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Forgotten scholar

A function on the occasion of Sarat Chandra Das’ 170th birth anniversary is organised on 18 July at Bengal Theosophical Society Hall at College Square.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

The ties between Tibet and Bengal can be traced back to the times of Atish Dipankar. The ties have been strengthened over the years. Seeking to shake off the cobwebs from the works of Sarat Chandra Das, a forgotten scholar of Indo-Tibetan literature and culture, Atish Dipankar has organised a function on the occasion of his 170th birth anniversary on 18 July at 5.30 p.m at Bengal Theosophical Society Hall at College Square.

Born at Chittagong in 1849, Das studied at Presidency College where he came in touch with Sir Alfred Croft who then headed the state education department. Sir Alfred became his mentor. His interest in Tibetan studies was first ignited when he became the headmaster of Bhutanese boarding school in Darjeeling. He learnt Tibetan and in 1878 was invited to Tibet.

After a six month stay, he penned “Narrative of a journey to Tashilumpo in Tibet”. After his second stay at Tibet, Das authored “A Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet”. Das not only brought back valuable ancient Sanskrit texts from Tibet, but he also completed the Tibetan English dictionary as well as “An Introduction to the Grammar of Tibetan Language”.

Das did signal service to the works of Indian scholars in Tibet when he wrote “Indian Pundits in the Land of Snow”. Apart from being bestowed by the Tibetan honorific Ka- Chen Lama, Das was honoured by Royal Timely tribute Geographic Society.