Obituary: Brilliant Hindi scholar

2014-07-25 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S Hindu community has paid tribute to prominent Hindu priest Pundit Premesh Maharaj (51) who died on June 18 due to illness.

Maharaj, who dedicated his life to upholding and uplifting Hindu Dharma, began his work as a priest at the tender age of 16 years in Pietermaritzburg, making him the youngest practising priest at the time. Born in Estcourt, he was the eldest son of the late Manilal and Vidya Maharaj. In 1971, the family relocated from Estcourt to Pietermaritzburg.

Maharaj attended the Baijoo and Maharaj School and completed his schooling at Raisethorpe Secondary School.

He has been described as an outstanding Hindi scholar who was a force to be reckoned with in terms of his speaking and debating ability.

He also had a beautiful singing voice.

Under the auspices of the Shree Sanathan Mandal, Maharaj also tutored many students in Hindi, refusing to accept payment from his students.

He was also a Purohit teacher and contributed to the education and training of many of the practising priests in Pietermaritzburg.

He was involved in many religious activities, including the annual Rain Prayer, and took part in the annual Fire Walking Festival for about 10 years.

He also held community prayers annually for many years, to which the public was invited.

Majaraj served as a family counsellor for people of all faiths and ethnic groups.

Maharaj realised his dream 14 years ago when he opened the Shri Vaishno Devi Mandir at his home.

The Shri Vaishno Devi Mandir is affiliated to two of the oldest Hindu temples in the city, namely the Shri Vishnu Mandir and the Sri Siva Soobramoniar and Marriamen Temples.

Maharaj also started a Hindi school last year under the auspices of the Shri Vaishno Devi Mandir.

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