Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai and Rtayana jointly organized the online seminar on ‘The contribution of Dr. Sadashiv A. Dange to Indology’, on the occasion of Dr.S.A.Dange Birth centenary year, on 23rd August 2022 at 11 a.m. An amazing range of scholars and researchers paid their respect to Prof. Dr. S. A. Dange through their talks. The program started with the Saraswati Vandana by Dr.Medha Deshpande. Dr.Shakuntala Gawde (Head, Department of Sanskrit) presented the preamble and formally welcomed the participants and speakers.
Inaugural address was delivered by Dr.Varsha Shirgavkar. She mentioned about New National Education policy of India (Sectin-22). She stated that, the promotion of Indian arts and culture is important not only for the nation but also for the individual. Cultural awareness and expression are among the major competencies considered important to develop in children, in order to provide them with a sense of identity, belonging, as well as an appreciation of other cultures and identities. India will similarly expand its institutes and universities studying all classical languages and literature, with strong efforts to collect, preserve, translate, and study the tens of thousands of manuscripts that have not yet received their due attention. Sanskrit and all Indian language institutes and departments across the country will be significantly strengthened, with adequate training given to large new batches of students to study, in particular, the large numbers of manuscripts and their interrelations with other subjects. She highlighted the significance of Indological studies towards achieving ‘Incredible India’ in the real sense.
Dr.Madhavi Narsalay delivered the key note address. She introduced Prof.Dr.Dange Sir’s contributions and thought process through the topics like sexual symbolism, comparative mythology or his tool box approach in an apt way. Dr. Gauri Mahulikar was the first speaker. She presented her thoughts about The Encyclopaedia of Puranic Beliefs and Practices by Prof.Dr.Dange. She discussed the concepts of Sun worship, mahanagni, Indra and Ahalya, entries like allegories, bhasmadharana, tripudradharana, snana, bees and birds and many more. She said bees and birds is the largest entry in the encyclopaedia. She talked about her immortal memories of Dange sir as her mentor. She said Dange sir always emphasized on studying the original text than the translations. She elaborated the contributions of sir through various folktales, her own experiences of studying with sir, working with him and learning by observing him.
The next speaker was Dr. Nirmala Kulkarni. Her topic was on the book -divine hymns and ancient thoughts. She elaborated how Dange sir takes students from Vedas to Puranas, to mythology. Dange sir explained the practical as well as theoretical aspect of Indian culture. He taught students how to study a Vedic hymn in all angles also she gave the examples of Rodasi and Kshipra while explaining Vedic literature. The next speaker was Dr.Vidya Kamat with the topic- Dr. Dange’s contribution to Mythology. She explained the words legend and myth in the title of myths from Mahabharata to the critical evaluation of towards understanding Hindu myths. She explained Dr. Dange’s tool box approach very aptly.
Next speaker was Dr. Shakuntala Gawde with the topic- Myths from Mahabharata. Dr. Gawde nicely elaborated Dr. Dange’s thought process behind understanding Mahabharata. She explained how Dange sir used the combination of Indian and Western theories to understand Mahabharata. She elaborated some key points of sir’s book to understand his thoughts like theories and methods, text and context, comparative approach, commentators and predecessors, scientific temperament, observance of social myth with impartial approach, structuralism and holistic approach. The last speaker was Dr. Vaishali Dabke, her topic was Hindu Dharma and Tattvadnyan. She elaborated how Dange sir used the traditional perspectives of research in presentation of that research, uddesha, lakshana, pareeksha, or poorvapaksha- uttarapaksha, samvada style of presentation. She stated his impartial approach towards Dharma through appropriate examples.
At last Dr.Girish Jani delivered the valedictory address. He talked about some personal memories with Dange sir. He critically analysed Dange sir’s work. Dr. Mrunalini Newalkar beautifully managed the compering of the sessions. Dr. Suchitra Tajane proposed vote of thanks.
– Dr. Medha Deshpande