Patriots > Cultural Inspiration and Nationalism > Rajwade,Vishwanath Kashinath
Rajwade,Vishwanath Kashinath ( 1864 - 1926 )
Vishwanath Kashinath Rajwade was born in Poona on 12 July 1864 in a comparatively poor but respectable Chitpavan Brahmin family. His father was an ordinary legal practitioner and died when Rajwade was only three years old. His mother somehow or other pulled on and educated both Vishwanath and his elder brother Vaijanath.

Rajwade passed his Matriculation examination in 1882, persuaded his college studies in Bombay and Poona and completed graduation.He either conducted public service classes or served in a school in Poona for about three years. During this period he married and had two children. Both his wife and his children died shortly after.

He was only twenty-nine when this calamity struck him. But the idea of remarrying never entered his mind. After the calamity he left the service and never thought of serving anywhere else again. Instead, he decided to devote his life to research in history, sociology, linguistics and other humanistic subjects. His wide reading, the shining examples of the lives of Tilak, Agarkar and others before him and his natural tendencies and inclinations towards intellectual pursuits must have made him decide that way.

However, from 1893 to the end of his life, without paying the least heed to the problem of his maintenance, he devoted himself to the study of history, to collection of material for research in history, and other works on the subject and to publishing the results of his studies.

It became the mission of his life. This resulted in the publication of the ‘Sources of Maratha History’ (in 22 volumes); ‘Mahikavatichi Bakhar’ or a narrative about Mahim (thana); ‘Radhamadhava Vilasachampu’, a poem of Radhamadhava and Shahaji; ‘Jnanesvari and its Grammer’ (in 2 volumes); ‘On the Formation of Marathi Nouns and Verbs’ (in 2 volumes); ‘Marathi Bhasecha Ulgada’ or the structure of the Marathi Language; ‘Etymological Dictionaries of Marathi Nouns, etc., and Verbs’, originally compiled by Rajwade but edited and published by others after his death (in 2 volumes), and stray articles on a variety of subjects.

For the collection of source material he visited hundreds of villages and towns in and out of Maharashtra, many times on foot as some of the places had no cart-tracks even, salvaged thousands of Marathi letters, narratives, Chronicles, etc., copied them then and there as the owners would not like to part with them and arranged for their publication at a great sacrifice, even by incurring debts which he could not repay. The first twenty-two volumes contain about eight thousand pages of Marathi records, mostly original correspondence, shedding light on the various aspects of Maratha history.

These were collected from a number of old historical families and
belonged to the last quarter of the 16th century and to the 17th and 18th centuries. Out of these, the records of the 16th and 17th centuries are of supreme importance as such records are not to be found in any Public Record Office in Maharashtra or India. ‘Mahikarathchi bakhar’ is an old narrative on the social set-up of the inhabitants of Northern Konkan. ‘Radha-madhava-Vilasachampu’ is a multilingual composition, giving the amorous actions of Radha and Madhava in the former portion and the life and activities of Shahaji Bhonsale in the latter portion.

‘Jnaneswari and Its Grammer’ gives the oldest recension of ‘Jnaneswari’, a standard Marathi poetical work-a commentary on the Bhagvad Gita-of the 13th century and Rajwade also explains the grammer of that recension. His next two works deal with the formation of Marathi nouns and verbs. In the following work Rajwade details the structure of the Marathi language. Regarding the Dictionary of Marathi Nouns, the slips of entries of Marathi nouns, etc., prepared by Rajwade Samshodhaka Mandala of Dhulia published them without any special editing work.

Regarding the Dictionary of Marathi Verbs, the slips of the entries were also made ready by Rajwade. But his pupil, K. P. Kulkarni, gave a finishing editorial touch to them. Rajwade’s stray articles deal with a variety of subjects falling under the heads History, Sociology, Religion, Culture, etc., of India including even the current political conditions and movements. His very long introductions to some of these evince his erudition and the pains taken by him.

He was a true nationalist. He never wore foreign cloth. Though he lived during the British rule, he was a complete non-cooperator. He abhorred the idea of receiving any help from the foreign Government directly or indirectly, and for that reason, voluntarily accepted a life of extreme poverty and even suffered the mission of his life to be jeopardized. He wrote only in Marathi, his mother tongue, and thereby enriched the Marathi language and literature. He firmly believed in the notion that India’s bondage was the result of the utter negligence of Indians in acquiring up-to-date knowledge of the physical sciences and of their use in everyday life.

His writings show that he was an intellectual giant and a man of versatile talents and possessed an extraordinary power of imagination. Equipped with a deep knowledge of humanistic subjects, he wrote in such a forceful and lucid language that his readers were easily led into believing in the authenticity of his theories. It is only after much deep and balanced thinking and wide reading that one can find the inaccuracies, flaws, etc., in his writings. Still they will ever remain a source of inspiration and his publication of source material will surely immortalise his name.

Author : G. H.Khare