Biography of Krishna Kanta Handique

Krishna kanta Handique, an internationally renowned Sanskrit scholar with the title ‘Orientalist’, ‘Pandityabaridhi/Scholarly’, is one of the best Indian scholars of the twentieth century.

Biography of Krishna Kanta Handique

Biography of Krishna Kanta Handique

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Table of Contents

NameKrishna kanta Handique[1]
Date of Birth20 July 1898
Place of BirthJorhat
ParentsRai Bahadur Radhakanta Handique (Father), Narayani Handique (Mother)
Education1/ Jorhat Government High English School
2/ Cotton College
3/ Calcutta University
Awards1/ Padma Shri Samman/Award, 1955

2/ Padma Vibhushan Samman/Award, 1967

3/ D Lit Samman/Award (from Guwahati and Dibrugarh Universities)

4/ Member Mahan Samman/Award, 1978

5/ Sahitya Akademi Award, (1985, posthumously)
Death June 7, 1982

Early Life

The silent seeker of knowledge, world famous scholar Krishnakanta Handique, was born on July 20, 1898, in Jorhat. His father was Radhakanta Handique, the friendly, generous, warm hearted of the Handique dynasty of seven housed Ahom Fayed, and his mother was Narayani Handique. After passing the entrance examination from Jorhat Government High English School in 1913, he passed the I.A exam from Cotton in 1915. He later went to Calcutta for higher education and enrolled in Sanskrit college in Kolkata. In 1917, from Sanskrit College in Kolkata, he passed his BA examination by securing first class first in Sanskrit subject and won the gold medal of Prasanna Kumar Adhikari of Calcutta University. It was later passed from Calcutta University in 1919 by occupying the first-class position in the Vedic stream of Sanskrit. Krishna kanta Handique then studied Modern History at Oxford University and passed this subject in 1923 by occupying the first-class position.

Krishnakanta Handique the owner of extraordinary talent, was very curious about foreign language literature. So, while in England, he learnt French and German at their language school. It also acquires these two languages by learning Greek and Latin as a correspondence course. Krishna Kanta Handique also learnt Italian and Russian while at Oxford.

Krishnakanta Handique learnt foreign languages by working hard because of his indomitable craving for knowledge. He regularly searched for knowledge at the British Museum in London, the largest repository library of books in the world, and went to the Bodleial Library in Oxford and continued to earn education. In 1923, Krishna kanta Handique went to Paris and focused on learning German, Italian, Russian and French language literature as well as Spanish at the University of Paris. In 1925, Krishnakanta Handique travelled to Berlin and studied Greek and Russian literature in the libraries there. Krishnakanta Handique, who had immense scholarship in Sanskrit, thus visited various places and studied foreign literature.

Importantly, Krishnakanta Handique imbibes a total of 13 languages and out of these 8 were European languages while 5 were Indian languages.

Krishnakanta Handique was able to study the literature associated with these languages in a comprehensive and subtle manner to learn languages such as German, Waru’s, Greek, Spanish, French, Italian, etc. His difficult study was actually a pursuit and a hard break. Krishnakanta Handique possessed encyclopedia-like knowledge because of concentration, strong inquisitive mind and hard work.

After spending many years abroad to gain knowledge, he returned to India in 1927 and married Hemalata Aideo in 1928. Their three children are Pramila Aideo, Vijay Krishna Handique and Ohoilya Aideo.

Also Read: Biography of Lakshminath Bezbaruah

Professional Life

In 1930 Krishnakanta Handique joined the newly established Jagannath Barooah College in Jorhat as principal. After serving as principal for 17 years from 1930 to 1948, he took over as the first Assamese vice chancellor of Guwahati University in the same year i.e., 1948. He served as vice chancellor from 1948 to 1957 and made an important contribution to the field of higher education in Assam.

Krishnakanta Handique adorned the president’s seat at the 17th session of the Assam Sahitya Sabha held in Guwahati in 1937. Handique, one of the founders of the Assam Students’ Conference, served as president of the 14th session of the Assam Students’ Conference in 1929.

Krishnakanta Handique also decorated the president’s seat at the Vice Chancellor’s Conference in Madras in 1949 and the Inter University Relation session in Altair. Krishnakanta Handique, on the other hand, held the post of President of the Ancient Sanskrit Branch of the All-India Oriental Conference held in Lucknow in 1951 and in 1952 as the President of the Inter-University Committee of India. 

Krishnakanta Handique who holds a great scholarship, was awarded the title of D Lit by Guwahati University in 1968 and Dibrugarh University in 1972. Krishnakanta Handique was elected as Anaberi Fell at Deccan College in Pune in 1968. The Government of India conferred the Highest Civilian Honor to Krishnakanta Handique in 1955 with Padma Shri Award and Padma Vibhushan Award in 1967. Krishnakanta Handique was also honored with Member Mahian Award in 1978. Krishnakanta Handique was posthumously awarded the “Sahitya Akademi” award in 1985.

