A photograph exhibition inaugurated here on Thursday narrates how Indian social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar accorded patronage to homeopathy and examines how the legacy has survived today.
The celebrated scholar, educator and a key figure of the Bengal Renaissance was born into the Banerji family in the village of Birsingha in Midnapore district of West Bengal in 1820.
Christened 'The Legacy to Humanity: Celebrating 150 years of Homeopathy', the exhibition showcases at least 20 photographs that celebrate 150 years of the introduction of homeopathy into the Banerji family and how Prasanta, and his son, Pratip (of the third and fourth generation) are carrying on the legacy in the 21st century.
Tracing Vidyasagar's tryst with the discipline of alternative medicine, it displays four pages of the Bengali polymath's diary which are prescriptions for patients.
According to the Prasanta Banerji Homeopathic Research Foundation website, Vidyasagar suffered from intense migraine headaches and was treated in Kolkata by homeopathic medicines prescribed by Babu Rajen Dutta, an aristocrat who studied homeopathy from the Germans and the French, following Hahnemann's ideology.
Vidyasagar was so impressed by the results that he persuaded his brother, Ishan Chandra, to take an interest in this treatment form, and take up the learning of homeopathy and treat the very poor of their village as a charitable enterprise, the site informs.
He believed that in the field of social reform, the poor and downtrodden needed medical aid for cure of their illnesses and at a cheaper cost. He was convinced that homeopathy was the answer.
After Ishan Chandra, the practice was taken forward by Pareshnath and now by Prasanta and Pratip.
Through series of photographs, the exhibition gives an idea of how the Banerjis have been working to establish homeopathy scientifically and to make it the medicine of masses.
There are letters from singer Hemanta Mukherjee, industrialist Ratan Tata, and the late First Lady Suvra Mukherjee requesting prescription of medicines from Prasanta.
These apart, there is a family tree also on display.
The event will run till August 23 at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture.