and entrepreneur who worked endlessly to transform society. His contribution towards education and changing the status of women in India was remarkable. Ishwar Chandra strongly protested polygamy, child-marriage and favoured widow remarriage and women's education in India. Because of his contribution towards such issues, the Widow Remarriage Act was passed in 1856, making the marriage of widows legal. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar worked towards providing education to women. He opened and ran many schools for girls at his own expense. He was also known as "Daya-r Sagar" or "Karunar Sagar" (literally, "ocean of kindness") because of his charitable nature and generosity.
Since childhood, Ishwar Chandra was keen to get more and more knowledge. As his family was not well off, he used to study under the street lights at night. Because of his vast knowledge on different subjects, the title Vidyasagar was given to him by the people of his village. Vidyasagar means an ocean of learning ("vidya" - learning, "sagar" - ocean). He became a Sanskrit pundit and acquired an extremely high proficiency in this subject. Till his retirement, he worked as a Sanskrit professor in Sanskrit College, Calcutta. While he was the principal of the college, the college became a place of reform. Not only this, Vidyasagar was a great writer and also known as the father of modern Bengali language. Many Bengali alphabets were revised by him. He also wrote a book on grammar rules of Sanskrit that is used till date.
Vidyasagar was a rebel. He never was the one to flow with the tide and accept social norms without question. Instead of a reformer it would perhaps be wiser to consider him as a revolutionary. During his youth polygamy among the Brahmins was common. Many girl children were married off to old Brahmins because it would supposedly ensure the girls and their parents a special place in heaven. Even Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's father a 'kulin' Brahmin married several times. Vidyasagar was strongly opposed to this horrendous custom of Kulin Brahmin polygamy, which allowed elderly men even on their deathbeds, to marry teenage or prepubescent girls. Many times, these 'brides' would be left behind at their paternal places without a second glance especially if they were subsequently widowed. Subjected to semi-starvation and a hard life many of them would flee and become prostitutes. Vidyasagar sought to change this as well. And his idea of widow marriage was a revolutionary concept at the time.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, along with many other active reformers, opened schools for girls. This was because, for him, educational reform was much more important than any other reform. He believed that the status of women and all kinds of injustice and inequalities that they face could be changed only through education. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar worked endlessly to provide equal education to all men and women irrespective of their caste, religion and gender. He allowed people from lower castes in his Sanskrit college that was meant only for upper caste men. Vidyasagar worked to uplift the status of women in India, especially in his native Bengal. He was a social reformer and wanted to change the orthodox Hindu society from within. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar introduced the practice of widow remarriage and worked against polygamy. During his lifetime, Vidyasagar had written many books and thus enriched the Bengali education system to a great extent. Till date, the books written by him are read by all.
The Bengali Renaissance, a subject of heated debate among scholars and intellectuals, has been described sometimes as an intellectual reawakening, a flurry of cultural and artistic activities, a cognitive enlightenment, or as a middle-class revolution. There is no ubiquitous definition of what constitutes a renaissance, and therefore debates abound on whether what happened in Bengal in the late nineteenth century could actually be called one. But what is certain is that during the time, a number of creative figures, starting from Raja Ram Mohan Roy and till Rabindranath Tagore, did bring about a paradigm shift in the cultural and intellectual pursuits of Bengal and ultimately India. Of these illustrious figures, Ishwar Chandra holds a unique place - as a polymath, a philanthropist and a social reformer.
The contributions of Ishwar Chandra cannot be separated from his time. Subrata Dasgupta, in his book The Bengal Renaissance, writes that the "creative mentality of the Bengal Renaissance was dominated by two cognitive constructs: a cross-cultural mentality, and universalism." The author explains that at the time, in the context of the studies by the British orientalists on India's past, and exposure to western education, this mentality developed. We see during the 'renaissance' Ram Mohan Roy's contribution in the creation of the Brahmo Samaj, his efforts to eradicate the practice of sati in India. Michael Madhusudan Dutta would come to revolutionise Bangla literature with his sonnets and blank verse, while Jagadish Chandra Bose and Mahendra Lal Sircar would stand to disprove irrefutably the British view that Indians were incapable of scientific pursuits. Bankim Chandra and Rabindranath would pave the way for literature with their distinct contributions.
Vidyasagar has become an indelible part of Bengali history, so much so, that he has become now an almost legendary figure. Much of what is heard of him today in popular culture has taken on epic proportions. We know him as a scholar of indubitable genius, and as a proponent for women's rights. But, his contributions are sometimes shadowed by anecdotes, true or not: that, coming from a poor family, he studied under street lights at night, or how he taught himself to count from looking at mile posts on the road. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was an extremely humble personality and many a time it was this part of his nature that had inspired others.

