Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar: Ocean of knowledge & compassion

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source: kolkatabookfair
source: kolkatabookfair

By Nithin Sridhar

Every Bengali worth his mettle got introduced to the language through ‘Barnaparichay’, the elementary Bengali textbook in two parts which has helped millions through the ages in recognizing and amalgamating the Bengali characters. The author, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was one of the foremost figures in Bengali Renaissance. He was an educator, philosopher, Sanskrit scholar, and a social reformer.

On this day, 195 years ago, he was born as Ishwar Chandra Bandopadhyay to Thakurdas Bandyopadhyay and Bhagavati Devi at Birsingha village of West Midnapore district, West Bengal. On his 195th birth anniversary let us briefly look into his life and legacy.

His Life: He was born in 1820 and his primary education was commenced at a pathshala (indigenous school) where he learned language, grammar, arithmetic, etc. Later, after moving to Calcutta (now Kolkata) he joined the Sanskrit College and mastered Sanskrit Vyakarana (grammar), Kavya (poetry), Smriti, Nyaya (Logic) and Vedanta among other subjects.

In spite of abject poverty, Ishwar Chandra studied very hard and excelled in academics. In 1839, he graduated in law examination. The college committee endowed Ishwar Chandra with the title ‘Vidyasagar’- ocean of knowledge, recognizing his expertise in various branches of knowledge.

He was married to Dinamani Devi at the age of 14 and at the age of 21 he joined the Fort William College as head of the Sanskrit department in 1841. He joined the Sanskrit college in 1846 and in 1851 he became its principal.

He worked for the upliftment of women and made significant contributions to Bengali language and literature. He finally passed away in 1891 at the age of 70 years.

His Legacy: He was one of the foremost champions of women’s upliftment. He championed the cause of widow remarriage and introduced the practice in the Bengali society. He studied the Hindu scriptures deeply and realized that there is nothing in the scriptures against widow remarriage. His efforts resulted in the passing of the Widow Remarriage Act in 1856.

He also fought against child marriages and unrestricted polygamy. He wrote various books on the issue of widow marriage and polygamy, and set up a Hindu Family Annuity Fund to help those widows who could not marry again.

He made important contributions to education sectors. He opened schools for providing education to girls. He also opened the education sector to lower caste students. Due to his immense compassion and generosity, people used to call him ‘Daya Sagar’– ocean of compassion.

In the field of languages, he made significant contributions to the Bengali language. He reconstructed the Bengali alphabets and restricted into 12 vowels and 40 consonants. He made extensive contributions to Bengali and Sanskrit literature.

Apart from his two volume books each on widow-remarriages and banning polygamy, and one volume on child marriage, he also translated the ‘Kathasaritsagara’ from Sanskrit into Bengali and called it ‘Betaal Panchavinsati’ – 25 tales of a Betaal. His other important works include ‘Banglar Itihaas’, ‘Jivancharita’, ‘Shakuntala’, ‘Seetar Vanavas’, and ‘Bhrantivilaas’.

After his death, Rabindranath Tagore wrote about him thus: “One wonders how God, in the process of producing forty million Bengalis, produced a man!”

On the birth anniversary of such a great man, one should remember that he was as much an ocean of knowledge as he was of compassion, and one should try to implement both these values in his/her life.

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Travellers’ Wishlist for Post Pandemic World

Airbnb's internal data reveals future trip planning through search and wish lists created by guests

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People around the world are ready with their future travel plans. Pixabay

As communities around the world slowly begin to open their doors, the idea of future travel is beginning to inspire everyone who has been home sheltering according to Travel News.

From cozy mountain cabins to beat the summer, poolside respites to cool off the heat wave, it’s the outdoors which is calling out to everyone. People have spentmonths cocooned at home, and despite the fear, they want to get out and travel, to live again. As travel planning starts to rebound, Indians are eager to get out onto the road and drive down to their favourite spot for a short staycation.

