[LIS-Forum] S R Ranganathan and Mahatma Gandhi

eswara reddy deva devaereddy at gmail.com
Thu Sep 27 08:46:56 IST 2012

Hello Friends:

September 27 like January 30 is a day of remembrance.
While the Mahatma Gandhi passed his last breath on
January 30, 1948, on September 27, 1972 - exactly 40
years back- S R Ranganathan left this world.

During Indian independence movement days Ranganathan
received a telegram from Mahatma to go over to
Sewagram, near Wardha, Maharashtra to discuss about
library development in India. Ranganathan, when
he joined the Madras University took a vow that he
will never avail any leave of absence until his
retirement. As such, he sought the advice of Rajaji-C.
Rajagopalachari, the first Governor General of Free
India- a close associate of Gandhi. Rajaji asked
Ranganathan to reply to Gandhi that he would meet with him
after his retirement. SRR did so.

Ranganathan retired from Madras University in 1942.
But his aged mother who wanted to visit Kashi
Viswanath asked SRR to take her to Varanasi.
Ranganathan replied to Gandhi that he would meet him
on his return journey from Varanasi as his first duty
was to fulfill the promise he made to his mother.
Mahatma on receipt of the message sent cow's milk to
Ranganathan's mother to Wardha Railway station.
Although an orthodox in nature, his mother had a bath at
Wardha station and drank the milk so graciously sent
by Mahatma.
Ranganathan wanted to meet Gandhi on his return from
Benares, but Mahatma went on fast due to Hindu -Muslim
riots and the Father of library science could never
meet the father of the Nation. Thus, both the leaders –
Mahatma and Ranganthan - proved themselves
as KARMAYOGIs in the real sense of the word.
For both of them WORK is WORSHIP.

This was narrated by Dr Ranganathan in one of our
class at DRTC.I have published this anecdote in a magazine Day Star,
December 1972 p.9,10.under the title Karma yogi Dr.SR
Rangantan. I used to mention this during Librarians Day
on August 12 at Hyderabad.

My apologies for reposting this story after 10 years as I did in 2002.
Deva  Eswar Reddy
Texas A&M University

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