Poojya Dadaji Pt. Nathuram Premi
Yes, you are right that Poojya Dadaji Pandit Nathuramji Premi and Pragya
Chakshu Pandit Sukhlalji Sanghvi were great friends and met regularly.
Pandit Sukhlalji was
often accompanied by Dalshukh Malvania ji. Infact, Pandit Sukhlalji's
wonderful commentary on the Tattvarthsutra is replete with references to
Pandit Nathuramji Premi and his views.
Both the great scholars emphasised Jain Unity way back then, but they were
thwarted then as now by the shenanigans of the so-called leaders of society
who would lose their importance once the sectarian fighting stops.
Pandit Bechardasji was another close friend of Poojya Dadaji.
I think another book on these lines, "Jain Jagaran ke Agradoot" was also
published in the thirties and forties.
Premiji was a great admirer of the historic Shwetamber monk Hemchandracharya
and named his only son (my grandfather) "Hemchandra".
Poojya Dadaji hailed from the orthodox Bundelkhand but he was the first man
in the community to actively support widow-remarriage. He married his
younger brother to a Jain lady who was unfortunate enough to be a
Pandit Nathuramji Premi was a great supporter of women's education, and
insisted upon educating his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, in the 1930's.
My mother was married into the family in 1953, and came in as a sixteen-
year old matriculate in Hindi medium from Lalitpur, U.P. Premiji ensured
that she learnt Sanskrit, Shaurseni Prakrit, Apabhransha, Marathi and
Bengali apart from encouraging her finish her graduation in Hindi. By the
time he passed away on 30/01/1960, he had made her a first class proof
reader and a researcher into Jain history. She assisted him in research
during his magnum opus, "Jain Sahitya Aur Itihas."
Pandit Nathuramji Premi was instrumental in arranging for the printing and
publication of the Shatkhandagam Dhavla. He worked in close tandem with two
of his greatest friends, Dr. Hiralaji Jain and Dr. A. N. Upadhye and the
three of them got the book printed and published, Dr. Jain and Dr. Upadhye
did all the translation work while Poojya Dadaji did the editing and was the
overall co-ordinator and also arranged finance through the rich Shravaks of
Bundelkhand, notably Danveer Seth Sitabray Gulabray of Vidisha, M.P.
A lot of monks and Shravaks of that era opposed the printing of the
Shatkhandagam Dhavala, the most ancient and authoritative Digamber Jain
canonical text, as they felt this would involve desecration of the same. In
the face of such stiff opposition, Poojya Dadaji, Dr. Jain and Dr. Upadhye
stuck to their guns and made sure the book was published.
All the top Digamber monks today are really happy that such a magnificent
work was published then, and has served as a beacon to the Jain Samaj since
Apart from being a leading Jain scholar, Pandit Nathuramji Premi was India's
pioneering Publisher of Hindi literature. He has been described by Vishnu
Prabhakar ji as the "Bhishma Pitamah of Hindi Literature." He introduced
Hindi readers by publishing in Hindi such modern literary masters as Dr.
Hajariprasad Dwivedi, Bengali novelist Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay,
Bankimchandra, playwright Dwijendranath Rai, historian Damodar Dharamanand
Koshambi, novelists Amritlal Nagar, Acharya Chatursen, Jainendra Kumar,
Yashpal ji, and many many others. Prominent thinkers and literary giants
such as Prabhakar Machve and Vishnu Prabhahakar were all published by him.
Hindi's greatest and best-known novel, "Godan" by Munshi Premchand was
published first by Premiji in 1936 in Mumbai. He established the firm "Hindi
Granth Ratnakar Karyalay" in 1912.
It is my great honour and privilege to run this firm now.
N. B. Jitubhai of L.D. Institute has obtained our permission to reprint
Poojya Dadaji's magnificently authoritative work, "Jain Sahitya Aur Itihas."
So hopefully it shall be reprinted this year by L.D.
N.B. A lot of younger people might not know why Pandit Sukhlalji Sanghvi was
known as Pragya Chakshu. He was blind. All his vast scholarship was due to
his near-miraculous powers of retention and reasoning ability. All the
Shastras were read out to him, and his mind was so extraordinary, that he
understood and mastered them. Pt. Dalsukh Malvaniaji, who passed away
recently, did a lot of reading out loud for Pandit Sukhlalji.
Yours in Ahinsa,
HINDI GRANTH KARYALAY
Hirabaug, C. P. Tank,
Mumbai - 400004
Tel. 00 91 22 3826739
From: ymalaiya@... <ymalaiya@...>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 01 June 2001 03:01
Subject: [Jain-friends] Pt. Nathuram Premi
Manish Modi has occasionally referred to Pt. Nathuram Premi. Many of
you might not be familiar with his contributions made in the early
part of the 20th cent.
I have posted two biographies, Pt. Nathuram Premi, and Pt. Sukhlalji:
Pragna Chakshu Pandit Sukhlalji
Sampadak Ratna Pandit Shri Nathuram Premi
They were both good friends and early proponents of Jain unity. The
text is taken from a translation of "Modern Torch-bearers in Jainism"
complied by Shri Atmanandji (orig. in Gujarati). I thank Pravin Shah,
Jain Study Center of NC Raleigh. for proviging me the text.
Notice that the opening paragraph about Pt. Premiji states "The
family was quite ordinary and belonged to Porvad, i.e. a merchant
generation. Originally from Mewar, several families had shifted to
Bundelkhand in Madhya Pradesh .." assumes that Parvaras are same as
Porwals. The assumptions needs some examination.
Also note that the prayer Pt. Sukhlalji liked, is in Hindi. It is
given in the original Gujarati book. It is a beautiful lyrical poem.