Chattopadhyay, Nishikanta

Chattopadhyay, Nishikanta (1852-1910) scholar and the first Babgali to obtain a PhD degree (1882) from a European university, was born in July 1852 in the village of Pashchimpara in vikramApur, dhaka. His fathers name is Kashiram Chattopadhyay. His son-in-low is Sudhindranath Thakur, son of Dwijendranath Thakur. Nishikanta passed Matriculation from Progress School in 1868 and FA from presidency college, Kolkata. He went to London in 1898, he then went to Germany to study German, Sanskrit, linguistics, history and philosophy at Leipzig University. But he was expelled from there for being an atheist. He proceeded to Switzerland and completed his doctoral studies at the University of Zurich. He gaught Indian Languages in the university of Saint Petersburg, Russia for two years. He returned to India in 1883 and subsequently taught at different colleges in Hyderabad, Myxore and Muzaffarpur. Towards the end of his life, he converted to Islam.

Nishikanta was concerned about the plight of women in society and, before going abroad, had set up 'Balya Bibaha Nibarani Sabha' (Association for the Prevention of Child Marriage) at Dhaka. He wrote a number of articles about the problems of women and child marriage in Abala Bandhab. He also wrote two songs that were widely sung at one time in East Bengal on the conditions of women and the evil of child marriage.

Nishikanta wrote a number of books in German and English including The Jatras or the Popular Dramas of Bengal (1882), Some Reminiscences of Old England (1902), The Study of History (1902). Lecture in Zoroastrianism (1894), Reminisces of Justice Ranade (1901), Indian based essay in Garman Language. He died on 25 February 1910. [Sushanta Sarker]