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Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar: All You Need to Know About the Reformer at the Centre of TMC-BJP Clash

Vidyasagar made huge contribution to society by fighting against child marriage and opened 35 schools for women. He also had his son married to a widow.

News18.com

Updated:May 15, 2019, 1:43 PM IST
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Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar: All You Need to Know About the Reformer at the Centre of TMC-BJP Clash
A motorcycle set on fire in front of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar College in Kolkata during Amit Shah's roadshow on Tuesday.

Of all personalities, living and dead, the last person one would have expected to become a decisive figure in the final phase of polling in West Bengal is Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

The bust of one of the great Renaissance figures of West Bengal, and of the country, was smashed to pieces following a clash between Trinamool and BJP supporters on Tuesday.

Both the parties have accused each other of vandalism and both have promised payback in terms of votes. The battle over Vidyasagar could have at least a limited impact as voters turn up to cast their ballots on May 19.

"I have never seen such political riots in Calcutta in all my life. We will not spare them, we will give a fitting reply through votes,” West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said after visiting Vidyasagar College on Tuesday evening.

All top leaders of Trinamool have changed their Twitter display pictures to that of Vidyasagar in order to evoke hurt among the larger Bengali community.

BJP president Amit Shah rubbished Mamata's claims in a press conference held in the capital on Wednesday morning. He accused West Bengal Chief Minister of destroying the bust of "that great teacher and reformer" for votes, "I'm also frustrated that's why I've come before you," Shah said addressing mediapersons in New Delhi.

Shah claimed that the room that held Vidyasagar's bust was locked in a campus where Trinamool cadre has a sizeable presence. The key to the locked room was also with Trinamool cadre, Shah alleged.

Shah claimed that Banerjee was engaging act of vandalism because she could see her impending poll defeat. He claimed that BJP was on its way to win at least 23 seats in the state and cross over 300 seat mark at the end of 7th and last phase of polls.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, Mamata had said that she did not have "words to condemn the incident. I’m myself ashamed and I apologise... that as people of Bengal, we cannot respect Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar because of these BJP goons. These leaders will be leaders of the nation? Those who cannot show respect for the icons?"

Vidyasagar was a leading icon of education, especially that of widows, in British ruled India. Being the son of a poor cook from Birsingha village in what is now West Midnapore district, he went on to become one of the most influential social figures in the then capital of British India.

Vidyasagar made huge contribution to society by fighting against child marriage and opened 35 schools for women. He also had his son married to a widow. He is also credited with reconstructing the Bengali alphabet and simplified the language’s typography.

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