Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the great scholar, academician and reformer born on 26th September 1820 in Birsingha Village of district Midnapor (now in Paschim Medinipur), West Bengal. His father Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay and mother Bhagavati Devi were very religious persons. Due to the poor economical conditions of his family Vidyasagar struggle with poverty throughout his childhood.

After complete his elementary education at his village school at the age of eight his father took him to Calcutta(Kolkata) and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar learned English number by following the mile stones labels on his way to Calcutta. Ishwar Chandra was a brilliant student. His quest for knowledge was so intense that he used to study on street light 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 received the title "Vidyasagar" (in sanskrit vidya means knowledge and sagar means ocean, i.e., Ocean of knowledge) from Sanskrit College, Calcutta (from where he graduated), due to his excellent performance in Sanskrit studies and philosophy.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar is considered as one of the pillars of Bengal renaissance. In other words, he managed to continue the reforms movement that was started by Raja Rammohan Roy. Vidyasagar was a well-known writer, intellectual and above all a staunch follower of humanity. 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 has authored several books like Betaal Panchabinsati, Bangala-r Itihaas, Jeebancharit, Bodhadoy, Upakramanika, Bidhaba Bibaha Bishayak Prostab, Borno porichoy, Kotha mala, Sitar Bonobas.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar initiated the concept of widow remarriage 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).

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the great scholar, academician and reformer 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".

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