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Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy Biography
Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy (1861-1944) was an eminent Indian chemist, educator, and social reformer, widely recognized for his contributions to the development of chemical sciences in India. He was also one of the pioneers of the Indian nationalist movement and a prominent social activist who worked tirelessly for the welfare of his fellow countrymen.
Roy was born on August 2, 1861, in the village of Raruli-Katipara, located in the Khulna district of present-day Bangladesh. His father Harishchandra Roy was a small landowner, and his mother Bhubanmohini Devi was a pious and charitable lady. From a young age, Roy showed a keen interest in science, and he received his early education at the village school. Later, he moved to Kolkata to pursue higher education.
In 1880, Roy graduated with honors in chemistry from the Presidency College, Kolkata. He then went to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he received his doctorate in chemistry in 1887. He returned to India the same year and joined the Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works, which he later purchased and transformed into one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the country.
Roy’s contributions to the field of chemistry were numerous. He discovered a new method for the estimation of iron in the human body, which was widely adopted in medical practice. He also developed a method for the synthesis of mercurous nitrite and discovered several new organic compounds, including phenylhydrazine, which later became a key component of the dye industry.
In addition to his scientific work, Roy was also an ardent social reformer and a nationalist leader. He actively campaigned against social evils such as child marriage, dowry, and caste discrimination. He founded the Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works, which provided employment opportunities to many young Indians, and was also instrumental in setting up the University of Calcutta.
Roy received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to science and society. He was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society, London, in 1919, becoming the first Indian scientist to receive this honor. He was also conferred with the title of Acharya (teacher) by the people of Bengal, in recognition of his contributions to education.
Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy passed away on June 16, 1944, at the age of 83, leaving behind a legacy of scientific achievements and social reform. His contributions to the field of chemistry and his tireless efforts to improve the lives of his fellow Indians continue to inspire generations of scientists and social activists in India and beyond.