Pandurang Vaman Kane born 7 May 1880 – 8 May 1972 was a Indologist and Sanskrit scholar. He received award Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award in 1963 for his scholarly work that spanned more than 40 years of active academic research and hardwork that resulted in 6,500 pages of History of Dharmashastra. One of the historian Ram Sharan Sharma once says: “Pandurang Vaman Kane is an excellent Sanskritist wedded to social reform and continued the sooner tradition of the scholarship. His monumental work entitled the “History of the Dharmasastra”, it’s published in total five volumes within the 20th century, it’s an encyclopedia of ancient social laws and customs. This enables and motivate us to study the different social processes in ancient India.
Dr. Kane is known for his work of art in English, History of Dharmaśāstra, subtitled Ancient and Mediaeval Religions and Civil Law in India. This work researched the evolution of code of conduct in ancient and mediaeval India by looking into several text. It was published in five volumes; the first volume was published in 1930 and also the last, in 1962. It runs to a total of over 6,500 pages. The richness within the work is attributed to his in-depth knowledge of Sanskrit. His success is believed to be an outcome of his objective study of the texts rather than deifying them.
Kane wrote the book like Vyavaharamayukha and was within process of writing an introductory on the History of Dharmashastra for this book in order to the reader would get an overall idea for the topic of the book. One thing led to a different and this project snowballed into the most important work that it’s. All an equivalent , he was categorical in saying that it’s difficult to seek out an English equivalent of the word “Dharma.” His output within the kind of writings in the three languages such as English, Sanskrit and Marathi and spans nearly 15,000 pages.
‘History of Poetics’ was one of his other great books. Apart only from Theology and Poetry, he also wrote a good deal on other topics too, including Astrology, Cultural and Geographical history of India-Maharashtra-Konkan- Vidarbha, Marathi language, its grammar, language & handwriting, economics of Kautilya (Chanakya), Mathematics, Dramatics, etc. There are altogether 198 publications by his name.
Dr. Kane was get rewarded as the Mahamahopadhyaya (Etymology: Maha+Maha+Upadhyay = It means the best among all good teachers), usually shortened to MM as a prefix within the writings that ask him. He served as the vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai. His services were requisitioned and enlisted for establishing Kurukshetra University in Indic studies. He was also awarded as the Sahitya Akademi award in 1956 for the History of Dharmashastra, volume IV for his research under the Sanskrit translation category. He was also an honorary member of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha as a member of Parliament for his distinguished record in the field of academics. The highest accolade bestowed upon him was the Bharat Ratna in 1963.
-Kundan S. Kopulkar