Dev, Govinda Chandra (1907-1971) philosopher and educationist.
Govinda Chandra Dev Purakayastha was born on 1 February 1907 in the
village of Lauta in Biyani Bazar, sylhet.
The family tradition goes that Dev’s ancestors were high caste Brahmins
who had fled the political, economic, social and religious turmoil in
their native Gujrat and settled down in Sylhet in the 5th century.
Following the family tradition, they engaged themselves in the study of
the vedanta and the upanisads.
Dev obtained his BA (Hons) in Philosophy
from Sanskrit College, Kolkata in 1929 and an MA in philosophy from
Calcutta University in 1931. He took up teaching and also worked on a
doctoral thesis on “Reason, Intuition and Reality,” which earned him a
PhD in philosophy from Calcutta University in 1944. He taught for some
time at Surendranath College at dinajpur
and in 1953 joined the Philosophy Department of the university of dhaka.
Govinda Chandra Dev
by Socrates, Dev accorded equal importance to the fundamental questions
of philosophy on the one hand, and on the other to society, life,
literature, arts, culture, economy and religion. He was a secular and
humanistic philosopher who looked at all religions from a broad and
strongly criticised fanaticism and extreme materialism, believing that
both were one-sided and unable to further the cause of human welfare and
progress. In his view only a synthesis of the two could lead to human
freedom. He believed that a worthwhile philosophy of life would transform
materialism into spiritualism and spiritualism into materialism. All his
books advocate this philosophy, which is a synthesis of the philosophies
of Hinduism, buddhism,
Christianity and Islam. He was influenced by the Vedas, the Vedanta and
the Upanishads, by the philosophy of ramakrishna
Paramhansa, by Swami vivekananda’s
modern concept of hinduism, by
Lord Buddha’s concept of love and humanism, by islam’s
message of equality and goodwill and by christianity’s
message of love.
Chandra Dev successfully introduced the idea of a synthetic philosophy in
this subcontinent. What distinguishes his philosophy from others is his
idea of progress. Instead of confining himself to discoursing on the
fundamentals of philosophy, he emphasised its practical application. It
was his conviction that philosophical thoughts, even if conceptually
perfect, might not contribute to human welfare. This is why his
philosophy was a synthesis of fundamentals and application.
from publishing over a hundred articles in English and Bangla in national
and international journals, Dev published nine books, among them Idealism
and Progress (1952), Idealism: A New Defence and A New
Application (1958), Amar
Jibandarshan (1960), Aspiration
of the Common Man (1963), The Philosophy of Vivekananda and the
Future of Man (1963), Tattvavidyasar (1966), and Buddha: the Humanist (1969). Two other books- Parables
of the East (1984) and My American Experience (1993)- were
awarded the honorary title of ‘Darshan Sagar’ by the East Pakistan Saraswat
Samaj in 1967 for his contribution to philosophy. The same year, ‘The
Govinda Dev Foundation for World Brotherhood’ was established in USA for
propagating his humanistic philosophy. In 1980, the dev
centre for philosophical studies was instituted in the
Philosophy Department of Dhaka University. In 1986 the Bangladesh
government awarded him the Ekushe Padak posthumously.
donated all his property and money to Dhaka University to further the
cause of human welfare, to establish truth, justice, and human liberty,
to realise the hopes and aspirations of the common man and to propagate
his philosophy of secularism and humanism. He was imprisoned during the
1965 Indo-Pak war. He was brutally killed in the army crackdown on 26
March 1971. His mortal remains lie buried in the mass grave at Jagannath
Hall. [Pradip Kumar Roy]