Short “drivable” destinations are what people are looking at, as air travel remain uncertain, people want to get to a place within short travel time of their homes. The beaches of Goa, the mountains in Himachal, the cool air of Mahabaleshwar are just some of the domestic holiday destinations that are trending.

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The beaches of Goa is just one of the domestic holiday destinations that are trending. Pixabay

Airbnb’s internal data reveals early signs of future trip planning through search and wish lists created by guests ready to reconnect with each other and the world. Travel might be restricted for now, but that isn’t stopping guests from dreaming of one-of-a-kind experiences in far flung destinations. Week-over-week, guests are increasingly turning to wish lists to save listings they hope to travel to one day.

Luxury Penthouses and villas in Goa: India’s tourist hot spot, Goa, is now just a flight away. Travelers can book dreamy villas placed in the heart of Goa, that are perfect to satisfy your travel cravings. With breathtaking views, your own plunge pool and one or two friends or family is all you need.

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Airbnb’s internal data reveals early signs of future trip planning through search and wish lists created by guests. Pixabay

The pollution levels are at an all-time low and the view of the Himalayan Mountain tops are what most travelers are dreaming about. A road trip into the hills with cooler temperatures and the panoramic views of the snowy peaks from your personal sauna, are sure to tick some boxes of your travel bucket list. There are many cottages one can rent with amenities which will make you feel it’s your home away from home.

The Indian capital is home to lavish apartments that could turn your weekend around. From luxury terrace apartments to which farmhouses, its the perfect abode to take a short weekend staycation with your partner.

An artist studio in Jaipur surrounded by heritage buildings, palaces and forts will transport you to a bygone era.

Villas are also the top 10 most wish listed space types globally and they stand second in the wish list inclusions at more than 20 percent growth week-over-week4. When it comes to special occasions beach fronts were the top pick before lockdown. Top keywords from wish lists created in the last 60 days indicate guests are looking to Airbnb to commemorate special occasions that may have been cancelled and are also looking to enjoy the sun in the warmer months ahead.

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People are planning Getaway after the lockdown is lifted and travelling is permitted. Pixabay

Top wish list keywords include:

Beach

Birthday/Bday

Wedding

Honeymoon

Anniversary

Getaway

Vacation

2020, Summer, Summer 2020

Online Experiences – The New Dinner and a Show

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Online Experiences have swiftly evolved to be one of guests’ favorite ways to be transported to new destinations while at home, with 20,000 seats booked in the first two weeks since its launch in April.

According to a recently commissioned Airbnb online survey, 63 percent guests booked Online Experiences to be entertained, 60 percent to learn something new, and 67 percent chose to book to experience other cultures and lifestyles. Food and Drink is the most popular category, accounting for nearly 40 percent of seats booked, but guests are being drawn to a number of distinctive activities. (IANS)

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Twitter Overflows with Praiseworthy Posts as Milkha Singh Turns 90

A user posted a 1958 picture of Milkha Singh defeating Pakistan athlete Abdul Khaliq in the 200 metre race to win gold in Tokyo Asian Games

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Twitter
One fan mentioned on Twitter that the Flying Sikh was the "Godfather of Indian Athletics". Pixabay

Twitter users heaped effusive praise as legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh turned 90 on Wednesday, with many posting throwback pictures depicting his sporting achievements and quotes.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh wrote on his Twitter handle @capt_amarinder: “Happy birthday to the pride of Punjab & India, #MilkhaSingh Ji, who turns 90 today. Wish you the best of happiness & health, sir. “Urge my young friends to take inspiration from the #FlyingSikh and indulge in sports & fitness activities for a healthier life.”

Team India’s Twitter handle @WeAreTeamIndia wrote: “Sending out warm wishes to the legendary sporting icon, a serial sprint winner of his times and the one who is most rightfully known as the #FlyingSikh.”

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi wrote: “Wishing a very happy 90th birthday to #FlyingSikh, inspiration of Millions PadmaShri #MilkhaSingh ji.”

