The solitary signpost to a heritage location
Sankhval, or Sancaole, as it is called today, is a sleepy village en route Vasco, a bustling highway that leads to the Dabolim airport of Goa. As one passes through it, there’s hardly a landmark that would prompt you to look out of the window of your speeding vehicle. Very few know that this place is the hometown of the globally renowned Buddhist scholar, Pali language expert and close associate of Mahatma Gandhi Acharya Dharmanand Kosambi
as also his son – the illustrious mathematician and prominent Marxist historian Professor Damodar Kosambi.
This Shantadurga temple on the outskirts of Sancaole is one of the few spectacular and sanctified monuments of the tiny village.
The scenic place seems to be going through an identity crisis – a neither rural, nor urban settlement characterized by speeding cars, rattling motorbikes and idling locals.
This is the Kosambi residence as the locals claimed it to be, a place that has now been donated to a social organization. There was no one around to validate facts for us.
Sadly, this historic location of global significance is adorned with such unsavoury landmarks.
It would be great if the Government of India sets up a Kosambi museum, library or at least a memorial in Sancaole to complement the research chairs and seminars constituted in Kosambis’ honour.
About the Kosambis:
Acharya Dharmanand Kosambi
(1876-1947) travelled with grit and gumption to far-off places including Varanasi, Nepal and Sri Lanka, braving all odds in the single-minded pursuit of Buddhism. Subsequently, he taught Pali at the University of Calcutta, worked as a research fellow in Baroda and eventually moved to Fergusson College, Pune. He went on to become a Sanskrit scholar at Harvard University, US and also taught Pali at the Leningrad University, USSR. He was actively involved in the Indian independence movement and was jailed during the Salt Satyagraha movement. A close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar, he gave up his life through voluntary fasting (following the Jain ritual of Sallekhana)
Professor Damodar Kosambi
(1907-1966) was a man of versatile competence - mathematician, statistician, historian and polymath. His pioneering work spans genetics, physics, numismatics, differential geometry & path spaces, linguistics and Indology. A summa cum laude
from Harvard, he taught mathematics at Banaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University, TIFR and Fergusson College, Pune. He was a leading activist of the World Peace Movement. He made a thorough study of Sanskrit and ancient literature that culminated in his classic work on the ancient poet Bhartrhari. He was also an outspoken Marxist and a keen student of the Chinese revolution.
Do read Ananya Vajpayee’s Monk, Mathematician and Marxist, easily the best tribute to the father-son duo: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/Story/1276/Monk--Mathematician--Marxist.html