This felicitation volume prepared in honour of Prof. Dr. Saroja Bhate (Ex-Head of the Department of Sanskrit and Prakrit languages, University of Pune) is a befitting academic tribute from her students, friends and admirers. It contains articles on various aspects of Indology like Vedic literature, Nirukta, Vedic ritual, Paninian grammar, Epics, Sanskrit Poetics, Vedanta, Buddhism, Nyaya, Mimamsa, Classical Sanskrit literature, Yoga, Linguistics etc. Internationally reputed scholars, from United States of America, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan and India have contributed their papers to this volume, which has thus become a fruitful exercise in research. Every serious Indological scholar will find some material of his field in it.
We have great pleasure to acknowledge the generous financial support from scholars, friends and students of Prof. Dr. Saroja Bhate towards the publication of this felicitation volume.
We are also grateful to all the scholars who have contributed their articles in this volume.
We thank Shri. Kishor Khurjekar and his associates for all their efficiency and assistance in the printing of this felicitation volume.
I remember I came to know Prof. Dr. Bhate when I was a school girl and she was a college student, Miss Saroja Chitari or just Sarojatai to us. I was a student of Bal Mukund Sanskrit Vidyalaya of Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth & studying for its Sanskrit examinations. Sarojatai was quite senior to us. Because of her scholarly achievements she had already become a legend. We used to tell each other how intelligent she was how she had bagged many prizes of S. S. C Board and that she was the winner of the coveted ‘Jagannath Shankarshet’ scholarship. Later I came to know that she was among the five students who won the maximum number of prizes of the S. S. C Board. Naturally we, the junior students, used to watch her from distance and with respectful fear.
But another facet of her personality was revealed in those days only. Annual social gathering of Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth was a special event for us. Every one of us wanted to participate in the cultural events, may it be singing, dancing, acting, drama reading etc. Sarojatai used to direct such small plays and dancing events. She sincerely guided us for elocution competitions. Though she was senior to us she mixed amongst us whole heartedly. At that time we came to know her dancing and acting talents. She was very much interested in fine arts especially dance & music. Her sweet and sonorous voice was so nice that it was an unwritten law in Tilak Vidyapeeth in those days that beginning of any ceremony must start with Saraswati-stavana sung by Sarojatai. I still remember her playing the role of Padmavati in Swapnavasavadatta while she was studying in Fergusson College. She enacted rote in Bhagavadajjukiyam a Sanskrit farce which won a prize in state level competitions. Many Sanskritists still remember her role of Indirabai, the mother of Sharada in the Sanskrit rendering of the traditional Marathi musical drama in which she also sang some songs.
She never lost her first rank throughout her graduate and postgraduate education. Winning awards became a part of her life and continued in her formal college education also and won various prizes, awards, certificates of Merit, Trophies, Caps. They are so many in number that I think she herself must have stopped counting them!
Special mention, however, may be made of an elocution competition. It was an All India Competition known as Akhila Bharatiya Sastra Pratiyogita at Varanasi in 1964. The subjects for the competition were anounced just 24 hours before. Every participant was expected to speak for seven minutes in Sanskrit. Her speech was so good and impressive that naturally she won the Gold medal for Vyakarana. However it was a great surprize when the head of the department of Vyakarana anounced one more Gold medal on his personal behalf to her as Sarojatai was the first and the only female candidate to participate in the competition. This is a unique example of winning Two Gold medals for a single performance.
In 1998 the Aadishakti Award was anounced for her by a private trust in Pune. In the following year she was honoured with the best teacher award by University of Pune and in year 2000, she was declared as the first recipient of Vedavyasa Sanskrit Award for Life time devotion to Sanskrit teaching and research by U. G. C. This award raised her to the status of National Scholar. It was indeed a matter of great joy to see a close friend becomming a celebrity by receiving felicitation and awards.
Her helping nature is yet another facet of her personality. While working in the department of Sanskrit and Prakrit languages in Pune University she has helped countless students of M.A., M.Phil, and Ph. D. research scholars to obtain jobs, scholarships etc. No needy student has returned from her office empty-handed. She was so well-known for her helping nature that a few years back in an annual social gathering of Pune University Sanskrit Department she received a ‘fishpond’ - employment bureau Sanskrit Department!
Prof. Bhate’s long standing career as head of the Department has moulded her personality as a perfect administrator. Her Personality is enriched with toplevel administrative experience At present she is associated with quite a few organize in different capacities. Chair person of the managing committee of Vaidik Samshodhan Mandal, President of Pradnya Pathashala Mandal, Wai, General Secretary of All India Oriental Conference, Executive committee member of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute are just few to mention.
Some years back I had an opportunity to work as co-ordinator of text book bureau of S. S. C. Board. Dr. Bhate was Chair person of the editorial board. At that time I was able to observe & experience her enthusiasm, ability & capacity to work tirelessly for hours together. Now also she continues to work with similar enthusiasm, ability and capacity. Prof. Bhate was invited as Visiting Professor at various institutes in countries like Switzerland, U. K., Germany Japan etc. And here I remember a verse from Sisupala vadha.
I have been closely watching Mrs. Bhate since many years as fullfledged hospitable housewife, a loving mother, a loving daughter, daughter in law performing diverse functions etc. with the same efficiency and skill.
The most important facet of her personality is gratitude towards her teachers. She wholeheartedly acknowledges the training she received from teachers like Pt V. B. Bhagwat, Dr. R. N. Dandekar, Dr. S. D. Joshi, Dr. Palsule and many others. The teachers are also very much proud of her.
Few months back I interviewed her for All India Radio. At the end of the interview I asked her about her future plan. I was expecting to hear about some grand academic project, about writing a book, giving lectures etc. But I was shocked by her reply! In her answer she revealed yet another facet of her multifaceted personality. She said that she was very fond of Pet animals, especially cats. She has a compassionate heart for stray dogs. She further said that she would have been a more suitable person to work in orphanages and stray animal houses rather than being an academician.
The important reason of her lovable personality in my opinion is that, inspite of these virtues she is not an extremist. Her approach to any problem is always to consider all sides and she finds solution acceptable to all. I have observed many such incidences in her case and every time the verse from …Raghuvamsa comes to my mind.
I sincerely pray to God for long, happy and healthy life for Dr. Saroja Bhate.
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend