????Cash Cows for Hindi teachers?????

zydenbos at flevoland.xs4all.nl zydenbos at flevoland.xs4all.nl
Wed Nov 13 00:08:52 UTC 1996

Replies to msg 12 Nov 96: indology at liverpool.ac.uk (ucgadkw at ucl.ac.uk)

 uau> From: Dominik Wujastyk <ucgadkw at ucl.ac.uk>
 uau> Subject: Re: ????Cash Cows for Hindi teachers?????

 uau> It is ironic that in western democracies Sanskritists
 uau> require a career in
 uau> Hindi for economic reasons, as they did in the former
 uau> Soviet block for
 uau> ideological reasons.

What is still more ironic is that, in spite of the bad movies and of the
official promoting of Hindi by New Delhi (e.g. through the mass media), the
percentage of the Indian population with whom one can have an intelligent
conversation in Hindi is very limited indeed. (Personally, I have had more
useful conversations in Sanskrit.)

This brings up the question: why should we be interested in learning modern
Indian languages? To (a) learn about post-ancient India, (b) to get access to a
mass of secondary literature on various subjects in those languages, and (c) to
interact with living people, obviously. Hindi has always been a minority
language, and a very young one at that. With this in mind, it is saddening that
academic positions in other Indian languges (e.g. Dravidian) are actually
dwindling in number in favour of that one minority.

I wonder whether the Hindi motivation in the western democracies isn't,
ultimately, largely ideological too.

Robert Zydenbos

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