A Tragedy That Struck Sanskrit, Hindi, Hinduism,
And Cultural Legacy of India
It was the hot summer night of May 14, 1963, when news were about to be
broadcast by the All India Radio, and the author of this article was taking
dinner while his ears were directed �towards the radio. Suddenly� a shocking
news headline struck on to the ear that profoundly shocked and stunned the
author. The very first radio news headline described the sudden, highly tragic,
�and very untimely demise of Professor Dr. Raghuvira in a road accident near
Rooma (Ruma) �village of �District Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. The accident took
place while he was going to Farrukhabad from Jaunpur. At the time of his death
Dr. Raghuvira was the President of the erstwhile Jan Sangh party, and he was
going by car to address an election meeting in favour of �his socialist party
friend, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, who was a candidate for a �by-election to be held
in May 1963 from the Farrukhabad Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh. One of
the tyres of his car suddenly burst, the vehicle turned out of control, and it
struck against three trees one after another just 18 kilometers east of Kanpur
city. In this accident India lost the noble man and a millennium genius who had
translated the Constitution of the country into Hindi, and the world had lost
the most able linguist of all times. He was survived by one son and two
Forty five years have now passed by following �this tragic accident that had inflicted incalculable loss not only to the Indian nation and Hindi literature, but to the literature of all the modern and ancient languages of the world. �The site of the accident of Rooma village, in the outskirts of Kanpur,� has been named as Raghuvir Nagar, where now a B.Ed. College, named Saraswati B.Ed. Mahavidyalaya, �has also been established which is� affiliated to� the Chhatrapati� Sahu Ji� Maharaj University �����(Kanpur University). The Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) has now also acquired a vast area of Rooma and has established it into an industrial hub of the state.
Dr. Raghuvira has become immortal for his services rendered by him to the cause of Hindi in discovering and coining more than 1,50,000 scientific, parliamentary, and common-usage terms with Sanskrit as the common base just like Latin is the base for European languages. For this Himalayan task Dr. Raghuvira �had taken the help of 66 noted scholars �of India including the famous scientist, Dr. Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar. The 35th Volume of his� great and voluminous �English-Hindi Dictionary Of Governmental And Educational Words�, published in 1969 (six years after his death), weighing more than two kilograms and having 1572 large-sized pages, is considered �his greatest contribution to the cause of Indian Languages and virtually for all the modern subjects taught in each and every institution of India. This dictionary was published by the International Academy of Indian Culture, New Delhi, and was put on sale for the public for a negligible price of Rs. 30 only, although it had cost the publisher around Rs. 100 each copy, and it should have been sold for no less than Rs. 150 per copy (in 1969). But because of Dr. Raghuvira�s lifelong selfless services for the benefit of the common people this dictionary was distributed by the publishers virtually free of cost (the printed price of Rs. 30�a pittance-- was only a token amount).
Dr. �Raghu Vira was born on December 30, 1902, in the erstwhile West Punjab city of Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan). He �was one of the greatest linguists and unsung cultural ambassador of India. Knowledge-wise Raghuvia was a human world encyclopedia, a versatile genius who dedicated his entire life to the cause of India's cultural renaissance. In the History of India Dr. Raghuvira was the only literary politician who always played truly patriotic and divine politics. Although an ex-Congressman Dr. Raghuvira� not only served as Jan Sangh President, he was the most respected dynamic parliamentarian and renowned multi-linguist respected not only by the top brass of India but by many of the kings, presidents, and prime ministers of various other countries as well.
After doing MA from Punjab University, he did Ph.D. from London, and D.Litt. from Leiden University (Holland). Dr. Raghuvira's early centre of work after his three study trips to Europe was Lahore �where he became Head of Sanskrit Department in the famous Sanatan Dharma College.
In 1948 Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the then� President of the constituent Assembly of India, entrusted Dr. Raghuvira and his associates with the task of developing the terminology required for the translation of the English text of the Constitution of India� into Hindi and other Indian languages. The terminology was developed, �discussed and then approved by an All-India Committee of Linguistic Experts representing as many as thirteen languages, viz., Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Kashmiri, Assamese, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya and Punjabi.
