Anundoram Barooah (1850-89), Sanskrit scholar, commentator, lexicographer and civil servant, is remembered for his contribution to Sanskrit studies, particularly for his grand scheme of A Comprehensive Grammar of the Sanskrit Language in twelve volumes of a thousand pages each, and his Practical English-Sanskrit Dictionary, which has been hailed by V. Raghavan as deserving of “the highest commendation” for its “size, range and methology.” The fifth Indian to senter the I.C.S., an able administrator and indefatigable Indologist from Assam, Anundoram Barooah died in his prime at the age of thirty-nine.
Biswanarayan Shastri (b.1925), distinguished Assamese write, Sanskrit scholar, educationist and former Member of parliament, presents this monograph mainly for the benefit of the general reader.
Anundoram Barooah is a great name in the world of Oriental scholars. Bron in Assam in the year 1850 Anundoram qualified for the Indian Civil Service at the age of twenty-two and earned the distinction of being the fifth Indian to join the ICS. He is remembered today for his contribution to the study of Sanskrit and his grand scheme of analysing the growth of Sanskrit language and literature in the historical perspective. He conceived the idea of presenting the study of Sanskrit language in twelve volumes, each volume of one thousand pages. Before the cruel hand of destiny took him away at the prime of his life, when he was barely thirty-nine, he could complete only one and half volumes of the projected twelve.
The volumes under this scheme and the individual works, which he edited, compiled or composed, were published between 1877 and 89 and became rare to the average students of Sanskrit. In view of this, in 1965 the Publication Board, Assam, decided to reprint all his works. As the them Secretary of the Board I had collected the work and completed the preliminary preparation for publication.
Though, earlier, I had gone through the popular biography of Anundoram by Dr.S.K.Bhuyan, now, for the first time, I got a real opportunity to study the works of Anundoram Barooah and made a comparative study of the works in the light of the new researches carried on those aspects. I was tempted to write a critical appraisal of the works of Barooah and felt that such work would not only acquaint the readers with his work but also throw light on the stage of research in Sanskrit in the latter part of the nineteen century. However the circumstances did not allow me to complete the proposed work.
A few years back when the Sahitya Akademi entrusted me with the task of writing a monograph on Anundoram Barooah for their Makers of Indian Literature Series, I accepted the offer gladly. But soon I realised that there existed a sea of difference between my proposed work and the monograph I had undertaken to write, in its contents and treatment and approach. As the monograph is biographical in nature, and popular in approach, I had to give the events of his life and discuss the scholarly works making them intelligible to the average reader.
In writing this monograph I have depended on Anundoram Barooah by Dr. S.K. Bhuyan, and the material relating to his genealogy, education, service -life are taken from it, although some of the events relating to his service-life have been supplemented by the corroborative account from the biography of Romesh Chunder Dutt and the autobiography of Surendranath Banerjea. Extracts from the letters published in the biography by Dr. Bhuyan have been freely used. In making the assessment of the works of Anundoram I have arrived at my own judgment, as I have understood them. However, the references given by Dr. Bhuyan have made my task easy in tracing the originals. With a sense of gratitute I acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr.S.K.Bhuyan, without whose work it would have been hardly possible for me to give a connected account of the life of Barooah.
I am fully aware of my omission and commission, for which I crave the indulgence of the readers. In English transliteration of the Sanskrit words and the English rendering of the Sanskrit verses, diacritical marks should have been used. Since the work is meant for the general reader, these have been avoided. For the same reason, the notes and references too have been kept to the minimum.
I hope, this humble work on the life and work of a great scholar will be handy one to the general readers, and, perhaps to the scholar as well.
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