Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820 - 1891) was a prominent figure of the Bengal Renaissance. Vidyasagar was a philosopher, academic, writer, printer, publisher, entrepreneur, reformer, and philanthropist. He received the title "Vidyasagar" ("Ocean of knowledge") from the Calcutta Sanskrit College, where he graduated, due to his excellent performance in Sanskrit studies and philosophy. Ishwar Chandra was a brilliant student and  in 1841, at the age of twenty one years, he joined the Fort William College as a head of the Sanskrit department. Vidyasagar vigorously promoted the idea that regardless of their caste, both men and women should receive the best education. 

He introduced the practice of widow remarriages to mainstream Hindu society. Vidyasagar took the initiative in enacting the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856 in India. He reconstructed the Bengali alphabet and reformed Bengali typography into an alphabet of twelve vowels and forty consonants. Also he contributed significantly to Bengali and Sanskrit literature.  In recognition of his scholarship and cultural work the government designated Vidyasagar a Companion of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1877. In the final years of life, he chose to spend his days among the "Santhals", an old tribe in India.

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