A contemporary of Rammohan Roy, Henry Louis Vivian Derozio was the leader of a radical reform movement.
As a teacher of the Hindu College he gathered round him a number of students who, later on, built up a modernistic movement.
These students had been deeply influenced by the ideals of Derozio and as such came to be known as the ‘Derozians’ or ‘Young Bengal’.
b. Derozio and his Ideals:
After completing his studies Derozio joined the Hindu College as a teacher. In spite of his being an Indo European Derozio looked upon India as his own motherland.
His poem Fakir of Jhungeera was full of high patriotic feeling. From various poems composed by him it is possible to know about the ideals which Derozio stood for.
Besides deep sense of patriotism Derozic was free-thinker and a rationalist. He refused to believe or accept anything simply because it had the sanction of the tradition.
c. Derozio’s Feat:
Derozio, a renowned teacher, was also a composer of poems. He also regularly contributed articles to various journals and magazines.
He served the paper ‘India Gazette’ as its assistant editor for some days. Derozio used these papers to communicate his ideas to common people.
He encouraged his students to debate freely and question authority. In 1828 Derozio with the help of his students founded the Academic Association in which debates on various issues used to be held.
d. Young Bengal:
No teacher of Hindu College exercised such influence on the students as that exercised by Derozio.
His ideal of free-thinking and spirit of inquiry exerted tremendous influence on his pupils and associates.
After the premature death of Derozio his radical ideas continued to find expression in a group of his followers who came to be known together as ‘Derozians’ or ‘Young Bengal’.
The Young Bengal movement, however, could not develop itself into a mass movement and remained confined to a limited social class.