A Legendary Soul

Devoting a life time in pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence is something which very few have the conviction to do. Right until the later ages of his life Dr. Ram Kumar Chaube pursued his academic interest with equal zeal and vigor

Saraswati Putrah

This is what he was often referred as in the literary circles. With a photographic memory and in-depth knowledge of numerous subjects Dr. Ram Kumar Chaube could speak extempore on any given subject with an absolute command and ease.

A Master of languages

Dr. Chaube could speak languages which spanned from German to Spanish, Russian to Dutch and many others. It was extremely pleasing for the foreigners who visited him when he spontaneously conversed with them in their mother tongue.

An Omniscient Guru

Devoting a life time in pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence is something which very few have the conviction to do. Right until the later ages of his life Dr. Ram Kumar Chaube pursued his academic interest with equal zeal and vigor

A Lifetime

which inspired generations

He always said that “Learning has no limits and knowledge no boundaries, A man is gifted with the immense potential to learn as much he wants in his life and it is this knowledge that leads one to the path of enlightenment”
In 1912 when Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya brought him to the city of light ‘Kashi’… the vibrations of the great academic heritage of the ancient city left a lasting impression on his consciousness. He often said that I felt a very strong inspiration from within to dedicate my life in pursuit of knowledge as much I could do in this life, and the continuous patronage, affection and inspiration of Mahamana ensured that he achieved what he had set himself for.

Mahamana & my Father

A memoir of Mr. Prabhat Kumar Chaube

”Aao Ram Kumar…. kitne vishay ho gaye”…. these were the words, I would hear each year from Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya in his honey dipped voice asking my father Dr. Ram Kumar Chaube about his academic accomplishment, while I accompanied my father to the Malaviya Bhavan on Mahamana’s birthday. My father would then reply with the number of Masters degrees he had completed by then. And Mahamana with a smile would say ”Vishvavidyalaya mein ek naya vishay aaya hai, maine tumhari liye sab vyavashtha kar dee hai, isko bhi kar lo”, coming up with his suggestions, and inspiring my father to push his path of academic excellence further. It was Mahamana’s inspiration that my father remained a life-long scholar, besides a professor himself, who later set a world record of acquiring as many as 22 Masters degrees in fields that varied from Mathematics to Philosophy.

Mahamana had a unique gift of spotting and mentoring someone with talent. He met with my father in 1912 when he went to my native city Chandausi near Moradabad during his fund raising tour for building the Banaras Hindu University, and where my Grandfather Pt. Ram Gopal Chaube was helping him in his cause. My father, at that time in his teens, was extremely excited to meet a great man like Mahamana. During that visit, my father, a young student at that time wrote down Mahamana’s speech in Hindi that he had delivered there and translated into English, Urdu and Persian. Mahamana was very pleased and even surprised to see this and he intuitively knew that there was a great talent and potential in this young boy. He mentioned this to my grandfather saying that my father should be given the right environment and opportunity to pursue to grow up to be a great scholar one day. My grandfather handed him over to Mahamana’s charge saying there couldn’t be a better place than the University that Mahamana was envisioning or a better environment than Mahamana’s own patronage. My father accompanied Mahamana to Banaras shortly after.

Upon arrival in Banaras, Mahamana himself made arrangements for father to stay at Moti Jheel, where he lived for rest of his life, and appointed him his personal stenographer, and started mentoring and inspiring him to enter the world of academics. And with his inspirations and encouragement a young man from a modest background of a small town started on a path of academic excellence which is yet not traversed by anyone else.

I vividly remember a meeting my father and I had with Mahamana in April of 1945 where Mahamana, who had recognized that my father’s potential and talent was being under-utilized as a teacher in Central Hindu School, passionately hand-wrote a strong letter of recommendation for my father for a professor’s post in Teacher’s Training College. Mahamana wanted my father to seek that job where he wanted my father to play a big role in preparing the next generation of great teachers. The last I saw Mahamana was in 1946 when he was unwell and weak, but the glow in his eyes and compassion in his self was all the same. On instruction of my father I had written a small article that I handed over to Mahamana during that meeting. He read it enthusiastically and smiled at me compassionately showering blessings with his hand on my head. He then instructed my father ”Ram Kumar… give this boy all the opportunity you can to follow in your footsteps… he will carry your legacy forward”.

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