The eminent oriental scholar and linguist Dr.Devendra Kumar Shastri was born on 26th February 1933. After his schooling in Mathura and Varanasi he secured his M.A.degree in Hindi literature from Holkar College, Indore and “Acharya” in Sanskrit literature from Sanskrit University, Varanasi. He obtained his Ph.D.Degree from Agra University for his thesis ‘Bhavisayatta Kaha tatha Apabhramsha Kathakavya’.
After retiring as a Professor and Head of the Hindi literature department from Government Post Graduate College, JAORA, Vikram University, Ujjain, he involved himself in extensive research work on Prakrit and Apabramsha literature. He has written number of essays and research articles on Apabramsha language as well as literature. His writings in the field of Apabhramsha Hindi critical literature are imbued with critical insight and are highly prized. One of these, the ‘Tirthamkara Mahavira’ was awarded Laxmidevi Jain Puraskara by Vira Nirwana-Bharti, Meerut in 1977.
Dr.Devendra Kumar Shastry has successfully unearthed various manuscripts hitherto unknown to scholars and critics of Apabhramsha after conducting an extensive tour and survey of the country. His book ‘Apabhramsha Basha tatha Sahitya ki Shodha Pravrittiyan’ gives the complete picture of the language and literature. In the foreword of this book, Ernest Bender, Professor (Indo-Aryan languages & Literature), University of Pennysylvania, and Editor of ‘Journal of the American Oriental Society’ writes – “The first chapter provides an excellent historical survey of Apabhramsha, scholarly activity, linguistic and literary; the subsequent chapters contain bibliographies of publication-books as well as articles and descriptive lists of manuscripts including the names of the collections where they reposed Dr. Shastry in so many words and reports the work done, the work in progress and meticulously describes the data available, pin-pointing their locations. What more is required than enthusiastic pursuit ? Indological scholarship, established and neophyte, are in Dr. Shastry’s debt.”
Dr.Shastry is a well known critic, editor and translator. He has been conferred the title “Siddhantacharya” by Padamshri Sumatibai Vidyapitha, Sholapur in 1983. He also contributed more than seventy entries in the Encyclopaedia of Indian literature and translated some portion of “Paramappayasull of Joindu in Apabhramsha for ancient literature published by Sahitya Academy, New Delhi.
Presently he is the Chief Editor of ‘Jaina Sandesha’ weekly newspaper and the General Editor of Moortidevi Jain Granthmala at Bharatiya Jnanpith. He has edited Mahabandh of Acharya Bhutbali in seven volumes, a major work of Agamas. He is also the Chief Editor of Jivaraja Jain Granthmala, Sholapur. More recently he has taken up the magnanimous task of compiling the lexicon of Apabhramsha language based on historical principles.
Dr.Shasty’s wide range of manuscripts published in Prakrit, Apabramsha, Hindi Literature and linguistics include :