At a time when the entire nation has been rocked by the incident of the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasgar being vandalised at Vidyasagar College in Kolkata, the Asansol Division of Eastern Railway has quietly re-developed the nondescript Karmatanr Station and paid tribute to him.
Vidyasagar came to Karmatanr in 1873 and spent the last 18 years of his life there in a small tribal hamlet, where he engaged himself in social services, setting up a girls school and a night school for adults in the premises of his house, which he named Nandan Kanan. He helped over two dozen widows get remarried during his stay there, 146 years ago.
The ministry of railways later rechristened Karmatanr Station as Vidyasagar Station. It is situated about 57 kilometres away from Asansol on the main line of the Asansol–Sitarampur-Jasidih-Patna route.
Talking to The Statesman, Mr Prashant Kumar Mishra, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Asansol said it is a unique tribute to the legend that a park with garden, his statue and an open air art gallery, showcasing his achievements has been commissioned at the Vidyasagar Station complex.
“A beautiful park of 28,000 square feet area named after him has been constructed in the down side of the circulating area of the station at a cost of Rs 5 lakhs. The whole area, which was full of garbage and partially encroached, has been beautified and important events on the life of Vidyasagar has been depicted in plaques. One statue of Vidyasagar has also been installed at the park. The cost of the entire project is Rs 2 crores,” Mr Prashant Kumar Mishra added.
Written on a plaque in the park: “Shortly after his death, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore reverently wrote about him: ‘One wonders how God in the process of producing forty million Bengalis produced a man!’”
One of the leading social reformers, polymath, linguist, Sanskrit scholar, architect of widow remarriage, Vidyasagar reconstructed Bengali language and script.
The second class and the upper class waiting hall of the station has been renovated. The circulating area outside the station has further been widened, gang hut renovated and a new PF shed has been put up on the platform.
Between Asansol and Jasidih, 54 pairs of trains (48 pairs of mail express and 6 MEMU / passenger) run and 19 pairs of trains stop at Vidyasagar Station (12 pair of mail express and seven pairs of MEMU / passenger) at present.