T. Bhaskaran passes away

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 13 12:15:03 UTC 2010

I am sorry to read today that Dr T. Bhaskaran has died.  See a report

In the 1980s, Dr Bhaskaran was Director of the Oriental Manuscript Library
and Research Institute, University of Kerala. (On the OMLRI, that many of us
will have visited over the years, see
Amongst his many books, Dr Bhaskaran was particularly proud of his
publication, with his successor Dr K. Vijayan, of the facsimile edition of a
beautiful illustrated palm-leaf manuscript of the Rāmāyaṇa, over which he
took great pains to ensure high-quality colour reproduction and typesetting
(*Chitra Ramayanam*<http://www.kkagencies.com/servlet/kgetbiblio?name=Ramayana+in+Palm+Leaf+Pictures+Chitraramayana&suffix=&author=Edited+by+Dr.+K.+Vijayan&isbn=&n=KK-82784>,
1997, published by the University of Kerala, Trivandrum Sanskrit Series
no.265, and on CD by

Dr Bhaskaran also prepared and published three volumes of the *Alphabetical
Index of Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Oriental Research Institute and
Manuscripts Library, Univ. of Trivandrum*, that are essential guides to the
MS holdings of the library.  This series was started with vol.1 (a - na,
6079 works) in 1957 by Suranad Kunjan Pillai, and continued with vol.2 (ta -
ma, 7980 works) in 1965 by K. Raghavan Pillai.  There the series halted for
decades, until Dr Bhaskaran re-enlivened it, finishing off the alphabet
(vols 3 & 4, 1984 & 1986, 5253 & 2218 works), and starting a supplemental
series (vol.5, 1988, covering 4643 works).  Few people in the world can say
that they have catalogued 12,000 Sanskrit manuscripts.  The impulse of Dr
Bhaskaran's diligent cataloguing work directly inspired the library to
complete the Supplementary Index in two further volumes (1995, 2000).  These
seven volumes cover the 35,060 Sanskrit MSS in the library that have been
catalogued, amounting to about half the library's total holdings.

Dr Bhaskaran was a member of the Ezhava community.  He was proud to have
been such a leading figure in Sanskrit studies in Kerala, and explained to
me a few years ago, when I visited him in his retirement in Aleppey, that
the Ezhavas as a group were often quite wrongly categorized merely as
toddy-tappers, when in fact many members of their society were physicians
and herbalists, as well as Sanskritists.  As an example, he cited the famous
facsimile inscription<http://images.biodiversitylibrary.org/adore-djatoka/resolver?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&rft_id=http://mbgserv09:8057/botanicus2/b11939795/31753003370076/jp2/31753003370076_0014.jp2&svc_id=info:lanl-repo/svc/getRegion&svc_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:jpeg2000&svc.format=image/jpeg&svc.scale=1800&svc.level=4>of
20 April 1675 in the
*Hortus Malabaricus* (Amsterdam, 1678-1693) in which the Ezhava Itty
"Doctor Malabaricus," wrote about his own contribution to that magisterial
work of Dutch botanical science.

Dr Bhaskaran was a kind and learned man, who did much quiet and important
work for the indological field of studies.

Dr Dominik Wujastyk
Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Universität Wien
Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 2, Eingang 2.1
A-1090 Vienna

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