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Sunday, Feb 02, 2020 09:30 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Feb 02, 2020 04:00 [IST]

200 years of Vidyasagar

Mrinal Chatterjee

Window Seat

This year, the Nation is celebrating the 200 years of the birth of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.  (26 September 1820 – 29 July 1891). Born Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay. He 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.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a philosopher, academic educator, writer, translator, printer, publisher, entrepreneur, reformer and philanthropist. He was at the forefront of Bengali Renaissance along with social reformer Ram Mohan Roy. He helped shape modern Bengali, and in an extension, the Indian society.
He was the most prominent campaigner for Hindu widow remarriage and petitioned Legislative council despite severe opposition. It was his campaign and Lord Dalhousie’s initiative that led to Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act, 1856.
Vidyasagar’s efforts to simplify and modernize Bengali prose were significant. He also rationalised and simplified the Bengali alphabet and type.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar opened several schools for women and was instrumental in bringing the Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act in 1856.
He also modified the rules of getting admission in Sanskrit college to allow non-Brahmin students there.
He was one of the first persons to have realized the potential of newspaper as a toolfor social reform. He was associated with several newspapers including Somprakash (Bengali) and Hindoo Patriot (English).
Vidyasagar did not get his due recognition during his lifetime. In fact he faced severe social opposition. His personal life- towards the end was tragic. But he stood steadfast in his mission to reform the society.
Existential Crisis
An existential crisis may occur when a person frequently wonders whether or not life has any inherent meaning or purpose. A person may also question their own existence within a world that might seem meaningless.
Experiencing an existential crisis is common, and it is normal and often healthy to question one’s life and goals. However, an existential crisis can contribute to a negative outlook, especially if a person cannot find a solution to their questions of meaning.
Existential crises may be associated with a number of mental health conditions. For this reason, it is sometimes best to involve a doctor — especially if an existential crisis has the potential to lead to despair or suicidal ideation.
Haiku on KONARK
A haiku is an unrhymed Japanese poetic form that consists of 17 syllables arranged in three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. A haiku expresses much and suggests more in the fewest possible words. The form gained distinction in the 17th century, when Basho, a Japanese poet considered the greatest practitioner of the form, elevated it to a highly refined art. It remains Japan’s most popular poetic form. The Imagist poets (1912–30) and others have imitated the form in English and other languages.
Jaipur, Rajasthan based Himanshu Vyas, a National Award winner photojournalist indulges in various art forms including haiku. Here are some of his haiku on Konark Sun Temple, a thirteen century marvel built on Bay of Bengal coast about 30 kms from Puri.
1.sea breeze
sweaty smell from
warm sculptures
2.spitting betel juice
guide withholds
secrets of carved queen
3.statue of dancer;
tourist’s wrist slowly rests
on waist stone spokes
a green sprout keeps
the ‘wheel’ moving
5.carved danseuse
of hasty pilgrim
Tailpiece 1: Economics
Economics is not that difficult if we have the right examples.
Interviewer: What is Recession?
Candidate: When "Wine & Women" get replaced by "Water & Wife", that critical phase of life is called Recession!!
Tailpiece 2: Difference
If you think you are too small to make a difference......try sleeping with a mosquito in the room!
(The author, a journalist turned media academician lives in Central Odisha town of Dhenkanal.
An anthology of his weekly column Window Seat, published in 2019 is being published as a book. Should you want a copy with introductory discounted price, write to him at:

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi