Barua, Benimadhab

Benimadhab Barua

Barua, Benimadhab (1888-1948) educationist, writer was born on 31 December, 1888 in the village of Mahamuni under raozan thana, chittagong His father's name was Kaviraj Rajchandra Talukder. As a young man, Benimadhab assumed the title of 'Barua', discarding the family title of 'Talukder'. He passed ME from his village school, the Entrance examination in 1906 from Chittagong Government Collegiate School and FA in 1908 from Chittagong College. He studied for some time at Scottish Church College and Presidency College but then took admission in Baharampur Krishnanath College from where he passed BA (Hons) in Pali in 1911. In 1913 he obtained MA degree in Pali from University of Calcutta. He also studied law at Calcutta City College and Calcutta Law College.

In 1912, while still studying, Benimadhab joined Mahamuni Anglo-Pali Institution as headmaster. From 1913-14 he worked as a lecturer in the Pali Department, Calcutta University. In 1914 he went to England on a government scholarship. He completed MA in Greek and Modern European Philosophy from the University of London. In 1917 he was awarded a DLitt by the University of London for his dissertation on Indian philosophy and buddhism.

Returning to India in 1918, Benimadhab rejoined Calcutta University where he was subsequently promoted to professor. He revised and developed the MA Pali syllabus. Apart from his work in Pali, Benimadhab was also associated with the departments of Ancient Indian History and Culture (1919-48) and Sanskrit (1927-48).

Benimadhab wrote several books and research articles. The Bangla translation along with the original Pali text of his first book, Lokaniti, was published in the annual report (1912) of the bauddha dharmankur sabha. His other noteworthy writings include A History of Pre-Buddhist Indian Philosophy, A Prolegomena to the History of Buddhist Philosophy (1918), A History of Pre-Buddhistic Indian Philosophy (1921), The Ajivikas (1921), Prakrit Dharmapad (which he wrote jointly with Shailendranath Mitra), Old Brahmi Inscriptions in the Udayagiri and Khandgiri (1926), Barhut Inscriptions (which he wrote jointly with Gangananda Singh), Gaya and Buddha Gaya (1st part 1931, 2nd part 1934), Asoka and His Inscriptions (1946), Brahmachari Kuladananda and His Guru Bijaya Krishna Goswami (1938), Ceylon Lecture (1945), Studies in Buddhism (1947), Philosophy of Progress (1948) etc. Among his works in Bangla are Madhyam Nikay (1st part, 1940), Bauddha Granthakos (1st part, 1936), Bauddhaparinay, etc. Apart from these books, he also wrote over a hundred essays and speeches which were published in different journals.

Benimadhab was a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal, member of Vangiya Sahitya Parishad, the mahabodhi society of India, Calcutta and of the executive committee of Iran Society. He edited Indian Culture, Buddhist India, Jagajjyoti and Vishvavani. In recognition of his contribution to Buddhist studies, he was awarded the title of 'Tripitakacharya' in 1944 by the pundits of Sri Lanka. The asiatic society Calcutta awarded him the Bimalacharan Laha Gold Medal. He died on 23 March 1948 in Calcutta. [Bhikkhu Sunithananda]