Mahendralal Sircar, CIE, MD, DL was not only the greatest homoeopath of his time but also a scientist. He was born on 2nd November 1833 at Paikapara village in Howrah district, near Calcutta in the Bengal Province of British India.
He was brought up by his maternal uncles in Calcutta. First, he was sent to a ‘gurumasai’ or tutor to learn Bengali and subsequently to another tutor named Thakurdas Dey, to learn English. In1849, he passed the junior scholarship examination and joined Hindu College, where he studied up to 1854. At that time, Hindu College did not have facilities for teaching science and as he was bent upon studying medicine, he transferred to Calcutta Medical College. He obtained IMS in 1861 and MD degrees in 1863. He and Jagabandhu Bose were the second MDs of the Calcutta University.
Although educated in the traditional European system of medicine, Mahendralal turned to Homeopathy. He was influenced by reading William Morgans’s ‘The Philosophy of Homeopathy’. He devoted his life wholly to the propagation of the principles of Homeopathy.
In the field of physical science, Dr Sircar has made great contributions and was a pioneer of scientific research in India. The Calcutta Journal of Medicine, edited by him, was started in Jan 1868 for this purpose.
Mahendralal supported women’s education in nineteenth-century India when education among women was rare. For example, he was a supporter of Abala Bose’s decision to pursue the study of medicine in Madras Medical College instead of Calcutta Medical College where admission of females was not permitted. He also arranged for Sarala Devi Chaudhurani’s attendance in the evening lectures in IACS (Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science), so that she could pursue higher studies in Physics.
India Post has issued a 500 paisa (5 Rupee) commemorative postage stamp on the Birth Anniversary of Mahendralal Sircar.