Title: The pioneering social entrepreneur of India: exploring the life and work of Vidyasagar in Colonial British India

Authors: Abhijit Roy

Addresses: Kania School of Management, University of Scranton, 320 Madison Avenue, Scranton, PA, 18510, USA

Abstract: Ishwar Chandra Bandopadhyay ('Vidyasagar') is widely regarded as an eminent social reformer from Bengal, India of the 19th century. In this paper, we explore Vidyasagar's initiatives in conjunction with the British administrators, were not simply as those of asocial reformer, but of a pioneering social entrepreneur. We begin by reviewing definitions of social entrepreneurship and establishing his pioneering work in this domain. Using a 2 × 2 matrix, we develop a typology of his enterprises by considering whether they were: a) directed by positive or desirable (i.e., approach) outcomes vs. instigated by a prevention of negative or undesirable (i.e., avoidance) outcomes; b) whether these policies were directed particularly at women, or at the general society at large. He funded most of his social entrepreneurial works either from the revenues generated by his own literary works, or from his salary. We finally review the salient characteristics of social entrepreneurs as defined in the literature, and illustrate how Vidyasagar's work meets these criteria.

Keywords: social entrepreneurship; approach initiatives; avoidance initiatives; women's empowerment; educational innovations; helping the vulnerable; pioneering social entrepreneurs; Vidyasagar; Colonial India; female empowerment; Ishwar Chandra Bandopadhyay; social reformers; British administrators.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSEI.2015.073532

International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 2015 Vol.3 No.6, pp.421 - 439

Available online: 11 Dec 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article