Noted educationist, leading literary person, Vedic scholar, founder member of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and president of Gujarat VHP, Keshavram Kashiram Shastri passed away in Ahmedabad on September 9, 2006. He was 102. It was only in July this year he completed 101 years and proved the saying of Jeevet shardam shatam true. Shastriji was dedicated to propagation of Indian values of life and spirituality. Though he had formal education only upto 10th standard, he guided more than 19 researchers in completing their Ph.D degrees and more than 1500 other graduate students in Gujarati literature. He was regarded as a mobile dictionary of Gujarati language, grammar as well as Vedic literature. A guide and patron to innumerable students, followers and VHP workers, Shastriji himself was an institution. Besides 240 books to his credit, he has written over 1500 research papers in Gujarati, Sanskrit, Hindi and English.
Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Gujarat Prant Sanghachalak Shri Amritbhai Kariwala, State Home Minister Shri Amitbhai Shah, leaders of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, literary personalities of Gujarat, leading scholars, writers and representatives of various organisations were among the prominent people who paid their last respect to the departed soul in Ahmedabad.
Born on July 28, 1905 at Mangarole in Junagarh, K.K. Shastri completed matriculation from Mumbai University in 1922. Later he studied poetry, Sanskrit language and grammar. He did his D. Lit. from Saurashtra University. He started his career in teaching as an assistant teacher of Sanskrit at Coronation High School in 1925. Later he joined Sanskrit Pathshala in Mangarole as a part-time teacher. He became assistant editor of Prajabandhu (Gujarati weekly) in Ahmedabad in 1936. He worked with Gujarat Vernacular Society and Gujarat Assembly in 1937. He joined L.D. Institute of Learning and Research in 1958. He also worked as a honourary lecturer of Gujarati at the B.J. Institute of Learning and Research. He was an associate professor of Sanskrit and Gujarati at the B.D. Womens College. He joined the Gujarat Research Society in 1961 as the honourary Regulator.
Shastriji'sprominent publications are Brihad Gujarati Kosh (part I&II), Vanaushadhi Kosh (translated in 10 languages), Jaisamhita (a 8800 episode book on Mahabharat), Bharatsamhita and a book on Shrimadbhagwat Puran in Sanskrit. He won gold medals from Gujarat Sahitya Sabha, Gujarat Itihas Parishad and Nadiyad Pushtmargiya Library and bronze medal from Gujarat Research Society.
In his tribute, Shri Amritbhai Kariwala, Gujarat Prant Sanghchalak described Shastriji as a practical form of Vaishnavjan authored by Narasi Mehta. He was a living example of Hindu culture and Indian values of life. He always followed the simple life. ?A very high quality scholar, historian, literary personality and scholar of Sanskrit, Shastriji was a committed swayamsevak of RSS.
In a joint condolence message released from Delhi, VHP president Shri Ashok Singhal, senior VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore and general secretary of VHP, Dr Pravin Togadia described the death of Shastriji as a great loss for the country. They said the country would never forget his contribution in Gujarati and Sanskrit literature. Shri Champat Rai, joint general secretary of VHP described Shastriji as a great personality in very thin and short body. ?He was conferred Padmashri decades back recognising his talent and outstanding services to the Gujarati literature. He was among the dignitaries who attended the first meeting of VHP in 1964. Since then he continuously associated with the VHP work and was head of the Gujarat unit.
Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi described Shastriji as a ?Samskar Purush?. He said Shastriji was a scholar par excellence and his knowledge can not be compare with anyone.