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Bandyopadhyay, Haricharan


Bandyopadhyay, Haricharan (1867-1957) Educationalist, pundit and lexicographer. He was born in the village of Ramnarayanpur in Chabbix Pargana district on 23 June 1867. His parental residence was at Jamaikati in Basirhat. His father Shivachandra Bandyopadhyay was in service in the kachari (court house) of a local zamindar.'

In his student life Haricharan Bandyopadhyay was acquainted with rabindranath and after passing his Entrance and FA examinations, he studied BA with scholarship that he got with Rabindranath's recommendation. Meanwhile, his father died and he entered his professional career. When Calcutta Town School was established in 1308 BS, Haricharan Bandyopadhyay was appointed its head pundit. In 1309 he left his profession teaching at this school and joined the post of superintendent of the kachari of Rabindranath's zamindari at Patisor. Once Rabindranath came to visit his zamindari at Patisor and found him profound in both literary and linguistic knowledge. Tagore appointed him Sanskrit teacher at Brahmcharyaxram School at Shantiniketan. He taught there for thirty years (1309-1339). Rabindranath persuaded him to compiling a Bangla dictionary. Accordingly, Haricharan engrossed himself in the dictionary project and finally he came out successful in producing the famous Bangio Shabdakosh (Bangla Dictionary).

In scientific terms, the dictionaries by Gyavendra Mohan Das and Haricharan Bandyopadhyay are most well known. However, the dictionary, written by Haricharan Bandyopadhyay is more useful and appropriate in terms of the semantic depth and width of the words. His dictionary included words originating from English, Portuguese, Hindi and other Indian languages along with those of Bangla, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and others. In order to expound word meaning, he quoted from Bangla literature. Moreover, to locate the origin of a word, he also quoted from Sanskrit. As a result, his book has been helpful primarily in collecting and explaining Sanskrit words used in Bangla literature, and also as a secondary resource book in studying Sanskrit literature.

This dictionary was first published in five volumes (1932-1951), and subsequently in two volumes. In writing this Bangla dictionary, Haricharan Bandyopadhyay set an example of commitment to learning and longing for knowledge. In writing an introduction to a later edition of this dictionary, linguist Suniti Kumar Chattopadhyay recounted Haricharan's scholarly attainments and his love for and devotion to Bangla and Sanskrit languages.

Apart from Bangio Shabdakosh, some other works by Haricharan Bandyopadhyay are: Rabindranather Katha (Words of Rabindranath), Sanskrit-Probexh (Introduction to Sanskrit), Byakaron-Kaumudi (Grammar Moonbeam), Hints on Sanskrit Composition and Translation, Paliprobexh (Introduction to Pali), Shabdanushasan (Grammar), Kabir Katha (Words of Poet), etc.

In recognition of his work, Haricharan Bandyopadhyay obtained Sarojini Basu Gold Medal from Calcutta University in 1944 and Xhixhirkumar Memorial Award in 1954. He was awarded the title of 'Deshikottom'(D.Lit.) from Vixwabharati University in 1957. He died in 1959. [Muhammad Saiful Islam]