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Rahul Sankrityayan: The Forgotten Mahapandit

                           Birth Anniversary Special

famous quote by Rahul Sankrityayan

Rahul Sankrityayan, a name that should not need an introduction- stands forgotten! The Mahapandit (great scholar) was born on 9th April 1893. He was born in a small village Pandaha in Azamgarh, East UP. Rahul Sankrityayan was born as Kedarnath Pandey in a Bhumihar Brahman Family. However, his ancestral village is Chakrapanpur, a village in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh. He is known as the Father of Travelogues in India.

Religious and Philosophical views

Born into a Sanatan Hindu Brahmin family, Rahul Sankrityayan drew an early interest in Arya Samaj. Swami Dayanand Saraswati was one of his earliest inspirations! Soon, Buddhism became his faith interest. Later, he took his diksha in Srilanka. Thus, Kedarnath Pandey became Rahul, named after the son of Gautam Buddha and took the last name of Sankrityayan from his gotra(ancestral clan name in Sanatan culture)! Later, his belief shifted towards the Marxist philosophies.

Journey around the world
Ghumakkad Shastra by Rahul Sankrityayan

An ardent historian and a traveller, Rahul Sankrityayan spent 45 years of his life away from his home! He travelled across India and also out of India. He documented his experiences in books. These books are regarded as knowledgeable scriptures by travellers. Sankrityayan was a keen learner. He knew many languages like- Hindi, Bhojpuri, Sinhalese, French, Russian, Kannada,Tibetan, Arabic, Tamil etc. He was also aware of various dialects.

His travelogues include those from Ladakh, Kashmir, Nepal, SriLanka,Iran, China, Tibet, etc. He travelled to Tibet as a buddhist monk. Sankrityayan gets the credit for bringing a lot of valuable paintings and scriptures from Tibet. These were originally kept in Indian Universities like Nalanda. Upon the Mughal attack on the education centres, these paintings and scriptures were taken to Tibet by students from there!

The Writer In him

Sankrityayan knew a lot of languages. As a result, he spent most of his time learning and writing! He translated a lot of books. Also, he wrote many original pieces describing the rich history of India and the archaeological heritage. His books included- Tibet mein Seva Varsh, Meri Europe Yatra, Athato Ghumakkad Jigyasa, Volga se Ganga,etc. 

He received wide recognition for his work! He received the Padma Bhushan Award in 1963, and won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1958 for Madhya Asia ka Itihas!

Having written over 100 books, the Father of Indian Travelogues has not received the recognition that he probably deserved. He remains as a name that spread the Indian Culture and its essence to a lot of places, and also brought a lot of cultures to India. The best part about his writings was that he wrote in Hindi, Pali, Bhojpuri, etc. i.e., he chose the peoples language! Even after his demise in 1963, his heritage still continues. Still, his travel journals and philosophies continue to inspire the masses!

Author: Apexa Rai

Also Read: Here’s why studying master’s degree from abroad is a boon 

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This is Apexa Rai! Student- B.A. Honors(Journalism) Intern at Akashbaani Loves to write! An optimistic Wildflower!

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