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Batyabal, Umeshchandra Vidyalabkar


Batyabal, Umeshchandra Vidyalabkar (1852-1898) Litterateur, magistrate. He was born in village Ramnagar near Khanakul of Hoogly district on 30 August 1852. His father's name was Durgacharan Batyabal. His paternal grandfather Ramkanai was a tantric devotee. He introduced a system for worshipping desired god through a machine called 'Jagadexhwari'. Later this method of tantric devotion became a tradition. Umeshchandra got stipend after passing the entrance examination in first division from Khanakul-Krishnanagar Englsih-Sanskrit School located at Radhanagar of Ramnagar village in 1868. He then passed the FA examination in 1870 from the Sanskrit College in first division and BA examination in 1873 from Kolkata Presidency College in first division. He stood first in MA examination from Sanskrit College in 1874. He received the Premchand-Raychand scholarship in 1876.

After passing MA he joined Narail English School as its headmaster. He was nominated for the statutory civil service in August 1877. Under the statutory civil service, he served as a magistrate at various places, such as Birbhum, Bankura, Maldaha, Howrha, Bogra etc.

'Babgio Sahitya Parishad' was established for the first time in the house of Raja Binoykrishva Dev on 23 July in 1893. It was then called 'The Bengal Academy of Literature'. Umexhchandra was made a member of that academy in its 17th session (26 November 1893). As the workings of the academy were biased towards English language, some members objected to it. Besides many objections were raised about the nomenclature of 'Academy of Literature'. As a result the name 'Bangio Sahitya Parishad' was adopted in place of 'Academy of Literature' on 18 February 1894, in accordance with the proposal of Umeshchandra Batyabal.

While staying at Maldaha, he discovered a bronze inscription of King Dharmapala given to Bhattanarayan, who was an ancestor of the Brahmins belonging to the Xhandilya clan. After deciphering it, he published it with notes in English in the Asiatic Society Journal and the Bangali periodical Sadhana.

Most important of his works are: Sangkhya-Darshan (1900), Ved-Prabexhika (1905), Premxhakti O Janani (1922). Among his journal articles, the following deserve special mention: 'Religion xhabder mane kiFoodgrain' (Sahitya, Magh 1300); 'Dharmapaler Tamraxhashan' (Sahitya, Boixhakh 1301); 'Gourabga-charita' (Sahitya, Agrahayan 1303); 'Bigyan O Veda' (Sahitya, Boishakh 1308); 'Nutan Tamraxhashan' (Sadhana, Boishakh 1301); 'Chandidaser Kobitashwadan' (Bharati, Kartik 1303); 'Harinamer Xhabdatatta' (Sahitya-Parishad-Patrika, 1304 issue). Besides he wrote a number of essays on the Veda in the journal Sahitya. These depicted the pictures of Aryan society during the Vedic era. He had a command over the Sankhya philosophy. After reading one of his articles, Rabindranath highly praised it and informed him that he was one of his ardent readers.

Umeshchandra Batyabal was awarded the Mowat Medal. Besides he was conferred the title of 'Vidyalankar' by the Sanskrit College because of his depth of knowledge in the discipline of Sanskrit. He passed away in Bogra on 16 July 1898. [Shamima Aktar]