Thursday Blog 11.10.12

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (ocean of knowledge) was known for his reforms, knowledge and kindness (he was called dayarsagar- ocean of kindness- it was said that he did not thought twice before giving away his own shawl to poor people and return home without any woolen in extreme cold again and again because there were too many poor people back then and are now.

He was born in a very poor family with insatiable thirst for knowledge, he used to eat once a day and study under streetlamp because his father was not able to afford for more.

He initiated the concept of widow remarriage, raised concern against abolition of child marriage and polygamy. He opened the doors of college and universities for scheduled caste and tribe students; these were earlier meant for only Brahmins.

Widow remarriage- the condition of Hindu widows was really scary back then. Raja Rammohan Roy has banned the sati pratha, vidyasagar took the next step- he took the initiatives to get these hapless young girls to get married again. He started with his own son.

Hindu widows have suffered the most I believe, as per as I have read in history books and story books. A hindu woman, especially Brahmin or Kshatriya were not entitled to remarry, not only that they were burned alive with their dead husbands (satipratha) really frequently. They had to follow inhuman rules for the rest of their lives if they were left alive, some of them got widowed at the age of eight years or nine years. Some of the rules were getting tonsured, wearing white sari, eating once a day, fasting on drop of hat, practicing absolute celibacy etc. Sounds like perfect nightmare, does not it? Thank God that so did Vidyasagar and took really strong initiative to get them remarried- he had to face to ugliest wrath of the society for that but that did not waivered his strength.

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10 comments

    1. he had to pay his price too. orthodox people can get real nasty. there is a bit more about vidyasagar in etherealheights, if you are curious to know.

      this is the person you expressed your curiosity about.

    1. In the province where I live men actually forced their women to embrace modernity. Thats why the relationship between them is quite enviable even now in comparison to other provinces of India I believe.

  1. It sounds like it was extremely hard to be a woman then, although I guess it’s been harder to be a woman for most of history. I admire men that tried to make life easier for women.

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