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By Madhav M. Deshpande


teacher asked a question: "Who was Shakespeare? " One of the students raised his hands and answered: "Sir, I think he was kept by Elisabeth! " The teacher, who normally had a stern face and rarely showed his lighter side, broke into laughter. The teacher was Professor Ramchandra Narayan Dandekar, and one of the students in the class he taught was my father, Murlidhar V. Deshpande, who told this episode to me. My father was one of those lucky students who had Dandekar as his teacher both at the high school and college levels. Loved and respected, as well as feared by his students, for about two-thirds of the 20th century Professor Dandekar dominated the academic world of Pune, and wielded a wide-ranging influence on the fields of Sanskrit and Indological studies in India and the world at large. At the age of 93, he passed away in Pune on December 11, 2001. If Sir R.G. Bhandarkar represented the peak of Indian Indology in the 19th century, R.N. Dandekar represents the peak of Indian Indology in the 20th century. Like Bhandarkar, Dandekar was a new brand of scholar. He was born in the town of Satara in Maharashtra on March 17, 1909. While this town was famous for its traditional Sanskrit pandits, to name V‡sudev ¯‡str „ Abhyankar among the most well known, Dandekar was not to follow the path of traditional Sanskrit scholarship. Again, like Bhandarkar, Dandekar was trained in the newly established modern Sanskrit scholarship at the Deccan College in Pune, the leading institution that was and is at the forefront of modern approaches to linguistic and historical scholarship i

Year: 1909
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