Indian Post issued a commemorative stamp on Dr. K.M Munshi on December 30, 1988. The stamp depicts K.M. Munshi and a tree, symbolising his interest in the Van Mahotsav. The First Day Cover (FDC, which are issued with every commemorative stamp) shows him against the background of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Dates and Events of Munshi's Life
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The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is not just an institution; it is a movement, a cause. Its objects have been, from its inception, to encourage the study of all aspects of Indian Culture, to help in the reintegration of the latter in the light of modern conditions; and to aid the fundamentals of Aryan Culture. The Bhavan is thus a centre in which our ancient learning and modern intellectual aspirations combine to create a new spirit and literature a new history and culture.
The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan was founded on Kartik Sud Purnima, Samvat 1995 (November 7, 1938). In the address delivered by Shri Munshiji at the inauguration of the Bhavan he said:
"For many years it had been the dream of the Sahitya Sansad to crystallize its work by creating a centre in which the ancient learning and modern intellectual aspirations of this land could combine to create a new literature, a new culture. The Bhavan will be a new association which will organise active centres where ancient Aryan learning can be studied and where modern Indian culture will be provided with a historical back-ground."
The earliest departments to be started by the Bhavan were those of Sanskrit, Comparative Philology, Prakrit languages, Gujarati, Hindi, Indian History and Bhagavat Dharma. These departments were established within a very short time of the inauguration.
The generous donation of Shri Mungalal Goenka enabled the establishment, in 1939, of the Mungalal Goenka Institute for Higher Sanskrit Studies, which was later developed into the Mungalal Goenka Samshodhan Mandir.
The first activities of the Bhavan were started in the premises of the Fellowship School on June 1, 1939. Subsequently they were transferred to rented premises at Andheri. Soon after this, the Department of Jain Studies was opened. With the co-operation of the Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, Shri Narmada Gujarati Shikshapith was formed. On September 1, 1939, the Mumbadevi Sanskrit Pathshala was opened as part of the Bhavan, with the help of the Mumbadevi Trust. In 1940, Shri Nagardas Rughnathdas Jyotish Shikshapith was founded, and the beginnings of a library were made.
In the same year, a land measuring about eleven acres was purchased at Andheri from the Government and the generosity of several friends of the Bhavan. On September 14, 1940, Shri Munshiji laid the foundation stone of the building, which when completed in 1941, was opened by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan.
From July 1, 1942, the Government of India requisitioned the premises of the Bhavan at Andheri and in consequence, the Bhavan had to rent new premises at Worli and later at Harvey Road.
Though handicapped for want of suitable premises, the period 1943 to 1947 marked considerable expansion of its activities with the endowment of the Singhi Jain Series and Library and the starting of the Jain Shastra Shikshapith in 1943-44; the organisation of the Bharatiya Itihas Wing in 1944; the starting of the Gita Vidyalaya and the institution of the Bhavan's own examinations in Sanskrit and Gita in 1945; the inauguration by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel of the Bhavan's Megji Mathardas Arts College and Narrondasss Manordass Institute of Science at Andheri in 1916; the development of the Mumbadevi Sanskrit Pathashala into the Mumbadevi Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya in 1946-47; the starting of the Munshi Saraswati Mandir with its varied cultural activities including the Library, Sangit Shikshapith and Kala Kendra in 1947.
The rented premises in Harvey Road together with the adjoining properties were purchased by the Bhavan in the year 1946 with a view to constructing a Central Home for the Bhavan in the city.
Accordingly, in January 1947, two of the old buildings were demolished and the foundation stone of the new building was laid by Shri Munshiji on February 23; 1947.
The new building was completed in 1949. Constructed on a grand scale keeping in view the growing needs of the Bhavan's activities, this building took two years and three months to complete and cost over Rs. 18,00,000. This achievement was made possible mainly because of the organising genius and untiring zeal of our Vice-President, Smt. Lilavati Munshi. Shri C. Rajagopalachari, the then Governor-General of India, declared the new building open on August 8, 1949. This Central Home of the Bhavan has proved to be the hub of cultural activity in Bombay.
The inauguration in 1951, by Shri Munshiji, of the Bhavan's Book University and the promotion of the Sanskrit Vishva Parishad (World Academy of Sanskrit) with its head office in the Bhavan have added considerably to the activities of the Bhavan.
On account of its ceaseless efforts in the cause of the cultural renaissance of India, the Bhavan slowly developed into an institution of all-India importance. In November 1950, a branch of the Bhavan was formed in Delhi. An acre of land in the heart of the capital opposite to the Constitution Club in Curzon Road—was purchased in 1952 and was formally taken over on January 31, 1952 on behalf of the Bhavan by Shri R. R. Diwakar.
The foundation stone of the Delhi home of the Bhavan was laid by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of the Republic of India, on March 31, 1952.
From humble beginnings, the Bhavan has today come to occupy a position in the country as a centre of Indian Culture and Indological Research. This would not have been possible but for the unbounded faith in our mission, unfaltering- guidance and ceaseless efforts of our Founder-President, Shri Munshiji, who has been the soul of the movement, ably supported by our Vice-Presidents, Sir H. V. Divatia and Shrimati Lilavati Munshi and other members of the Committee of Office-Bearers and Council and a band of loyal, devoted workers.
God willing, we shall continue to contribute in an ever-increasing measure to what our President has set as the goal—the reintegration of Indian Culture to suit the needs of modern India and the world.
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Just a glimpse of some of the prominent books authored by Munshiji.