Purba Midnapur, Paschim Midnapur
Religions - Tribes
Drought - Disaster


Rishi Rajnarayan Basu

Sri Haripada Mondal


.:: Boyhood and Education of Rishi Rajnarayan Basu ::.

During the second half of the nineteenth century when Pundit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar was struggling with the distressing circumstances in Calcutta for the spread of education and removal of evils from the Hindu society, the namd of Rajnarayan Basu was illustriously established as a great educator and social reformer at Midnapur for his determined and adventurous endeavours. What Rajnarayan did particularly for the people of Midnapur, we should be truly ashamed to note, is now unfortunately going to be buried in oblivion. The striking fact is that he spent the prime of his life from 1851 to 1866 primarily to the service of the people of Midnapur and that the light of Renaissance came as a blessed boon, 18 as it were, to the groping persons in darkness with this selfless torch-bearer. Born on the 7th September, 1826, in an orthodox Hindu family of a village named Boral in 24Parganas (near Calcutta), Rajnarayan passed his childhood days in quiet rural surroundings; but at the early age of seven he was brought to Calcutta by his father Nandakishore Basu, who was then engaged in some clerical job there. It was his good fortune to be admitted to the School Society's School founded by David Hare, father of English education in India . And in a very short period he shone as a brilliant scholar and attracted the affectionate attention of David Hare himself, who along with other teachers was surprised to see the extra-ordinay perseverance and speedy progress of boy Rajnarayan in studies. At the end of his school career Rajnarayan entered the Hindu College in the year 1840 and continued his studentship there upto 1844. In this Institution too he was belovedly recognised as a scholar of no mean order amidst the galaxy of talenks like Michael Madhusudan Datta, Pearycharan Sorcar, Jnanendra Mohan Thakur, Bhudeb Mukhapadhyay, Jogesh Chandra Ghosh, Ananda Krishna Basu, Jagadish Nath Ray, Iswar Chandra Mitra, Nilmadhab Mukhopadhyay, Girish Chandra Deb, Gobinda Chandra Datta, Gourdas Basak and others. He had a deeply religious bent of mind and a national outlook from the core of his heart, and as such, his link with the “Young Bengal” group of H. L. V. Dirozio was shaken off in no time. He voraciously read the religious and philosophical books of the Christians, Hindus and the Mahamadans alike, and for sometime tended to be a sceptic. But his soul was saved from a severe break-down as a result of his persohal acquaintance with Maharshi Debendra Nath Thakur, the leader of the Brahmo Movement after Raja Rammohan Roy. He was initiated to the Brabmoism early in 1846, then joined the works of the movement, first as an English translator of the Upanishads and then as a general worker. He acquired excellent command over Bengali and Persian as well which was seen later in his writings and speeches. In May, 1849, Rajnarayan was appointed second English teacher of the Sanskrit College . Pandit Ramgati Nyayratna was one among his devoted pupils. Not only the students of the college, but some great Sanskrit Pandits also took their lessons of English language under him, and it was certainly his proud privilege and special honour to guide persons like Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Rajkrishna Banerjee and Dwarakanath Vidyabhusan for some period to improve their command over English. This was the first recognition of Rajnarayan by the erudite. The second one came very unexpected from the Education Department of the Bengal Government. He was selected as a Headmaster for a High English School at the District headquaters of Midnapur. Soon lie was given the offer and humbly he accepted it.

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