Mukhopadhyay, Bhudev

Mukhopadhyay, Bhudev (1827-1894) educationist, thinker, writer, and journalist, was born at Haritaki Bagan Lane in Kolkata on 22 February 1827. His father, Pandit Biswanath Tarkabhusan, was a reputed Sanskrit scholar. He was a student of sanskrit college and hindu college, where michael madhusudan dutt was his classmate. Bhudev was a brilliant student, winning a junior scholarship in 1841 and a senior scholarship in 1843. After completing his studies at Hindu College, Bhudev joined the Hindu Hitarthi School as headmaster in 1846.

Bhudev Mukhopadhyay


He also taught briefly at Chandernagore Seminary (1847). In 1848 he joined the calcutta madrasa. He also served as headmaster of Howrah School (1849-56) and Hughli Normal School (1856-62). In 1862 he was appointed Assistant Inspector of Schools. He was subsequently appointed Inspector of Schools and served variously in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. In recognition of his services, Bhudev was endowed with the CIE (Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire) in 1877.

In 1882, he was appointed Director of Public Instructions. In the same year he was nominated to the Lt-Governor's Council as well as to the Education Commission headed by Sir William Hunter. Bhudev retired from government service in 1883. He was also involved with a number of educational journals such as the monthly educational periodical Shiksadurpun o Sangbadsar and Education Gazette, of which he was editor, from 1868 till his retirement from government service.

Bhudev was a distinguished writer and thinker, writing essays, textbooks and novels to convey his ideas which combined nationalism and rational thinking. In his essays collected in Paribarik Prabandha (1882), Samajik Prabandha (1892), and Achar Prabandha (1895), he endeavoured to reform Hindu customs and family laws in keeping with the needs of the times. He was also a literary scholar and a student of Sanskrit. The first part of Bibidha Prabandha, for example, contains criticism of some Sanskrit plays. He wrote several books for young people, among them Prakrtik Bijnan (in two parts, 1858 and 1859), Purabrttasar (1858), Englander Itihas (1862), Romer Itihas (1862), Banglar Itihas (3rd Part, 1904), Ksetratattva (1862), Puspavjali (1st part, 1876) etc. He also wrote a historical novel Aitihasik Upanyas (1857). In Shiksabisayak Prastab (1856) he discussed educational theories. In Svapnalabdha Bharatbarser Itihas (1895), he displays a remarkable blend of history, patriotism and imagination through his imaginative portrayal of Indian national characters.

Bhudev was the moving force behind the establishment of a number of schools, including rajshahi college. He also contributed to the spread of Sanskrit education. After retirement he studied Vedanta for some time at Benares. He established Bishwanath Chatuspathi, a Sanskrit school in Hughli in the name of his father, and also formed the Bishwanath Trust Fund (1894) with his own savings to provide scholarships. He established an ayurvedic and homeopathic charitable dispensary in memory of his mother.

He was as an ardent nationalist. Though he advocated the study of English, he recommended the use of the vernacular as the medium of instruction. Believing in national integration, he advocated the adoption of Hindi as the state language of India. He also translated Bangla books into Hindi, and it was at his recommendation that Hindi replaced Persian in the courts of Bihar.

Bhudev was a remarkable scholar and thinker and wrote on literature, religion, society, education, history, and science. In his nationalistic outlook, he may be called a precursor of the Swadeshi era. Bhudev died on 15 May 1894. [Sambaru Chandra Mohanta]