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Prof. Tuppil Venkatacharya (1924-2015) was Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto and a scholar of Sanskrit and South Asian studies. His academic work focused on the grammatical study of Sanskrit in the Pāṇinian system and the exposition of various Sanskrit texts.
Born in Tirupati, India, Prof. Venkatacharya attended the Madras University (Vyakarana Siromani, 1944; B.A., 1949) and the University of Calcutta University, where he received his M.A. in 1952. Following his studies, Venkatacharya worked as both a researcher and lecturer at institutions including Nalanda University (1955 -1958) and Gauhati University (1958 - 1961). In 1961, he was invited to work with Professor Giuseppe Tucci at Rome’s Istituto per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente and while in this position also lectured at the Sapienza University of Rome.
In 1963, Prof. Venkatacharya was invited as Assistant Professor to lecture at the University of Toronto within the Department of East Asian Studies. While teaching in various departments, including Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Linguistics, and the Centre for South Asian Studies, Prof. Venkatacharya spent the following 28 years at the University of Toronto. He was awarded the distinction of Professor Emeritus in 1989 and retired from teaching in 1991. In 1996, he received an honorary degree from Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha (Deemed University) in Tirupati.
Prof. Venkatacharya published multiple books where he edited and provided extensive commentary on early Sanskrit manuscripts. These texts included the Krsnacarita of Agastyapandita, the Ubhayabhisarika, and Nalakirtikaumudi of Agastyapandita. The works that Venkatacharya studied ranged in content from literature and poetry to dramatic and dramaturgical works, and represented multiple scripts and languages including Telugu, Pali, and Devanagari. His writing and reviews are also found in academic publications from both North America and overseas. In both 1989 and 1991, Venkatacharya donated extensive collections of palm-leaf and paper manuscripts to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto (Collection MS291).
Active within Toronto’s South Asian community, Prof. Venkatacharya participated in several community based organizations. In particular, he was involved with the Hindu Institute of Learning as well as teaching a Saturday Sanskrit class out of his home for multiple years.
Prof. Venkatacharya was married to Vijaya Venkatacharya and is survived by two sons, Hari and Patañjali.