Ram Chandra Vidyabagish
Ramchandra Vidyabagish (Bengali: রামচন্দ্র বিদ্যাবাগীশ) (1786 – 2 March 1845) was an Indian lexicographer and Sanskrit scholar. He is known for his Bangabhashabhidhan, the first monolingual Bengali dictionary, published in 1817. He taught at the Vedanta College established by Raja Rammohun Roy, and later at Sanskrit College from 1827-37. Closely associated with the work of Raja Rammohun Roy in Kolkata, he was the first secretary of the Brahmo Sabha established in 1828 and initiated Debendranath Tagore and 21 other young men into Brahmo Samaj in 1843. After Raja Rammohun Roy went to England, his unparalleled erudition and the devotional singing of Bishnu Chakraborti helped in the survival of the Brahmo Samaj.
Although he was opposed to Raja Rammohun Roy’s move to abolish the practice of sati, he extended support to Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar in his move for remarriage of widows. He spoke strongly against the system of polygamy, then prevalent in Hindu society, primarily amongst the Brahmins.
He was associated with the Tattwabodhini Sabha and aimed at the advancement of Bengali language through it. He worked for some time on the government’s desire to replace Persian by Bengali as language of the courts. In this he had the active support of both David Hare and Prasanna Coomar Tagore. He strived hard for the use of Bengali as medium of education.
He was the younger brother of Nandakumar Vidyalankar (later Kulavadhuta Shrimad Hariharananda Tirthasvami), a wandering hermit, who had acquaintance of Raja Rammohun from his younger days. He was the worshipper of One True God according to the Mahanirvana Tantra.
Vidyabagish compiled the first monolingual dictionary in Bengali in 1817 and was author of several books. His works include:
- Bangabhashabhidhan (1817)
- Jyotish Sangrahasar
- Bachaspati Mishrer Vivadachintamanih
- Shishusebadhi (1840)
- Parameshvarer Upasana Bishaye Pratham Bakhyan
- Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Anjali Bose (1988) (ed.) Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) (in Bengali), Calcutta: Sahitya Sansad, p. 482.
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