Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Aghore Nath Gupta
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20

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Aghore Nath Gupta
Born: 1841, Shantipur
Died: 9 December 1881, Lucknow
Occupation: Brahmo missionary, scholar on Buddhism

Aghore Nath Gupta (Bengali: অঘোরনাথ গুপ্ত) (1841–1881) was a scholar of Buddhism and a preacher of the Brahmo Samaj.[1] He was designated Sadhu (saint) after his premature death in recognition of his pious life.[2] Sivanath Sastri wrote about him, "His unfeigned humility, deep spirituality and earnest devotion were a new revelation to the members of the Samaj."[3]

Formative years

The son of Jadab Chandra Roy Kabibhusan, he was born at Shantipur in Nadia. He lost his father at the age of twelve and had his early education in the traditional centres of education, the tols and pathasalas. When he went to Kolkata to study in Sanskrit College, he came under the influence of Debendranath Tagore and Keshub Chunder Sen and joined the Brahmo movement.[1]

Initiated into the Brahmo movement by his fellow-villager Bijoy Krishna Goswami, he was amongst the first apostles of the Brahmo Samaj, who took up its banner in the midst of bitter persecution and great privations.[4]

A strict vegetarian in his personal life, he devoted much of his time to prayers. Aghore Nath married a child widow of a different caste in 1863.[1]

Missionary work

Braja Sundar Mitra had bought a house in Armeniatola in Dhaka in 1857 and started a Brahmo Samaj there.[5] He started a Brahmo School there in 1863. Aghore Nath joined the school as a missionary teacher and stayed there for about ten months. Amongst those who were influenced by him to join the Brahmo Samaj were Banga Chandra Roy and Bhuban Mohan Sen. It was during this period that the two brothers Kali Mohan Das and Durga Mohan Das visited Dhaka and created a stir with their speeches. Keshub Chunder Sen visited Dhaka in 1865 and with the growing influence of the Brahmo Samaj, persecution increased manifold.[6]

In his earlier days, Aghore Nath was a missionary of the Adi Samaj. On 11 November 1866, when in a meeting in the premises of Calcutta College on Chitpore Road, Keshub Chunder Sen moved a resolution for the formation of Brahmo Samaj of India, it was seconded by Aghore Nath.[7] With renewed activity he went to Barisal in 1867, where Durga Mohan Das was the centre of a reformatory movement. From there he proceeded on a missionary tour of Tipperah and Chittagong.[8] Later, he went to Munger, where subsequently Keshub Chunder Sen launched a major bhakti (devotional) movement.[9]

He was the first Brahmo missionary to venture into Assam (in 1870) [10] and had worked in Odisha [11] and Punjab.[12]

With the second schism of the Brahmo Samaj in 1878 and the formation of the Navavidhan or the New Dispensation in 1869, Aghore Nath was ordained as an apostle of the New Dispensation for the Punjab in 1881.[13]

However he died the same year under rather tragic circumstances. He had travelled to Punjab on a mission tour but had to give up because of failing health. Afflicted with diabetes, then a killer disease, he went to Lucknow, where his elder brother took care of him until he died.[14]

Erudition

In 1869, Keshub Chunder Sen selected from his missionaries four persons and ordained them as adhypaks or scholars of the four major religions of the world. Gour Govinda Ray was made the scholar of Hinduism, Protap Chunder Mozoomdar, the scholar of Christianity, Aghore Nath Gupta, the scholar of Buddhism and Girish Chandra Sen, the scholar of Islam. Subsequently, Trailokyanath Sanyal was also ordained as an adhyapak of music.[15]

In order to go to the depths of Buddhism he learnt Pali, Sanskrit and European languages. He studied the Buddhist scriptures in the original. His greatest contribution was Sakyamunicharit O Nirbantattya, a book on Buddhism produced after strenuous research into the original text and commentaries in Pali, Sanskrit and European languages. It was the first book on Buddhism in Bengali. He assisted Keshub Chunder Sen in editing Slokasangraha. He wrote extensively in the Dharmatattwa and Sulava Samachar.[1]

Works

Sakyamunicharit O Nirbantattya, Dhruva O Prahlad, Debarshi Narader Nabajibon Labh, Dharmasopan, and Upadeshabali.[1]

References

1. Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Bose, Anjali, Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) (in Bengali), p3, Sahitya Samsad, ISBN 81-85626-65-0
2. Sastri, Sivanath, History of the Brahmo Samaj, 1911-12/1993, p248, Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.
3. Sastri, Sivanath, p414.
4. Sastri, Sivanath, pp87-88
5. Sastri, Sivanath, p394
6. Sastri, Sivanath, p396
7. Sastri, Sivanath, pp113-114
8. Sastri, Sivanath, pp134-135
9. Sastri, Sivanath, p143
10. Sastri, Sivanath, p518
11. Sastri, Sivanath, p521
12. Sastri, Sivanath, p447
13. Ghosh, Nirvarpriya, The Evolution of Navavidhan, 1930, p141, Navavidhan Press.
14. Sastri, Sivanath, p248
15. Sastri, Sivanath, p208
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:17 am

Bijoy Krishna Goswami
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20

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Bijoy Krishna Goswami
Image of Bijoy Krishna Goswami
Personal
Born: 2 August 1841, Shantipur, Bengal, British India
Died: 1899
Religion: Hinduism
Philosophy: Vedanta

Bijoy Krishna Goswami (Bengali: বিজয় কৃষ্ণ গোস্বামী) (2 August 1841 – 1899)[1] was a prominent Hindu social reformer and religious figure in India during the British period.[2]

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Idol of Vijay Krishna

Brahmo Samaj was started at Calcutta on 20 August 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Debendranath Tagore as reformation of the prevailing Brahmanism of the time (specifically Kulin practices). From the Brahmo Samaj springs Brahmoism, the most recent of legally recognised religions in India and Bangladesh, reflecting its foundation on reformed spiritual Hinduism with vital elements of Judeo-Islamic faith and practice.[3][4] Bijoy's partial disillusionment from Brahmo Samaj led him to study the Chaitanya Charitamrita, a biography detailing the life and teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534), a Vaisnava saint and founder of the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya.[5]

Bijoy Krishna Goswami belonged to the "Advaita Family" and was the 7th direct descendant of Advaita Acharya, personal teacher and associate of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

See also

• Keshab Chandra Sen

References

1. Kenneth W. Jones (1 May 1990). The New Cambridge History of India: Socio-religious reform movements in British India. Cambridge University Press. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-0-521-24986-7. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
2. Prabhavananda (Swāmi); Swami Prabhavananda (1970). The Eternal Companion: Brahmananda; Teachings and Reminiscences, with a Biography. Vedanta Press. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-0-87481-024-0. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
3. "Official Brahmo website". Brahmosamaj.in. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
4. "Bangladesh Law Commission" (PDF). Retrieved 15 October 2012.
5. Shandilya, Krupa. Intimate Relations: Social Reform and the Late Nineteenth-Century South Asian Novel, Chapter 2, note 12, Northwestern University Press, 2017ISBN 9780810134249

External links

• Sadguru Shree Shree Bijoy Krishna Goswami (Gosaiji)
• Biography - Bijoy Krishna Goswami
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:23 am

Protap Chunder Mozoomdar
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Accessed: 2/12/20

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Protap Chunder Majoomdar
Born: 1840
Died: 1905
Nationality: Bengali
Occupation: Writer, Religious Leader

Protap Chunder Mozoomdar (Bengali: প্রতাপ চন্দ্র মজুমদার Protap Chôndro Mojumdar, also transliterated as Pratap Chander Mozoomdar) (1840–1905) was a leader of the Hindu reform movement, the Brahmo Samaj, in Bengal, India, and a close follower of Keshub Chandra Sen. He was a leading exemplar of the interaction between the philosophies and ethics of Hinduism and Christianity, about which he wrote in his book, The Oriental Christ.

