People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 53

December 31, 2006

Vidyasagar Mela Opens In Kolkata


The annual Vidyasagar Mela (fair), thirteenth in succession opened recently in Kolkata. This year’s fair has the theme of women’s education. Following the inauguration of the fair by Bengali poet Krishna Dhar, Biman Basu who is the working president of the Bangiya Sakhsarata Prasar Samity (BSPS) addressed the gathering. The fair is held at a location near the crossing of the Park Circus connector and the eastern Metropolitan Bypass, where a permanent fair ground will soon come up under the aegis of the Bengal Left Front government.


Biman Basu began by saying that the 2006 Vidyasagar Mela would be identified with the cause of spreading education amongst women. Both the BSPS and the Vidyasagar Foundation are engaged in the task of carrying to the masses the study of the life and activities of the education pioneer Pundit Iswarchandra Vidyasagar who spearheaded the movement to spread education amongst the people, in general, and amongst women, in particular.


The Vidyasagar Foundation runs a residential school for girls in Purulia. The year 2007 will see the first batch of outgoing students of this school sit for the secondary examination. Efforts are going on to set up additionally a nursing training institute and an automobile-and-motor training institution for young girls as part of the programme.


Biman Basu pointed out that the people must be made aware in a wide manner of the achievements of Vidyasagar and of his pioneering efforts to extend education. Biman Basu recalled that in the wake of the setting up of the inaugural Vidyasagar Mela in the birthplace of the pundit at Birsingha village, 12 research works on the pioneer educationist could be published. These are accompanied by very many other pamphlets and short studies. It is apparent that interest to study Vidyasagar grows amongst the people of Bengal. 


Former union education minister Pratap Chandra Chunder said that the work of women’s education and child education being organised in the state in the name of Vidyasagar deserved high praise. Dr Chunder exhorted upon the BSPS and the Vidyasagar Foundation to ensure that more and more people were involved in the movement. 


BSPS secretary Subir Bandyopadhyay said that Vidyasagar Melas would be held at Birsingha in Midnapore, at Ramnagar in Hooghly, as also in the districts of Purulia and Burdwan. In his inaugural address, Krishna Dhar dwelt briefly on the life and achievements of Iswarchandra Vidyasagar. Amiya Deb did the thanksgiving. People have started to throng the Mela right from the first day, as on earlier occasions when the Mela would be held in the Kolkata maidan. (INN)