Sanskrit bhasha pracharni sabha
Vidharbha is the birth place of erudite blessed by Saraswati, the goddess of speech, declares the well known Sanskrit poet Rajshekhar. Rajshekhar obviously referred to the galaxy of Sanskrit scholars that reverberate the corridors of time in Vidharbha. His prophetic words have stood the test of time and we have a hoary past, a rich present and a promising future for Sanskrit scholarship in Vidharbha. Not delving much into the past for assessing the contribution of Vidarbha to Sanskrit learning which in itself forms a subject for discussion.
In the wake of 19th century, the then capital city of Nagpur witnessed the arrival of Pandit Sadashivbhatt Ghule from Varanasi, who was invited by Bhonsla king to act as a judge in resolving the learned disputation that went on in the court of Bhonsla. Sadashivbhatt later stayed at Nagpur and heralded the tradition of Sanskrit Pandits that brought Nagpur on the map of Sanskrit scholarship in India, so much so that Nagpur came to be known as ‘Dakshin Kashi’. The last decade of 19th century witnessed a line of Mahamhopadhyas in the field of Veda, Vyakrana, Nyaya and Sahitya. The foundation of Bhonsla Ved Shala in 1879 was the first organized attempt to institutionalize the traditional learning. But perpetuation of old Shastric learning could not remain to be permanent objective. Sanskrit learning was soon associated with national resurgence. And this feeling gained conviction, when Lord Macaulay imposed his educational dispatch on Indian people. English medium and English education slowly emerged tolling the knell of Sanskrit and traditional learning.
In the pre-independence days there lacked concerted efforts on the part of the Sanskrit-lovers in Nagpur to form the organization to create awareness of Sanskrit learning in national context. However a young Sanskritist, Tryambakshastri Joshi, the editor of short-lived Sanskrit monthly ‘Geervan’ cherished the dream of Vidharbha Sanskrit Mandalam. His dream did not come true in his life time. But with the dawn of independence the Sanskrit-lovers in Nagpur thought of organized efforts to mark the new awakening in the field of Sanskrit and on Prabodhini Ekadashi day in Saka 1872 i.e. 20th November 1950 SANSKRIT BHASHA PRACHARINI SABHA took shape.
The veteran scholars like Justice Dr. Bhavani Shankar Niyogi, Mahamahopadhya Dr. V V Mirashi, S N Kulkarni, Prof. S G Somalwar, Prof. S B Warnekar , Prof. D V Varhadpande contributed to form this august, premier voluntary organization of Sanskrit in Vidarbha. Late S N Kulkarni was the founder Secretary and Dr. B. S. Niyogi was the founder President. Since then Sabha had marched, through many a vicissitudes to the present position of progress. Sabha has already celebrated its Platinum jubilee on completion of 50 years and is now the verge of its Diamond jubilee!
In its first wake up, the institution took up four-fold activities for spread of Sanskrit learning namely (1) conducting Sanskrit classes, (2) publication of small booklets, (3) arranging lectures by Sanskrit scholars & (4) publication of Sanskrit Bhavitvyam- a Sanskrit weekly.
PROPOGATION THROUGH EXAMINATIONS
The founder secretary late S N Kulkarni had a vivid about the progress of this institution. He aimed at inculcating the Sanskrit on the minds of Shishus and Balas, who could turn out to promise a secured future for Sanskrit. And with this conviction he framed syllabus and wrote books by himself. These books are repository the Sabha can boast of. Shri S N Kulkarni, who thought that Sanskrit should be taught from the level of kindergarten. He wanted to exploit the uncommon capacity of students at their early age to retain and reproduce the information received by them. He introduced oral examinations with a view to improving the students’ ability towards chaste pronunciation. In course of time, the written examinations were also introduced and now we have the syllabi for oral examinations as well as written examination to the need of students from kindergarten level to the level of graduation. A novel examination called Sanganakiya-Sanskritam is recently introduced. This examination is a part of program of depicting the importance of Sanskrit in the wider fields of modern computer science. This falls under the broad activity called Sanskrit and positive sciences. Sanskrit Bhasha Pracharini Sabha is the conducting board and the classes are held at different centers and schools. The area of this activity is spread over Maharashtra from Chandrapur to Barshi. The number of students appearing for these examinations is on increase almost every year.