Some Of The Hindi-Sanskrit Terms For English Words Coined Or Discovered By Dr. Raghuvira
The most important and common term like �sachiv� for secretary, �sachivalay� for secretariat, �prati-sachiv� for deputy secretary, �avar-sachiv� for under secretary, �apar-sachiv� for additional secretary, �adhikosh� for bank, �sahkari adhikosh� for co-operative bank, �sanchay adhikosh� for savings bank ; the noun �panji� for register, the verb �panjiyan� or �nibandhan� for registration ;� �aasandi� for chair, ��doordarshan� for television, �nabhovani� (equivalent to �aakashvani�) for radio, �vitantupyog� for transistor or any other wire-less transmission instrument, etc., were all developed by Dr. Raghuvira et al.
As regards other vivid words, The Andaman Island was named by Dr. Raghuvira� as �Krishnadweep�. Cement was called �vajrachoorniya� or �vajralepiya�. Similarly, Collector was termed as �samaharta�, and collectorate as �samahartralaya� or �samahartra-kchhetra�, and canal as �kulya�. For an invitation to eat and drinking, the term �ashneetpibta� was coined.
In the field of chemistry, the names of some of the various elements were coined as follows by Dr. Raghuvira :
Sulphur as �shulbari� : The name sulphur or sulfur was borrowed by the Europeans from Latin, but it is only in Sanskrit that it has clear significance as �enemy of copper� [shul = copper, bari or vairi = enemy ].
Sulphuric acid as shulbarik amla.
Carbon as �prangaar� [Latin, carbo = coal or charcoal ].
Silicon as �saikta� and silica or sand as �sikta�.
Aluminium as �sphatyaatu� [in Sanskrit, �sphati� = alum].
Uranium as �kirnaatu� because it is a radio-active element that liberates radiation.
Chlorine as �Neeraji� as it is capable of destroying the colour (�raj�).
Bromine as �duraaghri� (having very very bad smell).
Benzene as �dhoopenya� (a compound that burns with sooty flame).
Bromobenzene as �duradhoopenya�.
Glucose as �madhum� (as sweet as madhu or honey).
Ammonia as �tiktaati� (originating from �vaati� or a gas having pungent taste and smell).
Ammonium chloride as �tiktaatu neerey� (which is also known as �nausaadar�).
Dr. Raghuvira's Politics
In any scholarly assembly, Dr. Raghuvira invariably outshone because of his extraordinary abilities and knowledge over all other speakers. That is why at one occasion he was also offered principalship of the S. D. college, but with the condition that he would not take part in politics. As expected, he instantly turned down this lucrative and prestigious offer by saying that his way of politics was far away from greed and vested interests, and that without politics he would fail to spread the cultural renaissance that his countrymen needed most.
Dr. Raghuvira was elected first to Constituent Assembly in 1948 and then to Rajya Sabha in 1952, and again in 1957 with the Congress party ticket, but by heart and soul his nature never matched with the Congress party politics. Quite often he could not suppress his nationalist Hindu zeal that invariably irked the Congress top brass. Thus, because of his differences with Pandit Nehru over the China policy he left Congress party in 1961. His inside knowledge of China and South-East Asia was so unique that he had foreseen the evil designs of China towards India. That is why he quite often pleaded for a large anti-China and anti-communist front of Buddhist countries of South-East Asia, but Pandit Nehru always dissuaded and discouraged him. Eventually the lack of foresight on the part of Pandit Nehru proved disastrous for the entire Indian nation because soon India was caught unawares by the Chinese aggression in 1962. China attacked India without any provocation ; countless Indian soldiers were killed, and many hundred thousand square kilometers of Indian land came under the Chinese occupation. Pandit Nehru had made no attempts to strengthen country's armed forces, hence Indian army suffered humiliating defeat at the hands of China.
Even 6 years before the Indo-China war when Dr. Raghuvira had returned to India after a three months cultural research tour of China (in 1956), he had told Pandit Nehru that his so called cultural bhaai' (brother) of India 'the China--was in reality an expansionist and imperialist country only, and that the falsehood of Indo-China friendship mantra 'Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai'---was no more than a sherbet laced with the deadly poison, potassium cyanide.
So, Dr. Raguvira's gloomy prophecies about China had fully come true within a year's time when China had suddenly attacked India in 1962 when India was chanting the mantra of Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai. In 1959, China had already attacked and occupied Tibet leading to the Tibetan Dharam Guru, Dalai Lama, to flee from his country and take refuge in India.
When Pandit Nehru failed to catch up the sharp radiation of Dr. Raghuvira's wisdom, the latter resigned in disgust in December 1960. In politics Dr. Raghuvira was deeply influenced by Lala Lajpat Rai's ideals and thoughts.
