On 22 January 1851 Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was appointed as the principal of Sanskrit College, Calcutta. In his younger days, Vidaysagar used to travel to his native village of Birsingha in Medinipur, a distance of about 136 km, on foot and return to Calcutta on the same day, again on foot. He would only halt for some time at a place called Mashat and drink green coconut water.
While teaching at the Fort William College, Vidyasagar would frequently visit his native village but later as he joined Sanskrit College, he could not visit Birsingha too often. But even as the principal of Sanskrit College, he would walk to Birsingha. If he had a companion who had some heavy luggage, he would ask for a trunk or a bag and carry it on his head while walking. Once on such a journey, he met two gatekeepers of his college who tried their very best to convince their principal to allow them to take the luggage from him. But Vidyasagar did not agree. He politely asked them to go home and kept on walking.
Vidyasagar was never tired of walking. At the very end of his life, when he could not digest food, he asked his doctors: “How can I improve my digestion?”
The doctors advised him to walk briskly.
Vidyasagar then asked, “For how long should I walk?”
“Until you are tired,” the doctors would suggest.
But Vidyasagar was not impressed. He said, “Then, I would have to walk all day and night for walking never makes me tired!”
[Translated excerpts from Indramitra’s Karunasagar Vidyasagar]