Vhattacharjee, Gopal Chandra

Vhattacharjee, Gopal Chandra (1895-1981) Naturalist Gopal Chandra was born in the Village of Lonsing in the district of Shariotpur in a poor Brahmin Family. He lost his father under age and had to work as a village priest to bear his educational expenses. Gopal Chandra passed matriculation (1913) from Lonsing High School with a gold medal and went to Mymensingh, to get admitted in Ananda Mohan College. But he couldn't continue his studies due to financial insolvency. After returning home he got a teaching position in Lonsing High School and stayed there for several years (1915-19). Gopal Chandra, in his boyhood, had deep interest in insect world studying their habits and lifecycle. He was also a born poet and wrote many rhymes, poems and even narrative operas.

This village teacher, by chance, discovered the florescence property of rotten plants, wrote an article which was published in the Bengali monthly `Prabasi'. Thus he fell into notice of sir J.C. Basu who invited him for a discussion. The scientist immediately identified his talent and appointed his as a research assistant in Basu Bigyan Mandir a research institute established by him. He worked there till retirement (1921-65) and published many papers on the life and habits of many animals including ants, spiders, litmouses, lizards, cockroaches, scorpions, caterpillars, tadpoles, butterflies etc. which were appreciated as original in India and abroad. His contribution to Bengali popular Science was also unique. Gopal chandra was also in the editorial board of 'Gyan Bigyan' a Journal of `Bangio Bigyan Parisad'. He, besides hundreds of popular science articles in Bengali, wrote three books: Banglar Makarsha (Spiders of Bengal) 1949, Banglar Kitpatanga (Insects of Bengal) 1970, Banglar gachpala (Plants of Bengal) 1986. He was awarded Ananda Prize (1968) `Rabindra Prize' (1975) and several other felicitations for literary works. He died on 8th of April 1981. [Dwijen Sarma]