Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, known as one of the greatest Bengali of all time, was a highly educated author, philosopher, academic educator, entrepreneur and social reformer. He is remembered for his contribution to the Bengali prose. He reconstructed the Bengali alphabet to simplify and modernize it. He is also praised for his relentless effort to introduce widow remarriage and uplift the status of women in Indian society.
Long and Short Essay on Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Essay on Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar – The Author (250 words)
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was an avid learner. He read endlessly to quench his thirst for knowledge. He also began writing to share his thoughts, ideas, and knowledge with others. He proved to be a brilliant writer. He authored several books that served as an inspiration for people around the world.
Books Written by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
The books written by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar include Betaal Panchabinsati published in 1847, Bangala-r Itihaas published in 1848, Jeebancharit published in 1850, Bodhadoy published in 1851, Upakramanika in 1851, Borno Porichoy published in 1854, Kotha Mala published in 1856 and Sitar Bonobas published in 1860. He also authored the Bengali Newspaper, Shome Prakash. The newspaper began publishing in the year 1858.
Betal Panchabinsati, one of his most popular books, was a collection of legends and tales having an Indian backdrop. It was originally written in Sanskrit.
Ishwar Chandra wrote at length about the condition of widows in India. He gave a detailed account of the hardships faced by them. He aimed to make people aware of the Hindu custom that was ruining the lives of thousands of women around the country. His writings did make an impact and helped in improving the status of widows in the society.
Quotes by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Here are two inspirational quotes by Vidyasagar:
“Education does not only mean learning, reading, writing, and arithmetic, it should provide comprehensive knowledge, Education in geography, geometry, literature, natural philosophy, moral philosophy, physiology, political economy, etc is very much necessary. We want teachers who know both Bengali and the English Languages, and at the same time are free from religious prejudices”.
“The life without suffering is like a boat without a sailor, in which there is no discretion of itself, it also moves in a light breeze”.
The books authored by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar did not only hold importance during his era but continue to draw the interest of the youth even today.
Essay on Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar – His Contribution to the Society (400 words)
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a Bengali polymath who is known to have brought about several reforms in society. He challenged many of the accepted norms of Indian society and fought to modify them to provide a better life to his fellow citizens.
Efforts for Widow Remarriage
Vidyasagar was saddened by the condition of widows in Indian society. Widows in our society were forced to shave their heads, wear a white sari and dedicate the rest of their life serving their deceased husband’s family. The number of widowed women in society was quite high during earlier times because there was a trend of elderly men marrying teenage girls.
Some widows remained confined to the four walls of their houses and led a wretched life. Others tried to break free by running from their homes. Most of them turned prostitutes to earn a living. While they earned well, they were looked down upon by society. Both ways, their life was miserable.
Vidyasagar was determined to change the general mindset of society towards widows. He worked hard to bring about reforms and provide freedom and respect to widows. He fought for their rights and advocated that they must be treated well. He proposed the practice of widow remarriage. He filed a petition for the same in the Legislative Council but faced stern criticism and opposition.
A counter-petition was filed against his proposal stating it was a breach of the Hindu traditions and customs. However, he was also supported in this mission by many prominent people such as Akshay Kumar Dutta. Vidyasagar wrote extensively about the ill-treatment of widows. His writings drew people to support him in his mission to improve the condition of widows in the society. The Hindu Widows’ Remarriage Act was finally passed in 1856.
Reconstruction of Bengali Alphabet
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar reconstructed the Bengali alphabet. He made the Bengali typography easier by discarding few difficult Sanskrit phonemes and some punctuation marks. He also added three new letters to match the modern pronunciation. He revised the Bengali typography into an alphabet of twelve vowels and forty consonants.
The promoter of Girls Education
Vidyasagar was determined to uplift the condition of women in India. He established around 35 schools to promote girl education. He sensitized people about the need to educate their girl child. He urged them to send their daughters to school so that they can be self-sufficient.
Ishwar Chandra did not just work to improve the condition of widows and women in society. He also worked to improve the overall condition of the Indian society. His contribution to society is commendable.
Essay on Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar – An Inspirational Journey (500 words)
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a man who inspired the lives of many around him. He was highly learned and used his knowledge and skill to build a better nation. He went against the mundane Indian customs to bring about reforms in the society. He did not worry about the criticism faced during the event.
Hardships of Early Life
Ishwar Chandra belonged to a poor Brahmin family based in Bengal. His parents knew the importance of education and enrolled him at a school. His quest to gain knowledge was so strong that he sat under the street lamp to study as his family could not afford a gas lamp. Education played a significant role in Ishwar Chandra’s life.
He did not just study to clear the exams but gave his heart and soul to studies. Due to the poor financial condition of his family, he worked part-time as he acquired higher education. He taught at Jorashanko during this time. He spent his day slogging hard at work and studying dedicatedly at night.
