Nation Next pays homage to the most qualified person in India Dr Shrikant Jichkar (14 September 1954 – 2 June 2004)…
Dr Shrikant Jichkar from Nagpur was officially known as India’s most qualified person. Jichkar during his entire lifetime had obtained 20 degrees after appearing for 42 university examinations. Jichkar made it to the Limca Book of Records for being the most qualified person in India.
Born in Katol near Nagpur in Maharashtra in 1954, Jichkar was barely 19-year-old when he started his journey in the field of education. Jichkar was so much engrossed in studies that between the years 1973-1990, he spent all his summers and winters appearing for 42 university exams. While he stood merit in most of his degrees, he also obtained several gold medals.
Jichkar obtained his MBBS, LLB, MBA, DBM, Bachelors in Journalism as well as his MA degrees in Public Administration, Sociology, Economics, History, English Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology and Psychology to name a few. Not just this, he even secured a D Litt in Sanskrit – highest of any degree granted by a university. He even established a Sanskrit University in Maharashtra and served as its Chancellor.
In 1978, he appeared for the Indian Civil Service examination and was selected for the Indian Police Service (IPS). However, he resigned and reappeared for the exams and got selected for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). After serving as an IAS officer for four months, in early eighties, he contested the assembly elections and became an MLA.
At 26, he became the youngest MLA in the country and had 14 portfolios to his credit! Subsequently, he also went on to become an MLC and a Rajya Sabha member in the following years. He’d also served as Minister of State in the Government of Maharashtra. However, Jichkar in 1999 lost the Rajya Sabha elections.
Being an avid reader, academician, painter, professional photographer, and stage actor, he had one of the biggest personal libraries in India with more than 52,000 books. He even represented India at the UNESCO and founded Sandipani School at Nagpur in 1992.
In September 2000, Jichkar was treated for falciparum malaria and even tuberculosis after he had developed high fever. However, there was no change in his condition.
He flew down to the US where he was admitted to the State University of New York Hospital in Brooklyn. That’s when he was diagnosed with an aggressive and a very rare form of cancer, located in his adrenal glands, which was in its last stages. The doctor told him that he had only 15 days left. That’s when he decided to fight cancer. After a long treatment process in the US for several months, he fully recovered.
But destiny had some other plans for Jichkar. On 2nd June 2004, Jichkar (49) while diving back his friend Shriram Dhawad home from his farm near Nagpur, died in a car accident, after a bus slammed into his vehicle.
Dr Shrikant Jichkar was the most inspiring academician-scholar-politicain that India ever had!
(This story was originally published in 2019)