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This thread is into two parts, Part 1 & 2 which covers largely about #PCRay’s works and Life History in brief
PART 1
#PrafullaChandraRay: The Acharya Who Revealed History Of Hindu Chemistry To World.
In any other country, this legend would’ve gained a cult like status, alas
this is Bharat still reeling under inferior syllabus dictated by Communists & Congress’s
No Chemistry Student reads about P.C Ray who is called as Father of Pharmaceuticals & Chemical Science in India
No Chemistry Student knows about the Two Volume Masterpiece on Ancient Hindu
Chemistry.
Ray’s seminal work — A History Of Hindu Chemistry From The Earliest Times To The Middle Of The Sixteenth Century A.D —which revealed to the world the path-breaking advances made by ancient Bharatiya scientists.
Today is the 159th Jayanti of Acharya PrafullaChandraRay
A brilliant scientist, educationist, historian, entrepreneur, philanthropist & a freedom fighter in his own way.
Ray was such a fierce nationalist, he used to tell his students at Calcutta’s Presidency College with “Science can wait, SWARAJ cannot” call.
Born to HarishChandraRay
& Bhubanmohini Devi in Bangladesh on August 2, 1861, Prafulla attended a school founded by his family till he was 9. Later, the family moved to Calcutta where he and his elder brother enrolled at the Hare School. In 1874, a severe attack of dysentery forced him to leave
the school. The disease was slowly overcome, but it permanently injured his health; he became a life-long sufferer from chronic indigestion and sleeplessness. In his later days, he sometimes thought of this as a blessing in disguise. For the rest of his life, he was very strict
about his food; and he had regular exercise.
He absorbed himself in biographies, articles on science, history, geography, Greek, Latin, French and Sanskrit. He completed matriculation from Albert School in 1879 and enrolled in Vidyasagar College but since it did not offer
science courses, he attended lectures in physics and chemistry at the Presidency College.
Ray graduated from Edinburgh University before completing his doctoral studies and returning to Bharat in August 1888. The next year, he started teaching chemistry at Presidency College.
A prolific scientist, he wrote 107 papers in all branches of chemistry by 1920. He was knighted in 1919, and founded the Indian School of Chemistry (the first chemical research institute in the country) in 1924.
Meanwhile, after returning to Bharat, Prafulla came to realize
that the drugs for Indian patients had to come from foreign countries at that time. He wanted to do something but was not rich. The family estates had been sold to pay his father’s debts and his salary was also meager. Still, he ventured upon this pioneering attempt. He prepared
some chemicals at home. His work grew so fast that a separate company had to be formed.
But he needed capital – a capital of only eight hundred rupees. But it became difficult to raise even this small amount.
In spite of all these difficulties he founded
‘The Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works’ in 1901.
With many accidental deaths within family, the entire responsibility of the factory fell on his shoulders. Still, he faced everything with courage.
Directly or indirectly he helped to start many other factories.
Textile mills, soap factories (today @swapan55 mentioned about his grandfather who started a soap factory) sugar factories, chemical industries, ceramic factories, and publishing houses were set up at the time with his active co-operation.
He was the driving force behind the
industrialization of the country, which began at that time.
During all these years, he was also actively engaged in research in his laboratory at Presidency College. His publications on Mercurous Nitrite and its derivatives brought him recognition from all over the world.
There was much that thought that Indians were backward in scientific knowledge and had received it only recently from the West. But Prafulla Chandra said that Indians knew little about their history. They did not know much about the devotion & industry with which our ancestors
developed knowledge.
Prafulla Chandra was from the beginning interested in the work of the early Hindu chemists. After reading the famous book ‘Greek Alchemy’ by the great French scientist Berthelot his interest in Hindu Chemistry grew into a passion. He started reading many
ancient books in Sanskrit, Pali, Bengali, and other languages, which contained information on the subject. He wrote an article about a famous Sanskrit treatise
‘Rasendrasara Sangraha’ and sent it to Berthelot.
The French scientist published it with an introduction praising it
as an extremely interesting article. He wrote to Prafulla Chandra asking him to continue his research into the ancient texts and to publish a whole book on Hindu Chemistry.
After several years of study, Prafulla published his famous book, ‘The History of Hindu Chemistry’
which received great praise from scientists all over the world. In this book, he has given a very interesting account to show that Hindu scientists knew about the manufacture of steel, about distillation, salts, mercury sulfides, etc… from very early times.
Prafulla Chandra
said on one occasion that when the people of Europe did not know how to make clothes and were still wearing animal skins and wandering in forests, Indian scientists were manufacturing wonderful chemicals. This is something we should be proud of.
But Prafulla Chandra also knew
that it is not enough to be proud of our past. We should follow the example of our ancestors and seek knowledge and progress in science.
Prafulla Chandra did not rest content with giving such advice and he came with the 2nd volume of his Magnum Opus – Hindu Chemistry.
The two-volume book — the first was published in 1902 and the second in 1907 — also busted the myth that modern-day chemistry owes its origins to the alchemists of western Europe who derived their knowledge from the Arabs. Acharya Ray proved that the Arabs, in turn, had derived
their knowledge of rasashastra (as chemistry is called in Sanskrit) from ancient Hindus.
Acharya who founded Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals, India’s first pharma company, in 1901, pored through voluminous ancient texts like the Upanishads, Vedas, the Arthashastra and other
ancient texts with the help of renowned Sanskrit scholars. He is credited with getting international recognition for not only ancient Indian chemistry, but also ayurveda.
His book reveals that in the eighth century CE, the caliphs of Baghdad ordered extensive translation of
ayurvedic texts into Arabic and Persian and sent many of their renowned scholars to Bharata to study Ayurveda.