A Bright Student
Ishwar Chandra was a brilliant student. He had a yearning to learn. While other kids of his age played around for the most part of the day, he was seen engrossed in books. He was an avid learner. He studied his lessons thoroughly and performed exceedingly well. He received scholarships and rewards and continued to study with dedication.
He got enrolled at Sanskrit College in Kolkata and studied Sanskrit Grammar, Literature, Vedanta, Dialectics, Smriti and Astronomy. He performed exceedingly well in the college despite having limited time and resources.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar worked at prominent positions at various esteemed institutions. He worked as the Head of the Sanskrit Department at Fort William College. He served as Assistant Secretary at the Government Sanskrit College. He was appointed as Secretary of the Calcutta Training School. During his tenure, he brought about many positive changes in these institutes for the growth and development of students.
A Social Reformer
Ishwar Chandra was well educated and secured a good job. He could have led a life of great comfort without bothering about what was happening around him. But he chose to address the issues of society. He disapproved of the condition of women in Indian society and fought hard to improve it. He believed that girls should be educated and allowed to work. He opened many schools to encourage the education of a girl child.
Ishwar Chandra is particularly known for his efforts to improve the condition of widows in Indian society, especially in Bengal. Widows were ill-treated by society and denied the right to live freely.
Vidyasagar filed a petition to allow widow remarriage. He received strong criticism from the society for going against the Hindu customs. A counter-petition was filed against it. However, many notable people from society came in his support. Finally, his efforts paid off and the Hindus Widows’ Remarriage Act was passed in 1856.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s life story is indeed inspirational. Despite access to limited resources, he kept going and studied with dedication. He worked hard to earn for his family and support his education as he enrolled in higher education. He also worked for the betterment of society.
Long Essay on Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (600 words)
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a writer, academic educator, and social reformer. He was highly knowledgeable and inspired those around him to gain knowledge and work hard for the betterment of society. He made relentless efforts to bring about social reforms in India. He particularly worked to uplift the status of women in India.
Ishwar Chandra and his Family
Ishwar Chandra was born in a Bengali Hindu Brahmin family. It was a typical Hindu orthodox family. His father, Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay and his mother, Bhagavati Devi strongly believed in God and the Hindu traditions. However, Ishwar Chandra grew up to have a progressive mindset. They lived in Paschim Midnapore’s Ghatal subdivision.
When Ishwar Chandra turned 9, he was sent to Kolkata. There he started living in Bhagbat Charan’s house. Bhagat’s family was big and Ishwar Chandra liked the atmosphere. He liked the way they all lived in close association with each other. He adjusted well in the family. He particularly liked Bhagbat’s daughter, Raimondi who took good care of the house and ensured Ishwar Chandra was comfortable there. Raimondi inspired him to uplift the condition of women in society.
At the age of fourteen, Ishwar Chandra got married to Dinamani Devi. They had a son whom they named, Narayan Chandra Bandyopadhyaya.
The Title ‘Vidyasagar’
Ishwar Chandra, born as Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay, studied Sanskrit Grammar, Literature, Vedanta, Dialectics, Smriti and Astronomy at Sanskrit College, Calcutta. He studied dedicatedly and performed exceedingly well at the College. Ishwar Chandra knew his lessons so well that he was looked up to as the Ocean of knowledge. He received the title Vidyasagar for his in-depth knowledge and excellent academic performance in Sanskrit studies and philosophy. In Sanskrit, vidya means knowledge and Sagar means ocean.
Since then he came to be known as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
The immense knowledge that Ishwar Chandra possessed and his contribution to society won him several accolades. The names of many institutions, streets and even fair have been inspired by him. Here is a look at these:
- Between 1970 and 1998, the Indian post issued stamps that featured Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
- Vidyasagar Setu, a famous bridge built on the Hooghly River in West Bengal has been named after Ishwar Chandra. The bridge connects Kolkata to Howrah.
- Vidyasagar University founded by renowned Cambridge mathematician, Anil Kumar Gain was named so to honor Ishwar Chandra. The university is located in Paschim Midnapore.
- A Street in Kolkata has been named after the scholar. It is called Vidyasagar Street.
- Hall of Residence in the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur has been named as Vidyasagar Hall of Residence.
- A stadium has also been named after Ishwar Chandra as a mark of honor to him. Situated in Barasat, it is called the Vidyasagar Stadium.
- A railway station Jharkhand’s Jamtara district has been named, Vidyasagar Station.
- West Bengal hosts a fair every year in two of its cities – Kolkata and Birsinghla. The aim of this fair is to spread education and increase social awareness. The fair has aptly been named Vidyasagar Mela after the highly knowledgeable social reformer, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
- To honor his scholarship and cultural work, Vidyasagar was designated a Companion of the Indian Empire (CIE) by the government in the year 1877.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a man of high morals. His craze to gain knowledge and the ability to learn were commendable. He studied dedicatedly and deeply and became highly knowledgeable. He did not only work hard to enhance his knowledge and ability but also participated actively to improve the condition of the Indian society. Indian society is truly blessed to have had such a noble soul like him.