By Dr Amal Kr Mukhopadhyay , Ex Principal Presidency College (University)

Writing on Professor Ramesh Chandra Ghosh is both a pleasure as well as a duty for those of us who had the good fortune of being his students. It is a pleasure , for it enlivens one’s sweet memories of the very many fascinating experiences of watching professor Ghosh in action. And it is a duty , for one, of course , is morally liable to communicate these experiences to the subsequent generations who must have much to learn from the life and work of Professor Ghosh.

But to write on Professor Ghosh is a difficult task as well , for his scholarship is too deep to fathom, his frame of mind is too philosophical to comprehend by the usual senses of ordinary mortals and his way of life is much to simple to narrate against the back drop of the highly sophisticated living of our times. Yet felicitation is necessary Hence, as one of his admiring students , I humbly attempt in writing this piece ,although I very much doubt whether I am really fitted for this task.

During the twenty years of his service at Presidency College , professor Ghosh never took any casual leave it seems that even at his present age at seventy five he is determined not to take any leave from his normal academic routine. When others of his age take morning and evening strolls around the Rabindra Sarovor which, incidentally , is very near his house and while way their time in a rather leisurely and reminiscent mood Dr .Ghosh struggles with his intellect to find out solution to myriad academic issues; when they took for the rest after having had cared enough for their respective job in their past active life Dr. Ghosh’s searching mind refuses to rest . Every night when all lights go off at Sarat Chatterjee Avenue of Calcutta one can see a light burning in a small attic of a four-storied house where Ramesh Chandra Ghosh is working on his study.That light truly symbolizes a burning quest thst characterizes the whole life of Dr. Ghosh and, to us all, it transmits the message that a genuine pursuit of knowledge may never be daunted by anything , not even by the constraints of old age.

Through out his life Professor Ghosh has been a prolific writer. He has written eight original books and published about a hundred research papers. Besides , he has also some important unpublished works and papers. Looking at the variety content in his writings one is simply enchanted by his encyclopaedic frame of mind. He has taken too many branches of knowledge as his own province and whenever , in course of his intellectual pursuit , he moves from one field to another he does it with a remarkable ease and grace . Whenever he writes – be it on philosophy , national and international politics , governments , public administration and constitutional law , or , again , economics, education or aesthetics – he is always at home with the subject he is dealing with . Again guiding research to him is more than a formal routine job; he ungrudgingly takes it as a love’s labour, caring least for the extra load it puts on his already heavy schedule .His Ph.D students know it well that when Professor Ghosh is supervising at thesis he is serious to the extent of writing , as if, his own thesis .Indeed his invaluable margin notes on the early drafts of the theses he has supervised have been an object of wonder to his Ph.D students.

The finest object of Dr. Ghosh , however, have been manifest in his role as a teacher. Throughout his teaching career he has exhibited a kind of missionary zeal that is getting very rare in the context of our modern tendency to take teaching merely as a profession. Professor Ghosh’s teaching was much modeled after the platonic tradition ; he took education as a means of manmaking and relentlessly tried to imbibe among his students a sense of totality . Thus , in the class-rooms, Dr. Ghosh never confined his lectures with in the fixed syllabus . His mind would often take off from the rigid framework of the prescribed course and encourage his students to start for a distant unknown world with a firm determination to conquer it with a penetrating intellect .Naturally , Professor Ghosh lectures were not always very helpful for petty examination purposes ; but they served a greater cause in as far as they roused in a student a quest , gave his self confidence and courage and made him all set for achieving a kind of perfection that results alone from a knowledge of the whole. In other words, Dr.Ghosh, in the role of a teacher, not merely taught certain subjects , but rather tried for developing among his students the qualities that might make them good teachers in future.

If we –his students -have failed to live up to his tradition it is certainly no slur on his greatness as a teacher; it is on the contrary the result of our inherent smallness that has failed us in understanding the good intentions of our master.

DR R C Ghosh by Jayanta Bhattacherjee (IFS)
I was a pupil of Professor Ramesh Chandra Ghosh, at Presidency College, Calcutta, from 1949 to 1951. I had honours in what in those days was called Political Economy and Political Science. Economic and Political Science had not yet been separated from each other, and we had a composite course consisting of a few papers of Economics. Professor Ghosh, along with a few other teachers, used to teach us Political Science, particularly the political thought of Plato, Aristotle and Mill, and modern constitutions.
Presidency College in those days used to admit to its under graduate Honours Courses only the top few students from the list of successful candidates at the Intermediate in Arts (I.A) Examination; and its faculty was also drawn from among the best teachers available in the West Bengal Education Services. The academic standards of both the teachers and the students were , therefore, generally quite high .Nevertheless, it was not every teacher that inspire the respect, confidence and enthusiasm of the students . Some teachers were useful from the points of view in the examinations, as they dictated notes in the class on selected topics; others were good in the exposition of other people’s ideas and theories. Only the few teachers have independent ideas and theories of their own, and could, therefore, stimulate intellectual curiosity and the faculty of independent and object judgment among the students. Dr. Ghosh belongs to this category.

As under graduate students, we were not in a position always to gauge the depth of Professor Ghosh Scholarship, junior students are seldom able to grasp the whole range of scholarship of their best teachers. But we could feel something of his great erudition. We could also see and feel the transparent sincerity and dedication with which he taught us, his widely scholarly interests and his deep intellectual involvement with his subject and his obviously personal and independent approach to academic problems and issues. His own enthusiasm radiated to his students and developed in them and lively interest in the, I studied Economics at the Post graduate level at Calcutta University and, therefore, ceased to be a direct student of Dr. Ghosh who used to teach in the Political Science Department of the University at the M.A. level. But I kept in touch with him often profited from discussion with him in the faculty reading room. I was out of India for a few years as a member of the Indian Foreign Service and lost touch with Professor Ghosh during this period. I resigned from the Indian Foreign Service and joined Jadavpur University towards the end of 1960, and was able to renew my relationship with Dr. Ghosh soon after words. Since then, during the last 25 years, I have met Dr. Ghosh in many seminars, meetings of examination committees, Boards of studies and Appointment Boards for faculty positions, and maintain my personal contact with his without break. I can say without hesitation that the high respect and admiration which I had developed for Professor Ghosh as a young student of Presidency College many years ago has increased rather than diminished with the passage of time.

Although Professor Ghosh came from one of the wealthiest families of Bengal (Zaminders) he never longed for things which attract the ordinary mortals like good food, good dresses, luxurious livings and formal honours. He indeed could have got those by mere asking playing living and high thinking has always been avowed goal.

Professor Ghosh has inspired all us around him with his kind and warm hearted personality, his nobility of character.


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1980 Dr. Gautam Ghosh.