Meet Dr. Shrikant Jichkar, a man who has acquired 20 degrees. Yes, that is true. Dr. Jichkar was a student in a variety of fields ranging from journalism to medicine! While he started by pursuing and completing an MBBS degree, once he received it, he realized that apart from medicine, he was just as interested in other fields. And this is how he began his educational pursuits.
With his name immortalized in the Limca Book of Records, Jichkar already had 14 portfolios to his honor by the time he turned 25. As per the Limca Book of Records, Jichkar’s status as the country’s most qualified person remains uncontested.
Dr. Jichkar accomplished his MBBS, LLB, MBA, DBM, Bachelors in Journalism (B Journ at that time), and his MA degrees are in Public Administration, Sociology, Economics, History, English Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, and Psychology.
Is it a surprise then, that he had an in-house library of about 52,000 books?
Dr. Jichkar’s thirst for academic knowledge did not end here. He even acquired a D Litt in Sanskrit—the highest educational degree one can acquire in the subject. Later in life, he single-handedly founded the Sanskrit University in Maharashtra and served as its Chancellor.
Born in 1954 near the Nagpur district of Maharashtra, Dr. Jichkar’s journey towards attaining these degrees began when he was just a 19-year-old. Between 1973-1990, he spent his summers and winters appearing for University exams.
In 1978, Dr. Jichkar appeared for the Indian Civil Service examination. He was selected for the Indian Police Service (IPS).
But, he had grander aims, so he resigned and reappeared for the exams—and hit the bulls-eye this time as he got selected to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
After four months of serving as an IAS officer, Dr. Jichkar contested the general elections and was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 1980. He was just 26 years old, and became the youngest MLA in the country!
Regardless of his young age, it was evident that Dr. Jichkar was an able administrator and was assigned 14 portfolios in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly where he served from 1982–1985. The next year, in 1986, he started his term in the Maharashtra Legislative Council and served there till 1992. That year, he was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
In 1999, when Dr. Jichkar lost the Rajya Sabha elections, he turned his focus to traveling. He had always been an artist at heart and enjoyed painting, photography and performing in plays. He traveled to various parts of the country to speak about health, education, and religion. At the same time, he also represented India at UNESCO.
In his mid-forties, he was diagnosed with cancer in his adrenal glands. Although he battled the disease, life had other plans for him.
On the ominous night of 2nd June 2004, Dr. Jichkar was driving his friend home from a farm in their native district of Nagpur when a bus slammed into their car. That night, Dr. Jichkar passed away at a young age of just 49 years.
Although he had a relatively short life, it is obvious that the doctor, lawyer, IPS, and IAS officer and politician lived a full life. His name has been canonized in the Limca Book of Records as the most educated man in India. If there is any inspiration we can take from Dr. Jichkar, it is that we should follow our passion and heart, as this decision will undoubtedly lead us towards greater achievements.