Latin and Greek in India

S Krishna mahadevasiva at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Feb 14 20:31:40 UTC 1998

Joanna Kirkpatrick says:

<<This topic has jogged my interest and I am now pursuing my way
slowlythrough some possible leads. Thus, I was reminded that Raja Ram
MohanRoy--having already learned Arabic and Sanskrit, (he "grew up"
withPersian), some time after 1914 when he moved to Calcutta, studied
andlearned Latin, Greek and Hebrew, becoming quite proficient in the
last two>>

  Raja Ram Mohun Roy( 1773-1833) may have been procifient as was
this gentleman called "visvanath narayan mandlik" who was a native of
Poona who in the 19th century is supposed to have mastered 4 or 5
languages well enough to write books in them....I've seen a biography
of the late B.G.Kher, the former chief minister of Bombay which refered
to a gentleman by name Jambhekar who is supposed to have mast
ered Greek and Latin...

 Swathi Tirunal, the maharaja of Travacore had a dewan called Tanjavur
Subba Rao, who was very well known for his Anglicization and love
of western learning. He too(If I'm not wrong)was an expert in Greek and
Latin...This gentleman, who was the first Indian to author a  work of
fiction in English( the drama "Cristna(Krishna) Covoor", a drama about
palace intrigue circa 1840), which I'm told has liberal doses
of Latin phraseology....

The government of India of course retains Latin and Greek in it's own
peculiar way..the degree given to Doctors should be BMBS( Bachelor of
Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery ) if the English version is adopted
but this is called the MBBS( Medicine Bachelarius[sic] and Bachelor
of Surgery, an expression that is half-English and half-Latin) and
students( atleast in the ICSE board of more than 10 years ago) have
it drilled into their heads that Caesar exclaimed "Wini, Widi, Wici"
 which seems to me a very weeny, weedy and witchy way of saying
"Veni, Vidi, Vici"!:-),:-)  (The reason why they do it this way is
apparently that they think the "Wini"  is connected to "I conquered"
i.e. win/won)

  OF course, last but not the very least, you have all the bright souls
who in the process of immigrating to the "Elysian Isles"
( also called U.S.A) learn by heart the meanings of archiac Latin
phrases like "mare rostrum","ne plus ultra" and regularly pepper their
pre-GRE talk with it..."Yaar, when we fly to the USA on Air India,
we shall fly over the Mare Rostrum!"...the more bookish souls among
them, I suppose, expect to be greeted with "Quo Vadis?" while stepping
off the plane in New York:-)


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