A user posted a 1958 picture of Milkha Singh defeating Pakistan athlete Abdul Khaliq in the 200 metre race to win gold in Tokyo Asian Games. He said: “In 1958 Abdul Khaliq was the fastest man in Asia. Happy Birthday Milkha Singh”.

Twitter
Twitter users heaped effusive praise as legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh turned 90 on Wednesday, with many posting throwback pictures depicting his sporting achievements and quotes. Wikimedia Commons

Another user listed out sporting achievements of the Padma Shri awardee.

“Independent India’s first athletes to win gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Wishing you a very happy birthday Milkha Singh”, wrote another user.

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One user said: “Milkha Singh (age 90 yrs now) don’t miss his important tip. No doctor no tablet”.

One fan mentioned that the Flying Sikh was the “Godfather of Indian Athletics”. (IANS)

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Google Celebrates 100th Birthday of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, Father of Indian Space Programme, with Doodle

We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight

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Google, Birthday, Vikram Sarabhai
To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. IANS

As Chandrayaan-2 cruises to reach the moon by August 20 and drop a lander called ‘Vikram’ on the Earth’s sole satellite on September 7, Google on Monday celebrated the 100th birthday of Dr Vikram Sarabhai — father of the Indian space programme — with a Doodle.

“There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose.

“We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight,” emphasized Vikram upon the importance of a space programme during his successful dialogues with the Indian government.

“But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society,” he noted.

Google, Birthday, Vikram Sarabhai
As Chandrayaan-2 cruises to reach the moon by August 20 and drop a lander called ‘Vikram’ on the Earth’s sole satellite on September 7, Google on Monday celebrated the 100th birthday. Pixabay

The establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was one of his greatest achievements which broke many global records in days to come.

Born on August 12, 1919 in Ahmedabad, Vikram was one of the eight children of Ambalal and Sarla Devi, according to the ISRO website.

The Sarabhai family was an important and rich Jain business family. Ambalal was an affluent industrialist and owned several mills in Gujarat.

He matriculated from the Gujarat College in Ahmedabad after clearing the Intermediate science examination.

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After that, he moved to England and joined the St. John’s College at University of Cambridge. Vikram then went on to receive the Tripos in Natural Sciences from Cambridge in 1940.

The tripos framework includes a wide range of natural sciences from physical sciences to biology which are taught alongside the history and philosophy of science.

With the escalation of the World War II, Vikram returned to India and joined the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and began research in cosmic rays under the guidance of Nobel winner Sir C.V. Raman.

A great institution builder and established or helped set up a large number of institutions in diverse fields, he was instrumental in establishing the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad. He was only 28 at that time.

Google, Birthday, Vikram Sarabhai
There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. Pixabay

Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha, widely regarded as the father of India’s nuclear science programme, supported Vikram in setting up the first rocket launching station in India.

The centre was established at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram on the coast of the Arabian Sea, primarily because of its proximity to the equator.

“After a remarkable effort in setting up the infrastructure, personnel, communication links, and launch pads, the inaugural flight was launched on November 21, 1963 with a sodium vapour payload,” says ISRO.

Vikram started a project for the fabrication and launch of an Indian Satellite. As a result, the first Indian satellite, Aryabhata, was put in orbit in 1975 from a Russian Cosmodrome.

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The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thiruvananthapuram today is the major centre of ISRO, where the design and development activities of satellite launch vehicles and sounding rockets are carried out and made ready for launch operations.

Interested in science education, Vikram founded a Community Science Centre at Ahmedabad in 1966. Today, the Centre is called the Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre.

Vikram was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) in 1972.

He was also Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. Along with other Ahmedabad-based industrialists, he played a major role in the creation of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

To pay homage to the father of India’s space programme, ISRO has also announced an award in his name on his 100th birthday.

Married to Mrinalini Sarabhai and father of noted dancer and activist Mallika Sarabhai, he died in Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram, on December 30, 1971.

His son Kartikeya Sarabhai is one of the world’s leading environmental educators and a dedicated community builder.

Needless to say, the Indian space programme has aptly lived to his expectations. (IANS)

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