END OF PART 1, PLEASE READ PART 2 FOR FURTHER ASTONISHING DETAILS.
Ray conclusively proved that the Greeks, too, derived their knowledge of the sciences from the ancient Hindus. For instance, ancient Hindus had solved the forty-seventh proposition of the first book of Euclid 200 years before the Pythogoras.
Ray’s book highlights the surgical
and medical treatises of Susruta and Charaka in the pre-Buddhist era. Ray discovered, and wrote about, a highly interesting gathering of medical experts and alchemists from other ancient civilisations “somewhere in the Himalayas” around 1000 BCE!
A very interesting aspect of
Ray’s work here is the comparison between the medical treatise of Charaka, one of the principal contributors to
ayurveda, and the Atharvaveda. Ray concludes that the Atharvaveda (the fourth Veda) seems archaic in comparison to Charaka’s treatises since the Atharvaveda only
talks of plants and vegetable products used to treat ailments while Charaka’s treatises contain alchemical formulas using gold and lead.
In the preface to the second volume, Ray very authoritatively states: “ancient Hindu astronomy and mathematics were not less advanced than
those of Tycho Brahe, Cardan and Fermat; the anatomy was equal to that of Vesalius, the Hindu logic and methodology more advanced than that of Ramus, and equal on the whole to Bacon's; the physico-chemical theories as to combustion, heat, chemical affinity, clearer, more
rational, and more original than those of Van Helmont or Stahl; and the Grammar, whether of Sanskrit or Prākrit, the most scientific and comprehensive in the world before Bopp, Rask and Grimm”.
And he conclusively proves all that in his book.
(Luckily, the book has been
digitized and is available at archives)
In 1916 he retired from the Presidency College. A prolific scientist, he wrote 107 papers in all branches of chemistry by 1920. He was knighted in 1919, and founded the Indian School of Chemistry (the first chemical research institute in
the country) in 1924.
Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, the vice-chancellor of Calcutta University, appointed him as professor of Chemistry at the University Science College.
Prafulla Chandra worked in this college for twenty years. He remained a bachelor all his life. All these twenty
years he lived in a simple room on the first floor of the college. Some of his students who were poor and could not live anywhere else shared his room. In 1936, when he was 75 years old, he retired from the Professorship.

In 1921 when Prafulla Chandra reached 60 years he
donated, in advance, all his salary for the rest of his service in the University to the development of the Department of Chemistry and the creation of two research fellowships.

The value of this endowment was about two lakh rupees. Besides, he gave ten thousand rupees for an
annual research prize in Chemistry named after the great Indian Chemist Nagarjuna and another ten thousand for a research prize in Biology named after Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee.
In 1932 he wrote his autobiography in English & named it ‘The Life and Experience of a Bengali Chemist’
Later, he translated it into Bengali. The book was called ‘Atma Charita’.
It was his strong desire that Hindus should set right the defects in their society like untouchability, child marriage and the giving of dowry.
He used to repeat the Sanskrit saying, ‘A man may desire
victory always but he should welcome defeat at the hands of his disciples’. Famous Indian scientists like Meghnad Saha and Shanthi Swarup Bhatnagar were among his students.
A Gandhi follower, He began to spin a yarn with the Charaka at least for an hour every day.
Till the end of his life, he used to wear only Khadi clothes.
In his 75th year, Prafulla Chandra Ray retired from the Professor’s post. In 1941 the Calcutta University and the public celebrated his eightieth birthday.
Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray attained Moksha
on the 16th of June 1944; he died in the same room he had occupied for twenty-five years. He was 83 years old at the time.

#VandeMataram
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