(Dr. Forqan is former Deputy Director General, Bangladesh Ansar & VDP, and Editor, Publisher
"The Monthly Bisswayan".

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

City »

Bulah Ahmmed dies


Bulah Ahmmed, wife of Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman, died of old age ailments at a city hospital on Sunday morning. She was 70.Also the education and cultural affairs secretary of Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, Bulah Ahmmed breathed her last around 8:45am at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH).Meanwhile, President ...

Editorial »

Unlicensed ridesharing services cause havoc to city passengers


MANY drivers who registered their vehicles with different ridesharing companies in the country are violating the existing guidelines and policies in the absence of monitoring. Many of them are now also offering offline services illegally to earn money while in some cases the incidents of hijacking and even murder have ...

Business & Economy »

M Fakhrul Alam, Managing Director of ONE Bank Limited, inaugurating its sub-branch at Darus Salam Road in Mirpur-1 in the city on Thursday. High officials of the bank and local elites were also present.


City »

LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Tajul Islam speaks at the bill collection award distribution to Government and non-government banks at Dhaka WASA Bhaban on Saturday.


International »

Museveni heads for election win, rival alleges fraud


Reuters :Long-time leader Yoweri Museveni was heading for a resounding win in Uganda's presidential election with nearly all votes counted on Saturday, but his main rival Bobi Wine alleged widespread fraud and said citizens should reject the result.With ballots from 91% of polling stations counted following Thursday's election, Museveni had ...

Entertainment »

Shahnoor to make documentary on her father


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Popular film actress Syeda Kamrun Naher Shahnoor has made a documentary titled Ekti Bangladesh recently from her own production house, Mou Multimedia. This time she is going to fulfil her long time dream. Shahnoor’s father Syed Mozaffar Ali was a freedom-fighter who took part in the War ...

Football »

Bilbao stun Real Madrid to reach Spanish Super Cup final


Agency :Athletic Club Bilbao shocked Real Madrid 2-1  in the Spanish Super Cup semifinal on Thuersday and booked a place in Sunday's final against Barcelona.Two goals from Bilbao striker Raul Garcia earned the Basque side a well-deserved win in only their second game under the direction of new coach Marcelino ...

International »

Erdogan receives Covid-19 vaccine


Reuters, Ankara :Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan received his COVID-19 vaccine in front of TV cameras on Thursday, a move which a spokesman for his AK Party said aimed to alleviate any public doubts about the effectiveness of the shot.Turkey began administering the shots developed by China's Sinovac to health workers ...

Entertainment »

Actress Sallha Khanom Nadia


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Sallha Khanom Nadia is a popular face among the viewers of the small screen. While making exceptional story based dramas directors have increased their interest to take her in their works. For this reason, she has been passing busy days with acting for last few years. Recently ...

Editorial »

Tech Board must fight irregularities


The SSC Vocational exams in 2019 and 2020 under Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB) have found truth in some allegations of frauds in admission and results. It is said that those involved in the wrong doings are helped by some senior officials of the Board. Two computer operators have recently ...

Business & Economy »

Saudi Ambassador in Dhaka Essa Yusuf Essa Al Dulaihan poses for a photograph after opening an office of Engineering Dimension International Investment LLC (EDII) at Gulshan in the capital on Wednesday.


City »

Chairman of United Islami Party Maulana Ismail Hossain speaks at a press conference at his office in the city's Uttara on Thursday in protest against attack by terrorists.


Football »

Icardi, Neymar score to secure Pochettino's first trophy


Agency :Mauro Icardi and Neymar scored as Paris Saint-Germain beat rivals Marseille 2-1 to win an eighth consecutive Trophee des Champions on Wednesday, which also ended new coach Mauricio Pochettino's 12-year wait for his first title as a coach.The Argentine started his coaching career in 2009 with Spanish club Espanyol ...

Entertainment »

Shakira tunes in to trend of selling music rights


Colombian pop superstar Shakira has become the latest artist to sell the rights to her catalogue of 145 songs to London-listed Hipgnosis Songs Fund, the investment firm said on Wednesday, as the Coronavirus crisis crushes concert earnings. The three-time Grammy award winner, famous for her songs such as Hips Don't ...

Editorial »

We bought vaccine at a cost 47pc higher yet uncertain to get


THE Bangladesh government has bought the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Serum Institute of India at a price 47 per cent higher than that the Indian government has paid. Bangladesh has paid $4 per vaccine but India paid $2.72 for each dose, according to Indian media report and Bangladesh officials also ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news