Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

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The Inspirational Story of "Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar"

In this episode let us hear about the famous educationist of 19th century Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. He was an Indian educator and social reformer. His efforts to improve and modernize Bengali literature were notable.

Birth: Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay was born on 26th  September 1820  to Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay and Bhagavati Devi in Birsingha, West Bengal.

Childhood: As a child, Ishwar Chandra was a kind, intelligent and naughty child. He started studying under his teacher Kantilal, and finished his complete schooling by 9 years of age. After this, he was sent to Kolkata to study Sanskrit. He stayed at a relative’s house whose young daughter was very motherly and affectionate towards him, but she was a widow. This left a huge impression on him. 

 

Adult Life: In 1841, at the age of twenty-one years, Ishwar Chandra started working at Fort William College and then Sanskrit College in Kolkata.  Alongside he started working on social reforms like Widow Remarriage, Abolition of polygamy. He also worked on translations of Sanskrit in Bengali texts. This made his contribution to Bengali Prose remarkable. 

Widow Re-Marriage: Vidyasagar advocated for the advancement of women’s rights in India, notably in his home Bengal. He advocated for widow remarriage in order to change society from the inside out.  Lord Dalhousie personally finalised the bill and the Hindu Widows’ Remarriage Act, 1856 was passed.

 

The Title of “Vidyasagar”: Sanskrit College in Calcutta awarded him the honorary title “Vidyasagar” meaning, “Ocean of Knowledge”. The world Vidya means “knowledge” and Sagar means “ocean”. He was given the title for his outstanding performance in his undergraduate years of Sanskrit and philosophy.

His Works: He also built a lot of schools and got educational reforms for every stratum of society, so that education could be easily available for everyone. Ishwar Chandra got his surname Vidyasagar due to his enormous education and keeping the prestige of his name, he worked endlessly as an educationist till late in his life. The Bengali alphabet is said to have been rebuilt by him. He reduced Bengali typography to a 12 vowel and 40 consonant alphabet.  His book ‘Borno Parichay,’ which means ‘introduction to the letter,’ is still used to teach Bengali phonetics.

Stay tuned and listen to more episodes of our podcast “Famous Indian Personalities” where we keep bringing stories from the lives of the greatest personalities of India. And don’t forget to check out our other podcasts for kids on free Chimes Radio mobile apps – India’s largest kids podcast network. Available on Google and Apple App stores.

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