Readers of The Dharma Dispatch will be familiar by now the sort of reverential esteem we hold Acharya Jadunath Sarkar in. We actively seek opportunities to present before you any new tidbit or obscure anecdote about this illustrious preceptor and blazing historian of the last century. Such periodical exercises are both a self-imposed duty of joy and the discharge of a profound debt.
In that vein, we present below excerpts from a superb tribute titled Jadunath Sarkar as a Seer by Sri S.S. Talwar, a former lecturer at the Sanatan Dharam College, Hoshiarpur, published in 1957.
Emphases have been added.
Sir Jadunath Sarkar’s is a life of Tapasya and Sadhana (austerity and accomplishment). The old adage “Simple living and high thinking , has found its manifestation in him to a degree of perfection. No difficulties, however insurmountable, could frighten him, no misfortunes could depress him and no temptations could lead him astray. A selfless and untiring worker, with no craze for fame and popularity, he has rendered unique service to the advancement of research in history. He has a craving for knowledge and laments the indifference on the part of the students in general towards learning. He is particularly sore to observe at times that students generally are not genuine seekers after historical knowledge, but their sole aim is to get a degree. He is by nature humane, but at the same time considerate. To him duty is above everything and work a source of intoxication. These together make him forget everything else, even the sadness of bereavement—to use his own words. Without work he would feel depressed in mind. His ardent love for work and knowledge has made him a distinguished scholar. His writings are concise, illuminating, eloquent and enlivened with illustrations. They bear unquestionable testimony to his encyclopaedic knowledge, power of deep thinking and intensive and extensive comparative study. His investigations are original and he is a fearless and unbiased critic. He is endowed with an excellent memory, a rare gift of nature and a most valuable asset for a historian.
Sir Jadunath Sarkar is great as a man, greater as a writer and the greatest amongst the Indian historians. More appropriately he may be called a “true” historian in every sense of the word. The lessons of history are not wasted upon him. He possesses the natural instinct of suggesting proper solutions of India’s present day political, social and economic problems in the light of the past history of this country. His prophetic forecasts are a testimony to his effulgent genius, foresight and statesmanship and an outcome of the thorough insight of the under-currents and movements of history.
… even in 1928 Sir J. N. Sarkar had a clear vision of independence of India coming at a later stage than that envisaged in the resolution of Purna Swaraj passed by the Congress at its Lahore session in 1929…We cannot but appreciate the foresight of Sir Jadunath, when we cast a glance over the march of events in independent India after 1947, in the light of his following statement, which was also made in 1928:
Obviously the note of warning, sounded by the great historian so early, holds good even today with equal force and accuracy.
… In spite of the fact that Gandhi gave a Carte blanche to Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the knotty problem of communalism was not solved. The uncompromising attitude of Mr. Jinnah and the part played by Sir Samuel Hoare made any settlement of this question impossible. Gandhi left England in utter despair and with great resentment… It was at this time that Sir Jadunath Sarkar wrote a letter on 14 August 1931 to Dr. G. S. Sardesai, saying:
I see no prospect of civil commotion abating in future; on the contrary, public opinion in England and among Europeans in India has been roused to such bitterness that the Swarajists will soon have to test their strength against the British plus the Muslims. THE HINDUS ARE SO DIVIDED AND SO FOOLISHLY SELFISH THAT THEIR MAJORITY DOES NOT COUNT IN ACTUAL POLITICS. The atmosphere can clear only after…showers of blood… The administration is hopelessly inefficient and dishonest and as no improvement can be expected…the future of the Hindus here (Calcutta or Bengal) is unspeakably dark.
He could foresee the showers of blood, which took place in 1947,… a proof of his clear conception of coming events which could not be seen by the greatest political leaders of India even a few days before-hand.
Lately the public mind has been much occupied over the question “After Nehru, What ?” Sir Jadunath has his own say in the matter and on this year’s Republic day (26 January 1957) he in an article entitled “After Nehru…?” wrote as follows:
If only yes-men are allowed to function as our Finance Ministers the price will have to be paid ultimately by the Prime Minister’s reputation in the pages of history. But it is a long distance cheque.
Jadunath Sarkar has warned the country from the pulpit of history that the frenzied finance and collapse of currency would ultimately bring about national bankruptcy.
Only the future will tell whether this prophecy of his comes out to be true or not… Evidently the Government stands nothing to lose rather everything to gain if it heeds the above warning from a man of the calibre and eminence of Sir Jadunath Sarkar… There is no likelihood that Sir Jadunath’s predictions would turn out false.
Knowledge of public action in the past provides the best means of understanding public action in the present, and the safest guide for the exercise of political power. Through the proper study of history we can join the wisdom of Solomon to the counsel of Socrates.
With the gift of hindsight, we can resolutely confirm how, because Jadunath Sarkar’s clairvoyance was ignored, everything he had said came true in a nightmarish fashion. And barring very few exceptions, it is equally clear that we continue to repeat the same historical mistakes that he cautioned us against.
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