Life and work

Sen and his colleagues agreed that four Brahmos would study and report on the relationship between Brahmo ideals and the four major world religions (Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam). Gour Govinda Ray was deputed to examine Hinduism; Aghore Nath Gupta, Buddhism and Girish Chandra Sen, Islam. Mozoomdar was deputed to study Christianity. His resulting book, The Oriental Christ, was published by Geo. H. Ellis in Boston in 1883.[1] It was much discussed in the West, and eventually led to an important correspondence between Mozoomdar and Max Müller about the relationship between Hinduism and Christianity. After Mozoomdar published the correspondence it led to controversy in both Britain and India. Müller's efforts to get Mozoomdar to state openly that he was now a Christian were rejected by Mozoomdar, who argued that the label "Christian" did not properly articulate his own positive view of Jesus as a model of self-sacrifice, one whose actions and claims to divinity he interpreted from within the Brahmo philosophy. In turn Müller stated that Christians should learn from the Brahmos and should abandon the traditional Christian formulation of Atonement.[2]

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Mozoomdar also wrote several books about the spiritual and social ideals of the Brahmo movement and a biography of Sen, The Life and Teachings of Keshub Chunder Sen (1887). He also wrote a biography of Ramakrishna, of whom he expressed deep admiration. He attended the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893 as a delegate for the Brahmo Samaj. In October 1893, Mozoomdar was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society.[3]

In 1919, the collected precepts of Protap Chunder Mazoomdar were published titled as 'Upadesh'.[4] The writings of Mazoomdar reflects an outlook that freely acknowledges the value and fundamental affinity of different religions - including Christianity, Islam, or Judaism - and the religious figures associated with their origin and propagation.

References

1. Suresh Chunder Bose (1929). The Life of Protap Chunder Mozoomdar (Vol. 2). Calcutta: Nababidhan Press, p. 105.
2. Müller, Georgina, The Life and Letters of Right Honorable Friedrich Max Müller, 2 vols. London: Longman, 1902.
3. American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
4. Protap Chunder Mazoomdar (1919). Upadesh. Calcutta.

Bibliography

• Suresh Chunder Bose (1940). The Life of Protap Chunder Mozoomdar. Nababidhan Trust.
• Sunrit Mullick (1 January 2010). The First Hindu Mission to America: The Pioneering Visits of Protap Chunder Mozoomdar. Northern Book Centre. ISBN 978-81-7211-281-3.

External links

• Works by or about Protap Chunder Mozoomdar at Internet Archive
• Article in the Telegraph of India, "Rote, Rhetoric and Identity - The ‘mixed bag’ quality of the colonial encounter, by Malavika Karlekar",
• "The oriental Christ" written by Protap Chunder Mozoomdar
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Braja Sundar Mitra
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Accessed: 2/12/20

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Braja Sundar Mitra (Bengali: ব্রজ সুন্দর মিত্র Brojo Shundor Mitro) (24.03.1227 - 3.09.1282 Bengali Era), son of Bhabani Prasad Mitra, was founder of Dhaka Brahmo Samaj. He was a social reformer and later founded the Brahmo Samaj at Comilla. He contributed substantially to the cause of women's education, remarriage of widows, movement against polygamy and consumption of liquor. He joined the Commissioner's office at Dhaka as a clerk in 1840, was promoted as Deputy Collector in 1845 and as Excise Collector in 1851. With the assistance of such noted personalities as Ramkumar Bose and Bhagaban Chandra Bose, he established a press, from where Dhaka Prakash was published. The proposal for the establishment of Dhaka Jagannath College for the spread of higher education amongst the people was mooted in his house.[1]

Early life

Braja Sundar Mitra's father died when he was rather young. As a result, he had to start working on a small salary before the completion of his education. When Debendranath Tagore started the Tattwabodhini Patrika in 1843, there was one young reader in far away Dhaka. Its message of hope and deliverance roused him. He inspired a number of other young men to set up a Brahmo Samaj in Dhaka in 1846. The form of service adopted for its gatherings consisted of reading of a written Brahmastrotra or form of adoration addressed to Divinity and concluded with the delivery of a written or printed sermon. It was a simple beginning but Braja Sundar Mitra threw so much ardour of soul into it that the Samaj soon succeeded in attracting a pretty large number of followers, mostly people occupying important government positions.

The move was not without opposition. The message of the Tattwabodhini Patrika aroused a strong antagonism against conservative ideas. Traditional society started organising opposition to it. Men began to encourage all sorts of evil reports against the promoters of the Samaj. The engines of social persecution were set against them. Braja Sundar Mitra was then living in the house of a well-known citizen. His guardian and protector expelled him. Although most of the members were men of rank, the rising voice of protest told upon them. They decided to conduct their prayer meetings in secret for some time. Later, they started formal prayer meetings in a house in Banglabazar.

Reform efforts

When Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar raised the storm of widow remarriage, Braja Sundar Mitra printed copies of his books at his own cost and circulated them widely amongst the people of East Bengal. That created a group of core supporters for the movement in that part of the province. His name is bracketed with that of Durga Mohan Das as notable contributors in the field of widow remarriage. He had assisted in many ways in the spread of female education.

As a result of Braja Sundar's transfer to Comilla for official work there was slackening in the activities of the Brahmo Samaj. On witnessing this, he bought a house in Armeniatola and lent out a part of it for the activities of the Samaj. At around the same time, as a result of his interest and the efforts of Dinanath Sen, a school for moral and religious instruction of the young was opened under Dhaka Brahmo Samaj. Aghore Nath Gupta and Vijay Krishna Goswami were sent as teachers to that school. That was around 1861-62. The school renamed at present as Jagannath College of Dhaka. The powerful preaching of those two created a major stir in Dhaka. Large groups of young men started joining the Brahmo Samaj. Subsequently, Keshub Chunder Sen visited Dhaka in 1865 and virtually set the place on fire. It gave rise to a massive movement against the Brahmo Samaj. However, the firm footing on which Braja Sundar Mitra had set up the Dhaka Brahmo Samaj helped it tide over all such opposition.

The renowned pathologist and Brahmo reformer, Deba Prasad Mitra was his grandson.

Debendranath found in Brajasundar his true messenger in East Bengal. Being moved by his sincerity after his own visit to East Bengal, Debendranath established a bonding of friendship by getting Brajasundar's third daughter Umasundari (1854–1936), married by himself to Prosonno Coomar Biswas (1837–1921), trusted disciple and dewan of his estates (1866–1899) as per convention of thakurbari and "Brahmo Dharma" in 1866/1867. Prosonno Coomar later became trustee of Brahmo Samaj at Bhawanipur along with Rabindranath Tagore (1894) when Debendranath relinquished his interest.

References

• History of Brahmo Samaj by Sivanath Sastri.
• Ramtanu Lahiri O Tatkalin Banga Samaj in Bengali by Sivanath Sastri.

