Battling a visual handicap, an 84-year-old Vedic scholar here has composed the first ever biography of the architect of Indian constitution and icon of the underprivileged Dr B R Ambedkar in Sanskrit verse.
The exceptional feat of Prabhakar Joshi, who lost his sight completely while still working on the biography undertaken in 2004, stands as a testimony to his unflinching determination and will power that saw recent publication of the book containing 1,577 Sanskrit 'Shlokas' covering the life span of Ambedkar unfolded in 160 pages with 21 'Sargas'.
A victim of glaucoma, Joshi who has an illustrious background as a teacher of Sanskrit in schools and colleges, was immensely influenced by Ambedkar's mission to uplift the downtrodden.
When he started studying Ambedkar's life, he came across certain facts that inspired him to take up the unique project of his Sanskrit biography titled " Bhimayanam".
"Not many people know that it was an ardent desire of Ramji, father of Ambedkar, that his son should learn Sanskrit.
When Bhimrao opted for the subject after being enrolled in the Elphinstone High School in Mumbai he was in for rude shock as the teachers there refused to allow him to study Sanskrit because he was a Dalit.
Imparting knowledge of Sanskrit to 'lower caste' students those days was something to be frowned upon", Joshi told PTI.
After pondering over this episode, Joshi thought of an "atonement of sorts" by way of versifying in Sanskrit, the life of Ambedkar whom he reverently calls 'Mahamanav'.