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Collected Works of Mahendralal Sircar, Eugene Lafont and The Science Movement (1860-1910)

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Item Code: HAN439
Author: Compiled & Edited By Arun Kumar Biswas
Language: English
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 8172361491
Pages: 648
Other Details 9.5x7.5 inch
Weight 1.50 kg
Book Description
About the Editor

Professor Arun Kumar Biswas (1934-) has studied and worked in the following institutions: St. Xavier's College, Science College, both at Kolkata, M.I.T., U.S.A., I.I.T. Kanpur (1963-95). The Asiatic Society (1995-2002) and Jadavpur University (Emeritus AICTE Fellow, 2002-). Specialist in the areas of applied chemistry, surface chemistry, mineral engineering, archaeo metal- lurgy, history of science and the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda litera- ture, he has written over 100 articles and 15 books.

As the Mahendralal Sircar Research Professor in History of Science in the Asiatic Society, he has authored Gleanings of the Past, featuring the diaries of Drs. Mahendralal and Amritalal Sircar, then the first-ever biography of Father Lafont, and now this fitting finele of his trilogy: COLLECTED WORKS.


It gives me immense pleasure in presenting to the discerning readers "Collected Works of Mahendralal Sircar, Eugene Lafont and the Science Movement (1860-1910)" compiled and edited by Professor Arun Kumar Biswas, a noted science historian and a former Mahendralal Sircar Research Professor in History of Science of the Asiatic Society. The earlier two works of Professor Biswas on Father Lafont and Gleanings of the Past along with the present publication would form a trilogy of source materials on the scientific renaissance in the 19th century.

The present volume containing information culled from the Calcutta Journal of Medicine. Indo-European Correspondence, hand written diaries and materials scattered in different Libraries and Archives, some of them in brittle and mutilated state, would bear ample testimony to the painstaking research undertaken by Professor Biswas.

It is in the fitness of things that the Asiatic Society, which played the role of avant-garde in the science movement in India, has played its role in publishing the Collected Works to reemphasize and revive its scientific tradition of more than two centuries old.


The Collected Works of Dr. Mahendralal Sircar (1833-1904) and his colleague Reverend Father Eugene Lafont (1837-1908) and the relevant literature on the Science Movement, that was built around them for four decades (1868-1908) in India, should be read in the backdrop of the biographical and other information which are becoming available.

Sircar and Lafont were well-known during the last quarter of the nineteenth century as the pioneer apostles of modern scientific research in India. J. C. Bose, P. C. Ray, Asutosh Mookerjee were like their sons.

The British rulers had introduced 'colonial' science in the country in which the Indians hardly played any major role. The first three major universities in Calcutta (now Kolkata), Bombay (Mumbai) and Madras (Chennai) established academic curricula in 1857 very deficient in science content. St. Xavier's College (SXC) founded in Kolkata in the year 1860, assured the citizens that it would introduce an European or Continental curriculum in science, which was at that time distinctly better than the British curriculum. Within a decade Father Lafont became not only a Professor at the college but also a leading pioneer in science-teaching in Kolkata.

Mahendralal Sircar was the first to give the clarion call for 'nationalist' science that is modern science to be cultivated by Indians themselves. The Indian Association for Cultivation of Science (abbreviated as IACS) was founded by Mahendralal in 1876, and in this task he received tremendous support from Father Lafont, the Jesuit monk and physicist of SXC. After the demises of Sircar (1904) and Lafont (1908), the IACS was ably led by Sir Asutosh Mookerjee (1864-1924), Mahendralal's son Amritalal (1860- 1919) and the Nobel Laureate who made IACS world-famous, Sir C. V. Raman (1888- 1970). We start this introductory chapter with very brief biographical notes on Sircar and Lafont.

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