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eISSN: 2582-0427

CONTRIBUTION OF PUNDIT ISWAR CHANDRA VIDYASAGAR (1820-1891) AS A MESSIAH OF WOMEN EMANCIPATION IN 19TH CENTURY BENGAL

Abstract:
Iswar Chandra Bondyopadhyaya (1820-1891), popularly known as Iswar Chandra ‘Vidyasagar’(in Sanskrit ‘Vidya means knowledge and Sagar means ocean’, i.e. Ocean of knowledge), was a great socio-cultural and educational reformer of 19th century Bengal. As a symbol of ‘invincible manliness and indelible humanity’, he was strongly against any kind of wrong choice of tradition based on the local and regional rites (deshachar) and eternal religion (Sanatan Dharma) of ancient India. As a result of combination of ‘the genius and wisdom of an Ancient Sage, the energy of an Englishman and the heart of a Bengali Mother’ and out of profound love for humankind, he took the task of spreading education and threw his whole energy for emancipation of women. Man and well being of mankind was the central theme of Vidyasagar’s life and activities. Looking at the miserable condition of women in the society and as a means to liberate them he became an enthusiastic supporter of female education (education alone could lead a man from darkness to light) till the last day of his life. Going against the then prevailing social system regarding the question of ‘widow-remarriage’ and lastly introducing the Act in favour of ‘widow-remarriage’ he considered this as the most virtuous act of his life.

Keywords: Indelible Humanity, Bengali Mother, Female Education, Widow-Remarriage, Virtuous Act

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