Bishwa Nath Singh
Let us remember one who was a great scholar of three languages : Sanskrit, English & Marathi and a well-reputed author of many books who was rewarded with Maha Mahopadhyay for his distinguished works in Sanskrit and recepient of our country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna in 1963 for his distnguished service to the nation as Indologist and Sanskrit scholar!He was none else than Maha Mahopadhyay Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane who was honored with our country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna in 1963.
(Photo of Bharat Ratna Maha Mahopadhyay Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane )
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Bishwa Nath Singh:
Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane was a notable Indologist and a great Sanskrit scholar, who was born in a conservative Chitpavan Brahmin family in the Ratnagiri district in the then Bombay Province of India on May 7,1880. He was a brilliant s...tudent from his child hood. He had developed passion to be a voracious reader that he continued till his last He had studied in A.G.High School at Dapoli. And later on at Bombay.His father was a great scholar who always encouraged him to go for higher education.He had a brillian academic record and served as teacher, Professor and later on as the Vice-chancellor.He was a great nationalist and believer of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of truth and non-violence. He was a very simple person who always believed in simple living and high thinking. He is famous for his magnum opus in English, ''History of Dharmasastra'' subtitled ''Ancient and Mediaeval Religions and Civil Law in India.'' This work researched the evolution of code of conduct in ancient and mediaeval India by looking into several texts and manuscripts compiled over the centuries. It was published in five volumes; the 1st volume was published in 1930 and the last, in 1962. It runs to a total of more than 6,500 pages. Dr. Kane used the resources available at prestigious institutes such as the Asiatic Society of Bombay and Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, among others. The work is known for its expanse and depth – ranging across diverse subjects such as the Mahabharat, Puranas and Kautilya – including references to previously obscure sources. The richness in the work is attributed to his in-depth knowledge of Sanskrit. His success is believed to be an outcome of his objective study of the texts instead of deifying them. He had authored the book Vyavaharamayukha and was in the process of writing an introductory passage on the history of Dharmasastra for this book, so that the reader would get an overall idea apart from the subject of the book. One thing led to another and this project snowballed into the major work that it is. All the same, he was categorical in saying that it is difficult to find an English equivalent of the word “Dharma.” His output in the form of writings across the three languages of English, Sanskrit and Marathi spans nearly 15,000 pages. On November 17, 1962 the publication of the fifth and last volume of Professor P.V. Kane's History of Dharmasastra was formally announced by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, and a significant landmark in the history of Indological research in this country may be said to have been thereby established. The History of Dharmasastra is a literary work which is truly magnificent both in conception and execution. Its five Volumes which together extend over nearly 6,500 pages, seek to present the most comprehensive treatment of the religious and civil law of ancient and medieval India. Kane believed that the Indian constitution had made a Complete break with the traditional ideas prevalent in India by engendering a false opinion among the people that they have rights, but no obligations. Given the encyclopedic and authoritative nature of his work, it is often used in debates in Polity One such issue that cropped up during Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government was whether ancient Indians ate beef and both the groups quoted extensively from Kane’s work to support their viewpoint. This issue became important as the Hindus traditionally revere Cow as a mother and hence eating of Beef is prohibited. Another such issue was whether the girls in the ancient times had the right to wear the Yajnopavita (the sacred thread), restricted only to the men folk in the recent past. To commemorate him, Asiatic Society of Bombay HAD established Mm. Dr. P.V. Kane Institute for Post Graduate studies and Research in 1974 to promote, encourage and facilitate research in oriental studies. Also, MM Dr. P.V. Kane Gold Medal is given once every three years to a scholar for outstanding contribution to the study of Vedic, Dharmashastra or Alankara Literature. He was rewarded as Mahamahopadhyay (the greatest among the great teachers), as a prefix in the writings that refer to him. He served as the Vice-Chancellor of Bombay UniversityHis services were requisitioned and enlisted for establishing Kurukshetra University in Indic studies Received Sahitya Akademi Award in 1956 for History of Dharma Sastra Vol. IV (Research) in Sanskrit language.. He was also an honorary member of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha as a member of Parliament for his distinguished record in the field of academics. The grateful Indian Nation honored him with the highest civilian award “” Bharat Ratna’ for his distinguished services to the nation as Indologist and Sanskrit scholar in 1963. He died at the age of ninety two in the year 1972 leaving behind millions to mourn his passing away. He will be always remembered for his great academic life and as a great scholar, thinker and writer who had great command over Sanskrit, English and Mararthi- all three languages. One can see his graph who started his career as a teacher in a school, later became Professor in a college and had honor to be the Vice-chancellor of Bombay University it's all because of his hard work.Let us pay our humble obeisance to his lotus feet and pay our respectful homage and floral tribute to him!It's true that such person is rarely born on this earth.