The path-breaking reformer who revolutionised Bengali Education System and the writer and reformer, whose contribution towards education and also the empowerment of women in India was remarkable.
On the great personality’s 199 birth anniversary, here’s are few facts about Ishwar Chandra Vidhyasagar – the man who had knowledge like ocean.
- Ishwar Chandra Vidhya Sagar born in a poor family in 1820 on September 26th.
- For his great learning, the Sanskrit College in Calcutta conferred on him the title of ‘Vidyasagar’ means ‘ocean of knowledge’.
- Ishwar Chandra Vidhya Sagar became a legendary figure for his simple living, fearlessness, self-sacrifice, his commitment to education.
- He introduced the study of modern western thought in the Sanskrit College and admitted students belonging to the so-called lower castes to study Sanskrit. Earlier, Sanskrit was a monopoly of Brahmins, and the so-called lower castes were not allowed to study it.
- He made a significant contribution to the Bengali language and is recognised as the originator of modern Bengali language. He was closely associated with many journals and newspapers and wrote influential articles supporting social reforms.
- His most significant contribution was to the cause of widow upliftment and girl education. He played a prominent role in the passing of the law which made the marriage of widows legal. He took part in the first widow remarriage that was performed in Calcutta in 1856.
- He was especially vocal about the cause of widow remarriage and organised the practice and pushed for the Widow Remarriage Act XV of 1856. The orthodox Hindus attacked him for his strong support to the cause of widow remarriage and for his efforts at supporting the education of girls.
- In 1855 he was made special controller of schools, he opened several new schools, including girls’ schools, in the districts under his charge. The officials did not like this, and he resigned from his post. He was closely associated with Drinkwater Bethune who had started the first school for girls’ education in Calcutta in 1849.
- He also reconstructed the Bengali alphabet and reformed Bengali typography into an alphabet of 12 vowels and 40 consonants.
Major Contribution of Ishwar Chand:
- He originated the study of modern Western thought in the Sanskrit college.
- He played an essential role in the upliftment of widow’s and girl’s education.
- He was one of the contributors to the law passing, which made the widow marriage legal.
- He started the first school for girl’s education in Calcutta in 1849.
- He was a powerful supporter of widow remarriage.
- He was closely associated with many journal and newspapers and wrote powerful, articles advocating social reforms.
- He was a great contributor to Bengali language and considered as the originator of Modern Bengali Language.