Sudhakar Chaturvedi: A Vedic scholar and social reformer

Sudhakar Krishna Rao earned the title ‘Chaturvedi’ for his scholarship in four Vedas

Sudhakar Chaturvedi, scholar and freedom fighter who passed away on Thursday morning, was deeply influenced by Vedic tradition, Gandhian thoughts and teachings of Arya Samaj in a life that spanned over a century.

According to his associates, Mr. Chaturvedi was born at Balepete in Bengaluru on April 11, 1897. However, there has been some dispute on the year of his birth. Sudhakar Krishna Rao earned the title “Chaturvedi” for his scholarship in four Vedas. He translated them into Kannada and brought it out in 20 volumes. He was also the founding editor of Veda Taranga, the Kannada magazine devoted to Vedic studies.

His associate Shruthipriya, the current editor of Veda Taranga, said the veteran Gandhian had been jailed 30 times over a period of around 12 years during the freedom struggle. “He was kept in various jails, including those at Dhaka, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Bombay, Howrah, Karwar, Belagavi, and Mangaluru. He stayed with Mahatma Gandhi at both Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and Sevagram at Wardha,” Mr. Shruthipriya said: “During the freedom struggle, Mr. Chaturvedi interpreted the Vedas to spread awareness against untouchability.”

Mr. Chaturvedi’s first interaction with Mahatma Gandhi came during the latter’s visit to Gurukul Kangri at Haridwar run by Mahatma Munshi Ram, who later became Swami Shraddhananda, propagating the teachings of Dayananda Saraswathi and of Arya Samaj. “He was deeply influenced by the Mahatma and later chose to follow him to participate in the freedom movement,” Mr. Shruthipriya added.

He was often called “Gandhi’s postman” as the Mahatma used to dictate letters and send them to important persons through him. Mr. Chaturvedi was fond of recalling how the Mahatma used to call him “Karnataki”.

Mr. Chaturvedi returned to Bengaluru about a week before the Mahatma was shot dead in Delhi on January 31. Though he could not attend the funeral, he had been part of the condolence meeting that was held at Chikka Lalbagh then, said Mr. Shruthipriya, adding that after his return to Bengaluru, Mr. Chaturvedi chose to immerse himself in the study of Vedas instead of entering politics.

His death has been condoled by many leaders, including Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. His last rites were conducted on Thursday evening.

‘Leading light of Arya Samaj movement in State’

Veteran freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy said: “Though Sudhakar Chaturvedi was born into a very conservative Brahmin household, he was a Vedic scholar and reformer who opposed untouchability. Unmarried, he adopted a Dalit boy, got him traditionally educated in Sanskrit and he grew to become a reputed bureaucrat.”

Mr. Doreswamy recalled that Mr. Chaturvedi had two brothers and both worked in social and religious reforms. “While the eldest became a sanyasi at a very young age, another brother identified himself in the Harijan movement and Mr. Chaturvedi worked with the Arya Samaj... He was a leading light of the Arya Samaj movement in the State,” Mr. Doreswamy said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:50:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sudhakar-chaturvedi-a-vedic-scholar-and-social-reformer/article30934283.ece

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