Biographies of Rahul Sankrityayan’s life

I was pleasantly surprised recently to find that there are biographies both short and long on Rahul Sankrityayan’s life. So I thought to share them here, in case anyone is interested.

The short one was written by Bhante Shravasti Dhammika, and is called Yellow Robe, Red Flag: A short biography of Rahul Sankrityayan. It is available online.

The longer one is harder to find, written by Alaka Atreya Chudal who is a lecturer at the University in Vienna as part of a PhD thesis. It is called A freethinking cultural nationalist: a life history of Rahul Sankrityayan.

Having written more than 120 books, the breadth of Sankrityayan’s writing is truly incredible encompassing Buddhist scholarship, philosophy, travelogues, political writings, short stories, novels, translations, history (his history of Central Asia won the Hindi language Sahitya Akademi prize in India), plays, dictionaries and much else. Some Buddhists, especially those who read Hindi, know him for his sutta translations which can also be found here on SC. Also among his better known works is the humorous Ghumakkad-Shastra translating to The Treatise on Roaming, where he wryly lays out his principles that guide the life of an uncompromising itinerant, no doubt based on his own experiences gallivanting about, such as clandestine border crossings into Tibet through Nepal and British India, from where he retrieved several ancient manuscripts, in the manner of a 20th century Buddhist Indiana Jones.


Oh, amazing, reading it right now!

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