Roy, Satishchandra

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Roy, Satishchandra (1888-1960) educationist, Vaishvavacharya and author. He was born on 24 May 1888 in a zamindar family at village Jalsuka in Ajmiriganj upazila of Habiganj district. His father was Suryamoni Roy and his mother was Lalita Dasi. After his primary education at Sylhet, he went to Calcutta for high school education at Hare School. Thereafter he got admitted to the Presidency College. In recognition of his merit as a student, he was awarded many prizes including Jotishchandra prize, Girish Memorial prize and Sir Andrew Frezer Gold Medal. In 1910 he graduated from Presidency College with honours in philosophy, standing first class first and winning a postgraduate scholarship and P. S. Smith prize. He then went to England for higher studies at London University and from there he obtained MA degree in philosophy in 1914. He then began research in Indian philosophy under orientalists H Oldenburg and P Dawson but as the First World War broke out he returned to India interrupting his research.

He taught at Calcutta City College as a lecturer during 1914-1915. In 1916 he joined Dayal Sing College at Lahore as principal. In 1921 he left Lahore and came over to join Dhaka University's Department of Philosophy as Reader. In 1923 he joined the Indian Education Service. He was the first Indian IES and he served as Inspector of Schools for Surma Valley and the Hill districts from 1923 to 1933. He was also the chairman of the Surma Valley Textbook Committee. In 1934 he joined the Cotton College at Guwahati as its Principal. In July 1940 he joined the Murarichand College at Sylhet as its Principal. In April 1941 he was appointed Director of Public Education in Assam.

After returning from England, Satishchandra Roy became a Brahma and was then influenced by the Vaishvava philosophy. Later he took vaishnava asceticism and adopted the name of Srimat Haridas Namanandaji and started living at Vrindaban. There he became Vice Chancellor of the Vaisnava Theological University and later he became the Director of the Vaishnava Research Institute. It was at his initiative that the Shankardev chair of Vaishnava faith and philosophy was established at Vrindaban University.

Satishchandra Roy gave away a major part of the wealth of his ancestral zamindari and of his own property for the welfare of poor students and a number of organizations. He got many religious books published with his own money from the Suryamoni-Lalita Sahitya Bhavan which he himself founded. He also established in Calcutta a society to propagate Vaishnava religion. During his service life he was actively associated with the Red Cross, Tuberculosis Resistance Society, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides movements. He founded the Boy Scouts movement in Assam. He was one of the founders of the Srihatta Sahitya Parisat and was president of the Shillong branch of the vangiya sahitya parishad. He wrote many books on Vaishnava religion. Many of his essays were published in the Indian Messenger, Modern Review, Journal of the Dept of Letters of the University of Calcutta and journals like Tattakaumudi. Well-known among the books written and published by him were: Avjali, Smritipuja (1st part) Viswakavi Rabindranath (2nd part) Bharater Adhyatik Sadhana, Paramhansa Ramkrishna, Tattabhushan Seetanath, Dharmaguru Shibnath Sastri (3rd part) Pitridev O Matridevi (4th part) Swadeshpremik Ramakanta Roy, Upanishader Marmovani (1st and 2nd parts), Chelemeyeder Prarthana, Utsaber Pronati, Jibanveenar Bichitrasur, Sonar Gaurabgo, Navayuger Shiksa O Sadhana, Sarvadharma Samanboy, Sahitya Samaj O Dharma, Vokti Kusumavjali, Vagvatgiti Kusumanjali (2 parts), Religion and Modern India, Studies in European Philosophy, The Bhagvat Gita and Modern Scholarship (four parts), Introduction to Indian Thought, Indologans and Their Researches, Educational Culture, A Scheme of Extra Mural Culture, Life of Dr P.K. Roy, The League of Welfare, Training in Leadership and Citizenship for Young India etc. He died on 17 January 1960. [Nandalal Sharma]