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Biography of Bharat Ratna “Pandurang Vaman Kane” complete biography for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Pandurang Vaman Kane


Litterateur, Orientalist and Indologist, a rationalist and social reformer, Pandurang Vaman Kane, was popularly known as Annasaheb Kane. Best known for his History of Dharmashastra, Kane, was born in a lower middle-class Chitpavan (Konkanastha) Brahman family at Pedhem (Pa rashuram) near Chiplun in Ra tnagiri district (Maharashtra) on 7 May 1880. His father, Vaman Shankar, was a Taluka Vakil. Kane was married to Subhadra in 1896.

He received his early education in the Mission High School at Dapoli. Passed his Matriculation examination in 1897. He did his B.A. in 1901, securing Bhau Dap Prize. First LL.B. in First Class in 1902. M.A. with Jhala Vedanta Prize in 1903. Second LL.B. in 1908. LL.M. in 1912. Secured V.N. Mandlik Gold Medal in 1905 and 1906.

Annasaheb served as a teacher in Government High Schools at Ratnagiri and Bombay from 1904 to 1911. In 1911 he resigned from Government Service and enrolled as a Vakil of the Bombay High Court. During 1913-17, he conducted a private law class. He delivered the Wilson Philological Lectures of the University of Bombay in 1913, and was the University Springer Research Scholar in 1915-17. During 1917-23, he was appointed Professor of Law in the Government Law College, Bombay.

At 60, Annasaheb brought out a volume of Studies in Indology in 1941, and henceforth honours came to him in rapid succession. In 1942 he was made Mahamahopadhyaya and received D. Litt. (Honorary) of the Allahabad University. During 1947-49, he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bombay. In 1946 he was elected President of the All India Oriental Conference at Nagpur, and in 1953, of the Indian History Congress at Waltair. He was a delegate of the Government of India for the International Congress of Orientalists in 1948, 1951 and 1954, being the leader of the Indian delegation at the latter two sessions. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Oriental and African Studies in 1951. From 1953 to 1959, he was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. He received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1956, the Certificate of Merit as a distinguished Sanskritist in 1958, and was made a National Professor of Indology in 1959. The University of Poona conferred upon him the D. Litt. (Honorary) in 1960.

The foundations of his major works in Sahitya-Sastra and Dharma-Sastra were laid respectively in 1906, when he wrote on the History of Alamkara Literature, which won for him the Mandlik Gold Medal of the University of Bombay, and in 1926, when he brought out a critical edition of the Vyavahara Mayukha by Nilakantha. History of Alamkara Literature appeared as an Appendix to Kane’s edition of the Sahitya Darpana, and was published as a separate book in 1951 and 1961. History of Dharmasastra, Kane’s magnum opus, in five volumes, constitutes an authoritative and encyclopaedic treatment of the religious and civil law of ancient and medieval India. He sought to derive from his exhaustive study guidelines for a rational and significant reconstruction of Hindu society. He covered all possible topics connected with Dharmasastra including discussions on astronomy and astrology, Samkhya, Yoga, Tantras, Puranas and Mimamsa, and the work can rightly be regarded as a thesaurus of Indian culture. The first volume was published in 1930, the second (in two parts) in 1941, the third in 1946, the fourth in 1953, the first part of Volume V in 1958, and the second part in 1962. The first part of the revised edition of the first volume appeared in 1968. His Sir Lallubhai Shah Lectures were published by the University of Bombay entitled Hindu Customs and Modern Law in 1950.

Kane’s deep and critical study of religious literature moulded his personality. He was a rationalist and had a broad outlook on matters of social reform. He condemned untouchability and tonsure of widows, and supported inter-caste marriages, widow-marriages, divorce, and reconversion with discrimination. His approach to scriptures was critical and rational, find he held that they were anitya (non-eternal),-and that Dharma must change with the times. In his view, the Hindu society should be reconstituted on the guiding principles of democracy, nationalism and world brotherhood.

Annasaheb’s life had been remarkably full and varied. He had taken a lively interest in several public activities—literary, social and cultural. He was the President and Trustee of the Brahaman Sabha, Bombay; Vice.-President of the Asiatic Society of Bombay; and Honorary Member of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona.

In addition to his visits to foreign countries as a delegate to the International Congress of Orientalists, Kane toured Europe in 1939, and the United States in 1954. Annasaheb was a man of simple habits and charming manners. He had a winning personality. Kane’s contribution to the intellectual life of India was his greatest service to the nation and the nation expressed its gratitute by honouring him with Bharat Ratna in 1963. He died on 18 April 1972.


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