Remembering ‘Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’ on his 199th Birth Anniversary
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a great social worker and a scholar in Sanskrit who challenged the social trends of his time. Some of his great contribution to the society is banning child marriage, education rights for women and widow remarriage laws.
The 19th-century educationalist and social reformer has much more significance in the 21st century. In this era when we are facing all kind of social injustice at every level, his battle against odds is our true guide. On 199th birth anniversary of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, we are going to remember his contribution to rising of women in every field and current scenario of widows in India.
Hope for Women
Being one of the great educationist, social reformer and a scholar in Sanskrit he challenged the thinking of society and brought a change which turns out to be a revolution at every social level. He gave hope to the widows by fighting for their rights of remarriage. He also fought against acts like child marriage.
Being a scholar in Sanskrit he also helped in the development of Bengali language, because of his immense contribution to the scripts of Bengali language he is known to be one of India’s greatest man. His style, thinking and the way of working was way ahead of his time.
In the mid 19th century Vidyasagar began a campaign to promote widow remarriage because the lives of women were worse than hell in that era.
For example- There was a trend in 19th century in that teen girls were forced to marry a middle-aged man and after the death of their husband, those girls were forced to live a dull life and separate themselves from society. Revolting against these unfair social practices, Vidyasagar began to write in Tattwabodhini Sabha magazine against such acts.
He also filed a petition and demanded a law for remarriages of widows. Despite getting support of king of Vardhman many Hindu societies were totally against his move. With his dedicated efforts on 26 July, 1856 widow remarriage act was passed.
‘Barno Parichay’ a booklet by Ishwar Chandra
Even after 160+ years, when a child began to learn Bengali the first book he is given is ‘Barno Parichay’ which was created by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. This book carries information about Bangla characters. His effort in reviving knowledge to Bengal is an inspiring story in itself for the young generation. To give inspiration, every parent to their children and every teacher to their students tell that even after coming from a poor family and studying under street lights Vidyasagar was such a success in his field.
He also wrote a book on the difficulties of widows in two parts and it was established in more in 35 schools to promote education for the girl child.
9th Greatest Bengali Personality
To know about the influential personality on Bengal an opinion poll was organised by BBC Bangla in 2004. In this poll not only Bengalis from India but Bengalis from around the world took part. Out of 140 personalities, only top 100 personalities were announced in between Bangladesh’s Independence Day and Bengali New Year i.e. 26th March to 14 April respectively.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was ninth on this list of greatest Bengali Personalities.