Importantly, Dr. Adinath Neminath Upadhyay and Dr. Hiralal Jain termed Krishnakanta Handique as Academic Jhashi. Krishnakanta Handique was highly inspired by the ideals and life of world-famous Sanskrit Scholar Anandaram Baruah. Radhakanta Handique’s successor as his son, Krishnakanta Handique was the owner of incomparable wealth, but he was not fascinated by these. Knowledge was what he considered to be the real truth.

Krishnakanta Handique, who concentrated on literature since his college days, has made a valuable contribution to the Assamese Literary world with almost a hundred and a half articles on the pages of magazines like Banhi, Chetna, Milan, Awahan, Amar Dekh/Our Country, Assam Sahitya Sabha, Patrika, Akan etc. However, he also composed many songs and poems in the past of his life. The research books written by him are Naikhada Charit (1934), Yashastilak and Indian Culture (1949) and Pravarsen’s Sethubandha/Bridges of Pravarsena (1976). Importantly, these books of Krishnakanta Handique introduce extraordinary talent, scholarship, thorough study and systematic analysis power.  

Apart from these three books, Krishnakanta Handique wrote many articles in English. Among these, Classical Sanskrit as a vehicle of Indian culture, German academic ideals are notable.

Importantly, Krishnakanta Handique did not write books in Assamese but wrote many articles. These include the Language and Literature of Europe, Greek Language, German’s knowledge Practice, Ancient Babylonian Vedas, Naikhad Charit and Indian painting, translation etc. are the chief. Importantly, articles covering Indian philosophy, painting, etc., to foreign language literature reflects the scholarship of Krishnakanta Handique. In addition, Krishna kanta Handique’s biography, Miscellaneous Notes, Letters, referring to domestic foreign language literature in a less scope, and also his knowledge and thoughts tells a lot about his talent.

Posthumously, in 1984, the Assam Sahitya Sabha united all his works and published them under the title of the essay Krishnakanta Handique’s Rasanasambhar composed by Sahitya Charya Jatindranath Goswami. Importantly, in 1985, the Sahitya Akademi Award was posthumously presented for this book. Twenty Articles, Two Biographies, Two Ashru-Anjalis, Four Speeches, Four Miscellaneous Notes, A Special Letter, Four Child-Friendly Works, Four Roles, four poems, Eleven Songs and some important Letters of Handique are included in ‘Krishna Kanta Handique’s Rasanasambhar.

Krishnakanta Handique also took various steps for the benefit of the society. Krishnakant Handique’s wife Hemlata Handique passed out in 1961 for which Krishna Kanta Handique set up a memorial institute in Jorhat to commemorate his wife, Hemlata Handique. Importantly he made financial contributions for the establishment of science stream at Jagannath Barooah College. Krishnakanta Handique, who is constantly trying to spread knowledge and education, donated a huge private library of about Rs 4 lakh in 11 languages filled with about 45 cupboards in the name of Guwahati University.


On June 7,1982, learned Sanskrit scholar Krishnakanta Handique at the age of 83, died in Dibrugarh AMCH Hospital. Scholar Krishna Kanta Handique is the privileged child of Assam, who has established Sanskrit literature as well as the glorious civilization of ancient India in the world by enacting several scholarly books on language literature. Although he died, The University of Guwahati has established the largest library in Northeast India Krishna Kanta Handique Library and Krishna Kanta Handique Open University under the Government of Assam.

Krishnakanta Handique, who also highlighted the name of Assam at the national and international level, was a silent seeker of knowledge. The contribution of the People of Assam to the spread of education in Assam by The Eastern Vidyarnava, Sanskrit Language Literature Scholar, Linguist, Educationist and Writer, Krishnakanta Handique will always be remembered by the people of Assam.


1. When and where was Krishna Kanta Handique born?

Ans: Krishna Kanta Handique was born on 20 July 1898 in a Tai Ahom family in Jorhat, Assam.

2. When did he adorned the post of president of Assam Sahitya Sabha?

Ans: Krishnakanta Handique adorned the president’s seat at the 17th session of the Assam Sahitya Sabha held in Guwahati in 1937.

3. When did he adorned the post of Assam Students’ Conference?

Ans: Handique, one of the founders of the Assam Students’ Conference, served as president of the 14th session of the Assam Students’ Conference in 1929.

4. When was he awarded with Padma Shri Award?

Ans: He was awarded with Padma Shri Award in 1955.

5. When was he awarded with Padma Vibhushan Award?

Ans: He was awarded with Padma Vibhushan Award in1967.

6. When he was awarded with Sahitya Akademi Award?

Ans: He was awarded with Sahitya Akademi Award in 1985.

7. What title he was awarded with and when?

Ans: He was awarded with D Lit title by Guwahati University in 1968 and Dibrugarh University in 1972.

8. What are the three research books written by him?

Ans: The three research books written by him are Naikhada Charit (1934), Yashastilak and Indian Culture (1949) and Pravarsen’s Sethubandha/Bridges of Pravarsena (1976).

9. When did he died?

Ans: He died at the age of 83 in June 7,1982 at Dibrugarh AMCH Hospital.

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