Specific

1. Vol I, edited by Subodh Chandra Sengupta and Anjali Basu (2002). Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Bengali). Kolkata: Sahitya Sansad. p. 370.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Tattwabodhini Patrika
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20

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Tattwabodhini Patrika
তত্ত্ববোধিনী পত্রিকা
Type Weekly newspaper
Editor: Debendranath Tagore
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Akshay Kumar Datta
Rajnarayan Basu
Rajendralal Mitra
Founded: 1843
Language: Bengali
Ceased publication: 1883
Headquarters: Kolkata, Bengal, British India

Tattwabodhini Patrika (Bengali: তত্ত্ববোধিনী পত্রিকা) [Tattwabodhini ("truth-searching") Patrika ("newspaper")] was established by Maharshi Devendranath Tagore on 16 August 1843, as a journal of the Tattwabodhini Sabha, and continued publication until 1883. It was published from Kolkata, India.

It had a distinguished editorial board including Devendranath Tagore, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Akshay Kumar Datta, Rajnarayan Basu, and Rajendra Lal Mitra. The journal changed the tone of vernacular (Indian language) journalism. From its earliest days, it propagated the positive aspects of the religious scriptures but did not accept their infallibility. It strongly reacted against revelations and miracles.

The Patrika criticised Avatarism or messiah worship, and ran into long debates with both the Christian missionaries and orthodox sections of Hindu society. It placed before its contemporaries its considered opinion on the place of rituals in society, and focused on the spiritual and ethical aspects of human personality in an ideal scheme of education. Before the intelligentsia it placed the ideal of a dynamic religion progressing with the development of the human mind. It propagated the religion of harmony. In a series of articles, it sought to represent theism as inherent in Hinduism.

The newspaper took up social reform causes, opposing child marriages and polygamy.
Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar published his famous article "Should widow marriage be introduced into society" in it in 1855. The debates that followed lead to a significant change from the sacramental to the contractual conception of marriage. It held progressive views about development of society and was alive to the economic situation in the country.

Even after the Tattwabodhini Sabha was amalgamated with the Brahmo Sabha, the Tattwabodhini Patrika was still published until 1883.

Objectives

The principle objectives of this monthly magazine were to communicate Brahmo knowledge, to publish the works of Raja Rammohan Roy and such other matter which would enhance knowledge and health and purify character.

Tattwabodhini Patrika came out at the time when Christian Missionaries were trying to sow the seed of their belief in the minds of the people in Bengal. The patrika was brought out to rewind the Hindu society and religion and the spirit of young Bengal. Through this monthly magazine, Akshay Kumar Dutta first aroused the sense of patriotism in the minds of the people. He edited the paper from 1843 to 1855. He said "we are living under foreign domination, getting education in foreign language, tolerating foreign oppression". He further said, referring to the activities of the Christian Missionary, that "the foreign religion might one day become the religion of this country".

When the Missionary-Hindu controversy subsided, the Patrika began to take a greater interest on other issues. It began to show a deep concern for the miserable economic condition of the people of the province. Patrika pointed out that while an Indian employee was offered Rs. 100 to Rs. 150, a European in the same position got more than Rs. 1000. Thus, the patrika remarked "The Indians are selling their liberty at a low price".


See also

• Sulabh Samachar

References

• Tattwabodhini Patrika and the Bengal Renaissance by Amiya Kumar Sen, formerly lecturer, Calcutta University and principal, City College, Kolkata, published by Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, 1979.
• Akshay Kumar Datta: Aandhar Raatey Ekla Pathik by Ashish Lahiri, Dey's Publishing,Kolkata 2007

External links

• Devnath, Samaresh (2012). "Tattvabodhini Patrika". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
• Devnath, Samaresh (2003). "Tattvabodhini Sabha". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (First ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Archived from the original on 24 March 2007.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:14 am

Tattwabodhini Sabha
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20

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The Tattwabodhinī Sabhā ("Truth Propagating/Searching Society") was a group started in Calcutta on 6 October 1839 as a splinter group of the Brahmo Samaj, reformers of Hinduism and Indian Society. The founding member was Debendranath Tagore, previously of the Brahmo Samaj, eldest son of influential entrepreneur Dwarkanath Tagore, and eventually father to renowned polymath Rabindranath Tagore. In 1859, the Tattwabodhinī Sabhā were dissolved back into the Brāhmo Samāj by Debendranath Tagore.

Tattwabodhini period

On 6 October 1839 Debendranath Tagore established Tattvaranjini Sabha which was shortly thereafter renamed the Tattwabodhini (Truth-seekers) Sabha. Initially confined to immediate members of the Tagore family, in 2 years it mustered over 500 members. In 1840 Debendranath published a Bangla translation of Katha Upanishad. A modern researcher describes the Sabha's philosophy as modern middle-class (bourgeois) Vedanta.[1] Among its first members were the "two giants of Hindu reformation and Bengal Renaissance, Akshay Kumar Datta "who in 1839 emerged from the life of an anonymous squalor-beset individual" and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar the "indigenous modernizer".[2]

First Covenant and merger with the Tattwabodhini Sabha

On 7th Pous 1765 Shaka (1843) Debendranath Tagore and twenty other Tattwabodhini stalwarts were formally invited by Pt. Vidyabagish into the Trust of Brahmo Sabha. The Pous Mela at Santiniketan starts on this day.[3] From this day forth, the Tattwabodhini Sabha dedicated itself to promoting Ram Mohan Roy's creed.[4] The other Brahmins who swore the First Covenant of Brahmoism are:-

• Shridhar Bhattacharya
• Shyamacharan Bhattacharya
• Brajendranath Tagore
• Girindranath Tagore, brother of Debendranath Tagore & father of Ganendranath Tagore
• Anandachandra Bhattacharya
• Taraknath Bhattacharya
• Haradev Chattopadhyaya, the future father-in-law to Maha Acharya Hemendranath Tagore[5]
• Shyamacharan Mukhopadhyaya
• Ramnarayan Chattopadhyaya
• Sashibhushan Mukhopadhyaya

Disagreement with the Tattwabodhini

In Nov 1855 the Rev. Charles Dall (a Unitarian minister of Boston) arrived in Calcutta to start his mission and immediately established contact with Debendranath and other Brahmos. Debendranath's suspicion of foreigners alienated Dall and in 1857, Debendranath Tagore barred the entry of the Reverend from the Sabha premises for preaching the name of Christ who some people worship as God within.[6][7] Debendranath then proceeded on spiritual retreat to Simla. Dall, immediately formed a counter group "The friends of Rammmohun Roy Society" and then got admitted a protégé to Sabha. The presence of Dall's protégé Keshub Chandra Sen (a non-Brahmin) into the Calcutta Brahmo Sabha in 1857 while Debendranath was away in Simla caused considerable stress in the movement, with many long time Tattvabodhini Brahmin members publicly leaving the Brahmo Sabha and institutions due to his high-handed ways. In September 1858, Debendranath returned to Calcutta to resolve the simmering disputes. but his conservative mien did not allow him to take decisive steps. He proceeded on a sea voyage to Ceylon accompanied by Sen and his 2nd son Satyendranath (a firm admirer of Mr Sen) but no concord was achieved. In 1859, the venerable and beloved Secretary of the Tattwabodhini Sabha Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar resigned from the Brahmo Sabha in the face of Debendranath's vacillation. A meeting of the Tatwabodhini was promptly summoned with Debendranath resigning from the group he had founded. His third son Hemendranath Tagore then a boy barely 15 years in age, and the favorite pupil of Vidyasgar, was commonly acclaimed as Debendranath's successor to head the Tattwabodhini. In the course of time he would become known as the MahaAcharya (or Great Teacher).

Objectives and beliefs

The main objective of the Sabhā was to promote a more rational and humanist form of Hinduism based on the Vedānta, the Upanishads that form the last part of the Vedās. With increasing missionary presence in Calcutta tending to view the Classical branch of 'Avaida' Vedānta as amoral and renunciatory, the Tattwabodhinī Sabhā aimed to shield themselves and their reformed faith from criticism by distancing themselves from this 'outdated' version.

Debendranath Tagore said in 1843 that "It was to counteract influences like these [missionary] and inculcate on the Hindu religious inquirer's mind doctrines at once consonant to reason and human nature, for which he has to explore his own sacred resources, the Vedānta, that the society was originally established".[8] This focus on rationality and humanity, whilst alleviating Missionary pressure, also allowed the materially wealthy 'bhadralok' members of the society to participate in a spiritual medium which did not condemn worldly concern. The group's writings, particularly the recently rediscovered 'Sabhyadiger Vaktṛtā',[9] display a marked stress upon the role of the 'householder' (gṛhastha) as a religious path, over that of the renouncer or hermit. The Brahman, like the renouncer, must restrain his senses and passions, but only to the extent of not becoming obsessed with, or overcome by, anything in the material world.

Essentially, the Tattwabodhinī Sabhā's humanism is displayed in a profound focus on society and its interrelation. Their view, at least in the early years, was that the world is created by God, and all things within it are pathways to knowledge of Brahman, the Ultimate Self, and the ultimate goal. Similarly, they saw that material wealth, if made and possessed with the correct intention -- that of helping society and others -– was in fact not only ethically sound, but an utter necessity for harmonious society.
Once again, their rationality is evident.

References and notes

1. <2007: Brian Hatcher "Journal of American Academy of Religion"
2. "Brahmo Samaj and the making of modern India, David Kopf, Princeton University press", pp 43-57
3. Rabindra Bharati Museum Kolkata, The Tagores & Society
4. "Bourgeois Hinduism", Brian Allison Hatcher. pg 57-58.
5. "History of the Brahmo Samaj", S. Sastri. 2nd ed. p.81
6. "The Brahmo Samaj and making of Modern India", David Kopf, publ. Princeton Univ.
7. "Brahmoism, or a history of reformed Hinduism" (1884), R.C.Dutt
8. Ali, M.M; Bengali reaction...; pp 17, 19.
9. c.f. Hatcher, B; Bourgeois Hinduism

External links

• World Brahmo Council
• Beliefs of Brahmo Samaj
• Brahma Sabha in Banglapedia
• Brahmo Samaj in the Encyclopædia Britannica
• "The Tagores & Society" from the Rabindra Bharati Museum at Rabindra Bharati University
• The Brahmo Samaj
• Life of Sivnath Sastri
• Life of Keshub Chunder Sen
• Trust Deed of the Brahmo Samaj
• Liturgy of the Brahmo Samaj
• History of the Brahmo Samaj
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20

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On 6 October 1839 Debendranath Tagore established Tattvaranjini Sabha which was shortly thereafter renamed the Tattwabodhini (Truth-seekers) Sabha. Initially confined to immediate members of the Tagore family, in 2 years it mustered over 500 members. In 1840 Debendranath published a Bangla translation of Katha Upanishad. A modern researcher describes the Sabha's philosophy as modern middle-class (bourgeois) Vedanta. Among its first members were the "two giants of Hindu reformation and Bengal Renaissance, Akshay Kumar Datta "who in 1839 emerged from the life of an anonymous squalor-beset individual" and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar the "indigenous modernizer".

In Nov 1855 the Rev. Charles Dall (a Unitarian minister of Boston) arrived in Calcutta to start his mission and immediately established contact with Debendranath and other Brahmos. Debendranath's suspicion of foreigners alienated Dall and in 1857, Debendranath Tagore barred the entry of the Reverend from the Sabha premises for preaching the name of Christ who some people worship as God within.[6][7] Debendranath then proceeded on spiritual retreat to Simla. Dall, immediately formed a counter group "The friends of Rammmohun Roy Society" and then got admitted a protégé to Sabha. The presence of Dall's protégé Keshub Chandra Sen (a non-Brahmin) into the Calcutta Brahmo Sabha in 1857 while Debendranath was away in Simla caused considerable stress in the movement, with many long time Tattvabodhini Brahmin members publicly leaving the Brahmo Sabha and institutions due to his high-handed ways. In September 1858, Debendranath returned to Calcutta to resolve the simmering disputes. but his conservative mien did not allow him to take decisive steps. He proceeded on a sea voyage to Ceylon accompanied by Sen and his 2nd son Satyendranath (a firm admirer of Mr Sen) but no concord was achieved. In 1859, the venerable and beloved Secretary of the Tattwabodhini Sabha Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar resigned from the Brahmo Sabha in the face of Debendranath's vacillation. A meeting of the Tatwabodhini was promptly summoned with Debendranath resigning from the group he had founded. His third son Hemendranath Tagore then a boy barely 15 years in age, and the favorite pupil of Vidyasgar, was commonly acclaimed as Debendranath's successor to head the Tattwabodhini. In the course of time he would become known as the MahaAcharya (or Great Teacher).

-- Tattwabodhini Sabha, by Wikipedia


Image
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Born: Ishwar Chandra Bandopadhyay, 26 September 1820, Birsingha, Bengal Presidency, British India (now in West Bengal, India)
Died: 29 July 1891 (aged 70), Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India (now Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
Occupation: Writer, philosopher, scholar, educator, translator, publisher, reformer, philanthropist
Language: Bengali
Alma mater: Sanskrit College (1828-1839)
Literary movement: Bengal Renaissance
Spouse: Dinamayee Devi
Children: Narayan Chandra Bandyopadhyaya
Relatives: Thakurdas Bandyopadhya (father)
Bhagabati Devi (mother)

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar CIE (26 September 1820 – 29 July 1891),[1] born Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay (Ishshor Chôndro Bôndopaddhae), was a Bengali polymath from the Indian subcontinent, and a key figure of the Bengal Renaissance.[2][3] He was a philosopher, academic educator, writer, translator, printer, publisher, entrepreneur, reformer and philanthropist. His efforts to simplify and modernise Bengali prose were significant. He also rationalised and simplified the Bengali alphabet and type, which had remained unchanged since Charles Wilkins and Panchanan Karmakar had cut the first (wooden) Bengali type in 1780.

He was the most prominent campaigner for Hindu widow remarriage and petitioned Legislative council despite severe opposition and a counter petition against the proposal with nearly four times more signatures by Radhakanta Deb and the Dharma Sabha.[4][5] But Lord Dalhousie personally finalised the bill despite the opposition and it being considered a flagrant breach of Hindu customs as prevalent then and the Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act, 1856 was passed.[6][7]


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. Noted Cambridge mathematician Anil Kumar Gain founded Vidyasagar University, named in his honour.[8]

In 2004, Vidyasagar was ranked number 9 in BBC's poll of the Greatest Bengali of all time.[9][10][11]

Biography

Image
Birthplace of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Birsingha, Ghatal

Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay was born in a Bengali Hindu Brahmin family to Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay and Bhagavati Devi at Birsingha village in Hooghly district; later, the village was added to Midnapore district[12] which is in the Ghatal subdivision of Paschim Midnapore district in current day West Bengal on 26 September 1820. At the age of 9, he went to Calcutta and started living in Bhagabat Charan's house in Burrabazar, where Thakurdas had already been staying for some years. Ishwar felt at ease amidst Bhagabat's large family and settled down comfortably in no time. Bhagabat's youngest daughter Raimoni's motherly and affectionate feelings towards Ishwar touched him deeply and had a strong influence on his later revolutionary work towards the upliftment of women's status in India.

His quest for knowledge was so intense that he used to study under a street light as it was not possible for him to afford a gas lamp at home[13] He cleared all the examinations with excellence and in quick succession. He was rewarded with a number of scholarships for his academic performance. To support himself and the family, Ishwar Chandra also took a part-time job of teaching at Jorashanko. Ishwar Chandra joined the Sanskrit College, Calcutta and studied there for twelve long years and passed out of the college in 1841 qualifying in Sanskrit Grammar, Literature, Dialectics [Alankara Shastra], Vedanta, Smriti and Astronomy[1] As was the custom then Ishwar Chandra married at the age of fourteen. His wife was Dinamani Devi. Narayan Chandra Bandyopadhyaya was their only son.

In the year 1839, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar successfully cleared his law examination. In 1841, at the age of twenty one years, Ishwar Chandra joined Fort William College as head of the Sanskrit department.

After five years, in 1846, Vidyasagar left Fort William College and joined the Sanskrit College as 'Assistant Secretary'. In the first year of service, Ishwar Chandra recommended a number of changes to the existing education system. This report resulted in a serious altercation between Ishwar Chandra and College Secretary Rasomoy Dutta. In 1849, he against the advice of Rasomoy Dutta, resigned from Sanskrit College and rejoined Fort William College as a head clerk.[14]


He resided at what is known today as Vidyasagar Smriti Mandir at 36 Vidysagar Street in North Kolkata.

Image
Vidysagar residence

Vidyasagar established Barisha High School in Kolkata in 1856 by Amulya Ambati, the reformer.

Widow remarriage

Main article: Widow Remarriage Act

Vidyasagar championed the upliftment of the status of women in India, particularly in his native Bengal. Unlike some other reformers who sought to set up alternative societies or systems, he sought to transform society from within.[15]

With support from people like Akshay Kumar Dutta, Vidyasagar introduced the practice of widow remarriages to mainstream Hindu society. His son named Narayanchandra married a widow lady. The prevailing custom of Kulin Brahmin polygamy allowed elderly men — sometimes on their deathbeds — to marry teenage or prepubescent girls, supposedly to spare their parents the shame of having an unmarried girl attain puberty in their house. After such marriages, these girls would usually be left behind in their parental homes, especially if they were subsequently widowed. These included a semi-starvation, hard domestic labour and close restriction on their freedom of leaving the house or being seen by strangers.

Unable to tolerate the ill-treatment, many of these girls would run away and turn to prostitution to support themselves
. Ironically, the economic prosperity and lavish lifestyles of the city made it possible for many of them to have successful careers once they stepped out of the sanction of society and into the demi-monde. In 1853 it was estimated that Calcutta had a population of 12,718 prostitutes and public women. Many widows had to shave their heads and don white saris, supposedly to discourage attention from men. They led a deplorable life, something Vidyasagar thought was unfair and sought to change.[16]

Bengali alphabet and language reconstruction

He reconstructed the Bengali alphabet and simplified Bengali typography into an alphabet (actually abugida) of twelve vowels and forty consonants, eliminating the Sanskrit phonemes ৠ (re), and ঔ (ḹ) and a few punctuation marks, while adding three new letters, ড় (ṛô), ঢ় (ṛhô), and য় (yô), to reflect contemporary pronunciation. Vidyasagar also removed ৱ (wô) although native, as it had merged with ব (bô) in his own dialect (The distinction still exists in eastern dialects even though the letter does not). He contributed significantly to Bengali and Sanskrit literature, with one of his works, Bôrṇô Pôrichôy ("Character Identification"), being considered a classic.

Books authored by Vidyasagar

• Bangala-r Itihaas (1848)
• Jeebancharit (1850)
• Bodhadoy (1851)
• Upakramanika (1851)
• Bidhaba Bibaha Bishayak Prostab
• Borno porichoy (1854)
• kotha mala(1856)
• Sitar Bonobas(1860)
• Bengali Newspaper – Shome Prakash started publishing in 1858
• Brant'(1858)

Meeting with Ramakrishna

Vidyasagar was liberal in his outlook even though he was born in an orthodox Hindu Brahmin family. Also, he was highly educated and influenced by Oriental thoughts and ideas. Ramakrishna in contrast, did not have a formal education. Yet they had a nice relation between them. When Ramakrishna met Vidyasagar, he praised Vidyasagar as the ocean of wisdom. Vidyasagar joked that Ramkrishna should have collected some amount of salty water of that sea. But, Ramakrishna, with profound humbleness & respect, replied that the water of general sea might be salty, but not the water of the sea of wisdom.[17]

Accolades

Image
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar on a 1970 stamp of India

Shortly after Vidyasagar's death, Rabindranath Tagore reverently wrote about him: "One wonders how God, in the process of producing forty million Bengalis, produced a man!" [18][19]

Image
Vidyasagar Setu, which connects Howrah and Kolkata, is named after him

After death, he is remembered in many ways, some of them include:

1. Vidyasagar Setu (commonly known as the Second Hooghly Bridge), is a bridge over the Hooghly River in West Bengal, India. It links the city of Howrah to its twin city of Kolkata. The bridge is named after Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
2. A fair named Vidyasagar Mela (Bengali: বিদ্যাসাগর মেলা Biddashagor Mêla), which is dedicated to spreading education and increasing social awareness, has been held annually in West Bengal since 1994. Since 1995, it has been held simultaneously in Kolkata and Birsingha.
3. Vidyasagar College in Kolkata is named after him, as well as Vidyasagar University in Paschim Midnapore.
4. Rectitude and courage were the hallmarks of Vidyasagar's character, and he was certainly ahead of his time. In recognition of his scholarship and cultural work the government designated Vidyasagar a Companion of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1877[20] In the final years of life, he chose to spend his days among the "Santhals", an old tribe in India.
5. There is Vidyasagar Street in Central Kolkata, which is named after him.
6. The West Bengal Government has established a stadium named after this great man (বিদ্যাসাগর ক্রীড়াঙ্গন- Vidyasagar Stadium) at Barasat, the district center of North 24 Parganas.
7. Vidyasagar Hall of Residence, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
8. Vidyasagar Station in Jamtara district of Jharkhand.
9. Indian Post issued stamps featuring Vidyasagar in 1970 and 1998.[21]

Corpus

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar spent the last 18 to 20 years of his life among the Santhals at Nandan Kanan, Karmatar in the District of Jamtara, Jharkhand. The station Karmatar has been renamed as "Vidyasagar' railway station" in his honour.

