About Antar Bharti
ANTAR BHARATI was the dream of that great patriot, scholar and writer of Maharashtra, the late Shri Pandurang Sadashiv Sane, known throughout Maharashtra as Sane Guruji. In a number of articles from 15th August 1948 onwards he explained to his countrymen the dream of Antar Bharati.
He said : "While I was in Trichanapally jail, Shri Venkatachalam was about to be released. He was a science graduate and a good student of Tamil, Telugu and Mala-yalam. How nice it would be if Shri Venkata¬chalam could be employed as a teacher in our school. We already have a Bengali teacher. With the addition of Shri Venkata¬chalam our school would become a symbol of Indian unity. How nice would it be if we have in the school a teacher from every province, so that we shall become familiar with all the languages spoken in the country and come to know its people! Ever since then I have been dreaming of an institution which will teach us the basic unity of India.
"We talk of an undivided and one India but we know precious little about it. Where is the feeling that this land and all its people are mine, all their languages are mine, that I shall learn and get to know them. In places like Bombay there are institutions which teach German, French, Russian but no¬where is there an institution where we can study all the Indian languages.
"That is why I am, for many years, dream¬ing the dream of Antar Bharati, where teachers and students from all provinces will get together and hear and learn the different languages of the country. There will be a library of each language and books from one language will be translated into others and everyone will get to know the country and its people.
"Rabindranath Tagore was a poet who belonged to the whole world and he established at Shantiniketan, Vishwa Bharati, the great centre of world learning. India is a part of the world in which there is neither East nor West. The world is round and 13harat which is a part of the world has to understand that world of which it is a part. Hence Vishwa Bharati is a place where the world becomes a nest.
"But to understand the world in all its manifestations, we must first understand our own country and our own people. The various provinces of India are unfamiliar with one another's life, literature, language and culture. Antar Bharati will bring this about, will fill up this gap in our national consciousness through the medium of love and devotion. It will honour all the great men of India and make us familiar with our great national heritage. Antar Bharati will thus become a fountain-head of that new India which is about to be born. I have all the while before my eyes this fascinating dream.
"Antar Bharati will not just be a place for learning Indian languages, it will be a pro-totype of all the multifarious streams of thought and endeavour which are at the base of our culture. It will be a place of joy and happiness, of service, of generosity, of knowledge, of science, of arts and letters.
"I want to see people of all states, all communities, all castes and religions meet-ing and helping each other with love and affection, observing different experiments carried on in different parts of the country, helping and getting help, inspiring and receiving inspiration. I want to hear in and through Antar Bharati's multifarious acti-vities, the mysterious music of Bharat.
"On the base of linguistic provinces we have to raise the superstructure of the Indian Union. This will be possible only if the various provinces live in a spirit of love and co-operation and not become victims of narrow provincial loyalties and jealousies. God is described as having a thousand heads and a thousand eyes. He is never described as .having a thousand hearts. In the same way India may have a thousand eyes and heads but its heart must be one.
"Our regional loyalties must not inter¬fere with our national loyalties just as our national loyalties must expand outward into international loyalties. Antar Bharati and Vishwa Bharati are our two ideals. Antar Bharati will try to bind together by the silken chords of love all the different provinces which will together respond to the irresistible appeal of a united India.
This is one ideal of Antar Bharati. The other ideal will be that of Vishwa Bharati so ably propounded by Tagore. A great country like India cannot remain great if its people raise walls of separatism around them. A great country and little minds go ill together. We must put into the perspective of an expanding vision the region, the country and the whole world. There can be no Vishwa Bharati without Antar Bharati and there can be no Antar Bharati without men and women of vision and understanding scattered all over the land.
"Will my countrymen help me to realise this dream? Will they put in my beggar's bowl the priceless gift of a dream come true ?"
In the Footsteps of the Dream
Sane Guruji himself, took steps to convert his dream into reality. In 1948 he started a weekly called "Sadhana". Under an Antar Bharati column in that paper he started publishing articles about the literary and other activities in Kannad, Gujarati, Tamil, Bengali and Urdu. In 1949 and 1950 he toured Karnatak and Gujarat to propagate the idea of Antar Bharati. Wherever he went he urged every person to become an Indian— to absorb the spirit of Antar Bharati—and every Indian to become a world citizen in the spirit of Vishwa Bharati. In a number of articles he explained the idea cf Antar Bharati and persuaded the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan to adopt a resolution in its favour.
On 11th June 1950, Sane Guruji ended his life and his friends decided to carry on from where he had left. With the blessings of such persons as Vinobaji, Acharya Narendra Deo, Acharya Kshitimohan. Sen, Shri Jainendra Kumarji, Shri Moturi Satyanarayan of Tamil Nadu, Shri Umashankar Joshi of Gujarat, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar of Karnatak, a Trust to commemorate the memory and continue the work of Sane Guruji was founded. In explaining the nature of the activities of the Trust, the then Director of Antar Bharati, Acharya Bhagwat said, "Antar Bharati is a cultural movement. Its main purpose will be to bring into inti¬mate contact different people and different language groups in the country. It will encourage the study of all Indian languages and different Indian art forms. It will build a house of friendship where writers, artists, from all over the country will come and stay together and cultivate the idea of a common Indian consciousness, on which will rest the superstructure of one world.
"Antar Bharati will be free of all political affiliations but it will try to influence politics in the direction most suitable for the pro-pagation of its ideals."
The first Antar Bharati centre was opened on 30th November, 1952 at the hands of Masti Venkatesh Iyengar. Dr. M. R. Jay-kar, Vice-Chancellor, Poona Univerisity, presided over the function. Mastiji spent a week in Poona and made intimate contacts with various institutions and individuals in Poona. He also visited Sangli and Sholapur.
In 1953 Urdu and Bengali classes were started both in Poona and Bombay.
Antar Bharati published a few books on Bengali and Urdu poets and a book on the ancestry of Marathi language and culture. It also brought out a primer of Kannad language. Different language groups in Poona were contacted for a regular get- together. It was also decided to celebrate the Rabindranath Tagore day.
In 1950 the Service Corps— Seva Pathak was organised for carrying the message of Antar Bharati to the villages.
A story-telling programme specially meant for children and known as Sane Guruji Katha Mala was launched by Shri Prakash Mohadikar, who had the good fortune of spending part of his childhood with Sane Guruji, a great story-teller himself. The purpose of the programme was to bring the old and the young together and break down the barriers that seemed to separate them. Shri Jayaprakash Narain was so impressed by one of the sessions he attended that he recommended all other states to copy it.
In June 1960, Antar Bharati Biradari was established in Hyderabad followed by similar clubs in Belgaum, Ratnagiri, Jamkhindi and other places.
Shri Shriprakashji, the then Governor of Maharashtra met the workers of Antar Bharati at a special programme arranged in his honour. He was very pleased with the work done and suggested the setting up of similar organisations in all states of the Union.
In August 1960 there were riots in Assam and the slogan of 'Assam for Assamese' was raised. Shri Raosaheb Patwardhan spentone month in Assam impressing upon the people the need to develop the spirit of Antar Bharati. A special anti-provincial¬ism week was organised from 4th to 11th September 1960.
In 1961 a Kannad language class was conducted in Poona. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra showed his appreciation of the work done by releasing Rs. 1,000/- from his discretionary fund for the purpose.
It was decided to start a periodical `Antar Bharati' in Hindi, which is now being pub-lished from Poona.
In 1962 Prof. Vasant Bapat who was closely associated with Sane Guruji during the freedom struggle and afterwards, was sent on a year's tour of the country. This idea of Bharat Darshan was an extension activity of Antar Bharati and Prof. Bapat was eminently suited for the job. A well- known poet and writer in Marathi and a close associate of Sane Guruji, he has already composed and put on the stage a most successful programme of Bharat Darshan.
In 1964 anti-Hindi agitation started in Madras. To understand the mind of the South a batch of young men were given special instruction in Tamil language and culture and sent to Madras.
The Sadhana Trust itself is a creation of Sane Guruji and is closely associated with Antar Bharati. The ‘Sadhana' weekly has made it a point to publish in its annual Diwali issue selected stories from other languages. Sadhana also brings out a special children's number in memory of Sane Guruji. It tries to communicate through pictures, and under a special section devoted to the purpose, gives information about children and their activities in other parts of the country. In co-operation with the Sahitya Academy, Sadhana brought out an album of fourteen famous writers from different languages. It is hoped that every school will keep a copy of the album in the school. It is proposed to bring out similar albums of artists, musicians, painters from all the States of the Union.
In May 1966 friends of Gujarat invited Maharashtriyan friends for a three days stay in_ Ahmedabad. The programme was a great success. Various topics of common interest were discussed with writers, educa¬tionists, artists and others.
In August 1966 some forty friends from Gujarat and Karnatak visited Poona and stayed as guests with different families. They left with the hope that many similar get-togethers would be organised in future.
Gulbarga in Karnatak is a border townmost suitable for promoting the spirit of Antar Bharati. In November, 1966 the citizens of Gulbarga invited Raosaheb Patwardhan to the city and this visit was a great success.
The programme of youth community living was sponsored and a batch of students from Maharashtra visited Gujarat during the Diwali holidays. Similarly 15 students from Karnatak visited Poona for a week and went back thoroughly convinced of our affection and goodwill.
About Shri Pandurang Sadashiv Sane
vasudevimgSane Guruji, the founder of Antar Bharti did cast a bridge across the cultures, catching the range and movement of the world.
Lifespan:- 24December,1899-11June,1950
About Antar Bharati Trust
ANTAR BHARTI was the dream of that great patriot, scholar and writer of Maharastra, the late Shri Padurang Sadashiv Sane, known throughtout Maharastra as Sane Guruji. In a number of articles from 15th August 1948 onwards he explained to his countrymen the dream of Antar Bharti...
Antar Bharati (Monthly)