Soon after his resignation, Dr. Raghuvira was invited to the Hindu nationalist party, Jana Sangh, and he happily joined it as he had found this party close to his views, ideas and ideals. 'Jan Sangh' was the earlier version of the present day Bhartya Janta Party (BJP).
Dr. Raghuvia As a Universal Linguist And Cultural Legend
Dr. Raghuvira was the most noted and respected linguist and staunch nationalist ever born in the modern history of India. Throughout his life Dr. Raghuvira endeavored for a joint front of all the Indian languages against the monopoly of English. He was the master of not only Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, English, Urdu, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi languages but was having command over most of the European languages as well (English including).
Dr. Raghuvira,the unparalleled legend of Indian culture, and an established literary research tycoon, had successfully excavated (or retrieved) and collected about three hundred thousand Sanskrit manuscripts spread worldwide as the relics of the glorious work of the Hindu and Buddhist missionaries of Asia. These untiring and epoch-making efforts of Dr. Raghuvira had greatly impressed the renowned world leaders like the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Prime Minister Chou En-lai of China, President Dr. Soekarno of Indonesia, and President Charles Degaulle of France. These leaders had extended personal appreciation to Dr. Raghuvira for searching out the long lost Indian artifacts and manuscripts in those countries where many other scholars had failed to do so. That is why when Dr. Raghuvira came back home from China after a three month tour in 1956 he was carrying a baggage of 300 wooden boxes with him, and all the boxes were filled with rare antiques and manuscripts bearing deep cultural relations between ancient China and India.
Many of the foreign leaders when sometimes failed to understand the meaning and/or root of their own countries' words and phrases, and when even their own linguists also could not render any help in matter, they used to invite Dr. Raghuvira for the hard task. The ultra deep intelligence of Dr. Raghuvira always succeeded in satisfying the needs of the foreign dignitaries.
Being an institution in himself he established International Academy of Indian Culture named 'Saraswati Vihar'. This Vihar was Dr. Raghuvira's personal centre for Research work in Indian Culture, Literature and Religion. Although it was first established at Ichhra Bazar a commercial-cum-residential area near Lahore (in Pakistan) in 1932, but foreseeing the Hindu-Muslim divide in the future, Prof. Raghuvira had timely shifted the venue of the Saraswati Vihar to the Madhya Pradesh city of Nagpur in 1946 just a year before the bloody Partition of India. Fortunately, the then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla, provided him all the facilities for the rehabilitation of his research network.
In 1956 the Saraswati Vihar was shifted to Delhi where it is still functioning under the leadership of Dr. Lokesh Chandra,the worthy and staunch nationalist son of Dr. Raghuvira.
Dr. Raghuvira was a Hindu nationalist and true patriot in every sense of the terms. Earlier even in 1948 he had clashed with Congress party leaders on the question of Kashmir's Chief Minister, Sheikh Abdullah's anti-India and Anti-Indian policies and politics. Dr. Raghuvira's apprehensions about Sheikh Abdulla soon came true, and Sheikh was arrested and sent to jail.
Dr. Raghuvira's reputation in Hindu circles soared very high after that. Through his address at the Bhopal session of Jana Sangh in December 1962, a month after the Chinese attack he made crystal clear analysis of India's defense problems, foreign affairs and economic policies. But due to quirk of fate he did not live longer. His tragic death in the very next years (1963) was second great blow to Jana Sangh after the death of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee.
Why Not Decorate Dr. Raghuvira With Bharat Ratna Posthumously ?
My 14, 2008, will be the 45th death anniversary of Dr. Raghuvira. It should be a sincere effort of not only each and every Hindi-loving but every India-loving person to observe this fateful day as a day of obeisance, remembrance, and deep respect for the great legend. At the same time it should be our effort to persuade the Government of India to decorate this great son of India with Bharat Ratna posthumously. Further, a chair of Hindi learning and research should also be established in every university of the country. The life history of Dr. Raghuvira should also be incorporated in the text books of Hindi at all levels of education up to the Intermediate standard. It is very sad to note that despite knowing the unchallenging contributions of this great genius of Hindi and Sanskrit literature neither Congress Government nor the BJP Government while in power did anything to bestow due respect to Professor Dr. Raghuvira.
--- G. S. Johar