The life of renowned Chemist, Educator and Philosopher Praffula Chandra Ray has inspired me from a very young age.

The life of renowned Chemist, Educator and Philosopher Praffula Chandra Ray has inspired me from a very young age.

August 8, 2017

The life of renowned Chemist, Educator and Philosopher Praffula Chandra Ray has inspired me from a very young age. I used to read various books on him to gather information about this great personality. It was perhaps out of my deep respect for P.C Ray that my interest grew in chemistry. When I finally went to study in Rajabazar Science Collage as a student I stood in awe infront of his statue for quite some time. In a room in the collage campus there is a collection of his staid personal belongings that included a small bed, a reading desk, a small dinning table with two chairs and a clothes horse. Apart from his chemical research work, his social and cultural endeavors have greatly attracted me. He was the great benefactor of freedom fighters as well as people who had suffered from natural calamities. During his tenure as a professor at Presidency collage he used to give his lectures in fluent Bengali, furthermore he used to incite the feeling to patriotism among his students. He used to say “you are receiving education from the hard earned money of the poor, always be grateful to them. One day you will have to return the debt”. It was perhaps due to his sense of patriotism that inspite of getting many prestigious opportunities abroad he preferred to stay and work in his own country. His simple lifestyle was legendary. Once he had chaired a meeting at Presidency collage at the request of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Once the meeting was over Netaji had offered him a packet of cake and cutlet as refreshment which P.C Ray had strongly declined and had puffed rice and coconut instead. As luck would have it in later life when I got married I became a distant relation of this great personality from my husband’s side. He also contested the fact that Bengali men should only be service holders and not businessmen or industrialist. To propagate his ideology he helped establish many educational institute, material mills and co-operative banks. To top it all he established ‘Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works Limited in the year 1901 with a meager amount of eight hundred rupees which went on to become a phenomenal success. It was not only a profitable concern but created employment for thousand of local youths.
You must be wondering why I am rumbling about this irrelevant topic now? There is a reason- have you heard the news that ‘Bengal Chemical is on the verge of a revival’?
The first ever Pharmaceutical Company of our country, the brainchild of P.C Ray was not doing sufficiently well in the recent past and in 2016 the Government decided to sell off the concern. However, thanks to some strategic and marketing initiatives the concern has not only recovered nine crores loses incurred in the past year but has earned a profit of five crores in this current year. Modern business strategies and online marketing has helped the revival of this company to a great extent. It is a great feeling to know that a historic Bengali concern which has been here for over a century is working successfully. This is what we want- the proper use of modern technology for the well-being of society. Bengal’s book business has greatly suffered due of readers being inclined towards English language as well as limitless internet access. However internet is not unhealthy, the fact remains that if internet can be used properly it can be greatly benefiting – the instance of Bengal Chemicals is ample proof. By the grace of God and the goodwill of my clients we too have been running this book concern for five generations now (my son Raunak is the sixth generation). I sincerely hope that with the right attitude, relentless effort, sound planning and modern technology we can march forward in our endeavor and make our Bengali concern even more successful. Keep well.
– Mrs. Rupa Mukherjee

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