A shining star of the Archaeology of Saurashtra : P.P.Pandya Hariprasad G. Shashtri
Gu. Va. Society (presently Gujarat Vidyasabha) of Ahmedabad started the Department of Sanskrit, Indian Ancient Culture and post graduation in Gujarat in 1939. In 1946, this Department Progressed as a research institute with the name B.J. Study-Research Vidyabhavan. REcognised first by Mumbai University and then by Gujarat University from 1950, this institute has noticeably contributed in the field of Post-graduation study, teaching and research. So many brilliant students of this institute have been appointed as Professor and Principal in colleges. So many other brilliant students have rendered their notable services to the Musiums and in the field of Archaeology Among them, Shri Jayendra Nanavati and Shri P.P. Pandya are famous in the fields of museum and Archaeology. Some other scholars namely Shri Mukundbhai Raval and Shri Munindra Joshi have also emerged from Archeology field.
Among all these famous scholars, the contribution given in the field of Archaeology of Saurashtra by Shri P.P. Pandya even within the limitation of this short left-span, has availed him a very high place as a shining state in the field of archaeology of Saurashtra renounced as P.P. Pandya in the field of archaeology of Saurashtra, it had become a matter of research what ‘P.P.’ stood for in the name of this young man. The full form of P.P. Pandya was Purushottam Premshanker Pandya. Born in Audichya Brahmin family at Kotda Sangani village, he had achieved the Bachelor’s in Arts after completing the college study at Bhavnagar & Rajkot. Meanwhile, he had shaped his life by taking achive part in the movements for democracy & freedom and also in other constructive activities.
Mr. P.P. Pandya tools admission in post-graduation Department of Gu. Va. Society as a student of Ancient Indian culture. Gu. Va. Society was renamed as Gujarat Vidyasabha and its post graduation deptt. expanded as B. J. Vidyabhavan Mr. P.P. Pandya appeared in the examination for M.A. if my memory serves me, he had lift the remaining examination fearing that he would not get much percentage as he felt the initial papers difficult. He came to know from the results declared that he had achieved more percentage than what he had quessed. Next year, he passed his examination for M.A. in the Higher Second class with better preparation. Meanwhile, India became Independent and became a sovereign state after the states of Saurashtra were merged. In 1950, Mr. Pandya joined the museum as a aerator at Jamnagar. He got acquainted with the archaeology of Saurashtra after taking the basic training under Dr. L. N. Deshpande, the earstwhile superintendent of Western Circle, of Deptt. of Archaeological under Govt. of India. Thereafter, he took training for pre-historic and historic research under Dr. Hasmukh Sankaliya and Dr. B. Subbarao at his own expense.
Mr. Pandya took training for archaeological excavation under Mr. B. K. Thapar, the earstwhile Head of Archaeology Deptt, govt. of India during the examination of Somnath temple in 1950. He took part in the excavations at Vasai & Bed villages of Jamnagar Dist. in 1951 under the guidance of Dr. Subbarao. Thereeafter, he took an active part in the archaeological excavations at the places like Mota Machiyala, Rangpur, Vadnagar, Roopud etc. His intense training proved useful in the excavations at Lakha Baval, Amra and Somnath. He was very enthusiastic industrious and robust.
The Saurashtra Government had formed Archaeology Deptt. on retirement of its first Superintendent, Mr. Pandya was appointed on that post in 1955. The administration of the musiums in Saurashtra was also under the Head of this Deptt. Mr. Pandya managed the various branches like site-study, excavation, museum development, monument protection etc. very well. Besides, he carried out the excavation independent by at the places namely Pithadiya, Atkot, Moti, Dharai, Rozdi etc. like excavations at Vasai Bed and Somnath. During this activity, he had to face the intend conflicts of the deptt. He had also to face the internal competitions for the appointments on the post. Such intrigues were common in the politics of Saurashtra. Mr. Pandya stood firm between this politics and continued to develop various activcities of archaeology. Meanwhile, the future of his post became uncertain due to merge of Saurashtra in bilingual Mumbai State in 1956. He was selected for the post of Asstt. Superintendent of Archaeology, Govt. of India by Union Public Service commission in 1958 but he let off this post as he was not willing to leave his favourite archaeological field of Saurashtra.
Mr. Pandya had developed various activities in the field of archaeology of Saurashtra. He had brought so many pre-historic, historic and ancient historic sites to thelight and had thrown abundant light on ancient history of Saurashtra by taking up the site studies and excavations of these sites. He was always used to keep himself well informed of the archaeological activities of the whole of the country. He used to be in contact with the renounced archaeologist of India. He also used to take active part in the National level conferences organized in Gujarat as well as in other regions. After returning from conference held at Guvehati, Assam in 1960, he suddently died untimely after suffering from short term illness. He was only 39 yrs. old at the line of his death. On his sad demise, Saurashtra lost a shining star of archaeological field of Saurashtra. The contribution of Mr. Purushottam Pandya given within his short life span has become immortal in the form of articles and rports prepared by him after abundant activities.
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