Girish Chandra Sen

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Girish Chandra Sen
Girish chandra sen.JPG
Native name গিরিশ চন্দ্র সেন
Born 1835
Panchdona, Narayanganj District, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died August 15, 1910(1910-08-15)
Kolkata, British India (now India)
Occupation scholar, missionary
  • Madhabram Sen (father)

Girish Chandra Sen (c. 1835 – August 15, 1910) was a Bengali religious scholar and translator. He was a Brahmo Samaj missionary and known for being the first translator of the Qur’an into Bengali language in 1886.[1]

Early life[edit]

Sen was born in the village of Panchdona in Narayanganj District in Bengal (now part of Narsingdi District in Bangladesh).[2] He studied in Pogose School in Dhaka.[3]

Sen taught for a short while at Mymensingh Zilla School before engaging in journalism and literary activities. He learned Persian and Sanskrit in early life and started working as a copywriter in the court of the deputy magistrate in Mymensingh]. He was attracted to the Brahmo Samaj under the influence of Keshub Chunder Sen and Bijoy Krishna Goswami and joined it as a missionary in 1871. He traveled through India and Burma to propagate his new faith.

In 1869, Keshub Chunder Sen chose from amongst his missionaries, four persons and ordained them as professors of four old religions of the world. He was selected to study Islam. Others selected to study different religions were Gour Govinda Ray for Hinduism, Protap Chandra Mozoomdar for Christianity, and Aghore Nath Gupta for Buddhism. A firm believer in the basic unity of all religions, he immersed himself in his studies and later went to Lucknow in 1876 to study Arabic, Islamic literature and the Islamic religious texts.[2] After five years (1881–86) of studies, he produced the first Bengali translation of the Quran.[2]

One Girish Chandra Sen served as the headmaster of the City Collegiate School (later renamed to Ananda Mohan College) in Mymensingh.[4] [This appears to refer to a different person. The source quoted states that Girish Chandra was Headmaster from 1883 to 1923; however the subject of this article is elsewhere stated to have been working in Lucknow from 1881 to 1886 and to have died in 1910.]


On completion of his studies, he returned to Kolkata and engaged in the translation of Islamic scriptures. After about five years (1881–1886) of studies, he produced an annotated Bengali version of the Qur’an via Persian.[5]

Sen wrote and published a total of 42 books in Bengali. He published the Bengali translation of almost half of Mishkat al-Masabih under the title Hadith-Purba Bibhag (1892). Another important work of his was Tattvaratnamala (1907), which contains moral lessons and words of wisdom in the form of short tales from two famous Persian books: Sheikh Fariduddin Attar's Manteq at-Tair and Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī's Masnavi. He translated from original Persian religious books such as Gulistan, Bostan, and Diwan-e-Hafiz. He also translated the sayings of the Hadith (1892–98).

Sen wrote several biographies of Muslim personalities, including the Prophet Muhammad (Sm), the Prophet's grandsons Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain, the four Khalifas, etc. in Mahapurus Ccharita (1882–87), Mahapurush Mohammad O Tatprabartita Islam Dharma, Imam Hasan O Husainer Jibani (1911), Charijan Dharmaneta, Charti Sadhvi Musalman Nari and Khalifabarga. His book Tapasmala (1880–1895), based on Sheikh Fariduddin Attar's Persian book Tazkiratul Awliya, contains biographies of 96 Muslim saints. Sen translated Ram Mohan Roy's Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhidin (1878), a book in Persian on Islam, into Bengali and published it in Dharmatattwa. He wrote Ramkrishna Paramhamser Ukti O Jiboni.

Sen is also the first known translator of the works of Shakespeare in Bengali.[6] His autobiography, Atmajivani, was published in 1906. Initially, Sen worked at the Dhaka Prakash and later as an assistant editor at the Sulava Samachar and Bangabandhu and as editor and publisher of the monthly Mahila. While still at school he wrote a book, Banitabinodan, on the importance of women's education and Ramakrishna Paramhangser Ukti O Jivani.


  1. ^ UAB Razia Akter Banu. Islam in Bangladesh. ISBN 9004094970. Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Mohanta, Sambaru Chandra (2012). "Sen, Girish Chandra". In Islam, Sirajul. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  3. ^ M H Haider (August 21, 2015). "And Shadows Flee Away". The Daily Star. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  4. ^ Aminul Islam (April 14, 2007). "125 Years: City Collegiate School". The Daily Star. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ Mustafa Zaman (February 18, 2005). "Reading in Translation : A Journey Through History". The Daily Star. Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ Md. Shafiqul Islam (May 28, 2011). "Hamlet and Ophelia in Dhaka". The Daily Star. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) in Bengali edited by Subodh Chandra Sengupta and Anjali Bose
  • History of Brahmo Samaj by Pandit Sivanath Sastri