BENGALURU: Veteran freedom fighter, Vedic scholar and centenarian Pundit Sudhakar Chaturvedi, who is said to be the oldest Indian, passed away at the age of 123 years, on Thursday. Chaturvedi was living with his grandchildren in Jayanagar. He breathed his last in his sleep around 3 am on Thursday. Born to Lakshmamma and Krishna Rao couple, Chaturvedi hailed from Kyatasandra of Tumakuru district. Though his date of birth could not be independently verified, it is said that he was born on April 20, 1897.
Chaturvedi grew up in Bengaluru as his father worked here as an official of the education department in the erstwhile Mysuru state. His father had sent him to Kangadi Gurukul in Haridwar in 1915, where he studied Vedas. He gained mastery over the four Vedas and earned the title ‘Chaturvedi’. He also met Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi during those days and it led him to play an active role in the Indian freedom struggle. It is said that socialist revolutionary Bhagat Singh was Chaturvedi’s student in Lahore.
An eyewitness to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Chaturvedi had performed the last rites of thousands of Quit India movement activists, who were massacred in Jallianwala Bagh. He was also imprisoned for 12 long years at Yarawada prison in Pune by the British for his involvement in the freedom movement.
He has penned over 50 books in Sanskrit, Kannada, Hindi and English and has interpreted Vedas in 20 volumes. He was closely associated with Arya Samaj. A bachelor, Chaturvedi had adopted a Dalit boy and had named him Aryamitra. The final rites of the scholar were held in a crematorium in Chamarajpet.
Chief Minister condoles
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has condoled the demise of Pundit Sudhakar Chaturvedi. “A close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Chaturvedi was an eye witness to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Besides his struggle for freedom, he was a great scholar of Vedas,” the CM said.