Biography of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

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Indian Freedom Fighter Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Biography

A Bengali philanthropist was one of the greatest intellectuals and activists of the 19th century colonial India.

India, a country prominent for its affluent historical values and civilization has given birth, to many great men and women who have mould great opinions in the minds of thousand individuals around the world.

It is the origin of many of the ideas, philosophies and movements which have shaped the destiny of mankind, among these is one such visionary Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who was a glittering gem of morality, and exposition of the bliss of modest living, a blue sky of compassion, an everest of unfaltering dedication, a fountain of inspiration, a river and indeed an endless ocean of Kindness. Ishwar Chandra himself was the seat of learning.

It is right said, a nation, a society and a neighborhood is ever endowed with a great man with a personality, grace and kind soul like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar popularly known as Vidyasagar (meaning `sea of knowledge`).

Ishwar chandra Vidyasagar was considered as a pillar of the Bengal Renaissance and thus Renaissance man. An academic, philosopher, educator, printer, entrepreneur, writer, translator, reformer and philanthropist are very little among the whole to be associated with the name Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

One of his significant efforts towards literature was to simplify and modernize Bangla prose. He also rationalized and simplified the Bengali alphabet. The flame of social and educational reforms kindled by Vidyasagar and his contemporaries brightened the path of humanism, rationality and scientific temper.

Early Life of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
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Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar greatest intellectuals and activists of the nineteenth century, was born in a Kulin Brahmin family at Birsingha in Midnapore district. This polymath was born on 26th September 1820. Vidhyasagar spent his childhood in absolute poverty.

However poverty did not touch his soul, nor could it deter him from his chosen path of achieving his life`s goals. Vidyasagar commenced primary education at the village pathshaala – an indigenous Indian school where language, grammar, arithmatic and other shastras were taught to younsters.

His childhood was full of learning, as his father was a teacher of Sanskrit and wanted his son to follow his profession. Vidyasagar`s mother, Prabhabati Devi had a very deep-impacted spiritual influence on him all his life.

In 1839 Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar graduated in law examination conducted by the Hindu Law Committee. On 29th December in 1841 Vidyasagar joined Fort William College (FWC) as a Principal Lecturer (or Pundit).

After a five year stint with the FWC Vidyasagar joined the Sanscrit College as Assistant Secretary. Ishwar Chandra`s principles, determination and courage were unparallel in every detail.

He never deviated from his goals in the face of all adversities. He knew not how to compromise on any matter of substance neither in fear nor for favour.

Career of  Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

At the age of 21, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar started his career as the head pundit (principal) of the FORT WILLIAM COLLEGE, Calcutta. He joined Sanskrit College as a professor in 1850.

In the following year he became Principal of the college. Concurrently with his Sanskrit College position, the government entrusted him in 1855 with the added responsibility of Special Inspector of Schools for the districts of Hughli, Burdwan, Midnapore and Nadia. Vidhya was also an honorary office bearer of several organisations including ASIATIC SOCIETY and BETHUNE SOCIETY.

In 1858, he was made one of the first fellows of the Calcutta University. He received a certificate of Honors at the Imperial Assemblage in January 1877. He also received honors and felicitations from many social, cultural and scientific organisations.

Writings of  Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Vidyasagar is rated by the established writers of his own time as an artistic writer and inspiring educator. He gave a new vision to the Bangla Prose. According to critics, Vidyasagar inaugurated a new era for Bangla prose literature.

Vidyasagar as a writer had consciously avoided the new but affected prosody pursued by the orientalists at Fort William College, the pedantic and obscurantist style of RAMMOHAN ROY and his followers, and the unrefined linguistic structure of the contemporary newspapers and periodicals.

The uniqueness of Vidyasagar`s contributions lies in foundation of the modern Bangla prose. It was rightly said by Swami Vivekananda about Vidyasagar, “There is not a man of my age in Northern India, on whom his shadow has not fallen.”
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Achievement of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Vidyasagar was a reformer and thinker. Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar`s reforming mind has found most concrete expression in his socio-religious thoughts.

In his writings he raised questions about early marriage, polygamy, widow remarriage, and many other ills stifling social developments.