SATISH CHANDRA DASGUPTA was an outstanding scientist and inventor who made the country proud. As a result of his efforts, the perennial fallow laterite region that had been a challenge to the farmers and scientists, changed into fertile green farmland, capable of growing three crops a year. Besides this, he made many inventions which include a fire extinguisher called Fire King and Sulekha ink.

Satish Chandra Dasgupta was born on June 14, 1880, in Kurigram (now a part of Bangladesh) in the Rangpur district of Bengal. He belonged to a poor family, yet due to his hard work and dedication, he was awarded a Master’s degree in chemistry from Presidency College, Calcutta. He graduated from the Presidency College of Calcutta in 1901. He met Gandhiji in 1919 and became his great admirer, it had a lasting impact on him.

He took part in the movement against the Bengal Partition of 1905. He became a member of the Indian National Congress and took up Constructive work. He founded the Khadi Pratisthan in Calcutta in 1923 and the Sodepur Ashram in 1924. During the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930 and the Quit India Movement of 1942, he was arrested and imprisoned.

When Gandhiji visited riot-affected Noakhali in 1946 he accompanied him for the restoration of communal harmony. After independence, he was associated with various institutions like Khadi and Village Industrial Board, Sundarban Development Committee, Khadi Commission, and Bharat Sevak Sangh. He opposed casteism and untouchability. He was also a true champion of women’s emancipation and Hindu Muslim Unity.

In 1965, at the age of 86 years, Satish began soil research. Various areas of West Bengal were affected by drought. Satish Chandra found ways of increasing the water retention capacity of laterite soil tapping groundwater resources and raising good crops on fallow land. He revived the art of making hand-made paper. He carried out a project of making safety matches from bamboo sticks. He also wrote some books which include Cow in India and Home and Village Doctor. Fountain Pen Ink is a popular book that gives an account of how he invented Sulekha ink to help a boy start his own industry. Satish Chandra’s helpful attitude, scientific bent of mind, and complete dedication made him a much-honored and loved citizen. Amidst preparations for new projects, he died on December 24, 1979.

Priti Singh


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