‘In Process Of Producing 40 Million Bengalis, Produced A Man Like Vidyasagar’

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Kolkata: Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was born on this day September 26, in the year 1820, into a Hindu Brahmin family in the Bengal Presidency of British India. On Monday we are remembering Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar on his 196th birth anniversary.

Shortly after Vidyasagar’s death, Rabindranath Tagore reverently wrote about him: “One wonders how God, in the process of producing forty million Bengalis, produced a man!”

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He received the title “Vidyasagar” from Sanskrit College, Calcutta (from where he graduated), due to his excellent performance in Sanskrit studies and philosophy. Noted Bengali mathematician Anil Kumar Gain founded Vidyasagar University, named in his honour.

Vidyasagar championed the uplift of the status of women in India, particularly in his native Bengal. Unlike some other reformers who sought to set up alternative societies or systems, he sought to transform orthodox Hindu society from within.

With support from people like Akshay Kumar Dutta, Vidyasagar introduced the practice of widow remarriages to mainstream Hindu society. In earlier times, remarriages of widows would occur sporadically only among progressive members of the Brahmo Samaj.

He reconstructed the Bengali alphabet and reformed Bengali typography into an alphabet (actually abugida) of twelve vowels and forty consonants

Shortly after Vidyasagar’s death, Rabindranath Tagore reverently wrote about him, “One wonders how God, in the process of producing forty million Bengalis, produced a man!”

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