Vital Statistics

Bharat Gupt abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN
Sun Jan 9 22:00:05 EST 2000


> In the case of Tamil, the language name is primary and the place
> name and the people's name are derived names.

Can we be really sure, this seems more like, who came first chicken or the egg.
,
> > But did any
> > monarch stop
> >  his conquering army after he reached the limits of his native language
> > territory?
>
> Did the European monarchs stop at the limits of their linguistic regions?
> Didn't any European state have people speaking different languages in them?

The formation of the modern European states coincides with the decline in the power of
monarchy, rise of the middle-class raised on printed books and partial democratic
assertion. The territory of these states was MORE OR LESS linguistic. There is no
denying the fact that when print made a language visible and marked it as territory, a
new consciousness about linguistic territory came into force which was impossible when
language was only spoken and not seen in such abundance as after print. This was
different from Latin and Greek keeping the European intelligensia together, the Church
providing them employment or lands, and the royalty demarking them on dynastic lines. In
India too,when from mid 19th century till thirties of the last century,  when more books
were printed than in the whole of Europe, a different and acute consciouness about
languages and native tongues came into existence.

> >
> >  The language identity did not play cardinal role in making marital
> > allinaces
> > as did
> >  gotra, varna and jaati nor were the army battalions marked along
> >linguistic
> > lines.
>
> Did the European monarchs contract marriages within the linguistic group
> "representing" their own state?
>
> >  Soldiers would cook and eat according to varna-jati not as
>> Maratha-brothers
> > or
> >Andhra-biddas.
>
> What is the basis for this statement?  Classical Tamil tradition makes no
> such varna/jAti distinctions among the eating and drinking of soldiers.

Different castes eating in different groups was even an urban phenomena, till forty
years ago in marriages and functions. I remember it from my own childhood. Even "Hindu
water" was sold on Railway platforms. How could soldiers be an exception? "Jitnii Jaat
Utne Choole" (As many cooking fires as many Castes) was a proverb in Hindi used till not
long ago.

> >  Linguistic state means that everything shall be done in ONE language from
> > selling fruits
> >to teaching scriptures.
>
> Was there such an European state?
> I quote from somebody's mail, to show the earlier situation.
~ The parents spoke French and the governess German, and  ~
~ at school Latin was spoken.  The tongue of the country  ~
~ the boy had to learn in the streets.                    ~
~                            (after L. Holberg 1684-1754) ~

It is not the total exclusion of other languages but the prioritisation of the
mother-tongue and the consequent "enrichment" by translation into that tongue of every
kind of information for the citizen of the nation-state or the Indian provincial state
that indicates a bias in the favour of ONE language.

> > Historically,
> > most Indians
> > except the poor and uneducated have never been mono-lingual.

> What is the approximate percentage Gupt has in mind when he says  "most"?

Except the poor, the rich, the learned and well employed  spoke Sanskrit for profession,
the Prakrits to wives, servants,children and prostitutes,( in medieval times Persian or
Turkish and the dialects). The educated, the rasikas, and better travelled were
certainly familiar with more than one Prakrit as is obvious from India's multilingual
theatre and music, and Manipravaal traditions of poetry. In later centuries,
Brijbhaas.aa was the language of music in all North and even Svati Tirunal, I am told
composed in it.


> If indeed Indians had this extraordinary multi-lingual ability, how come even
> after more than a century of English as the official language, English is
> understood by only 2.5% according to Gupt? What is the percentage of the
> speakers of the Hindi dialects/languages who understand a Dravidian language?

Because English is not an Indian language and because the British were not here to
educate but rule. They taught a few for administration. But now there is hope as the
best Indian writing is in English as Rushdie informs us.

It is for Southern States to conduct such a survey (as Northerners will not tell the
truth), and offer incentives, north-south  marriages for instance (I am looking for my
computer engineer sons two brides, Bharatnatyam dancers or classical singers preferred,
Dikshitar's Sanskrit Kritis not necessary, no dowry, caste no bar, send mail off
Indology).
>From me no more on this thread.
Regards,
Bharat Gupt



More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list