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Memorial of David Hare - Captivating Calcutta
3612    Dibyendu Banerjee    12/08/2018

David Hare, a watchmaker by profession, was born in Scotland in 1775 and came to India in 1800 to make a fortune in his profession as a watchmaker. Though he prospered in his business, he was not happy in his heart, as he was very much moved by the pathetic and deplorable conditions of the native population. He decided to devote his life for the welfare of the oppressed mass and unlike other Europeans, never returned to his native country after gathering a fortune to live a life in peace and prosperity. Unlike the missionaries, he did not have any intention to convert people to Christianity, he just wanted to live his own life and allow others to live their own and help them to improve their condition.

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David Hare was the pioneer of English Education in India and devoted his life to the cause of Indian Education. He was one of the protagonists, who took the initiative, which led to the foundation of Hindu College, later renamed Presidency College, Calcutta, on 20 January 1817. He founded, the School Book Society on May 6, 1817 and Calcutta School Society on 1st September, 1818. Apart from that, he also established a school within the complex of the Hindu college, which was later, came to be known as Hare School. Nobody is sure about the date of inception of the school, however the official year of its establishment is 1818.

Hare School, Calcutta
Hare School, Calcutta

David Hare became closely associated with Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the great Indian social reformer and devoted his earnest efforts to reform and repeal of some of the odd regulations against the Native Press and to get the trial by jury for the civil suits in the Supreme Court.

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Later in his life he sold his watch business to his friend named Gray and purchased a small house for his own. However, he did not live long. Despite the best efforts of one of his students, Dr. Prasanna Kumar Mitra, David Hare died of Cholera on 1st June 1842 at the age of 67. The city of Calcutta became gloomy with the news of his death. Thousands followed the funeral procession, when his body was taken out of his friend Grey's home on the way to the burial site.

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It was a great sight which the city of Calcutta never seen before. Unfortunately, the Christian missionaries refused to allot a plot of land for his burial in their cemeteries, as they thought that he was a non-believer. Ultimately, he was buried in the earlier compound of the Hare School-Hindu College that he had donated. Today, after reallocation of the compound, his tomb falls within the boundary of Gol Dighi, also known as College Square.

Hare School, Calcutta

After his death, the road where he lived was named after him. With the help of public donation, a life-size statue was also built and installed in the compound of Hare School.

Hare School, Calcutta
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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