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Our Pioneer

Sri Gopal Chandra Chakravarty

Sri Gopal Chandra Chakravarty

Yoga means union with the divine and the union is affected through offering of oneself to the divine.

Sri Gopal Chandra Chakravarty was born at Nowgaon (now District Headquarters of Nowgaon District of Bangladesh) in Rajshahi district of undivided Bengal. Gopal Chandra joined the freedom movement in his school days and in his college life he was externed, interned and sentenced to imprisonment. He continued his studies in prison and thereafter at Calcutta and Visva Bharati University (M.A. in Political Science and B.T.). Significant influences in his life were the thoughts of Gandhi and Rabindranath. He was involved in a number of socio-political activities and in 1956 joined West Bengal Government's Development Department as Lecturer, at Fulia Training Centre at Nadia District. Attitudinal differences cropped up and he left the job. He was prevailed upon by local people to be the Headmaster, Fulia Sikshaniketan. 1968 was the defining year for Gopal Chandra, when he left a secure life for the uncertainties of a life of working with displaced persons from erstwhile East Pakistan. Inspired by Ramakrishna-Vivekananda as well as Sri aurobindo, he utilised all his savings and secured a 5-acre plot with the mission of setting up a Tapoban type Ashramic Vidyalaya (Ashram type School) for children as well as for the socio-economic development of the people.

The land was uneven, arid and non-irrigated, situated between Taherpur - Nazirpur area of Birnagar, next to the old Palasy Road. A free primary school was set up under improvised sheds in the year 1974 for imparting education to the children of the locality. As a sequel to the partition of the country, the original residents had left the place for East Pakistan and uprooted families from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) settled in this areas. social cohesion, harmony and solidarity were absent among the new settlers. Moreover, this area was a hub of criminal activities. In order to gain the confidence of the local people, Gopal Chandra, an outsider, had to pass through mumerous ordeals during the period from 1970 to 1980.

In order to give a practical shape to Sri Aurobindo's vision of building a rural community with higher consciousness and challenge conventional notions of rural development, "Ushagram Trust", a non-political, non-profit, rural voluntary organization, was formed in the year 1980. Gopal Chandra handed over 5.40 acres of agricultural land and 1.66 acres of homestead with a running primary school and a few residential houses including a small dairy farm, to sri Jyotirmoy bose, former Principal,Orientation Study Centre, Government of India, Kalyani. Thus, "Ushagram (village of Dawn) Trust" was formed and registered as a non-profit, non-political, voluntary organization. A Trustee Board with seven trustees was constituted; Jyotirmoy Bose became the President of the Board of Trustees. Gopal Chandra took over as the secretary along with five other like minded persons, who became the other trustees. Years could do little to dampen Gopal Chandra's spirit till his passing away on 17th april 2008.

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