Rahul Sankrityayan

Rahul Sankrityayan

Rahul Sankrityayan was a scholar, Tibetologist, Buddhologist, historian, ethnographist, translator, traveler, freedom fighter and a revolutionary.

Each of the above subjects requires a long write up to do justice to him. At best what can be done here is to mention some of his significant contributions to the world of letters, the freedom movement.

Rahul was born as Kedarnath Pandey in a Brahman family at district Azamgarh, U.P., on April 9, 1893. After finishing his primary education in Urdu he passed the middle vernacular examination. Here ended his formal education. He received formal education only up to class VII through the medium of Urdu, but he educated by voracious reading and extensive traveling both in India and abroad and learnt three dozen languages. In an active life of about 50 years he wrote as many as 134 books in a period of less than 40 years. These included original works, translations and edited books. He mostly wrote in Hindi though he published a few pieces in English mainly in the form of lectures delivered at some research institutes abroad. He possessed remarkable memory because usually he neither had too many books nor notes around him when he started writing. He possessed phenomenal memory which made it easy for him to write or give dictation. It is really astounding that although Rahulji kept on moving all the time from place to place in India and outside the country, he found time for writing so many books.

He actively participated in the freedom struggle, undergoing long terms of imprisonment in 1921, 1931 and 1942. As President of All India Kisan Sabha he led the peasants struggle against the landlords of Bihar in 1939, receiving a lathi blow on his head

Mahapandit was awarded the Padmabhushan in 1963, and he received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1958 for his book Madhya Asia ka Itihaas.