Sen, Benoychandra

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Sen, Benoychandra (1899-1981) historian and researcher, who was held in high esteem for his scholarship and critical acumen. Born in 1899 in Barisal in a family noted for its love for learning Benoychandra Sen was the son of Dineshchandra Sen, the author of Brhat Vanga. He passed his Matriculation Examination (1916) and Intermediate Examination (1918) respectively from Scottish Church Collegiate School and Scottish Church College. He secured first position in first class in History Honours Examination from Presidency College in 1920. One of the brilliant products of the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture of the University of Calcutta, he passed MA Examination in 1922 and stood first in the first class.

Benoychandra Sen (BC Sen) started his career as a Lecturer in History at City College, Calcutta in 1923. He later joined the post-graduate Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture, University of Calcutta and soon made his mark as a successful teacher. After his retirement from the University he was the Research Professor, Department of Indology in sanskrit college, Calcutta. For a brief period he also served in the University College of Mandalay, Burma as the Head of the Department of History.

Sen was noted for his critical examination of the epigraphic data. His thesis entitled Some Historical Aspects of the Inscriptions of Bengal earned him PhD degree from the School of Oriental Studies, London University. This was one of the most penetrating analysis of early inscriptions of Bengal. The salient feature of his work was his attempt to locate various administrative units and kingdoms by a thorough survey of inscriptions, known or available to him at that time. He also suggested a number of valuable corrections in the existing reading of the inscriptions. He edited with DP Ghosh a copper plate of late twelfth century from the Sundarban region.

Sen had an ability to offer penetrating analyses of textual data from ancient literary texts in two other monographs. His Studies in the Buddhist Jatakas, originally published in the Journal of the Department of Letters, later came out in the form of monograph. The other monograph, Economics in Kautilya, is characterised by his analyses and interpretations of Kautilyan ideals and concepts of economic life in which the state administration was expected to play a major role. [Ranabir Chakravarti]