Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was an Indian Bengali polymath and a key figure of the bengal renaissance.He was born at Birsingha, Midnapur, in 26 September 1820 A.D. to a poor religious family. His parents were Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay and Bhagavati Devi. Vidyasagar was a Mother’s Son, who deeply respect his mother. The childhood days of Vidyasagar were spent in abject poverty.He received the title “Vidyasagar” (“Ocean of learning” or “Ocean of knowledge”) from the Calcutta Sanskrit College (where he graduated), due to his excellent performance in Sanskrit studies and philosophy. In Sanskrit, Vidya means knowledge or learning and Sagar means ocean or sea. This title was mainly given for his vast knowledge in all subjects which was compared to the vastness of the ocean.Vidyasagar championed the uplift of the status of women in India by introducing the practice of widow remarriages to mainstream Hindu society. Vidyasagar did not believe that money was enough to ease the sufferings of humanity. He opened the doors of the Sanskrit College to lower caste students (previously it was exclusive to the Brahmins), nursed sick cholera patients, went to crematoriums to bury unclaimed dead bodies, dined with the untouchables and walked miles as a messenger-man to take urgent messages to people who would benefit from them.He was a philosopher, academic, educator, writer, translator, printer, publisher, entrepreneur, reformer, and philanthropist. His efforts to simplify and modernize Bangla prose were significant. He also rationalized and simplified the Bengali alphabet and type, which had remained unchanged since Charles Wilkins and Panchanan Karmakar had cut the first wooden Bangla type fonts in 1780. Betaal Panchavinsati – 25 tales of a Betaal (Demon) published in 1847 – a translation from the Sanskrit Kathasaritsagara on King Vikramaditya and his Betaal, is one of the most popular works of Vidyasagar in Bengali Prose. Other notable Literary contributions by him include Banglar Itihaas (1848), Jivancharita (1849), Shakuntala (1854), Mahabharata (1860), Seetar Vanavas (1860), Bhrantivilaas (1869), Oti Alpa Hoilo (1873), Aabaar Oti Alpa Hoilo (1873), Brajavilaas (1884) and Ratnopariksha (1886).Vidyasagar is also famously known for his Educational Book of “Barnoparichoy” – a first book of the Bengali alphabet to introduce children to the alphabetical letters of the Bangla Language. Disgruntled with some of his own family members’ petty-mindedness and selfishness, he severed all relations with them and lived amongst the tribal people in his last years. He died on 29th July, 1891 at the age of 70.
Download below Books by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar from here
- Betaal Panchavinsati by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar