South Asian American biblio (fwd)

manu bhagavan bhagavam at
Sun Feb 26 20:50:50 UTC 1995

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From: Sagar S. Asia Graduate Journal <sagrj at>
To: bhagavam at
Subject: South Asian American biblio (fwd)

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Date: Sun, 26 Feb 1995 08:57:01 -0500 (EST)
From: Rosane Rocher <rrocher at>
To: sagrj at
Subject: South Asian American biblio

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From: rrocher at (Rosane Rocher)
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Many thanks are due to Kenyon Chan and Shirley Hune for sharing with 
the net their core bibliography "Teaching Asian American Studies."  
Since, however, this bibliography includes only one item specifically 
devoted to South Asian American issues but includes several which, 
though they go under general Asian American titles, exclude or omit 
the South Asian American experience, I hope that I may be permitted 
to announce the following forthcoming publication which may be of 
complementary value.  "South Asian American Studies: A Working 
Bibliography 1975-1994" will appear in the next issue of _Sagar: 
South Asia Graduate Research Journal_ (2:1, Spring 1995).  _Sagar_ 
is available both in hard copy and electronic versions.  Write
sagrj at  

Although this bibliography is being published at the request of South 
Asianists who wish to be more informed on South Asian American issues, 
I hope that it may be of equal interest to Asian Americanists who wish 
to include more materials on the South Asian American experience in  
their readings.  I would also be grateful to members of the net who 
may communicate to me titles recently published that may not yet have 
come to my attention and titles of items currently in the press.  
Since I have to turn in the bibliography before leaving for four 
months of research in India beginning on March 26, any communications 
would have to reach me by March 19 to be included.  

Many thanks and warm wishes to all!  

Rosane Rocher, Professor of South Asian Studies
820 Williams Hall, University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Fax (215) 573-2138
email: rrocher at

Rosane Rocher, Professor of South Asian Studies
820 Williams Hall, University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Fax (215) 573-2138


> From s._kalyanaraman at n Feb 25 09:14:21 95
Date:  n 25 Feb 95 09:14:21 MNL
From: "s. kalyanaraman" <s._kalyanaraman at>
Subject: Indian theories on 'meaning' and 'grammar'

Re: Indian theories on 'meaing' and 'grammar'

Some philosphical problems as expounded in indological linguistic studies may be
of interest to indology members.

At the outset, it should be emphatically stated that there is no supreme 
language; a language is a locus for  'expressions' of social experiences of a 

Neural networks are 'language-neutral', i.e. irrespective of the language used, 
'a private language' operates which is distinctly individualistic, since the 
networks themselves have been modified by the individual's life-experiences 
(which include 'heard' and 'spoken' sounds, apart from 'perceived' actions and 
objects, through other sensory faculties, i.e. individual's life-history 
experienced emotionally and neuronally). 

What is the significance of the term 'artha' used in the compound: s~abdaartha? 
How do we explain Tolkaappiyan's  aphorism? ellaac collum poruL kuRittanave 
(tol.col. peya.1), i.e. all words are semantic indicators. poruL, col (Tamil) = 
artha, s~abda (Sanskrit)

How can one explain a word with another word?

A word as a semantic indicator points to an external object, it also points to 
the intention of the speaker. Is 'artha' to be explained in terms of the 
'impact'  or 'impression', this 'indicator' creates and the 'response' that the 
'indicator'  'evokes' in the 'listener'? 

Good reviews are provided in  (1) John Brough, "Theories of General Linguistics 
in the Sanskrit Grammarians", Transactions of the Philosophical Society, pp. 
27-46, 1951 and (2)  Kunjunni Raaja, Indian Theories of Meaning, Madras, 1963.

Helaaraaja explains that grammar skirts around reality: s~abdaprammaNakam hi 
s~abda eva hi yathaartham abhidhatte tathaiva tasyaabhidhaanam upapannam; na tu 
vastumukhapraks.ataaya : for to those whose authority is the word, the word 
designates what it corresponds to, and its designation is accordingly 
appropriate; but it is not for looking reality directly in the face (Helaraaja 
on vaakyapadiiya III. sam. verse 66). Of course, grammar (in Bhartrhari's 
conception) is concerned with 'time' not in its philosophical framework, but as 
a tool to analyze why a verb gets organized in different tenses (Helaraaja on 
vaakyapadiiya. III. kaalasamuddes~a. 58). Similary, action (kriyaasamuddes~a) is
explained as an inferred  (not perceived)  process of parts in a tempral 
sequence; for grammar, the key question is: does the verb presents action as 
such a process. (Helaaraaja on vaakyapadiiya. III. kriyaasamuddes~a. 10). [This 
is the gist of the presentation made by KA. Subramania Iyer in "The point of 
view of the vaiyaakaraNas", Journal of Oriental Research, 18, pp. 84-96, 1948].

vyaaDi (sarvadars~ana samgraha, Bibliographica indica, pp. 140-4) notes: letters
by themselves cannot convey meaning, sphoTa is the unifying, all-pervading 
factor that exists independently of letters. sphoTa is the impression produced 
on the mind when a sound is heard: budhairvaiyaakaraNah pradhaana bhuuta sphoTa 
ruupavyangyanjakasya s~abdasya dhvaniriti vyavahaarah krtah (kaavyaprakaas~a. 1;
also the eternal sound recognized by miimaamsakas or inquirers). sphoTa is the 
link between the sound and its meaning: sphuTati prakaas~ate'rtho' smaad iti 
sphoTo vaacaka it yaavat (konDabhaTTa, vyaakaraNa-bhuus.aNa, Bombay, 1915, p. 
236); cf. naages~abhaTTa, sphoTavaada (Adyar Library, 1946, p.5). Madhava 
expounds further (sarvadars~ana samgraha, ed. Abhyankar, p. 300) that sphoTa is 
revealed by the letters and reveals the meaning: sphuTasyate vyajyate varNair 
iti sphoTo varNaabhivyangyah, sphuTati sphuTibhavaty asmaad artha iti sphoTo' 
rthapratyaayakah.  PaaNini (vi.1.123) cites sphoTaayana on an issue of 
morphology. For Patanjali (mahaabhaashya) sphoTa is the carrier of meaning, the 
sound of a word is merely an attribute.

What do the padapaaThas of samhitaas accomplish? Constituent words (meainingful 
words) are identified for works like Yaska's niruktam to elaborate on etyma of 
such words.  How has the decipherment of the veda been accomplished during the 
last few centuries ? (which is perhaps one of the most magnificent achievements 
of indological scholarship). Every word has been analyzed in 'context' and 
tested on the touchstone of the bhaashaa, in a beautiful, iterative, process.

I submit that if a poet has to convey meaning to the audience, the poet should 
abandon the search for the perfect language and bow to the superior wisdom of 
the bhaashaa, the common parlance, the lingua franca. For, words are but 
memory-markers in the private languages of the audience. Perhaps, all that the 
poet can do is to evoke these memory-markers, perhaps like a neuronal-symphony.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman 20/7 Warren Road, Mylapore, Madras 600-004; 
Tel. 91-44-493-6288; Fax. 91-44-499-6380.


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