By Satyajit Ray
Upendrakishore Ray was born in 1862 and died in 1915. He was writer, painter, musician, and scientist. And made outstanding contribution in each capacity.
He was a pioneer of children's literature in Bengal. The children's magazine Sandesh which he founded in 1913 set an incredibly high standard in form and content. He wrote illustrated versions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata for children which Tagore thought unsurpassable. He also wrote tender versions of Bengali folk tales and a fascinating series of accounts of prehistoric animal life.
As a musician, he composed many wonderful children's songs and Brahmo Samaj hymns which are still regularly sung. He also wrote text books on the playing of various musical instruments which were models of their kind.
As a scientist, his main contributions, revolutionary even by Western reckoning, were in the field of printing and block making. In fact, he was the first to introduce half-tone blocks into India, and in time, incorporated improvements in its methods which were adopted in Western countries. This is particularly astonishing in view of the fact that he never had a chance to go abroad and was completely self-taught.
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