Sabha has published number of books to render basic training in Sanskrit. Shabda-rupawali, Dhatu-rupavali, Bal patha, Vyavahar-prashnottari and Kaumudi-pravesh which help any novice to have inroads in the grammatical structure of the language. The efforts have been made to make the subject more intelligible with no strain on comprehension. Besides these books, some other books like Ramayankatha, Mahabharathkatha, Hitopadeshkatha are specially got prepared by learned Sanskrit scholars to introduce students to the cultural richness of the land. Still much needed to be done this field. Recently, watsalya rasayanam, a Sanskrit poem by Dr. S B warnekar and Kathawallari anthology of Sanskrit stories by the same author have been published.
Soon after its foundation, Sabha thought of publishing its mouth piece in Sanskrit. A meeting of the Sanskrit lovers was called on 27.2.1951 and it was resolved to start a Sanskrit weekly from chaitra shukla pratipada i.e. 7th april 1951. Noted Sanskrit scholar Prof. S.B. Warnekar was requested to become its founder editor. The first issue came out on 7th April 1951 with the first editorial Madhyapradesha Prathmam Sanskrit Saptahikam. Since then this weekly has never looked back and continued to be published for over 45 years with negligible interruption during 1986 and 1987. The weekly was later registered in 1957 under Press and Registration of Books Act 1867 and taken on the record Registrar of newspapers with the registration no. 114454/57. The weekly has been recognized Central govt. and Rashtirya Sanskrit Sansthan, an apex body of Sanskrit in India, which gives annual grant of 5000/- for the improvement of quality and content of the paper. With the humble beginning in 1951 the weekly has been wading its way to progress bracing all adversities adjusting itself to the call of times and also answering the challenges of printing technology. During long spell of 45 years this weekly has changed places of printing. In 1974, an attempt was made by Sabha to have a printing press of its own. Sabha in fact purchased a small treadle machine. But paucity of funds affected its maintenance by the Sabha. Sabha had ultimately to give the same to M/s. Uday Art Printers which printed the weekly for Sabha till 1986. But as the matter went to court, Sanskrit Bhavitavyam was to be got printed from outside. Now Sanskrit bhavitavyam is printed on offset machine with its composing done on computer.
Sanskrit bhavitavyam has largely contributed to the history of contemporary Sanskrit literature. It has justified the ways of Sanskrit journalism. The weekly has nearly 100 special issues brought out on various national and international events. It is the oldest and the extant Sanskrit weekly in Maharashtra after the cessation of Sunrutavadini by Appashastri Rashiwadekar of Wai in 1911. Sanskrit Bhavitavyam has to its credit a roll of Sanskritists on its editorial board during this long span of 45 years. The weekly can be pointed out as the reaalisation of the sustained efforts put by two generations of Sanskritists. Sanskrit Bhavitavyam aims at presenting a simple style of Sanskrit writing entirely free from traditional pedantic style abounding in long compounds and use of uncommon verbal forms. Sanskrit Bahvitavyam broadly embraces the following features the news, the editorial and the articles of literary, cultural and scientific interest. The editorials deal with the topic ranging from philosophy to politics and rhetoric to science thereby justifying the vaibility of Sanskrit as a powerful medium of modern thought. Sanskrit Bhavitavyam is the only Sanskrit weekly in Maharashtra which is approved by advertisements such as small savings, lottery continue to subscribe this weekly. Thus Sanskrit Bhavitavyam stands to fuse modernity with tradition.
As a public institution Sabha has been holding program for the benefit of the public at large. To creat awareness about Sanskrit language and Sanskrit culture, and to do away with the misgivings about Sanskrit, lurking in the minds of people Sabha has time and again, organized lectures by eminent Sanskrit scholars on various topics related to Sanskrit literature. Of late, through the donations of 3000/- received from the members of Waikar family. Sabha could be able to arrange late Martandrao Waikar Lecture series for last four years. Also, Sabha’s President Dr. N. R. Waradpandedelivered lectures on Navya-Nyaya and Boolean Algebra. Aryan Invasion- A myth. Rigved and Kalidas. In the past Sanskrit Vyakhyanmala was also arranged.
