The Sangh and Sangh-inspired organisations in Kerala lost an excellent intellectual giant of their school of thoughts in the sad demise of Prof Thuravoor Vishwambharan Master on October 20. He was suffering from liver cancer for quite some time.
Master was an unparalleled scholar cuttings across the boundaries of versatility. The ocean of his knowledge spread among Vedas, Upanishads, Shrutis, Smritis, Vedanta, Tharka Shastra, Vyakarana, Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Ayurveda, Astrology, etc. Despite being the Professor of Malayalam language, he had immense knowledge in English, Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil, German, French, Greek, etc. A Malayalam professor with deep knowledge in European languages is a rare combination always. He was popularly known as ‘Mash,’ a Malayalam colloquial for Master or Teacher. He could teach Othello or any other William Shakespeare’s work without a textbook in hand.
Master hardly wrote. But, his work (perhaps the only book he has penned) Mahabharatha Paryatanam—Bharatha darshanam: Punarvayana (A traverse into Mahabharata—Bharatadarshanam: A review) is an all time classic. It gives an entirely different interpretation of Mahabharata; it reiterates the crux of the spirit Vyasa liked to impart to the posterity. And, it is a befitting reply to some critics of 20th century who tried to distort and defile the major characters in Mahabharata.
The book is a modified compilation of Master’s series of articles carried by a prominent Malayalam periodicals for about two years. When his articles turned a literary hit, Amrita TV channel launched his famous chat show ‘Bharathadarshanam’ six days a week. The thirty minute programme gave ample opportunities to the scholarly participants to ask him questions and present their doubts. Master answered them effortlessly sans any strain or tension, above all, off hand without any sort of reference or an iota of doubt. These articles, books and TV programmes made some people mention him as Vyasa of modern times.
Master served as president of the Thapasya Literary and Arts Organisation (Kerala affiliate of Sanskar Bharati, an RSS inspired organisation for the promotion of Bharatiya arts and culture) and Amrithabharathi (cultural offshoot of Balgokulam, an RSS inspired organisation for children, with global acceptance and net work). He was the patron of Thapasya when he died.
During 1999—2000 Master served as the chief editor of Janmabhumi daily. While scaling the pinnacles of his scholarly glory he remained an ardent and dedicated swayamsevak. He was all smiles to participate in Sangh programmes and camps wearing the ganvesh. He did not miss the RSS meetings and days long chinthans baithaks while he was a Government college principal and when he was the HoD of Malayalam in the prestigious Government Maharaja’s College, Kochi.
Even though he was never a part of politics, he gracefully contested from Thrippoonithura constituency as a BJP candidate during the last Assembly elections (2016). His candidacy brought record number of votes for BJP.
Master did not bag much awards, thanks to his strict, straight forward and bold attitude and approach. “Never on my knees” was his character. He never tried to be a blue eyed boy of the establishment, which is always controlled by the Left oriented pseudo intellectuals. Such people could never tolerate his ‘Sanghi’ credentials. “Amrithakeerthi Puraskkar” from Matha Amrithanandamayi Devi, Kerala Sahitya Academy Endowment, Dr CP Menon Award, Kerala Samajam Award of Abu Dhabi Malayali Samajam, Ramayana Shree Puraskar of Manava Seva Trust, Sanjayan Award of Thapasya and Janmashtami Puraskar of Balagokulam were the only awards reached this intellectual emperor of Kerala.
Master was a perennial source of inspiration and knowledge for those who went to his study full of books from all over the globe which kept on growing day by day. The vacuum created by this intellectual par excellence can never be fathomed, let alone filling up. n