Pandith Sudhakara: An Ardent Patriot and a Vedic Scholar (A Link between three Centuries)
SUDHAKAR Chaturvedi (born 20 April 1897) is a Vedic scholar who lives in Jayanagar, Bangalore in Karnataka, India. The surname Chaturvedi literally means “Master of the four Vedas”, but in the present time it has become a common surname; however, Sudhakar Chaturvedi is a Chaturvedi in the original sense as he has spent a majority of his life studying the four Vedas. He was given the name "Chaturvedi" for his knowledge of the Vedas. He is a disciple of Swami Shraddhanand at Gurukul Kangri in Haridwar, where he got his Veda Vachaspati degree (equivalent to a Post Graduate Degree).
Chaturvedi was a contemporary of Mahatma Gandhi, whom he first met when studying the Vedas in a gurukula in northern India. Subsequently, he became an ardent follower of Gandhian methods. He was a witness to many events in the Indian independence movement, including being an eyewitness to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Perhaps he is the only witness of that tragic event surving. He was known as Gandhiji's Postman, as he took down and delivered letters dictated by Gandhi addressed to the Viceroys or Governors-General. Gandhi called him 'Karnataki'. He lost the use of his right arm in 1938 while traveling with Gandhi, when the railwayman detached the last three compartments of the train as it was struggling to climb uphill. He was arrested at least 31 times during the freedom struggle, landing in prisons all over the country from Peshawar to Vellore.
He was offered the post of minister in the old Mysore state by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which he turned down. He also campaigned for the unification of the state.
Sudhakar Chaturvedi was born on Ram Navami day in 1897 in Kyatsandra in Tumkur Dist.
He has adopted children (a Harijan as his son), and he never married:
"My youth was spent in the struggle. By the time we got freedom [in 1947], I was over 50 years. Who would give me a girl then?"
He was the first teacher of Ravi Shankar.
As of 2007, he continues to give discourses on the Vedas. He has written over 40 books, and, as of 2008, is working on the publication of Vedic texts in 20 volumes. He has also announced in 2002 to be heading a project of the Arya Samaj to publish a 30000-page treatise in Kannada on Veda Bhashya, and by 2009, three of the four Vedas and six volumes of the Rig Veda were released.
He has been reported in newspapers as the oldest Indian.
He was the moving spirit behind the Bangalore Samaj, which published the Kannada monthly magazine Veda Taranga.
He was honoured by Motilal Banarsidass for his contributions to Indology, when it celebrated its centenary in 2003. The Karnataka Sahitya Anuvada Academy gave him an honorary award for 2007–08. In 2010 he was given a "Living Legend" Award by IDL at a public function where he pledged to donate his eyes. He was honoured by his alma mater, Gurukul Kangri university, in 2010. On Republic Day in 2010, he was felicitated by the Governor of Karnataka.
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