Dear Editor, The act of some goons of smashing the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to pieces in a street of Kolkata was an attempt to vandalise our evolutionary progress. Just after Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the name of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar comes to our mind as a pillar of the Bengal Renaissance. And College Street where the incident happened was the heart of the Renaissance that showed the light to India. Unfortunately, those who have a vested interest, brainwash us into believing that the past was very good ~ Satyayug and the present is very bad ~ Kaliyug ~ so, we need to march backwards. There is nothing to worry about as evolutionary progress keeps on giving us great reformers like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar who fought against the prejudices about girl’s and Dalit’s education and widow remarriage. I learnt Bengali alphabet through Ishwar Chandra’s book ‘Borno Parichoy’ (Introduction to the letter) and Sanskrit through his books ‘Upakramonika’ and ‘Byakaran Koumudi’. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a philosopher, academic, writer, social reformer, translator, printer, publisher and had ocean of knowledge (Vidyasagar) and in the words of Michael Madhusudan ‘ocean of kindness’ (Dayar Sagar) within him. He opened the gate of Sanskrit College for the non-Brahmin students and did everything for women’s education from establishing schools for girls to door to door campaign requesting parents to send their daughters to school. It was his efforts that got the Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act, 1856 decreed. He even married his son Narayan Chandra to an adolescent widow to set an example. No one can destroy Vidyasagar who was a man of exceptional character ~ who never bowed his head to high ranking British officials’ colonial mindset or to inhuman rituals in our society. Sujit De, Kolkata.
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