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Chandrakanta Tarkalankar, Mahamahopadhyay


Chandrakanta Tarkalankar, Mahamahopadhyay (1836-1910) Sanskrit scholar, poet and critic, was born in 1836 at sherpur. His father, Radhakanta Siddhantavagish, was also a sanskrit scholar.

Chandrakanta first learnt grammar and religious precepts from his father. Later he studied religious books and Vedanta at vikramapura and Nabadwip, two important centres of Sanskrit learning. He taught at sanskrit college, Kolkata (1883-1897). In 1903 he became a member of vangiya sahitya parishad and held the post of Vice-President from 1904 to 1905. He became a member of the asiatic society of Calcutta in 1894.

Chandrakanta edited a number of books in the Asiatic Society's Bibliotheca Indica series, such as Gobhilagrhyasutram, Kusumabjaliprakaranam, Parasharasmrti, Bhattadipika, Trikandamandanam, Katyayanapradipah, Gobhilaparishista and Kalanirnayatika. The German scholar Herman Weldenburg translated Chandrakanta's edition of Gobhilagrhyasutram into English. Max Muller subsequently published this translation in Sacred Books of the East. Chandrakanta also wrote a number of books in Sanskrit, including the epics Satiparinayam and Chandravangsham and the verse drama Kaumudisudhakaram. His other writings in Sanskrit include Alabkarasutram, Udvahuchandralokam, and the philosophical Tattvavali. For his profound knowledge of the Vedanta, he was awarded the title of 'Tarkalankar'.

During Queen Victoria's golden jubilee in 1887 Chandrakanta received the newly introduced title of 'Mahamahopadhyay' for his knowledge of eastern philosophy. He was the first person to be elected Xri Gopal Basu Mallik Fellow by Calcutta University. During his term as a fellow, he delivered lectures on the Vedanta, which were subsequently published in several volumes during 1899-1904. Chandrakanta held modern and liberal views on women's education and, in his book Shiksa, he argued strongly in favour of nationalising women's education. Chandrakanta died on 2 February 1910. [Rabindra Nath Sarker]