Textbooks

• Barnaparichay (Parts I & II, 1855)
• Rijupath (Parts I, II & III, 1851–52)
• Sanskrita Byakaraner Upakramanika (1851)
• Byakaran Kaumudi (1853)

References

1. "29 July 1891: Social Reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Passes Away". http://www.mapsofindia.com. 29 July 2013.
2. "Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar". http://www.whereincity.com. Retrieved 20 December2008.
3. "Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar: A Profile of the Philanthropic Protagonist". http://www.americanchronicle.com. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
4. H. R. Ghosal (1957). "THE REVOLUTION BEHIND THE REVOLT (A comparative study of the causes of the 1857 uprising)". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 20: 293–305. JSTOR 44304480.
5. Pratima Asthana (1974). Women's Movement in India. Vikas Publishing House. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-7069-0333-1. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
6. Amit Kumar Gupta (5 October 2015). Nineteenth-Century Colonialism and the Great Indian Revolt. Taylor & Francis. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-1-317-38668-1. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
7. Belkacem Belmekki (2008). "A Wind of Change: The New British Colonial Policy in Post-Revolt India". AEDEAN: Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-americanos. 2(2): 111–124. JSTOR 41055330.
8. Lal, Mohan (2006). "Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar". The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 4567–4569. ISBN 978-81-260-1221-3.
9. "Listeners name 'greatest Bengali'". BBC. 14 April 2004. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
10. Habib, Haroon (17 April 2004). "International : Mujib, Tagore, Bose among 'greatest Bengalis of all time'". The Hindu.
11. "Bangabandhu judged greatest Bangali of all time". The Daily Star. 16 April 2004.
12. District Gazetteer of Hooghly 1820
13. "Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar: A Profile of the Philanthropic Protagonist by Aparna Chatterjee". http://www.boloji.com.
14. "Ishwar Chandra Vidysagar". vivekananda.net.
15. "ISHWAR CHANDRA VIDYASAGAR". http://www.hinduweb.org. Archived from the original on 18 November 2002. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
16. Sarkar, Nikhil [Sripantho] (1977) Bat tala. Calcutta: Ananda. p. 66. (in Bengali)
17. "Visit to Vidyasagar". Gospels of Sri Ramakrishna by M, translated by Swami Nikhilananda. p. 37.
18. "Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar". WBCHSE. West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
19. The Life And Times Of Ramakrishna Parmahamsa (1st ed.). Prabhat Prakashan. 1 August 2013. p. 53. ISBN 978-8184302301.
20. Dutt, Romesh (1962) Cultural Heritage of Bengal. Kolkata, Punthi Pustak. p. 117.
21. File:Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar 1970 stamp of India.jpg, File:Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar 1998 stamp of India.jpg

Further reading

• Benoy Ghosh, Vidyasagar O Bangali Samaj, Orient Longman, Kolkata
• Indramitra, Karunasagar Vidyasagar, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata ISBN 81-7215-040-7
• Asok Sen, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar and his Elusive Milestones, Riddhi, Kolkata.
• Gopal Haldar, Vidyasagar: A Reassessment, People's Publishing House, New Delhi
• Haldar, Gopal. (1998) [1982]. "I. C. Vidyasagar: Realist and Humanist". In Bishop, Donald H. (ed.). Thinkers of the Indian Renaissance (Second ed.). New Delhi: New Age International. pp. 81–91. ISBN 978-81-224-1122-5. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
• Sarkar, Sumit (2008). "Vidyasagar and Brahmanical Society". In Sarkar, Sumit; Sarkar, Tanika (eds.). Women and Social Reform in Modern India: A Reader. Indiana University Press. pp. 118–145. ISBN 9780253220493.

External links

• Works by or about Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar at Internet Archive
• Dutt, Romesh Chunder (1911). "Vidyasagar, Iswar Chandra" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.).
http://www.americanchronicle.com
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:35 am

Akshay Kumar Datta
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Image
Akshay Kumar Datta
Born: Akshay Kumar Datta, 15 July 1820, Chupi, Burdwan, British India (now in Purba Bardhaman, West Bengal, India)
Died: 18 May 1886 (aged 65), Kolkata, British India
Nationality: British Indian

Akshay Kumar Datta (also spelt Akshay Kumar Dutta) (Bengali: অক্ষয় কুমার দত্ত) (15 July 1820 – 18 May 1886) was a Bengali writer from the Indian subcontinent. He was born in Bagerhat, British India. Son of Pitamber Dutta, he was one of the initiators of the Bengal Renaissance.

Early life and studies

After studying in the Oriental Seminary under the special care of Hardman Jeffroy, he had to give up studies because of the death of his father and go job-seeking. However, that could not put an end to his yearning for learning. At the Sovabazar Rajbari library, he studied and mastered Calculus and Geometry. He had learnt Sanskrit and Persian, and read the Hindu scriptures at school. He acquired proficiency in French, German and various Indian languages. He composed the poetry-book Anangamohan at the age of 14. While a youngster he used to translate news items and features for Iswar Chandra Gupta's Sambad Prabhakar. He even studied in Medical College for some time to gain knowledge of botany, zoology and chemistry.

Writing

In 1839, he joined the Tattwabodhini Sabha and soon became its assistant secretary. He was appointed a teacher of the Tattwabodhini Pathsala the next year and in 1843, Tattwabodhini Patrika was published as mouthpiece of both the Tattwabodhini Sabha and Brahmo Samaj. He was the first editor of the journal and contributed substantially towards the development of prose writing in Bengali. He was the first Bengali writer to seriously work for the propagation of a modern scientific outlook, writing books on Physics and Geography in Bengali. He also wrote profusely on astronomy, mathematics and geology. The students of Hindu College used to make fun of Bengali writing and some even felt that nothing worthwhile can be written in the Bengali language. However, whenever, Tattwabodhini Patrika came out they not only read it seriously but even brought it to the attention of one another.

Akshay Kumar Datta was the first person in the Brahmo Samaj to boldly proclaim that the Vedas were not infallible. He succeeded in convincing Debendranath Tagore in this respect and ultimately Brahmo Samaj adopted the thinking that while it respected all religious scriptures it did not consider any as infallible. It was in this perspective that Debendranath Tagore wrote Brahmo Dharma.

Magnum opus

In 1855, he developed some kind of agonising cerebral problem and could not continue with his massive work for the Tattwabodhini Patrika. His work was such that sometimes he used to spend the entire night writing. Moreover, he had serious philosophical and theological differences with his employer Debendranath Tagore. He left Tattwabodhini and served for sometime as Principal of the Normal School for teachers' training established by Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, his friend and mentor.

His magnum opus was the two-part Bharatbarshiya Upasak Sampraday (Vol.1, 1871, Vol.2, 1883). The brilliant introductions to the two volumes of this book evince his profound philosophical, linguistic and scientific learning and depth. Among others, Max Muller, Monier-Williams and Rajendralal Mitra were greatly impressed by his profound scholarship, though not agreeing on all points.

Major points

Deeply influenced by Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, John Stuart Mill, Auguste Comte, Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley and Rammohan Roy, he was among the first few men in modern India who had presented an empiricist critique of the ancient Indian philosophies. He was bold enough to point out that contrary to popular belief, much of Indian philosophy was suffused with atheist and sceptical thought. For example, Samkhya was professedly atheist; Patanjali / Yoga, while no doubt theist, basically explained the applied aspects of Samkhya; Vaisheshika traced the ultimate reality to paramanu, i.e., atoms; Nyaya studied the logic and methodology of studying reality; Purba Mimamsa of Jaimini pooh-poohed gods; even Vedanta, while accepting that Brahma was the ultimate reality, said that god was not the creator but the constructor of the world. Jainism, Charvaka philosophy and Buddhism also had no place for God, he showed. He was an agnostic and went against all religions, considering them to be harmful for humanity.

Other works

His other books were: Bahyabastur sahit manabprakritir sambandha bichar (based on the Constitution of Man by George Combe), Dharmaniti, Prachin Hinduder Samudrajatra O Banijya bistar (published posthumously by his son Rajani Nath Datta), Charupath (in three volumes), and Padarthyabidya.

The textbook Charupath was mandatory reading for almost three generations. Akshay Datta earned a lot of money from it. This he spent in building up a botanical garden and a geological museum at Shovon-Udyan, his retreat at Bally in Howrah. The portraits of Newton, Darwin, Mill, T H Huxley and Raja Ram Mohan Roy hung in his study cum laboratory.

