Datta, Umesh Chandra

Datta, Umesh Chandra (1840-1907) educationist, organizer, writer and journalist, was born on 16 December 1840 in a Kayastha family of village Majilpur in the district of 24 Parganah. His father was Haramohan Datta and mother Sarba Mangala Devi. He passed entrance examination from London Missionary Society Institution in 1859 having second place in first division. He embraced the Brahma faith in the same year. He had been a teacher in a number of educational institutions like Bijoynagar School (1862), Calcutta Training Academy (1863), Dattapukur Nibadhoi Middle English School (1864), Rajpur School (1866), Harinabha High School (1867-69), Konnagar High School (1870-74), City School (1879). Meanwhile he completed his FA (1864) and BA (1867) examination.

Ever since Umesh Chandra embraced the Brahma faith, he came into contact with the leading personalities like Devendranath Thakur, akshay kumar datta, ramtanu lahiri, ananda mohan bose, Keshov Chandra Sen. After going through the writings of Akshay Kumar Datta, he devoted himself to social reformist activities especially to the fostering of female education. As part of his reformist activism, he edited the Bamabodhini Patrika (1863-1902) for long 40 years. This newspaper had an important role in the emancipation of women and the spread of female education. He also edited two weeklies, the Dharmasadhon (1872) and the Bharat Sanskarak (1880).

Umesh Chandra played an important role as a social worker. In 1893 he established the Kolkata Deaf and Dumb School. This institution had immense contribution towards the education of the disabled children. Umesh Chandra was its secretary though out his life. He also established two girls' schools, one at his native village Majilpur and the other at Beniatola in Kolkata. To resist of drinking of wine he formed an organisation named Metropolitan Temperance Society of which he was the vice president. By his initiative the tombstone was installed in the mausoleum of Michael Madhusudan Datta which was unveiled on 1 December 1888 by Manomohan Ghosh. He was a member of the executive committee of Bethune College in Kolkata and a member of the Senate of Kolkata University, and thus he contributed a lot to these institutions. He restored the almost defunct Majilpur Joynagar Hitoishini Sabha on 24 December 1903.

Umesh Chandra was a symbol of simplicity, plain living and nobility. Liberal and generous, Umesh Chandra devoted his whole life to the service of society. He was in favour of fostering western education with the utmost desire that the women would be able to ameliorate their condition and emancipate themselves through western education. Besides the Romer Itihaas (1859) he wrote a book title Nari Shiksha (1884). He died on 19 June 1907. [Muhammad Saiful Islam]