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Panchanan Tarkaratna


Panchanan Tarkaratna (1866-1940) Sanskrit scholar, was born in August 1866 in a family of scholars of Bhatpara (Bhattapalli) in the district of 24 Parganas. His father, Nandalal Vidyaratna, and grandfather, Lambodar Tarkavagish, were also sanskrit scholars.

Panchanan completed his primary education in kavya under his father at the age of 13. He then studied nyayashastra (logic) under Bhatpara's famous pandit Mahamahopadhaya Shivchandra Sarvabhauma and obtained the title of 'tarkaratna'. In 1890 he established a Sanskrit examination centre or pariksa samaj at Bhatpara. In 1927 he established a Sanskrit school.

In 1886 Panchanan joined the newly set up Bangabasi Press, founded by Jogendrachandra Basu. Here he translated books into Bangla and edited many Sanskrit books for publication. Some of the important books published by him include Shrimadbhagavadgita, Saptashati, Ratnavali, Unavingsha Smrtisanghita, purana, Manusanghita, Vedantasutrabhasya, ramayana, Adhyatmaramayana, Sangkhyadarshan, and Dasakumarcharita. Panchanan was also a writer. Some of his original writings are Parthashvamedh (epic), Amaramabgal (play), Dvaitaratnamala (philosophy), Malatimadhava (novel), and Sarvamabgalodaya (poetry). Many of his short stories, poems, shiva songs and Sanskrit writings in prose and poetry were published in different journals. He worked for some time as an honorary professor of Sanskrit at Bangabasi College.

Panchanan served as editor of the Janmabhumi for four years. He also served as president of the Bangiya Brahmansabha and as vice-president of the vangiya sahitya parishad. He presided over one of the discussions at the 14th session of the Bangiya Sahitya Parisad in 1923. In 1929 he was awarded the title of 'mahamahopadhyay' by the Government of India, but he renounced it when the government passed the anti-Hindu Sarada Act.

A devotee of the goddess Kali, Panchanan was genuinely committed to the nationalist movement. He was once arrested on charges of anti-state activities but was released when the charges could not be proved. He was closely associated with the Barnasram Swarajya Sangha established to propagate nationalism based on varnashram (the four stages of the life of a Hindu according to the vedas). He died on 10 October 1940. [Dilip Kumar Bhattacharya]