Personal life

His family life was not happy. Relations with both his wife and his sons were strained. In a sense he died a lonely man, leaving a substantial amount for the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science. A few days after his death in 1886 at Bally in Howrah, a meeting was held in Calcutta where tall promises were made on how to immortalise his memory. But absolutely nothing emerged and eventually he became forgotten.

The renowned Bengali poet Satyendranath Dutta was his grandson.

References

• Ramtanu Lahiri O Tatkalin Banga Samaj in Bengali by Sivanath Sastri Translated into English by Sir Roper Lethbridge as "A History of the Renaissnace in Bengal", Renaissance Publishers Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata, India, 2002
• Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) in Bengali edited by Subodh Chandra Sengupta and Anjali Bose
• Akshay Kumar Datta: Aandhar Raatey Ekla Pathik in Bengali by Ashish Lahiri (Dey's Publishing, Kolkata, ISBN 81-295-0789-7)
• Bijnan-Buddhi Charchar Agrapathik Akshaykumar Dutta O Bangali Samaj in Bengali, edited by Muhammad Saiful Islam (Renaissance Publishers, Kolkata)
• Akshaykumar Datta: The First Social Scientist in Bengal (ed. Muhammad Saiful Islam, Renaissance, Kolkata, January 2009
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Monier Monier-Williams
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/12/20

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Image
Sir Monier Monier-Williams KCIE
Photo of Monier Monier-Williams by Lewis Carroll
Born: Monier Williams, 12 November 1819, Bombay, British India
Died: 11 April 1899 (aged 79), Cannes, France
Alma mater: King's College School, Balliol College, Oxford; East India Company College; University College, Oxford
Known for: Boden Professor of Sanskrit; Sanskrit–English dictionary
Awards: Knight Bachelor; Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire


Sir Monier Monier-Williams, KCIE (/ˈmɒniər/; né Williams; 12 November 1819 – 11 April 1899) was the second Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University, England. He studied, documented and taught Asian languages, especially Sanskrit, Persian and Hindustani.

Early life

Monier Williams was born in Bombay, the son of Colonel Monier Williams, surveyor-general in the Bombay presidency. His surname was "Williams" until 1887 when he added his given name to his surname to create the hyphenated "Monier-Williams". In 1822 he was sent to England to be educated at private schools at Hove, Chelsea and Finchley. He was educated at King's College School, Balliol College, Oxford (1838–40), the East India Company College (1840–41) and University College, Oxford (1841–44). He took a IVth-class honours degree in Literae Humaniores in 1844.[1]

He married Julia Grantham in 1848. They had six sons and one daughter. He died, aged 79, at Cannes in France.[2]

In 1874 he bought, and lived in Enfield House, Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight where he and his family lived until at least 1881 (the 1881 census records the occupant was 61-year-old Professor Monier Monier-Williams, his wife Julia and two children Montague 20 and Ella 22. (There were five sons and a daughter in total).

Career

Monier Williams taught Asian languages, at the East India Company College from 1844 until 1858,[3][4] when company rule in India ended after the 1857 rebellion. He came to national prominence during the 1860 election campaign for the Boden Chair of Sanskrit at Oxford University, in which he stood against Max Müller.

The vacancy followed the death of Horace Hayman Wilson in 1860. Wilson had started the university's collection of Sanskrit manuscripts upon taking the chair in 1831, and had indicated his preference that Williams should be his successor. The campaign was notoriously acrimonious. Müller was known for his liberal religious views and his philosophical speculations based on his reading of Vedic literature. Monier Williams was seen as a less brilliant scholar, but had a detailed practical knowledge of India itself, and of actual religious practices in modern Hinduism. Müller, in contrast, had never visited India.[5]


Both candidates had to emphasise their support for Christian evangelisation in India, since that was the basis on which the Professorship had been funded by its founder. Monier Williams' dedication to Christianisation was not doubted, unlike Müller's.[6] Monier Williams also stated that his aims were practical rather than speculative. "Englishmen are too practical to study a language very philosophically", he wrote.[5]

After his appointment to the professorship Williams declared from the outset that the conversion of India to the Christian religion should be one of the aims of orientalist scholarship.[6] In his book Hinduism, published by SPCK in 1877, he predicted the demise of the Hindu religion and called for Christian evangelism to ward off the spread of Islam.[6] According to Saurabh Dube this work is "widely credited to have introduced the term Hinduism into general English usage"[7] while David N. Lorenzen cites the book along with Alexander Duff (1839), India, and India Missions: Including Sketches of the Gigantic System of Hinduism, Both in Theory and Practice: Also Notices of Some of the Principal Agencies Employed in Conducting the Process of Indian Evangelization, &c. &c. J. Johnstone, for popularising of the term.[8]

Writings and foundations

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Bookplate

When Monier Williams founded the University's Indian Institute in 1883, it provided both an academic focus and also a training ground for the Indian Civil Service.[2] Since the early 1870s Monier Williams planned this institution. His vision was the better acquaintance of England and India. On this account he supported academic research into Indian culture. Monier Williams travelled to India in 1875, 1876 and 1883 to finance his project by fundraising. He gained the support of Indian native princes. In 1883 the Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone; the building was inaugurated in 1896 by Lord George Hamilton. The Institute closed on Indian independence in 1947.

In his writings on Hinduism Monier Williams argued that the Advaita Vedanta system best represented the Vedic ideal and was the "highest way to salvation" in Hinduism. He considered the more popular traditions of karma and bhakti to be of lesser spiritual value. However, he argued that Hinduism is a complex "huge polygon or irregular multilateral figure" that was unified by Sanskrit literature. He stated that "no description of Hinduism can be exhaustive which does not touch on almost every religious and philosophical idea that the world has ever known."[6]

Monier-Williams compiled a Sanskrit–English dictionary, based on the earlier Petersburg Sanskrit Dictionary,[9] which was published in 1872. A later revised edition was published in 1899 with collaboration by Ernst Leumann and Carl Cappeller (sv).[10]

Honours

He was knighted in 1876, and was made KCIE in 1887, when he adopted his given name of Monier as an additional surname.

He also received the following academic honours: Honorary DCL, Oxford, 1875; LLD, Calcutta, 1876; Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, 1880; Honorary PhD, Göttingen, 1880s; Vice-President, Royal Asiatic Society, 1890; Honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford, 1892.[2]

Published works

Translations


Monier-Williams's translations include that of Kālidāsa's plays Vikramorvasi (1849)[11] and Śākuntala (1853; 2nd ed. 1876).[12]

• Translation of Shakuntala (1853)
• Hindu Literature: comprising the Book of Good Counsels, Nala and Damayanti, the Rámáyana and Śakoontalá

Original works

• An Elementary Grammar of the Sanscrit Language: Partly in the Roman Character, Arranged According to a New Theory, in Reference Especially to the Classical Languages; with Short Extracts in Easy Prose. To which is Added, a Selection from the Institutes of Manu, with Copious References to the Grammar, and an English Translation. W. H. Allen & Company. 1846.
• Original papers illustrating the history of the application of the Roman alphabet to the languages of India: Edited by Monier Williams (1859) Modern Reprint
• Indian Wisdom, Or, Examples of the Religious, Philosophical, and Ethical Doctrines of the Hindūs. London: Oxford. 1875.
Hinduism. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. 1877.
• Modern India and the Indians: Being a Series of Impressions, Notes, and Essays. Trübner and Company. 1878.
• Translation of Shikshapatri – The manuscript of the principal scripture Sir John Malcolm received from Swaminarayan on 26 February 1830 when he was serving as the Governor of Bombay Presidency, Imperial India. Currently preserved at Bodleian Library.
• Brahmanism and Hinduism (1883).
Buddhism, in its connexion with Brahmanism and Hinduism, and in its contrast with Christianity (1889)[13]
Sanskrit-English Dictionary, ISBN 0-19-864308-X.
• A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European languages, Monier Monier-Williams, revised by E. Leumann, C. Cappeller, et al. 1899, Clarendon Press, Oxford
• A Practical Grammar of the Sanskrit Language, Arranged with Reference to the Classical Languages of Europe, for the Use of English Students, Oxford: Clarendon, 1857, enlarged and improved Fourth Edition 1887

