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Saradaranjan Ray

Saradaranjan Ray
সারদারঞ্জন রায়
Portrait of Ray, from Calcutta Review (1925).
Born(1858-05-26)26 May 1858
Died30 October 1925(1925-10-30) (aged 67)
Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
NationalityBritish Indian
Occupation(s)Mathematician, academic, cricketer

Saradaranjan Ray (26 May 1858 – 30 October 1925)[1] was an Indian teacher of mathematics and Sanskrit who worked at Aligarh University and at Calcutta. He was also a cricket enthusiast and promoter who has been called the "W.G. Grace of India" and as the father of cricket in Bengal. He founded "The Town Club", a cricket club in Calcutta that played against European teams in the Eden Gardens from 1895. He was the elder brother of Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury and hence a paternal great-uncle of Satyajit Ray.[2][3][4]


Saradaranjan was one of five siblings born to Kalinath and Joytara who came from a wealthy Kishoreganj family. Kalinath (d. 1879), also called Shyamsundar Munshi, knew Persian, Arabic, and Sanskrit, and served as an assistant to the deputy magistrate of Mymensingh. Saradaranjan was educated in Dhaka, where he took an interest in cricket and along with his brothers, Kamadaranjan (Upendrakishore), Muktidaranjan, Kuladaranjan and Pramodaranjan, founded the Dhaka College Cricket Club. He obtained a BA in 1878. He then obtained an MA from Calcutta in 1879 and joined the Aligarh Anglo-Oriental College as a mathematics teacher. He also taught Sanskrit.

Ray was known to be physically violent and temperamental. On one occasion his son brought home a goat that disturbed him with its bleating causing him to beat the goat to death. On another occasion, an English soldier in a train annoyed him by putting his leg up on the seat next to him. After the man refused to heed his requests, he reportedly grabbed the man and pulled him onto the floor.[citation needed]

Ray moved from Aligarh to Berhampore with a teaching job and then went to Dhaka College for a brief stint before moving to Cuttack. He was then invited by Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar to join the Metropolitan Institution which he joined in 1888, becoming its vice principal in 1892 and principal from 1909 until his death.[5] Footballer Gostha Pal was encouraged by Ray in cricket.[6]

Publishing and sports goods

After the death of Vidyasagar in 1891, the Metropolitan Institution ran into financial difficulties and Ray did not have a salary. He sought incomes from writing books, mainly commentaries in English on various Sanskrit works. He also conducted tutorials from 1895 charging 100 to 200 rupees per week. He established a printing and sports goods company, S. Ray and Company in 1898 along with his brother-in-law and renowned entrepreneur Hemendra Mohan Bose through which he published the first cricket manual in Bengali in 1899. The company was quite well known in the period and[7] He designed a cricket bat that won a medal in the Indian Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition at Calcutta in 1906. He took a keen interest in fishing, designing baitless hooks and other gear which he sold through his company. Apart from cricket, he also took an interest in football, serving as the first president for the East Bengal Football Club.[2]


  1. ^ Sengupta, Subodhchandra; Basu, Anjali (1960). Samsad Bangali Charitabhidhan (in Bengali). Sahitya Samsad. p. 561. Bengali calendar dates given as 12.Joishtho.1265 – 15.Kartrik.1332
  2. ^ a b Sengoopta, Chandak (2016). The Rays before Satyajit: Creativity and Modernity in Colonial India. Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ Mukhopadhyay, Atreyo (4 May 2019). "When Swami Vivekananda claimed seven wickets and other Eden Gardens tales". Kolkata: The New Indian Express. Express News Service. Archived from the original on 16 April 2023. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  4. ^ Bhattacharya, Ayan (10 September 2023). "বাংলা ভাগের ক্ষত কিভাবে বিষিয়ে দিল মোহনবাগান আর ইস্টবেঙ্গলকে?" [How did the wound of the partition of Bengal poisoned both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal?]. (in Bengali). Kolkata: ইনস্ক্রিপ্ট বাংলা নিউজ. Archived from the original on 7 November 2023. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  5. ^ Majumdar, Boria (2005). "Maharajas and Cricket: Self, State, Province and Nation". The International Journal of the History of Sport. 22 (4): 639–648. doi:10.1080/10.1080/09523360500122798. ISSN 0952-3367. S2CID 144277528.
  6. ^ Chakraborty, Rana (20 August 2019). "প্রাচীরের নাম গোষ্ঠ পাল" [The Wall Named Gostha Pal]. (in Bengali). Kolkata: Ekhon Khobor Bangla. Archived from the original on 22 October 2022. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  7. ^ Majumdar, B. (2006). "Cricket in colonial Bengal (1880–1947): A lost history of nationalism". The International Journal of the History of Sport. 23 (6): 960–990. doi:10.1080/09523360600802562. S2CID 216152701.
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