In Search Of Iswarchandra Vidyasagar’s Barabazar House

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Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar photo

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
Image courtesy : Wikipedia

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (Bengali: ঈশ্বরচন্দ্র বিদ্যাসাগর Ishshor Chôndro Biddashagor 26 September 1820 – 29 July 1891), born Ishwar Chandra Bandopadhyay (Bengali: ঈশ্বরচন্দ্র বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়, Ishshor Chôndro Bôndopaddhae), was an Indian Bengali polymath and a key figure of the Bengal Renaissance. Vidyasagar was a philosopher, academic, educator, writer, translator, printer, publisher, entrepreneur, reformer, and philanthropist. His efforts to simplify and modernize Bengali prose were significant.

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.

Source – Wikipedia

Iswarchandra Vidyasagar came to Kolkata at an age of 8 years (November 1828) along with his father Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay. They used to stay in a room on the ground floor of the Barabazar house of Bhagbat Singh, Thakurdas’ employer. The house was earlier on Doyehata Street, which was later renamed to Digambar Jain Temple Road. One fine Sunday morning we went searching for the house … or whatever remained.

13, Doyehata Street is now 13A, 13B and 13C Digambar Jain Temple Road.

Direction

From Mahatma Gandhi Road / Harrison Road enter Kalakar Street. After crossing Satyanarayan Park AC Market and leaving Cotton Street on the left, take left to enter Bartala Street. Keep walking till you reach a four point crossing and from here turn right to enter Digambar Jain Temple Road.

After entering the road, for the first few minutes we were clueless as we could not find any number plate on the houses. But not long afterwards we located number 10 and counting from there came in front of what we thought should be number 13. Seeing a pan shop we decided to confirm the address from the owner.

– “Yehi hai tera number. Apko kisko chahiye?” (This is number 13. Whom do you want?) came the reply to our query.

But we were already looking at the house trying to imagine how it looked some 185 years back. After waiting for a few seconds the panwala resumed

– “Suna hai Vidyasagarji yehi rahete the.” (I have heard that Vidyasagar used to stay here.)

And the name was enough to bring us back to the present. The pan shop is in 13A, while both 13B and 13C have been demolished. 13C is now a multistorey building while 13B is presently under construction. While we were taking photos, the current owner of 13A, Mr. Gouri Shankar Mullick, came out to have his morning tea. According to him the house was bought by his father and uncles. His father owned 13A which is still there, while 13B and 13C were his uncles’.

We asked if he knows in which portion Vidyasagar used to stay with his father.

– “As far as I have heard the room was in 13b or 13C. When we were young there was a post of gas light in front of the house and we were told Vidyasagar used to study sitting under it.”

We don’t know it’s true or not, but we felt sad and happy at the same time. Sad because we could not see the complete house and happy because we were in time to see atleast a part of it, which I am sure wont be there a few years from now.

13A, Digambar Jain Temple Road

13A, Digambar Jain Temple Road

Reference –

Kolikata Darpan – Radharaman Mitra

13 Comments

Sumit

Vidyasagar was a social reformer and is considered as one of the pillars of Bengal renaissance. He initiated the concept of widow remarriage and worked hard to stop child marriage and polygamy in this part of the world.

Reply
Sumit

Vidyasagar was a social reformer and is considered as one of the pillars of Bengal renaissance. He initiated the concept of widow remarriage and worked hard to stop child marriage and polygamy in this part of the world.

Reply
Franc Ramon

This is a nice experience for you and even if you’ve just seen portion, I know it means a lot. It’s also humbling how he study in a post of gas light.

Reply
Noel

Im glad you found the house, I really love stories like this of people with humble beginning but are now reknown

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