Palit, Sir Tarakanath

Palit, Sir Tarakanath (1831-1914) lawyer and philanthropist, was born in 1831 in Kolkata. Sir Tarakanath Palit was the only son of a millionaire father, Kalisankar Palit. Taraknath passed his childhood and adolescence at Amarpur in Hughly district. After completing his studies at hindu college, Kolkata, he went to England to study law. Tarakanath returned to India in 1871 and started practising law.

Tarakanath was one of the founders of the National Council of India, but left the Council over some disagreements. With the assistance of Maharaja Manindra Chandra Nandy of Kashimbazar, he established a Technical Institute in Kolkata for technical education. He attempted to amalgamate the institute with the Government Technical School but was unsuccessful. He used to contribute two thousand rupees per month towards the institute. He also donated fifteen lakh rupees, his total life savings, to Calcutta University to be spent on science education.

While donating money to the university, he made it a condition that teachers hired to teach Chemistry and Physics must be of Indian origin. If suitable persons were not found, Indians were to be made eligible for the posts through training and higher education abroad. Along with Sir rashbehari ghosh, he also donated money towards the establishment of Calcutta Science College. In recognition of his contributions, a scholarship was introduced in his name in 1913. In the same year, he was knighted by the British Government.

Tarakanath was a advocate of nationalism and national development and advocated for the nationalization of education. He believed that the economy of India was dependent upon scientific education and industrialisation. Though a devout follower of hinduism, Sir Tarakanath was against caste prejudices and untouchability. He died on 3 October 1914. [Md Masud Parvez]