A commemorative postage stamp on the 150th Birth Anniversary of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, an Indian Bengali polymath and a key figure of Bengal Renaissance :
Issued on Sep 26, 1970
Issued for : The Post and Telegraph Department is happy to bring out a special commemorative stamp in honour of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the great educationist and social reformer, on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary.
Description of Design : The design of the stamp is vertical and depicts a portrait of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in the middle of the stamp against an oval background. On the left side bottom, some books and a lamp, the symbol of education are shown.
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Colour : Red Purple & Dark Brown
Denomination : 20 Paise
Overall Size : 3.91 x 2.90 cms.
Printing Size : 3.56 x 2.54 cms.
Perforation : 13 x 13
Watermark : Printed on unwatermarked adhesive stamp paper
Number Printed : 30,00,000
Number per issue sheet : 35
Printing Process : Photogravure
Designed and Printed at : India Security Press
Name : Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay
Born on Sep 26, 1820 at Birsingha, Paschim Midnapore, West Bengal, India
Died on Jul 29, 1891 at Kolkata, West Bengal, India
- Of the makers of modern Bengal, one of the names to be remembered and cherished most is that of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. The social and literary resurgence of the country in general, and of Bengal in particular in the mid 19th century is, in no small measure, due to his far-searching vision and dynamic lead. Ishwar Chandra was born in a very poor Brahmin family in the village of Birsingha in the district Midnapore on September 26, 1820. His father was Shri Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay. After initial schooling in the village Pathshala, he entered the Government Sanskrit College in 1829. His career in the Sanskrit College upto 1841 is distinguished by his amazing attainment in the different branches of Sanskrit studies. He was easily the first and carried away innumerable prizes in the school for his scholarship. In 1841, he entered service as Head Pandit at Fort William College was an institution for training of British ICS officers in Bengali and Hindi. His first literary publication, ‘Betal Panchavingsati‘ was followed by various other books, mostly Bengali translations of renowned Sanskrit texts like popularised and simplified the study of Sanskrit Grammar by the literary world rightly entitled him to be called one of the fathers of modern Bengali prose.
- In 1850, Vidyasagar joined the Government Sanskrit College as teacher of Literature. The next year he was appointed Principal of the same college. During his principalship of the college over a period of 7 years, Vidyasagar effected various salutary reforms in the academic and administrative atmosphere of the college. He improved the standard of discipline. Later year saw Vidyasagar as Inspector of Schools for the southern districts of Bengal. In that capacity, he founded a number of model schools in the district of Nadia, Burdwan, Hooghly and Midnapore girls’ schools as well. He also collaborated with Drinkwater Bethune in founding the Bethune College for Girls.
- In 1858, Vidyasagar gave up the post of principalship of the Sanskrit College and turned his attention and energy to educational and social reforms in the country. Already in 1855-56 he had led the movement for widow remarriage and abolition of polygamy in Hindu society. In 1861, Vidyasagar became the secretary of the Calcutta Training School which was founded in 1859 and which was later renamed as Metropolitan Institution was to impart English education to middle class boys on every nominal fees. ‘The Hindu Family Fund’ was another philanthropic institution founded by Vidyasagar who was himself the trustee of this organisation for some year. The Fund was established for rendering financial help to destitutes and widows. Perhaps, the most memorable achievement of Vidyasagar‘s life is the college which bears his name. The Metropolitan Institution which was originally a school, was raised to the status of college is one of the biggest and illustrious institution under the Calcutta University imparting Honours education in all subjects in science and humanities. In 1808, Vidyasagar was honoured by the then Government with a title of CIE as a mark of recognition of the valuable social and academic services rendered by him, through long years.
- He died on July 29, 1891. He was a man with a mission, a man with a message. His life was one of dedication to the cause of education.
Popular Works :
Books : Betaal Panchabinsati, Bodhadoy, Upakramanika, Bidhaba Bibaha Bishayak Prostab, Borno Porichoy, Kotha Mala, Byakaran Kaumudi, Bhranti Bilas
Film (based on his works) : Bhranti Bilas
One wonders how God, in the process of producing forty million Bengalis, produced a man!” – Rabindranath Tagore
Awards & Degrees :
received the title “Vidyasagar” (in Sanskrit, “vidya” means “knowledge” and “sagar “means “ocean”, i.e., Ocean of Knowledge) from Sanskrit College, Calcutta (from where he graduated), due to his excellent performance in Sanskrit Studies and Philosophy