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Dawn Society, The


Dawn Society, The (1902-1906) was founded in Calcutta by satish chandra mukherjee, a proponent of national education, in 1902. Satish Chandra had earlier established Bhagabat Chatuspathi in 1896. This was dedicated to the study of Indian religion and philosophy primarily and to Indology in general. The objective was to satisfy the quest for national identity. Its classes were held in the Metropolitan Institution (Modern Vidyasagar College) in the evening. At the same time, the famous Dawn Magazine was also launched. Many articles on Indology appeared in its pages till 1902 when it became the mouthpiece of the Dawn society.

Satish Chandra Mukherjee was a legendary teacher and a mentor of contemporary young men. Men like Binoy Kumar Sarkar, Radha Kumud Mukherjee, Haran Chandra Chakladar, Rabindranarayan Ghosh, Kishori Mohan Gupta and others flocked around him and became the mainstays of the Dawn Society. The society was critical of the colonial education imparted by the university of calcutta which, according to it, was 'all-too-literary, all-too-academic, unscientific and unindustrial' in nature. The Dawn Society wanted to promote education for man-making and nation-building purpose. In its curriculum, therefore, history, geography, economics, and political science were included in the Arts and Sciences and Technology were introduced. Apart from the above mentioned disciples, stalwarts like jagadish chandra bose, nilratan sarkar, Ramendrasundar Trivedi and even rabindranath were invited to deliver lectures to the society while Ramakanta Roy and Kunjabehari Sen lectured in the technology section.

Students were expected to take notes from lectures and submit their notes to teachers concerned for scrutiny. Then there would be discussion on the subject in which the students were supposed to take part. They were also encouraged to submit their essays to the Dawn magazine for publication. The technology section had an elementary and a secondary course, which was backed up by workshop activities. In the workshop, all types of mechanical work were taught, along with chemical processes such as soap making and oil making. Modern weaving methods were also taught. The products of the students were sold in a swadeshi shop in Barabazar. Technical education was one of the main planks of the swadeshi education offered by the Dawn Society. This was advancement upon the curriculum of the indian association for the cultivation of science, which was solely concerned with scientific pursuits.

The Dawn Magazine was not only the mouthpiece of the Society, it also reflected the ends and objectives of national education. Its purpose was to restore the heritage of India and to analyse its political, social and economic problems and to suggest remedies for them. A special section of the magazine was devoted to Indian subject, and the motto of the magazine was that it was essential to know one's own country to promote nationalism. To this effect Satish Chandra himself and his select band of disciples wrote incessantly on all subjects concerning India. In deed, Dawn Magazine became the mirror of the contemporary Bengali mind and Indian nationalism. The journal ran from 1896 to 1913, over-arching the Dawn society, which merged into the National Council of Education in 1906. [Chittabrata Palit]