Dr. A.N. Upadhye - His Life And Accomplishments: 1.1 Important Stages In His Life

Published: 28.05.2011
Updated: 28.05.2011

Important Stages In His Life

Dr. A.N. Upadhye was a great scholar, Professor and Researcher of the 20th century in the field of Jainology, Indology, Prakrit literature and languages. His scholarship was recognized and appreciated both in India and abroad. Born in Karnataka, he settled in Maharashtra, and being on the staff of the Rajaram College for more than three decades he dedicated himself to his field with all sincerely and zeal and accomplished many things that have no parallels. Some facets of his work and accomplishments are so numerous and valuable that they cannot be easily estimated and evaluated by students, scholars and other interested persons of this generation.

The main purpose of these lectures is to find out the values and significance of Dr. Upadhye's ideals, of his messages, of his guiding principles left by him all along his full-fledged and colourful life, to keep before the sympathisers and so share with them the deep respect I hold for him.

At the outset let us bring to our mind the important stages of his life:

  1. Dr. Upadhye was born in the family of Jaina Priests (Upadhyaya) on 6.2.1906 at a small town named Sadalaga in Chikkodi Taluka of Belgaum District. He had his primary education in Kannada in the same place under the guidance of his parents, who also infused in him the right religious and priestly culture.

  2. Then he had his secondary education in the well-known Gilginchi Artal High School, Belgaum. Following it, he had his college education in the Rajaram College, Kolhapur and in the Willingdon College, Sangli. Working hard he got the B.A. (Honours) Degree of the Bombay University, with Sanskrit and Prakrit in 1928. As there was no provision for post-graduate instruction in both of these two colleges, he moved to Poona and joined the concerned courses at the famous Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute and putting in strenuous efforts for two years, he got in 1930 his M.A. Degree of the same University in Prakrit and Sanskrit with First Class. In that Institute he also got special care and guidance of eminent Professors like Dr. P. L. Vaidya and Dr. V. S. Sukthankar, who infused in him the real research trends in the field of Prakrit and Sanskrit. In the same year he was appointed as Lecturer in Prakrit in the Rajaram College, Kolhapur and he permanently settled in that beautiful city. It is worth- noting that he taught and guided research in the same college for full 32 years from 1930 to 1962, rendered valuable service in it and accomplished great things in teaching, promotion of Prakrit studies, research, editing and publishing ancient Prakrit and Sanskrit works etc.

  3. In 1939 he got from the Bombay University the most prestigious D.Litt. Degree.

  4. Then from 1939 to 1942 he dedicated himself to higher research as Springer Research scholar of Bombay University.

  5. After 32 years of unbroken loyal service, in 1962 he retired from the Rajaram College.

  6. Then from 1962 to 1971 he worked as Professor Emeritus (with U.G.C. grants) at the Shivaji University, Kolhapur. During this very period, he, as a Dean of Arts, offered multi-valued services. He also lent, working hard, his trusted helping hand to Dr. A.G. Pawar, the then Vice-Chancellor to lay a strong foundation for the newly born University.

  7. In 1971 he was appointed as the Founder Professor and Head of the Jaina Chair in the University of Mysore, worked hard and laid strong foundation for it convincing the concerned authorities of the University and the U.G.C. Within this short period he got it converted into an independent and full-fledged Post-graduate Department of Jainology and Prakrit - almost a model for such Chairs and Departments in the whole of South India.

  8. In 1975 retiring from Mysore University, he went home built in Kolhapur, and within a few days, unfortunately, he died of heart-attack on 8.10.1975.

In these eight stages of life, spread over 45 years between 1930 to 1975, Dr. Upadhye did excellent work as an eminent Professor, promoter of Prakrit Studies, editor of ancient works, research scholar of international reputation, founder of the first Jaina Pith in South India and achieved great success in each. For evaluating the dimensions and merits of these achievements really some kind of measuring rods are needed. Setting aside all other such ones, I would use here one or two only as illustrations.

In the context of Dr. Upadhye's occupying the Jainology Chair at the University of Mysore, the Deccan Herald Daily published a news item on its first page, which I would repeat here:

"Vice Chancellor Shri K. L. Shrimali and Professor D. Javare Gauda deserve to be specially congratulated on persuading India's great scholar, Dr. A.N. Upadhye, to decorate the Jainology Chair instituted by the renowned philanthropist donor Shri Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain, Delhi. The Academic circles here rightly feel that with the appointment of the 66-year old Dr. Upadhye, the University of Mysore, has become richer today."

In order to understand the true meaning of this important news item, I should place here some additional information related to it, as I learnt it from Shri Laxmi Chand Jain, the then Director of the Bharatiya Jnana Pith, Delhi. It is as follows: Shri Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain, the Chairman of the Bharatiya Jnana Pith, had informed the

Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University that he would donate Rs. Three lakhs for the institution of the Jainology Chair at that University, provided Dr. Upadhye would leave Kolhapur and come to Mysore to be its founder- Professor and Head. At that time Vice-Chancellor Shri K. R. Shrimali and Professor D. Javare Gouda took the responsibility of convincing Dr. Upadhye and they did so. Before that, Dr. Upadhye, after retiring from the Rajaram College, had decided to continue his life in Kolhapur only.

I feel rather inevitable to add another piece of information as an appendix to the above mentioned one:

Soon after Dr. Upadhye retired from the Rajaram College, Dr. D. C. Pavate, the then Vice-Chancellor of the Karnatak University, created a post of Professor of Sanskrit and Prakrit and sincerely desired, through Professor B. B. Bagi, Dharwad, his own teacher and a close friend of Dr. Upadhye, that Dr. Upadhye should accept and join the new position as early as possible. But Dr. Upadhye modestly but clearly intimated Prof. Bagi that he was quite unable to leave his very old mother at Kolhapur and move to Dharwad for that purpose. This news, I myself, as a lecturer in the Karnatak College, heard as spread in the circles of the then Professors at the Karnatak University, and later, I confirmed it from some of my friends in Kolhapur, close to Dr. Upadhye's family.

Ahimsa Mandira Prakashana, New Delhi Edition: 1999

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  1. A.N. Upadhye
  2. Belgaum
  3. Bombay
  4. Deccan Herald
  5. Delhi
  6. Dharwad
  7. JAINA
  8. Jaina
  9. Jnana
  10. Karnataka
  11. Kolhapur
  12. Laxmi
  13. Maharashtra
  14. Mysore
  15. Poona
  16. Prakrit
  17. Prasad
  18. Sanskrit
  19. Upadhyaya
  20. Vaidya
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