A social reformer, an educationist, a freedom fighter and the voice against women's oppression, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's death anniversary is being observed today. Popularly referred to as Vidyasagar, he is best known for his 'Barna Parichay', which literally means 'introduction to alphabets'. His contribution towards propagating widow remarriage and spreading awareness against untouchability is immense.
Born as Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay in 1820, he earned the title of 'Vidyasagar' or the 'ocean of learning' for his vast knowledge in several fields. He is known to have brought the magic of William Shakespeare alive in Bengali literature by translating a number of his plays. Vidyasagar simplified the Bengali typography and interpreted complex notions of Sanskrit grammar in easy Bengali language.
Union Ministers and leaders across parties have been tweeting their respect to Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. Union Home Minister Amit Shah wrote on Twitter, "I bow to Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar ji on his punyatithi. A distinguished social reformer and one of the pillars of Bengal Renaissance, he played a major role towards women's empowerment. His relentless efforts eradicated many social evils and made Widows' Remarriage Act possible."
I bow to Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar ji on his punyatithi. A distinguished social reformer and one of the pillars of Bengal Renaissance, who played a major role towards women empowerment. His relentless efforts eradicated many social evils and made Widows' Remarriage Act possible. pic.twitter.com/0avoMblLy9— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) July 29, 2020
Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla in his tribute to Vidyasagar said, "...His contributions in the field of education, women's empowerment and social reforms continue to inspire."
Remembering freedom fighter, philosopher, educationist & social reformer, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar ji on his death anniversary.— Lok Sabha Speaker (@loksabhaspeaker) July 29, 2020
His contributions in the field of education, women empowerment & social reforms continue to inspire. My humble tributes!#ishwarchandravidyasagarpic.twitter.com/jwvhMEwRae
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "...He is one of the tallest figures of the Bengal Renaissance. His contribution in women's education and legalising widow-remarriage is undeniable."
Tribute to Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, social reformer and educationist, on his death anniversary. He is one of the tallest figures of the Bengal Renaissance. His contribution in women's education and legalising widow-remarriage is undeniable.— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 29, 2020
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's quest for knowledge was such that he used to study under street lights as his family could not afford a gas lamp at home. He is known to have learnt the english numbers by reading milestone during his journey from his village in Midnapore to Kolkata. Vidyasagar passed his examinations with excellence and also won many scholarships. He joined the Sanskrit College in Kolkata and studied there for twelve years. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was an expert in Sanskrit grammar, literature, dialectics and the Vedanta.