Mahāmahopādhyāya Vidvān N. Ranganatha Sharma (1916-2014), who lived amongst us until recently was known for his thoroughness in traditional knowledge and clarity in understanding of śāstras. He made tremendous contribution in passing on knowledge and awakening of values in the society. Our country has only had a handful of men who paid back the ṛṣi-ṛṇa that was upon them – they paid back in large quantities and great quality – and among them, Ranganatha Sharma stands supreme.
There is one more episode worth narrating.
During 1938–39, he wrote a letter to me. It read as follows – “I have attached a letter of a person with this letter. It appears that he is facing great difficulties. Meet Dewan Mirza Ismail tomorrow and request him to help this person on behalf of both of us; obtain Mirza’s assurance and send me a written reply.”
It’s the irony of fate that on the exact day India achieved political independence—15th August 1947—Sitarama Shastri lost sight in his good eye and therefore became completely blind. Those days, there was an attempt to bring Daulat on screen, and in relation to that he had been travelling to many places. Noticing that his sight was becoming blurred he asked the then famous eye specialist Dr. B K Narayana Rao for a different pair of spectacles.
Enthusiasm in Public Service
I have already mentioned that Venkatarama Shastri belonged to the tradition of Shivaswami Iyer. Both of them followed the same path in politics. It was a gentle path—the path of negotiation and persuasion—and neither revolutionary nor extreme. Both of them had a resolve to express their own views regarding any questions that arose in public matters. But the severity of that resolve was more pronounced in Venkatarama Shastri.
A Worshipper of Sweetness
V Si. had great respect for life. He wanted to find grace in life and in literature. He picked out graceful and sweet elements from works of art and it was this quality that shaped his life too. In V Si.’s view, a work that lacked direct connection with life was not a literary work at all.
T R Venkatarama Shastri can be called a disciple of Shivaswami Iyer. Sir S Varadachari, who retired after serving as a Federal Court judge and Venkatarama Shastri both practiced law in Shivaswami Iyer’s office and were assistants to him.
It is worth sharing how Venkatarama Shastri was appointed as an intern under Shivaswami Iyer.