Bidhushekhar Shastri

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Bidhushekhar Shastri (1878-1957) Sanskrit scholar and Indologist, born at Harishchandrapur, Maldah in west bengal, studied at a tol, obtaining the degree of Kavyatirtha when only seventeen years old. He was fluent in Sanskrit and wrote both prose and poetry in the language. He spent several years in Benares studying the scriptures and was awarded the title of Shastri.

Bidhushekhar joined Brahmacharya Vidyalay at santiniketan as a professor of Sanskrit. After this he joined the department of Sanskrit at Calcutta University as Asutosh Professor. He learned Avestan for a comparative study of Vedic literature and learned French, German, Tibetan and Chinese to study Buddhist scriptures.

Bidhushekhar was instrumental in recovering Sanskrit texts, which had been lost, by reconstructing them from Tibetan translations. He edited 17 books in Bangla and English on a variety of subjects: logic, Philosophy, grammar, Pali, Buddhism, etc. Among his books are Palipravesh, Bhotaprakash, Yogacharabhumishastra of Asanga (1st part), Bodhicharyavatara with Tibetan rendering, the drama Nagananda Nataka, Gaudapadiya Agamashastra, Chatuhshataka of Aryadeva (2nd part), Madhyantavibhagabhasyatika, Mahayanavingshaka of Nagarjuna, Upanisat (Vishvavidya Sanggrahamala), Milindapanha, Vivahamangala, Historical Indroduction to the Indian Schools of Buddhism etc.

The Government of India honoured him with the title of Mahamahopadhyaya in 1936. He was awarded a DLitt and the title of Deshikottama (1957) by the universities of Calcutta and Visva-Bharati respectively. [Manjula Chowdhury]