Late Prof. Ajay Mitra Shastri does not require any introduction. He shone in the world of Indology by his erudition and fame. His valuable contributions to the various branches of Indology covering more than forty years are well known to scholars. His deep knowledge of Sanskrit acquired through traditional education in the gurukulas together with analytical and critical acumen imbibed through modern education enabled him to write on any aspect of Indology with equal ease and felicity and bring out some gems from the ocean of knowledge.
There is hardly any branch of Ancient Indian History (political, social, cultural, economic, religious, and scientific), Culture, Art, Archaeology, Epigraphy, Numismatics, Religion,Philosophy, Language, Literature, etc., to which he did not contribute something. He was an acknowledged authority on many of these branches. His analytical and critical studies of Varahamihira's Brhatsamhita and Damodaragupta's Kuttanimatam will remain works of everlasting value for times to come. His discoveries and interpretations of a number of Sanskrit texts; Satavahana, Magha, Audumbara, Yaudheya, Yadava, Vakataka and other coins; coin-forgeries, inscriptions of the Vakatakas, Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins, Somavamsins and others have shed very welcome light on many a knotty problem of the history of various dynasties and added new dimensions to their studies.
Prof. Shastri's deep erudition brought him in close contact with contemporary authorities and scholars in the field and he maintained very good relations with most of them. His goodness and generosity, his cordial and unassuming nature and readiness to help friends and even new researchers in their literary and academic pursuits endeared him to all. All those who came in his contact personally or even through correspondence, remember him fondly and affectionately. His sudden death was a shock to many of his close friends. Initially his colleagues and pupils at and around Nagpur planned a volume to commemorate him on his first death anniversary but physical and material limitations delayed it.
There may be many scholars who would have contributed to this volume if approached in time and given due time but certain constraints and limitations deprived us of their valuable contributions.
About the Authors:
Shri Devendra Handa holds Post-Graduate degrees in Sanskrit, History and Education-all in First class and with top positions in the University. He obtained his Post-Graduate Diploma in Archaeology from the School of Archaeology (ASI, New Delhi) in 1964 with Credit (Distinction). He is the recipient of Maulana Azad and Archaeological Centenary Commemoration Medals, Sir Mortimer Wheeler Prize and various other awards. He is known to the indologists through more than three hundred research papers and the following books and monographs: 1 Osian: History, Archaeology, Art & Architecture, Delhi, 1984; 2 Studies in Indian Coins and Seals, Delhi, 1985; 3 Indological Studies: Essays in Memory of Shri S.P. Singhal, Delhi, 1987 (Ed.); 4 Ajaya-Sri: Recent Studies in Indology (Prof. Ajay Mitra Shastri Felicitation Volume), 2 Vols., Delhi, 1989 (Ed.); 5 Praci-Prabha: Perspectives in Indololgy (Essays in honour of Prof. B.N. Mukherjee), New Delhi, 1989 (Ed. Jointly with Prof. D.C. Bhattacharyya); 6 Ratna-Chandrika: Panorama of Oriental Studies (Shri R.C. Agrawala Festschrift), New Delhi, 1989 (Ed. Jointly with Prof. Ashvini Agrawal); 7 Heritage of Haryana: Buddhist Remains, Chandigarh, 1989; 8 Vishvambhara: Probings in Orientology (Prof. V.S. Pathak Festschrift), 2 Vols. New Delhi, 1995 (Ed. Jointly with Prof. Ajay Mitra Shastri and C.S. Gupta); 9 Numismatic Studies, Vols. 1-3 (1991-93), New Delhi (Ed.); 10 Oriental Numismatic Studies, Vols. 1-2 (1994 & 1996), Delhi (Ed.). He has attended numerous national and international conferences and delivered lectures in various institutions. In 1992, he got the Lowick Memorial Grant of the Royal Numismatic Society, London for studying the tribal coins of India. In 1993, he visited Sri Lanka on the invitation of the Sri Lanka Numismatic Society. He was honoured for his contributions to the science of numismatics at Calcutta in 1994. After a teaching career of more than thirty years, he finally retired from the Panjab University, Chandigarh in 1999. Presently, he is a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla.
R.K. Sharma (b. 1952) is a Principal Scientist at Water Technology Centre, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. He is also associated with the Indian National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage. He has a number of scientific publications and his current interest is on watershed development.