Bethune School, Laying of Foundation Stone, Cornwallis Square, Calcutta, 1850

বেথুন স্কুল ভিত্তি প্রস্থর স্থাপন, কর্ণওয়ালিস স্কোয়ার, কলকাতা ১৮৫০
Bethune set up his Hindu Female School, a secular native female school, in 1849. He did it with the support of such people as Dakshina Ranjan Mukherjee, Ramgopal Ghosh, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, and Madan Mohan Tarkalankar. The School was built first on a piece of land donated by Dakshina Ranjan at Mirzapur in Calcutta. It was renamed as Bethune School on 7 May 1849 which started functioning with twenty-one girls on its roll. Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar was the Secretary of the Managing Committee and also one of its chief patrons. Bethune donated all his movable and immovable property to the school. After the death of John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune on 12 August 1851, the school was shifted to a new building on the West of Cornwallis Square, where its foundation stone was laid on 6 November 1850. As soon as the school was established the orthodox society reacted sharply against the development. The school went through a rough time until it was amalgamated with Banga Mahila Vidyalaya, initially established as Hindu Mahila Vidyalaya by Annette Akroyd, and some Brahmo gentlemen, including Dwarkanath Ganguly. A number of bright students joined the institution – Kadambini Bose, Sarala Das, Abala Das, and Subarnaprabha Basu, all of whom were prominent figures later. Bethune School was an eye-opener for the Bengali upper middleclass and led to the opening of other such schools. In 1894, out of 138 students in Bethune School, 70 were Hindus, 55 Brahmos and 13 Christians. It was only towards the end of the nineteenth century that prejudice against women’s education had almost gone. See more
This is a pen and ink representation of the event of laying foundation stone of the school building sketched by some unknown contemporary artist. Source: Bethune School and College Centenary Volume 1949

Debendranath Tagore (1817-1905)

দেবেন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর, মহর্ষি (১৮১৭-১৯০৫)

Debendranath Tagore, or, Debendronath Ţhakur (15 May 1817 – 19 January 1905) was a Hindu philosopher and religious reformer, the founder of Brahmo Samaj, presently known as Adi Braho Samaj, which aimed to reform the Hindu religion and way of life. He was born in Shilaidaha, in the estate of his father Prince Dwarkanath Tagore.
The Brahmo Samaj, was formed in 1843 by merging his Tattwabodhini Sabha with the Brahmo Sabha, ten years after the death of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, founder of the Brahmoism. Although Debendranath was deeply spiritual, he managed to continue to maintain his worldly affairs — he did not renounce his material possessions, as some Hindu traditions prescribed, but instead continued to enjoy them in a spirit of detachment. His considerable material property included estates spread over several districts of Bengal; most famously, the Santiniketan estate near Bolpur in the Birbhum district, a later acquisition, where his youngest son Rabindranath Tagore set up his famous internationally acclaimed school, Santiniketan.
In 1843, Debendranath started the Tattwabodhini Patrika as mouthpiece of the Tattwabodhini Sabha. In the same year, he revived the Brahma Sabha, fallen in vigour and following since the death of Ram mohan Roy in 1833. The Brahmo Sabha was formally absorbed into the Tattwabodhini Sabha and renamed as Calcutta Brahma Samaj. The day Pous 7 of the Bengali calendar is commemorated as the foundation day of the Samaj. The Patrika became the organ of the Samaj and continued publication till 1883. In 1848, Debendranath codified the Adi Dharma Doctrine as Brahmo Dharma Beej (Seed of the Brahmo Dharma). In 1950, he published a book titled Brahmo Dharma enshrining the fundamental principles. These principles emphasise monotheism, rationality and reject scriptural infallibility, the necessity of mediation between man and God, caste distinctions and idolatry.
With the influence of Brahmoism under Debendranath spreading far and wide throughout India, he gathered reputation as a person of particular spiritual accomplishment and came to be known as Maharshi. His spiritual stature was confirmed by Sri Ramakrishna, the great Hindu sage of the 19th century who paid Debendranath a visit.[5] Debendranath’s roles in the Bengal renaissance and the reform and rejuvenation of Hindu religion are considerable.
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