Many Sanskrit lovers in the city and outside donated some amount which is kept in the bank in the form fixed deposits. And interest accrued thereon has been utilized for giving prizes to the students successful at various examinations.
Sanskrit Bhasha Pracharini Sabha possess a rich collection of Sanskrit books handed down to it by late Kinkhede. Sabha had also purchased some books. The collection has now reached to 3000 in number. But the greatest help had come from Central Govt. which presents the books ex-gratia to Sabha. Under sansthan, Sabha has been receiving number of books free directly from oublishers to whom a subsidy has been given by the Central Govt. for their publications. Thus the racks in the Sabha are littered with books and we are gearing up to put the service of the library to the benefit of scholars and amateurs alike.
A new wing of the Sabha has started functioning since 1980s, which places importance on presenting cultural programs in Sanskrit. The inauguration of its drama-wing, ‘Rupakodayah’ on 12-2-1988 by noted Sanskrit play-wright Shri. S. B.Warnekar, has paved a way for performance a few one act plays in Sanskrit on A.I.R. Later from 1988 onwards this group began participating in Maharashtra Rajya Sanskrit Natyaspardha and won first prize for 2 consecutive years in 1992 and 1993. As a part of the prize distribution ceremony of these state competitions, Govt. of Maharashtra invited the artists of Rupakodayah to give performance of the prize wining Sanskrit drama at Mumbai and Chiplun. Under the auspicious of the cultural wing of the Sabha programs in Sanskrit songs and Keertans were also performed towards the entertainment of Sanskrit lovers.
Although Sanskrit Bhasha Pracharini Sabha is primarily propagating institution it has thought, in the long run to embark upon the activities relating to critical scholarship in Sanskrit in addition to its regular propagatory activities. And thus Sanskrit research association came into existence. It was inaugurated by Dr. Vijay Bedekar, a noted indologist of Oriental Institute, Thane on 10-7-1993. The Secretory, Shri N. R. Pattarkine has spelled out the desideratum of such an organization in his article written in Hitvada dated 12-7-1993. A publication program has ben undertaken as a part of this activity. And Sabha has so far published two research monographs by Dr. N. R. Waradpande namely ‘NEW LIGHT ON THE DATE OF RIGVEDA’ and ‘SOMA’. The new light on the datye of Rigveda was formally released at the hands of Dr. Shankardayal Sharma, the president if India on 15-3-1995.
SANSKRIT AND POSITIVE SCIENCES
Sanskrit is not confined to ivory tower. It has a mundane and sacrifice base, is the very thinking behind very organizing the program on Sanskrit and positive sciences as one of the activities of the Sabha. Dr. Chandragupta Warnekar is the Program Director of Sanskrit and positive science. Dr. Chandragupta Warnekar, B.E, M.TECH, Ph.D is a Sanskritist by temperament and scientist by training He imbibes in himself a legacy of Sanskrit scholarship and acquisition of higher knowledge in the field of engineering with emphasis on computer science. He is solely credited with framing the first syllabus of Sanganakiya Sanskritam, the model of who has been emulated by University of Pune. Dr. C. S. Warnekar is a known authority on Sanskrit and computer in India and abroad. He specialize in Sanskrit Algorithms. He has a number of programs to offer in Sanskrit software. The department of Sanskrit and positive science has been steadily marching under his able stewardship.
Sanskrit Bhasha Pracharini Sabha is perhaps the only voluntary organization in the field of Sanskrit in Maharashtra doing a multifaceted work in Sanskrit. It has a managing committee of Sanskrit lovers drawn from different walks of life holding various positions in the Govt. thus benefiting the Sabha with their rich and varied experience. The institution has very reason to smart under the pride when it approaches to the completion of 70 years of vibrant life.
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