Iswar Chandra Vidhya Sagar


Education, Empowerment, Enhancement is the motto of our college Empowerment and Enhancement is given to rural and poor women through Education.

Our College is started in the name of Vidhyasagar, Pandit Iswarchand (1820-1891) who was a Sanskrit pandit, educator, reformer, writer, and philanthropist. He was considered to be one of the greatest intellectuals and activists of the nineteenth century. His parents, though poor, managed to send him to Calcutta for studies after he finished his early education at the village pathshala. Iswar studied at Sanskrit College, Calcutta from 1829 to 1841. He bagged all the prizes and scholarships for best performance. Evaluating his performance in various courses – poetics, rhetoric, Vedanta, Smrti, astrology and logic. The College Committee endowed Iswarchand with the honorific title of Vidhyasagar (sea of knowledge) in 1839. He received a certificate of Honour at the Imperial Assemblage in January 1877. He also received honours and felicitations from many social, cultural and scientific organisations.

Iswarchand Vidhyasagar’s writings were instructive, reformative and utilitarian. Though personally an orthodox Hindu, Iswarchand perceived other religionists entirely secularly. Iswarchand Vidhyasagar’s reforming mind has found most concrete expression in his socio-religious thoughts. He raised questions about early marriage, polygamy, widow remarriage, and many other ills stifling social developments. Polygamy, widow remarriage, child marriage were sensitive issues, because these were supported by the Hindu religion. Vidhyasagar did not mean to hurt the religious sentiments of the common people by directly attacking the evils. In defence of his arguments he profusely drew instances from the shastras and other classical texts, a strategem which had a tremendous impact on the people. His sastra-based and humorous arguments made the defenders of those social evils largely defenceless, though many of the conservatives maligned him savagely. The enactment of the Act of 1856, legalising widow remarriage and the Civil Marriage Act of 1872, restricting bigamy and child marriage and encouraging widow remarriage, owed a great deal to Vidhyasagar, whose writings and activities had helped to create public opinion in favour of these issues.

Vidhyasagar’s philanthropy was proverbial. It is said that half the money that he got from his salary and his royalties was kept reserved for helping the distressed.

Vidhyasagar’s stature as an educator, reformer, writer and philanthropist grew to such a height that, at his death on 29 July 1891, the whole nation, irrespective of race, religion and caste, mourned. The newspapers and magazines published obituaries and features applauding his deeds and achievements; poets and writers, including Rabindranath Tagore, wrote poems and features in his memory. In these remembrances and recollections, Vidhyasagar was rated as the greatest man of the century. The evaluation remains unchanged even today.

Hence our college feels happy to keep the name of the great scholar, reformer who is ever cherishing and remembered in our memories.