Axel Michaels edited book "The Pandit"

hans henrich hock hhhock at UX1.CSO.UIUC.EDU
Mon Oct 29 11:56:44 EST 2001


George Hart is making a good point.  Too often we (and that includes
me) tend to forget the role of non-Brahmins in the Indian
tradition--in spite of the fact that we all know better (or should).

Hans Henrich Hock



>Might I humbly suggest that when Mr. Michaels entitles the book he
>edits "Traditional Scholarship in India," he perpetuates an extremely
>wrong and unfortunate stereotype: that in traditional India, only the
>Brahmins were learned.  The fact is, most of Tamil literature is by
>non-Brahmins, and it is quite as extensive as Sanskrit.  And, in
>Sanskrit and the Prakrits, an enormous amount of literature was
>produced by various non-Brahmins (e.g. Jains and Buddhists) who were
>not Brahmins and Pundits (which, incidentally, is a Dravidian word).
>Even low castes have their own literary traditions in South India --
>are we to suppose they are somehow inferior as human beings and their
>rich traditions are not worthy to be placed beside that of people who
>happen to be Brahmins?  WE MUST GET BEYOND RACIAL AND CASTE
>STEREOTYPING WHEN WE DESCRIBE PREMODERN INDIA.  With respect and
>hope, George Hart, Prof. of Tamil, Berkeley.
>--



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