Dattatray Vaman Potdar (5 August 1890 – 6 October 1979), better known as Datto Vaman Potdar, was an Indian historian, writer, and orator. He was the Vice-Chancellor of University of Pune during 1961 - 1964.

The Government of India had honored Potdar with the title Mahamahopadhyaya in 1946, and Padmabhushan in 1967.[1] Because of his vast knowledge, he was sometimes called as Dr. Johnson of Maharashtra or a living encyclopedia.

Potdar was a disciple of Itihasacharya Rajwade, and a trustee of Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal (इतिहास संशोधक मंडळ) in Pune. His disciples included Sane Guruji, Swami Swaroopanand, Vasudeo Sitaram Bendrey, Setu Madhavrao Pagadi, and R. C. Dhere.[2]

Early life

Born in the Sarpotdar family in the village of Birwadi in Raigad District of Maharashtra, Potdar completed his matriculation in 1906 from Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya in Pune, and four years later received a bachelor's degree in History and Marathi from Fergusson College (University of Bombay in those days), also in Pune.

During 1912–1920, he taught at, and later served as the Head Master of Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya. During 1921–1935, he served as a professor at New Poona College (later renamed S. P. College) in Pune.

Potdar had mastered Sanskrit to the extent that he could fluently converse in it. He also was proficient in Persian and this proved to be valuable while conducting Historical Research.


He never got married and preferred to remain a bachelor.

Scholarly career

In 1910, Sardar Mehendale, V. K. Rajwade, and Potdar founded Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal. Since then, Potdar maintained passionate interest through his life in the growth of the Mandal.

He traveled all over India, collecting historical documents pertaining especially to Maratha empire and Marathi literature. He ran periodicals, delivered speeches, and organized lecture series, inspiring others to research historical papers. He only once went abroad and that was to what in those times was USSR.

In 1965, the Government of Maharashtra appointed Potdar to write the biography of Shivaji, but before he could finish the assignment, he died on 6 October 1979 in Pune.There was some criticism in this respect as there were many in Maharashtra in those times who felt that the delay on his part for such an important project was inexcusable.


  • Vasantik Upadesh in IX parts (Marathi) – 1917 to 1929
  • Apale Pune (Marathi) – 1921
  • Marathi Gadyacha Ingraji Avtar (Marathi) – 1922
  • Thorle Madhavrao (Marathi) – 1928
  • Bodhprad Pustika for students in XII parts (Marathi) – 1935
  • Marathi Itihas va Itihas Sanshodhan (Marathi) – 1935
  • Maharashtra Sahitya Parishadecha Itihas (Marathi) – 1943
  • Jaypur Darshan (Marathi) – 1948
  • Suman Saptak (Marathi) – 1950
  • Maharashtra Deshachya Itihasache Sankshipt Varnan (Marathi) – 1951
  • Samaj Shikshan Mala (Marathi) – 1952
  • Shrote Ho ! (Marathi) – 1959
  • Bharatachi Bhashan Samasya (Marathi) – 1960
  • Me Europat kay pahile ? (Marathi) – 1960
  • Olakh (Marathi) – 1961
  • Inside Maharashtra (English) – 1964
  • Lokmanya Tilakanche Sangati (Marathi) – 1975

Besides the above, Potdar has to his credit over 600 historical articles (Marathi and English).

Editorial works

  • Devdas krut Sant Malika – 1913
  • Marathe Va Ingraj – 1922
  • Dr.Johnson yanche Charitra – 1924
  • Sahitya Sopan – 1931
  • N.M.V.Smarak Grantha – 1933
  • Shivdin Kesari Krut Dnyan Pradeep – 1934
  • Vaktrutva : Krushnashastri Chiplunkar – 1936
  • Maza Pravas – Vishnubhat Godse – 1966
  • English East India Company cha Peshwe Darbarshi farsi patravyavahar
  • Vad yanchya Athwani : Parvatibai Paranjpe – 1971


Potdar was closely associated with 68 organizations. including the following:

  • Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal, Pune
  • Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya
  • University of Pune
  • University of Bombay
  • Deccan Gymkhana
  • Pune Marathi Granthalaya
  • Shikshan Prasarak Mandali
  • Pune Corporation
  • Bhandarkar Institute
  • Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad
  • Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapith
  • Shri Chhatrapati Sambhaji Smarak Mandal
  • Narvir Tanaji Smarak Mandal
  • Sanyukta Maharashtra Parishad
  • Peshwe Daftar Committee
  • Vaktrutvottejak Sabha
  • Ved Shastrottejak Sabha
  • S.N.D.T.College
  • Maharashtriya Kalopasak, Pune


  • 1939 – President of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan held at Ahmednagar
  • 1945 – President of Maharashtra Rashtra Bhasha Parishad
  • 1945 – Vice Chancellor of Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapith
  • 1946 – ‘Mahamahopadhyaya’ title by Government of India
  • 1956 – Deputy of Bombay Government at Florence, Italy.
  • 1960-1962 – First President of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal
  • 1961 to 1964 – Vice Chancellor of the University of Pune
  • 1962 – Honored as ‘Sanskrut Prachyavidya Pandit’ by Government of India
  • 1963 – Leader of the committee of Indian Vice Chancellors for visit to Russia
  • 1965 – Honored as ‘Vidya Vachaspati’ in the All India Hindi Meet at Prayag
  • 1967 – Received ‘Padma Bhushan’ from the President of India
  • 1967 – ‘Doctor of Literature’ from Kashi Vidyapith

See also


  1. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Historian Bendre". Archived from the original on 2014-12-19. 
  • ‘Datto Vaman’ (Marathi) by Shubhalaxmi Potdar
  • ‘Potdar Vividh Darshan’ (Marathi) by D.P.Ranade
  • Autobiography by Acharya P.K.Atre
  • ‘Ashi Manase Yeti’ (Marathi) by Setu Madhavrao Pagadi
  • ‘History of Sarpotdars’ by Harshad Sarpotdar

External links