Notes

1. Oxford University Calendar 1895, Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1895, p.131.
2. Macdonell 1901.
3. Memorials of old Haileybury College. 1894.
4. "Review of Memorials of Old Haileybury College by Sir Monier Monier-Williams and other Contributors". The Quarterly Review. 179: 224–243. July 1894.
5. Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Scholar Extraordinary, The Life of Professor the Right Honourable Friedrich Max Muller, P.C., Chatto and Windus, 1974, pp. 221–231.
6. Terence Thomas, The British: their religious beliefs and practices, 1800–1986, Routledge, 1988, pp. 85–88.
7. Saurabh Dube (1998). Untouchable Pasts: Religion, Identity, and Power among a Central Indian Community, 1780–1950. SUNY Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-7914-3687-5.
8. David N. Lorenzen (2006). Who Invented Hinduism: Essays on Religion in History. Yoda Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-81-902272-6-1.
9. https://www.rbth.com/blogs/2014/04/12/s ... ions_34481
10. Bloomfield, Maurice (1900). "A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages by Monier Monier-Williams; E. Leumann; C. Cappeller". The American Journal of Philology. 21 (3): 323–327. doi:10.2307/287725. JSTOR 287725.
11. Schuyler, Jr., Montgomery (1902). "Bibliography of Kālidāsa's Mālavikāgnimitra and Vikramorvaçī". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 23: 93–101. doi:10.2307/592384. JSTOR 592384.
12. Schuyler, Jr., Montgomery (1901). "The Editions and Translations of Çakuntalā". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 22: 237–248. doi:10.2307/592432. JSTOR 592432.
13. "Buddhism in Its Connexion with Brahmanism and Hinduism and in Its Contrast with Christianity". The Old Testament Student. 8 (10): 389–390. June 1889. doi:10.1086/470215. JSTOR 3156561.

References

• Katz, J. B. "Williams, Sir Monier Monier-". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (October 2007 ed.). Retrieved 31 January 2013.
Attribution
• Macdonell, Arthur Anthony (1901). "Monier-Williams, Monier" . Dictionary of National Biography (1st supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 186–187.
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Image
Indian Institute building seen from the north-west

The Indian Institute in central Oxford, England, is at the north end of Catte Street on the corner with Holywell Street and facing down Broad Street from the east.[1] Sir Monier Monier-Williams started the Institute in the University of Oxford in 1883 to provide training for the Indian Civil Service of the British Raj.[2][3]

History and building

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Corner cupola with elephant weathervane

In June 1881, plans were submitted to the University of Oxford's Hebdomadal Council to build an Indian Institute. The original site was occupied by four old buildings. The building was designed by Basil Champneys and the first section opened in 1884. Originally there was a low shop to the south, but neighbouring Hertford College has now encroached on the Institute with a much taller building. The Institute was built of Taynton stone in the style of the English Renaissance, with different oriental details to the designs of Champneys. In 1974 Nikolaus Pevsner observed that the rounded corner cupola made an excellent point de vue at the east end of Broad Street.

Along with the library (see below), the institute contained lecture rooms and a museum. Some contents of the museum are now present in the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums. The original Indian Institute building is now the Oxford Martin School of the University of Oxford, the History Faculty having moved to the old City of Oxford School building on George Street and its library to the Bodleian site.

Indian Institute Library

Main article: Indian Institute Library

The Indian Institute Library opened in 1886. It became a dependent library of the Bodleian Library, the main library of the University, in 1927. It specialises in the history and culture of South Asia, especially the Himalayas and Tibet.[4] The library was formerly located in the Indian Institute building, but was moved to the top floor of the New Bodleian Library.

Indian Institute Museum

The Museum was an integral part of Monier-Williams’ design, modelled to some extent on the India Museum in South Kensington. Monier-Williams acquired some pieces during his fund-raising and collecting tour of India in 1883–1884, including from the International Exhibition, at Calcutta, and arranged for regional representatives to send objects to Oxford. Babu T. N. Mukharji was commissioned to catalogue the collections in 1886 (but he never finished doing so). The installation of the museum was done by Dr Heinrich Lüders, assisted by Mr. Long of the Pitt Rivers Museum, and completed in 1898. When Monier-Williams died in 1899, no financial provision had been made for running the museum. Gradually, the collections were dispersed: entomological and zoological collections to the University Museum; and many pieces to the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ashmolean Museum. A summary catalogue of the museum was prepared by Mr. A. Rost (for a short handbook to the Institute, by Professor Arthur Macdonell, 1922, but never published).[5]

Accusations of racism

The building was financed entirely by private donors in India and Britain, for the sole purpose of constructing an edifice to house study for and on the Indian sub-continent. There was consequently great controversy in 1968, when the University's governing council evicted the Indian Institute from the premises without compensation, and then made a gift of the premises to the History Faculty, which specialises in European history to the exclusion of Indian history. The government of India filed a formal protest on behalf of the families of the original donors, who felt defrauded by the University's actions. The Oxford University Student Union went further still, accusing the University administration of racism in the decision.

The Institute's aim

The aim of the Indian Institute was:

The work of fostering and facilitating Indian studies in the University; the work of making Englishmen, and even Indians themselves, appreciate better than they have done before the languages, literature and industries of India.[6]


See also

• University of Oxford
• Departments of the University of Oxford
• Buildings and structures in Oxford
• Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
• Hertford College
• Oxford Martin School (currently housed in the old Indian Institute building)

Further reading

• A Record of the Establishment of the Indian Institute in the University of Oxford: Being an Account of the Circumstances which led to its Foundation (Oxford: Compiled for the Subscribers to the Indian Institute Fund, 1897)
• Symonds, Richard, Oxford and Empire: The Last Lost Cause? (New York: St Martins Press, 1986)
• The Oxford Chronicle and Berks and Bucks Gazette, 5 May 1883
• Indian Institute Archives, Bodleian Library, Oxford
• Monier Monier Williams, 'Notes of a long life's journey', unpublished memoir, Indian Institute Library, Oxford.
• Evison, Gillian, 'The Orientalist, his Institute and the Empire: the rise and subsequent decline of Oxford University's Indian Institute', unpublished paper, December 2004.

References

1. Howarth, Osbert John Radcliffe (1911). "Oxford" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 20 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 413.
2. "From the extract of Kelly's directory for 1900". Retrieved 2012-08-03.[dead link]
3. "Indian Institute – Making Britain". http://www.open.ac.uk.
4. Bodleian Library: Department of Oriental Collections: 'Indian Institute Library', http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/oriental/iil.htm, accessed 2007-02-14.
5. Andrew Topsfield, History of the Indian Collections in Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum: A catalogue of the Ashmolean’s collection of Indian art; by J. C. Harle & Andrew Topsfield (published Oxford, 1987)
6. "Aim of the Indian Institute". Retrieved 2007-03-02.[dead link]

External links

• Old Indian Institute, Broad Street, Oxford (including photographs)
• Indian Studies at Oxford from the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
• Indian Institute Library now in the Bodleian Library
• The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
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