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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Even in his death, the Gandhian educationist remained different

    He was born on 23rd February 1911 in a small village of Maimansingh District of present Bangladesh, but his education was in Rangpur District, where his father was Headmaster of a school. His result was excellent, but unlike many other stalwarts of that era who used to study literature, humanities or science subjects, he chose to study engineering in present-day Jadavpur University of Calcutta (now Kolkata).

    During his youth he again chose a different path. In the thirties, Bengal was full of revolutionaries who were always ready to give their life for the sake of Mother India. But this young man did not choose the violent way of struggle to free the country, instead he joined Mahatma Gandhi. He used his technical knowledge and developed portable mic to enable the listeners to hear feeble voice of Gandhi. Using the portable mic developed by this young man, the then Congress organizers were able to communicate Gandhiji's vision and mission to a greater number of people/audience.

    After spending some years with Mahatma Gandhi, the young man took his blessings and proceeded to very prestigious Michigan University of the US. He completed his M.S degree with very high rank and joined as a faculty member of the same university immediately after obtaining the engineering degree. At the same time, he worked as the Advisor of world-famous car-manufacturing company, General Motors. Many technocrats feel that this young man is the 'father of production engineering' because of his path-breaking work as the Advisor in General Motors.

    When everybody started thinking that the young man would settle in the US and lead a lavish materialistic life with respect and recognition, he took a different decision. India was going to be independent and he returned to his motherland to serve the country.

    He joined Jadavpur University from where he had obtained his Engineering degree. He started many new departments in the university, provided valuable advice to the Government for opening new IITs and silently helped many other fellow-Gandhians in different ways in their efforts to develop the rural areas of the country.

    Then came another dark age of West Bengal. The Naxalite movement started. These students gave a call to boycott so-called 'bourgeois' education. They demanded cancellation of all examinations in all prestigious educational institutions of West Bengal including Jadavpur. The State Government appointed this almost silent Gandhian educationist as the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University. The man simply declared that boycotting examination might be the right of some students, but many other students want to appear in the examination. As the VC, it would be his duty to ensure that such students may get every opportunity to appear in the examination.

    The Naxalites threatened him with dire consequences. They announced that the VC was against their principles and declared that his days were limited. But the man again proved to be different. On 20th November 1970, the Calcutta Police retaliated against the Naxalites and killed four young Naxalites, out of which one was a student of the Jadavpur Engineering College. The Gandhian VC, much to the chagrin of the State Government, very strongly condemned Calcutta Police for this incident.

    The VC successfully completed the examination of the university. He even distributed certificates to the successful students from his residence adjacent to the university. He refused to accept official car and security despite being asked by the State Government time and again. He used to give example of his mentor, Mahatma Gandhi, and simply told that when Gandhiji never accepted security or official car in his lifetime, how he could do that as his disciple.

    30th December 1970: The last working day of the VC. He completed all official work and started walking back to his official residence adjacent to the university. The Registrar of the university requested the VC to use his (the Registrar's) official car to reach the residence, but the outgoing VC refused.

    The VC, on the last day of his working life, walked and reached beside the well-known lake of Jadavpur University. Here, he was confronted by some Naxalite criminals, who brutally murdered the Gandhian Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University on his last working day. Till now, not a single criminal has been arrested for this dastardly act of violence.

    On the eve of the Independence Day of India, I pay my homage to Dr. Gopal Chandra Sen, the Gandhian educationist, who always stood for independence of thoughts but non-violently protested against willful disruption of education.
  • #774572
    I never heard about Dr Gopal Chandra Sen. I thank the author for bringing out a good thread informing all the members about this great man. Many such unsung heroes were there in history. But many never know about them. I feel information about such heroes should be published somewhere so that people know about them and at least a small fraction of them may try to follow such people.
    I heard that in those days many youth in the country supported the freedom moment and they were ready to sacrifice never thinking about their personal gains. But now we will not see many such people. Many people are busy with their personal goals and happiness in their lives. If such stories were taught to school-going children their mind set may change and help them to have a liking towards the country.

    always confident

  • #774582
    I am indebted to the author of the post because of disclosure of activities of such a great personality- Dr Gopal Chandra Sen engaged in the multiple tasks but doing in the non violent ways. In fact, he believed in the Gandhian Style. This noble man was endowed with great qualities but at the same time behaved in the most unpredictable ways - at least in terms of selecting his career. He had a great passion for the literature but ultimately chose to accept the Engineering Career for his higher studies.
    The sad murder of this great soul would haunt to most of us since he believed the welfare of the entire student- community and some criminal minded Naxalite Leaders put an end to the life of this innocent great soul.
    I hope the author should come up with lives of similar great heroes putting their bests for the uplifting of the societies but most of us have forgotten them.

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