The book "Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Benares Pathshala" written by George Nicholls is the chronological History of the establishment and development of Benaras Pathshala or Sanskrit College now known as Sampurnanad Sanskrit University. The writer of this book had been the Head Master of Benaras College in 1848 and the 1st. edition was published by Govt Press, U.P in 1907 on the basis of possibly the original copy of hand written manuscript which was preserved in Queen's College Library, Benaras.
The second edition is here by reproduced after a gap of 98 years i.e. almost after a century of years.
The history of Benares Sanskrit College starts from 1781 A.D. when Dr. Jonathan Duncan proposed and stressed the need of the establishment of a Hindu College or academy for the preservation and cultivation of Sanskrit Shastras.
The impartial observation, vivid comments and objective assesment of the writer about the history of the oldest institution of Oriental learning bears an immenese value and meaningfulness to the contemporary world. The readers will be able to easily assess the progress and growth of the small institution which came into being in the 18th. century and has now attained the acme of its glory as Sampurnanand Sanskirt University, Varanasi.
Dr. Harishchandra Mani Tripathi, Director, Publication Institute, Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, hails from village Kapoori of Deoria District of U.P. Dr. Tripathi, topped the University both at Shastri (B.A.) and Acharya (MA) exams. He completed his Ph.D. Degree in 1974, the synopsis of which was prepared under the guidance of (Late) Prof. Hazari Prasad Dwivediji.
Dr. Tripathi started his D.Lit. work in 1975 under the guidance of (Late) Prof. Vidya Nivas Mishraji but for the greater cause of the society and the University he was made to discontinue his work of D.Lit. and was asked to join University Services as its Publication Officer which has now been upgraded as Director, Publication Institute.
Dr. Tripathi has the experience of almost 30 years of working as Asstt. Editor and Chief Editor of 'Saraswati Sushama', the world famous 'Research Journal' of the University. More than 2 dozens of his Research Articles have been published in many highly reputed journals of the country.
The University, under his leadership as Director, Publication, has already published 1500 Granthas on different Shastras of Sanskrit, 1700 Research Articles and more than 200 Laghu Granthas. These publications are so important and high valued work that many a times hundreds of Granthas were .released by His Excellency Rashtrapatiji, Upa-Rashtrapatiji, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Governor of U.P. and others.
This ciearly speaks that Dr. Tripathi has dedicated his Life for the preservation and extension of Sanskrit and Sanskrit Education but still he feels "miles to go before I sleep".
I feel overwhelmed with joy to learn that my revered friend and the Director of the Publication Institute of the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, Dr. Harishchandra Mani Tripathi is making positive efforts to bring out the new edition of the chrnological history of the gradual development of the Benares Pathashala or Sanskrit College, nowadays known as the SSU, Varanasi, Dr. Tripathi really deserves my congratulations and good wishes. His efforts will amply benefit those who are keenly interested to know the back-ground of this esteemed Sanskrit Institution.
Let me elaborate this context a bit more. It was George Nicholls, the then Head Master (1848 A.D.) of the Benares College, who wrote this history under the title: Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Benares Pathashala or Sanskrit College now forming the Sanskrit Department of the Benares College. The book, having 130 pages and an index at the end was printed in 1907 A.D. by the Supdt, Government Press, United Provinces, Allahabd. The price of the book, at that time was Rs. 3.8.00.
This monumental work could be produced on the basis of a single manuscript, preserved in the library of Queen's College Benares. We get this significant information through the internal evidence which is available in the book itself and is written on the back of the opening inner page:"As it now appears in type. This Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Benares Patshala is a reproduction of a single manuscript preserved in the Library of Queen's College, Benares. Obvious slips of the pen have been corrected, but no other changes have been made in the text to which George Nicholls signed his name.
Now, the sequence of the publicaiton-process of the book is clear. The book was written by George Nicholls, the Head Master of the Benares College in 1848 and the single manuscript of the same which was possibly the original hand-written copy, was preserved in the Queen's College library. Benares. The same manuscript could be published in book-form latter on in 1907 from Govt. Printing Press Allahabad. From this statement it is evident that our effort of bringing out the 2nd edition of the book is taking place just after 97 years or a full century of years.
In his brief preface to the book George Nicholls has drawn our attention to some very important points. Firstly, he devoted himself to write this book just on the suggestion of his respected Principal and friend Dr. James Ballantyne. Secondly, his aim in writing this book, was to place in one volume all the principal matters relating to the Oldest Government Educational Institution in the North Western Provinces and by so doing to obviate the necessity of wading through a dozen or more books of correspondence extending over a period or more than fifty years to arrive at a knowledge of the constitution, establishment and past progress of the Benares College.
The history of the Benares Sanskrit College starts from 1791 A.D. when Mr. Jonathan Duncan, the British Resident at Benares proposed to Earl Cornwallis, Governor General of India for the support of a Hindu College or academy for the preservation and cultivation of the Sanskrit literature and religion of the nation. Actually, Mr. Duncan saw two important advantages, derivable from such an establishment: the first to the British name and nation, in its tendency towards endearing the Government to the native Hindus and the second principal advantage from this institution was the preservation of the knowledge of Hindu law to assist the European Judges in the due, regular and uniform administation.
The effort of the Resident proved to be fruitful and the Earl Cornwallis immediately gave his sanction to Mr. Duncan's propsal and thus the institution could be established in a hired house for the first time on the 28th of October 1791. The Sanskrit loving Resident Mr. Jonathan Duncan paid his first visit to the new college on the 17th of November 1791 and in his report to Government, he submitted an elaborate account of the Hindu literature, being taught, along with their several branches of learning. Some of them were: The Agni Purana, Vedas, Upavedas, Vedangas, History, Ethics, Heroic Poetry, Civil and Spiritual law, Philosophy and Metaphysics. Astronomy, Geography and Maths, Grammar and Prosody, Theology, Rituals and Sacred lexicography and so on, so forth.
It is quite interesting to note that college started with equal number of Pandits (Professors) and students. The first Principal or Director of the college was Pandit Kashinath (Sero Shastri Guru Tarkalamkar Kashinath Pandit Juder Bidya Bahadur) who was appointed on a salary of Rs. 200 per mensem. Other eight teachers (Pandits) were: 1. Bireshwar Seth (Panini Vyakarana & Rgveda Bhasya), 2. Ram Chandra Tara (Veda & Vedanta), 3. Ram Prasad Tarkapanchanana (Nyaya) 4. Soolepa Shastri (Mimansa) 5. Gossain Anand Giri (Purana & Kavya Shastra) 6. Lakshmripati Joshi (Jyotisa) 7. Gangaram Bhatta (Vyay.::l Shastra?) and 8. Shyamanand Bhattacharrji, son of Pandit Kashinath (Dharmashastra). Except Pt Lakshmipati Joshi & Gangaram Bhatta all the six Pandits drew a salary of Rs. 100 per month.
Nine students namely Ram Kanai of Bengal, Hannu Joshi of Gujrat, Jayaram Bhatt of Maharastra. Kashinath Siddhant, Durga Charan of Kanauj, Govind Narain of Gaur, Hardeo Joshi. Manorath Tiwari and Gauri Prasad were also given an allowance of Rs. 10 to 15 per month.
Well, I am not going to narrate the complete history of the Benares College (the name after the union of the Oriental and English college in the regime of the Principal J. Muir; May, 1944) But one can assess very easily the progress and growth of this institution after perusing the short account produced by me earlier. The innocent dream of Jonathan Duncan has become an inmortal truth and reality. The small insititution of the 18th century, flourishing under several titles like Benares Sanskrit College, Benares College or Queen's College has now attained the acme of its glory and grandeur as the Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishva Vidyalaya, Varanasi. It affiliates about 800 Sanskrit institution throughout the country, right from Leh-Laddakh to Mumbai and from Rajasthan to Arunachal Pradesh. The University has produced a galaxy of reputed Sanskrit scholars and is absolutely dedicated to protect the cause of Sanskrit. Every thing is going on very smoothly in the campus.
Very recently we have successfully organized the 42nd All India Oriental Conference under the Presidentship of George Cardona the world-known Grammarian and now we are looking forward to hold the 28th convocation (Dikshanta) of the Universtiy. With these pleasant happenings of the present, I hand over this treasure of the past, to out respected and beloved readers.
The Publication Institute of the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University has achieved glamorous success under the leadership of Dr Harishandra Mani Tripathi. Dr. Tripathi adept in several discipliraesn and applied arts and knows very well the essence of publication. He knows the art of publication along with its outer get up and the intrinsic enchantment of the work. Consequeutly the SSU publications are getting popularity throughout the country. We have very recently brought out some very precious volumes on the Pratyabhijna Philosophy of Kashmir, Indian Architecture, Astrology, Tantra etc.
