Vidyasagar will always fill a unique place in Indian history. Raja Ram Mohan Roy represented the new aspirations of the first generation of his countrymen in the nineteenth century ; Pandit Isvar Chandra Vidyasagar reflected their arduous endeavours in the second English rule and English education were powerful and far-reaching influences which called forth new ideas and new efforts from the people. Ram Mohan responded to these influences in the commencement of the century; Isvar Chandra, during the next thirty years.
Subal Chandra Mitra’s Isvar Chandra Vidyasagar is not a simple reworking on Behari Lal’s biography.
Collecting materials from all the possible sources, Mitra has tried to find out Vidyasagar – the man with ideologues. The pattern of the book is interesting : the delineation of facts i.e. the narrative is structured in such a way that it locates the man in his time, recounts the events and, then, squeezes the historicity of the events for the common reader. Herein lies its importance.
The ‘cultural materialism’ of the Bengali Renaissance and Vidyasagar no longer remains in the sole reading zone of the so called intellectuals : its dissemination for the common reader is always a certainty with this book.