Pandit Chaturvedi in 2008
|Died||27 February 2020|
Pandit Sudhakar Chaturvedi (Kannada: ಸುಧಾಕರ್ ಚತುರ್ವೇದಿ) (died 27 February 2020) was an Indian Vedic scholar, Indologist, and claimed supercentenarian. At the claimed age of 122 years, 313 days, some Indian newspapers reported him as the oldest Indian ever.
Pandit Chaturvedi was reportedly born on 20 April 1897 in Bangalore, Karnataka, India (or in Kyatsandra in Tumkur district, Karnataka state according to one report). One report also claimed an age of 121 in 2011, which would put his birth in 1890.
Freedom Struggle and Vedic Scholarship
Pandit Chaturvedi was given his title "Chaturvedi", which literally means "master of the four Vedas," for his knowledge of the Vedas. He was a disciple of Swami Shraddhanand at Gurukul Kangri in Haridwar, where he got his Veda Vachaspati degree (equivalent to a postgraduate degree).
Pandit Chaturvedi was a contemporary of Mahatma Gandhi, whom he first met when studying the Vedas in a gurukula in northern India. Subsequently, he became an ardent follower of Gandhian methods. He was a witness to many events in the Indian independence movement, including being an eyewitness to the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He was known as Gandhi's Postman, as he took down and delivered letters dictated by Gandhi addressed to the Viceroys or Governors-General. Gandhi called him 'Karnataki'. He lost the use of his right arm in 1938 while travelling with Gandhi, when the railwayman detached the last three compartments of the train as it was struggling to climb uphill. He took part in the freedom struggle and was arrested at least 31 times during the freedom struggle, landing in prisons all over the country from Peshawar to Vellore.
"My youth was spent in the struggle. By the time we got freedom [in 1947], I was over 50 years. Who would give me a girl then?"
Pandit Chaturvedi was the first teacher of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In 2011 he took part in the India Against Corruption campaign. He lived in Jayanagar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India. and in 2010 stated he was still working for eight hours every day. This included an hour-long lecture he gave on the Vedas every Saturday. He woke up at 3 am or 3:30, going to bed by 7 pm. He advised people to "follow the instructions in the Vedas and a happy life awaits you." He practiced a strict vegetarian diet. He said he wanted to live to 300. Pandit Chaturvedi died on 27 February 2020, at the claimed age of 122.
He was honoured by Motilal Banarsidass for his contributions to Indology, when it celebrated its centenary in 2003. The Karnataka Sahitya Anuvada Academy gave him an honorary award for 2007–08. In 2009 he was given a "Socio Economic Development Teacher Award", by the Sri Kashi Sesha Sastri Charitable Trust. He was honoured by his alma mater, Gurukul Kangri university, in 2010. In 2010 he was given a "Living Legend" Award by IDL Foundation at a public function where he pledged to donate his eyes. In March 2011 he was gifted a wheelchair by the IDL Foundation, sponsored by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde and began to use it. On Republic Day in 2010, he was felicitated by the Governor of Karnataka.
Pandit Chaturvedi has written over 40 books in the Kannada language and, as of 2008, was working on the publication of Vedic texts in 20 volumes. He was also announced in 2002 to be heading a project of the Arya Samaj to publish a 30,000-page treatise in Kannada on Veda Bhashya, and by 2009, three of the four Vedas and six volumes of the Rig Veda were released.
He was the moving spirit behind the Bangalore Arya Samaj, which published the Kannada monthly magazine Veda Taranga.
- If it works for the young man, it sure works for us, Churumuri, 12 September 2009
- Many recent newspaper accounts are consistent with an 1897 date, but the biographical sketch in Seunarine's book mentioned below gives a date of 4 April 1901
- "India's oldest man swears by meditation and Vedas", The Times of India, 28 June 2009 
- "Dancers leave audience spellbound", The Times of India, 28 June 2009
- N Bhanutej (18 July 1998), "Been there, seen that: 101-yr-old-man still rages at Dyer's "fire"", Indian Express, retrieved 18 June 2013
- "113-year-old pledges to donate eyes", NDTV (Press Trust of India), 18 December 2010
- "Be positive in outlook, pensioners told", The Hindu, 1 July 2007
- Prof. A. V. Narasimha Murthy (27 January 2010), 117-year-young Sudhakar Chaturvedi[permanent dead link]
- "I have no desire for death: Pt Sudhakar Chaturvedi", Times of India, 2 October 2011
- "Pandit gifted wheelchair on birthday", Times of India, 15 March 2011
- "The Gandhians in our midst". The Hindu. 2 October 2003.
- "Protests held against `foreign rule'", The Hindu, 18 May 2004
- "Grand old man of Bangalore does some soul-searching", The Hindu, 16 March 2011
- "Scholar Pandit Sudhakar Chaturvedi to be honoured", Times of India, Mangalore, 25 August 2009
- Rakshita Adyanthaya (15 March 2011), "He is the great grandfather of all 'thathas'", DNA, Bangalore
- Book "Halavu Nenapugalu".  Archived 27 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Sunitha Rao R (9 April 2011), "Let it be implemented on the ground, say freedom fighters", Times of India
- "He's lived across three centuries", The Times of India, 19 December 2010
- "Tributes paid to Anantha Subbaraya", The Hindu, 9 December 2007
- "Early to bed, early to rise", Times of India, 15 March 2011
- Jayashree Nandi (22 February 2010), "Living in a space of love is the 'GREATEST POWER'", The Times of India, Bangalore, p. 6
- Debaashis Bhattacharya (11 July 2010), "'Maoists are very good people. They have zeal and... want justice'", The Telegraph, Calcutta
- Chelvatamby Maniccavasagar (21 December 2010), "His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Great spiritual leader", Daily News, Sri Lanka
- "Discourse on Vedas by Sudhakar Chaturvedi", 30 Dec 2007
- Centenarian scholar Sudhakar Chaturvedi passes away
- "Publishing house celebrates centenary", The Hindu, 14 September 2003
- "Anuvada Academy announces awards", The Hindu, Bangalore, 24 January 2008
- Sandeep Rawat (17 June 2010), "Gurukul Kangri university honours 113-year-old student", Tribune India, Haridwar
- "City's patriarch pledges his eyes", The Hindu, 19 December 2010
- Ajith Samuel (14 March 2011), Honorable Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde and Pandith Sudhakar Chaturvedi (video)
- "Grit and service acknowledged: Individuals and organisations felicitated on Republic Day", The Hindu, 27 January 2010
- "Lyrical land", The Hindu, 26 September 2002, archived from the original on 28 February 2009, retrieved 19 February 2011
- Ananth (2 September 2009), Message on 'Sumadhwa Seva'
- Indica, 42, Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture, St. Xavier's College., 2005, p. 129
- J. F. Seunarine (1977). "A Biographical Sketch of Paṇḍit Sudhākar Chaturvedi". Reconversion to Hinduism through śuddhi. Bangalore: Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society. pp. 96–97.