I once again felicitate the zeal and endeavour of Dr. Harishchandra Mani Tripathi for bringing out this precious volume which sheds and give adequate light on the early history of this Sanskrit Institiution. I wish him a century of years to live.
I have great pleasure in presenting this hitherto unavailable volume of Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Benares Patshalla by George Nicholls, who was Head Master of Benares College in 1848. The Sketch as written by Nicholls covers the period from the establishement of the Patshalla in 1791 to 1848. The story was carried forward to 1906 and was printed in the same year along with the statistical table annexed by Nicholls for the period covered by him. The combined text as found in 1906 volume is reproduced in the present reprint. No name is assigned to the historical account from 1848 to 1906; it is, therefore, assumed that the same was put together by the Office of the Government Sanskrit College, Benares. Moveover, this portion IS chiefly a compilation of correspondence and documents, which we have called Supplement in this edition.
The editorial work has been kept to the minimum. For the convenience of the readers, we have provided numbered headings to various sections of the text and printed these headings in CONTENTS. Obvious errors of spelling and grammar, which must be assigned to slips of the pen or typing, and occasional inaccurate noting of the year have been corrected. In a very few cases, punctuation has been modernized. Where the accepted spelling of an Indian term is different from the one printed in the text, the former is supplied in the footnote. Thus, the original text remains intact and free of any change or modification. We have, however, added an appendix containing photographs of some distinguished Principals of the Sanskrit College.
We intend to bring out some more volumes relating to the history and contributions of what now Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi is. As General Editor of this first volume of the series I must convey my sincerest regards and heartfelt thanks to His Excellency Hon'ble Governer of UP and Chanceller of the University Rev. T.V. Rajeshwar who has enhanced the glory of this edition with his kind endorsement and blessings. I express my sincere sense of gratitude to him for his such kind and generous patronage.
I am deeply obliged to Sri Mulayam Singh Yadavji, Hon'ble Chief Minister of U.P. for kindly sending his message of Good Wishes. It gives me a great impetus to learn about his happiness for the publication of the second edition of the book.
I also feel overwhelmed with joy for receiving the kind words of appreciation and thanks from Hon'ble Sri V.K. Mittal, LA.S., Chief Secretary, Govt. of U.P., Lucknow and also from Hon'ble Sri Shambhunathji, LA.S., Principal Secretary to His Excellency Governor of U.P. for the present work. The messages and good wishes from such high ranking personalities will definitely enhanced the glory of this publication.
I must also mention here that our present Vice-Chancellor Prof. Abhiraj Rajendra Mishraji, a Learned Scholar and a Great Poet has been kind enough to accord his whole hearted approval and kind guidance to me for doing this job. Prof. Rajendra Mishraji, a Versatile Genious, who has equal command in all the branches of Sanskrit, Hindi and English literatures, guided me all the time and I must say that I am really fortunate enough to work under the affectionate shade and guidance of Prof. Mishraji. The idea for reprinting 'this work first occurred in the mind of our former Vice-Chancellor, Professor (Late) Vidya Nivas Misraji, who emphasized the importance of this text and fervently desired its reprinting. It is our ill luck that the cruel hands of 'death have snatched away the great noble soul before the release and launcing of this edition but I am sure that his blessings are with us for the successful completion of his earnest desire. We are grateful to him for this suggestion. I also feel obliged to Professor (Late)' Mandan Mishra, formerly Vice-Chancellor of our University, from whom I received tremendous encouragement.
The problem that immediately arose was that, at first, we could get only a portion of the original text from which many pages of the work were totally missing. I, therefore, sought the help of Mr. Bhagwan Das, a prominent dealer in old books, who rummaged from the heap of old books and ultimately found out one complete copy of the text. He deserves my thanks for the pains taken by him.
Professor R.S. Sharma, formerly Head, Dept. or English, BHU, has laid me under obligation by helping in the checking and editing or this work and by offering valuable suggestions. For all this, I express my sense of gratitude to him. I am also thankful to Dr. Vashishtha Narain Tiwari, formerly Reader, Dept. of Philosophy, M.G. Kashi Vidyapity, for his friendly advice and timely assistance.
In this connection, I must mention the name of late Mr. Shaligram Yadav, who was Assistant Registrar of our University; he rendered very valuable assistance in organizing the job and in initial checking of the typed script. Unfortunately death intervened, and he could not see the completion of the project.
Finally, I thank all the members, of my staff in the Publication Institute, who have enthusiastically contributed their time and energy at every stage of the printing and publication of this edition.
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