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Kapila Vatsyayan wants scholars to emulate Dr. Raghavan

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REMEMBERING A LEGEND: Rajya Sabha Member Kapila Vatsyayan (centre) presenting the first copy of ‘Smriti Kusumanjali,’ a compilation of tributes to Dr. V. Raghavan, to Radha Burnier, international president of the Theosophical Society, at the centenary celebrations of Dr. V. Raghavan in Chennai.
REMEMBERING A LEGEND: Rajya Sabha Member Kapila Vatsyayan (centre) presenting the first copy of ‘Smriti Kusumanjali,’ a compilation of tributes to Dr. V. Raghavan, to Radha Burnier, international president of the Theosophical Society, at the centenary celebrations of Dr. V. Raghavan in Chennai.

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: “Things are very difficult for Sanskrit scholarship today,” according to Kapila Vatsyayan, Rajya Sabha Member and an eminent scholar and art-historian.

She was speaking at the centenary celebrations here on Friday of Dr. V. Raghavan, an eminent scholar and recipient of various awards, including the Padma Bhushan, who was the head of the Department of Sanskrit of the University of Madras between 1955 and 1968 and author of more than 120 books and 1,200 articles.

“At this point in history and time, a time of achievement and questioning, we need to recollect what Dr. Raghavan and his generation did to reconstruct and reconstitute tradition,” said Ms. Vatsyayan, whose association with Dr. Raghavan dates back to 1950.

She said there was a gap between those looking at primary material and those looking into critical and scholarly issues, and in order to address that gap, Dr. Raghavan’s example must be emulated.

Dr. Raghavan was aware, and in complete command, of primary texts, and he also made them accessible by writing articles and commentaries. “Dr. Raghavan is the foundation of what we call Indian cultural tradition…,” she said.

Ms. Vatsyayan said no work of Indian aesthetics was complete without its quoting Dr. Raghavan. But, along with his work on aesthetics in the Sanskrit tradition, he looked into other theories from various parts of the world and linked them. “His work represented a continuum of traditions rather than a contest of traditions.”

She said that nowadays, the space for a dialogue between various perspectives was lacking, as was the case during Dr. Raghavan’s period. Such a space for pure intellectual dialogue, instead of ideological perspectives on cultural aspects, was required. “Dr. Raghavan left behind a rich legacy. We have the responsibility to take it forward,” she said.

‘Smriti Kusumanjali,’ a compilation of tributes to Dr. Raghavan on his 60th birthday by eminent personalities, including President Dr. Radhakrishnan and Vice-President V.V. Giri, was released.

The first copy was handed over to Radha Burnier, International President, Theosophical Society.

V. Kutumba Sastry, disciple of Dr. Raghavan and Vice-Chancellor, Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, received the first copy of ‘Udatta Raghavam,’ a publication of an ancient Sanskrit play by Mayuraja. This play was discovered and edited by Dr. Raghavan.

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