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‘A Black Day in Bengal’: Vandalism of Statue Leaves Vidyasagar’s Kin in State of Shock

Stating that Vidyasagar belongs to the entire nation, the social reformer’s great-grandson, Dr Pratip Banerji, said adequate measures should be taken against culprits.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:May 15, 2019, 8:43 PM IST
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‘A Black Day in Bengal’: Vandalism of Statue Leaves Vidyasagar’s Kin in State of Shock
Vidyasagar's great-grandson, Dr Pratip Banerji.

Kolkata: The vandalism at Vidyasagar College in Kolkata on Tuesday has not only shaken the entire nation, but also left academicians and descendants of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in a state of shock.

On Tuesday, a group of BJP supporters, marching along with party president Amit Shah’s decorated vehicle allegedly broke open the locks of Vidyasagar College, forcibly barged inside the campus and went on a rampage.

They allegedly broke Vidyasagar’s bust and set three motorcycles afire. The statue was kept inside a glass box in the main administrative office of the college.

Speaking exclusively to News18, Dr Pratip Banerji, great-grandson of the social reformer, said, “We condemn what happened at the college on Tuesday. The entire nation, as a whole, is grateful to Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar for his contribution to society. I don’t have words to explain how this could actually happen here in Bengal.”

A renowned homeopathy doctor, Banerji said, “I am hurt and shocked. He was such a towering personality… I cannot believe that this happened to his statue. The bust was very old and it was there since my father Dr Prasanta Banerji used to study in that college. Vidyasagar belongs to the whole nation and we want adequate measures against the culprits.”

Banerji and his father have floated the Prasanta Banerji Homeopathic Research Foundation (PBHRF) in Kolkata.

Born in September 26, 1820, at Birsingha village in West Midnapore district, Vidyasagar was a philosopher, academician, writer, translator, printer, publisher, entrepreneur, reformer and philanthropist. He had even forced the British to pass the Widow Remarriage Act.

Hare Govindo Dolui, a well-known researcher of Vidyasagar’s works, told News18, “It’s a black day in Bengal. Just imagine the mindset of people. They didn’t even think whose bust they were breaking. Do they have any idea who Vidyasagar was? This is not Bengal’s culture and whoever did this should be punished immediately. His statue was damaged in the 70s at College Street by Naxalites. My head hangs in shame.”

Dolui, who is also a librarian at Birsingha Bhagawati Vidyalaya located close to the ancestral house of the social reformer, said, “I would like to ask the authorities concerned why the BJP was given permission to hold a roadshow on College Street where so many educational institutions are located.”

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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