Balaji Prabhakar Modak

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Balaji Prabhakar Modak (22 March 1847 – 2 December 1906) was an Indian educator and earliest advocator for the need for scientific education.

He was Acting Professor of Mathematics, Acting Vice-Principal and Professor of Oriental Languages


Balaji Prabhakar Modak was a man who went against his times by advocating the imperative for vernacular education and the need for scientific education, to help bring his country at par with the west. He was one of the first in western India to begin translation of important scientific works into Marathi, using words in regular usage. Yet, Modak's contribution was equally noteworthy in history - his work on the history of Kolhapur constituting a landmark in Marathi historical writing. However he left no inventions or a loyal band of followers after him, which explains his invisibility in the wider canvass of Indian scientific history.

Modak made great efforts to revolutionize the hitherto theoretical, urban and elitist movement for spread of science by extending it to the princes and masses of the southern Maratha region, with the help of his innovative science exhibitions. The demonstrative character of exhibits added a new dimension to the movement for spread of science in Maharashtra.

He introduced electric lamps in south Maharashtra and created scientific ambience in Kolhapur. He awakened the princes of south Maharashtra to play their due role for spread of science movement.

Science education was started in western India during the tenure of Mountstuart Elphinstone (1819-1829), the first Governor of the Bombay Presidency. In 1823, the Engineering institute was established by George Resto Jervis to train surveyors and builders for public works department in Indian languages.

In 1845, the Grant Medical College was developed, out of the medical school which started its work. At the initial phases, the College got enthsiatstic support to western education in general, but did not receive much support from the vegetarian Chitapawan and Karhada Brahmins because of their disapproval of dissection.

Jagannath Shankarseth appealed to Indians to study medicine in order to free Indians from high fee of English doctors whereas Bhau Mahajan asked them to join the engineering institute by giving up their caste prejudice.

Modak being a hard core propagator enriched Marathi literature by his translations and original writings on almost all branches of natural and social science, then taught in schools and colleges.


He has authored following.[1]

  • Ganot's Popular Natural Philosophy: Heat Vol V
  • Elementary Treatise On Mechanics.Vol.1
  • Aushnata shastrachi mulatatve. (Marathi Edition)
  • Chronological Tables(Marathi Edition)
  • Information of common objects part 1
  • Arogyashatravol. 1



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