Vidyasagar College in Kolkata was in the eye of a storm Tuesday after clashes broke out between BJP and TMC student wing workers during BJP president Amit Shah’s roadshow. A bust of noted 19th century social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, after whom the college is named, was vandalised in the violence.
According to Shah, the statue of Vidyasagar was destroyed by TMC students. In a press conference Wednesday, he claimed BJP students were outside the college and did not have access to the room where the bust was kept. TMC students, on the other hand, were pictured inside the campus, he said.
The TMC has blamed the BJP for the violence. In a tweet this morning, party leader Derek O’Brien claimed there was “irrefutable evidence” to prove that “BJP goons” went on a rampage and desecrated Vidyasagar’s bust.
TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, along with several other party members, have changed their Facebook and Twitter pictures to an image of Vidyasagar. This is in protest against the vandalism of his statue.
— Derek O’Brien | ????? ?’??????? (@derekobrienmp) May 15, 2019
The college was founded in 1872 by educationist and social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. He was a key figure in the Bengal Renaissance. Originally called the Metropolitan Institution, it was the first private college in the country to be run indigenously — financed by Indians and had Indians as teachers.
After Vidyasagar’s death in 1891, the college was rechristened to Vidyasagar College in 1917. It is now affiliated to the University of Calcutta and is government-sponsored.
Among its notable alumni are dramatist Kshhirod Prasad Vidyabinod, scientist Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray and socialist leader Ramrnonohar Lohia among others.