Examine the contribution of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to India’s awakening in the 19th century.

Examine the contribution of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to India’s awakening in the 19th century.

Approach:

  • Briefly introduce Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
  • Examine his contributions to India’s awakening
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :
A great scholar and reformer, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar dedicated his entire life to the cause of social reforms. He was deeply influenced by the European ideal of humanism and rationalism. But the Indian heritage was of no less value to him.
Contribution of Ishwar Chandra to India’s awakening:
Education:
  • He encouraged the study of Sanskrit and Bengali literature.
  • He also introduced the study of Western thought in the Sanskrit college to inspire the Indians to shake off their age-old beliefs and to modernize their ideas.
  • He helped in opening approximately 35 girls’ schools in Bengal and also opened the Sanskrit college to non-brahmins.
  • He also established evening school in his native village for the farmers and labors, so that they can be literate.
  • He has enriched the Bengali Education System by writing many good text books for students, and also started Bengali newspaper “Shome Prakash” which started publishing in 1858.
Emancipation of women:
  • He started a movement in support of widow remarriage which resulted in Widow Remarriage Act 1856.
  • He protested against child-marriage and campaigned against polygamy.
  • Ishwar Chandra took upon himself the task of promoting the cause of female education. For this, he collaborated with Drinkwater Bethune in establishing the Hindu Female School (at present known as Bethune School and College) in 1849.
Through his efforts for educational and social reforms, he played an important role in India’s awakening in the 19th century.

Subjects : History and Culture

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