(Last Updated on : 09/11/2013)
Henry Louis Vivian Derozio was known as a fiery teacher and poet. It was Derozio who had inspired a group of young people into the spirit of Renaissance and it was this young group who had pioneered the Renaissance Movement in Bengal. Although he was of Anglo-Indian origin he was filled with a patriotic spirit for Bengal. Derozio was born to Francis Derozio on 18th of April in the year 1809. He was born at Entally-Puddapukur of Kolkata
and during his childhood had attended the Dhurramtallah Academy School. Right from his childhood Derozio was a star pupil and excelled in subjects like History, Philosophy and English Literature.
Derozio had quit school at the age of fourteen and had started writing poetry being inspired by Ganga River
during his stay in Bhagalpur
. At the age seventeen Derozio was appointed a teacher of English literature in the Hindu College. The method of teaching that was followed by Derozio was unconventional in nature. His teachings had a critical outlook and it was from his students that his students had learnt to reason everything they experienced and denounced everything that did not fit into the realm of reason. He was very popular among his students and his students were known by the name of Derozians. He had instilled into the minds of his students the essence of free spirit, love for knowledge and a desire to live up to their identity.
Being inspired by Derozio all his students had started questioning the rituals of Hindu religion as a result a massive backlash had taken place against him in the Hindu society because almost everywhere his students had started protesting the orthodox Hindu religion. Due to such a revolutionary attitude Derozio was expelled from the Hindu College by Radhakanta Deb. But even after expulsion Derozio continued his interaction with his students and helped them by taking out several newspapers challenging the uselessness of some of the Hindu customs.
As a poet Derozio was strongly influenced by the English poet Byron and accordingly had written many of his poems following the romantic style. Sometimes Derozio used the pseudonym of "Juvenis". Most of Derozio's poems had adopted the Vatican style and vividly expressed the story of the Indian land. Many of his poems also voiced a nationalist spirit and an anti-imperialist fervour. This is because he had immense love for his country India and wanted to emancipate it from all troubles. The rationalist philosophy of Derozio was adopted by him from voracious readings of Thomas Paine, David Hume and Jeremy Bentham.
Some of the famous poems written by Derozio were, "The Fakeer of Jungheera", "To India My Native Land", "The Song of the Hindustanee Minstrel", "The Golden Vase" and a lot more. All these poems of Derozio till today are read with passion and love.
As far as the character of Derozio is concerned he never showed much interest in women and spent most of his time with his students.
India will remain forever indebted to Henry Louis Vivian Derozio for his radical teachings which had given way to the famous revolutionary movement known by the name Bengal Renaissance. It was Derozio who had ushered the trend of accepting the rational spirit and questioning the relevance of unnecessary religious practices.
Henry Louis Vivian Derozio had passed away at a very early age of 22 in 1831 AD on December 26th leaving behind his lineage of rationality and free spirit. It is true that the sudden death of Derozio was a shock to the people of the country but his enlightenment had changed the outlook of the Hindu Community.