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ISKCON Remembers R. K. Shitaljit

by the Imphal (Manipur) Free Press

Posted June 13, 2008

ISKCON devotees have offered condolences on the departure of noted scholar and teacher Raj Kumar Shitaljit Singh. Born on August 18, 1913, he died at 95 at his residence at Keishampat Top Leirak on June 8, 2008.

Shitaljit had received many awards including the President's Medal for teaching (1967), the Thoibi Devi Award for literature (from Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, 1999) and the Writer of the Year award (from Naharol Sahitya Premi Samiti, 2000). He received the Manipur Journalist Award in 1995 and was offered a fellowship by Manipur State Kala Akademi in the same year. Among the books he translated from Bengali are the Gita Govinda and Padavali gi Shayan Shaikhan.

At a condolence meeting at the Sri Sri Radha Krishnachandra Manimandir in Imphal, devotees recalled his longtime association with ISKCON and his contributions to its Manipur mission. H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami, considering Shitaljit's scholarship in Sanskrit and in Vaishnava texts, had entrusted him with the translation into Manipuri of the Srimad Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad-gita.

Shitaljit had strong feelings about Vaishnavism and stated at a Doordarshan television interview that mundane books were useless if they had no relation to Krishna. Many Manipuris, whom he had inspired to follow the right path, considered him a spiritual guru.

He was also a strict educationist and introduced chandan tilak for schoolchildren at Ram Lal Paul School in Imphal, where he was principal. Even on his deathbed he asked a devotee who was present in his bedroom why he had not put on his tilak properly, the devotees said. He was appreciative of ISKCON devotees for being able to follow the Vaishnava principles openly. He was humorous, deep-thinking and spoke only about topics of God.

Original Story