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Biography of Bharat Ratna “Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy” complete biography for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy

(1882-1962)

Politician and Physician—the Architect of modern West Bengal—Dr. B.C. Roy was born on 1 July 1882 in Patna. He belonged to the family of the rebel Maharaja Pratapaditya of Jessore, in its Ash-Guha branch, hailing from Sripur in Khulna district, now in Bangladesh. Father, Prakash Chandra, joined the progressive, monotheistic Brahrno sect, rose to be a Deputy Magistrate and Collector, and commanded respect for his position and integrity. Mother, Aghorekamini was a devout lady and a devoted social worker. Bidhan Chandra’s personality and character was deeply influenced by his mother, by the Bhagavad-gita, sacred Sanskrit texts and writings of Rabindranath Tagore. Roy passed the Entrance examination from the Patna Collegiate School in 1897, First Arts examination from the Patna College in 1899, and the Bachelor of Arts examination, with Honours in Mathematics, in 1901. At the Calcutta Medical College, the Principal, Colonel Lukis, became his friend and inspirer. Owing to some differences with a European Professor he missed his M.B. degree, but within six months passed the L.M.S. examination in 1906 and in two years won his M.D. Later he was admitted to the St. Bartholomew’s Institution in London in 1909 and within about two years achieved the rare distinction of, passing both the M.R.C.P. (London) and F.R.C.S. (England), being placed first in the former.

On his return to his own country, Bidhan Chandra was employed by the Government as an Assistant Surgeon at the

Campbell Medical School, but disgusted with the overbearing attitude of some European officers he gave up the job and joined the newly established Carmichael Medical College a s a Professor. Soon Roy acquired a considerable practice and made his mark as a Fellow of the Calcutta University.

Roy entered politics in 1923, when he as an independent candidate, supported by the Swarajya Party of Deshabandhu Chittaranjan Das, dramatically defeated at the polls the veteran nationalist leader, Sir Surendranath Banerjea, who had chosen to collaborate with the British as their Minister in Bengal. Roy returned to the Bengal Legislative Council in 1926, 1929 and 1947.

In the Bengal Legislative Council Roy established himself as a prominent legislator. Chittaranjan Das made him a trustee of the Deshabandhu Memorial Trust. This Trust runs the Chittaranjan Sevasadan, of which Dr. B.C. Roy was the Secretary for the years together.

When Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das expired, Bidhan Chandra was chosen as the Deputy Leader of the Swarajya Party in the Bengal Legislative Council and with his four colleagues, viz., Saratchandra Bose, Nirmalchandra Chunder, Tulsichandra Goswami and Naliniranjan Sarkar, guided Bengal politics for some time. They were collectively known as “the Big Five of Bengal.”

Dr. Roy’s progress as a national leader was a quite rapid one. He was elected a member of the All India Congress Committee in 1928. At the Calcutta Congress session, as the Secretary of its Reception Committee, he proved his organising ability. He came in close personal contact with Mahatma Gandhi, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders, many of whom, as a physician, he had under his care.

During the Civil Disobedience Movement he resigned his seat in the Legislature. In 1930 he was nominated to the Working Committee, the highest executive body of the Congress, then declared illegal by the Government. While attempting to attend its meeting in Delhi, he was arrested and imprisoned for six months.

Bidhan Chandra was elected Mayor of Calcutta in 1931 and 1932. He was also chosen as President of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee in 1934 but soon he resigned from the Presidentship and started concentrating on his medical profession. In his medical field, Dr. Roy won many laurels : as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and of the American Society of Chest Physicians, President of the Medical Education Society and of the Indian Medical Council. At the request of Mahatma Gandhi in 1939, Dr. Roy was again nominated to the Congress Working Committee, Roy did not like to continue there in the next year. Bidhan Chandra, as a physician, attended on Gandhiji during his historic fast at the time of his detention at the Aga Khan Palace.

Bidhan Chandra was the Vice-Chancellor of the Calcutta University from 1942 to 1944 and was awarded by it the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.

After Independence Dr. Roy was appointed as the Governor of the United Provinces, the largest State in India, but he declined the appointment. In 1948 the Congress Legislators of West Bengal chose him as their leader. It was then that Bidhan Chandra got ample scope to prove his mettle as the Chief Minister of West Bengal. He continued to this position till his death in 1962. His tenure constitutes a brilliant chapter in the history of the West Bengal. Despite the refugee problem, the growing pressure of population, the periodic food shortages and mounting unemployment,. the West Bengal continued to flourish under Dr. Roy’s dynamic stewardship. The abolition of the zamindary, imposition of ceiling on land holdings, protection of actual tillers and provision of irrigation, fertilisers and improved seeds brought about a remarkable change in agriculture. New industries were encouraged and the hamlet of Durgapur blossomed into a big industrial centre. New schools, colleges and universities, new roads, buildings, hospitals, health centres and other civic amenities enriched the life of the people. The people of West Bengal voted the Congress back to office under his leadership in three consecutive general elections. Dr. Roy was elected thrice, in 1952, 1957 and 1962. He commanded respect at home and abroad. He visited the U.S.A., Japan and other foreign countries.

A man of integrity and probity, noble, God-fearing, large-hearted and patriotic, alike an idealist and a realist, Bidhan Chandra was a democrat and an able administrator. He abjured communalism and regionalism. Non-violent to the core, he did not hesitate to take stern measures called for by the exigencies of the situation. His tall figure and natural reserve commanded respectful awe. He was devoted to his friends and tolerant to his foes. He did not like ostentation, but loved the good things of life, sweet scents and flowers, literature arid the fine arts. In dress he was simple but elegant. He had a refined sense of humour. His charity was silent and bountiful. He gifted his dwelling house, 36 Wellington Street, to a trust for providing medical relief to the suffering.

Medicine was his first love. He rose to eminence as a physician. His proficiency in surgery was also known to many. Even President Kennedy sought his treatment for a bone injury he sustained during the Second World War which used to give him occasional pain in his back and which American Orthopaedics could not cure. Dr. Roy examined Kennedy and prescribed a course of Later he received a letter of thanks from the President that there had been no recurrence of the malady since he followed the prescribed treatment.

Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, a bachelor, after a brief illness, died on the very date he was born, on Jul 1, 1962. His eightieth birthday also became his day of death. About a million of his countrymen joined the funeral procession.

The nation conferred its highest award Bharat Ratna on him in 1961 as a mark of recognition of his notable services.

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