G.B. Walker on Sanskrit
aklujkar at UNIXG.UBC.CA
Fri Jul 3 01:50:15 UTC 1998
Thanks to Meenan Vishnu for posting the long extract from G.B. Walker's _The Hindu World_.
There is a review artilce written by the late Professor V. Raghavan on this book of Walkeræs. (I do not have the publication particulars handy. However, there are published bibliographies of Raghavan's writings. So it should not be difficult to locate the review.) Raghavan, to my mind at least, establishes that Walker's is a work based on a maliciously selective utilization of secondary sources (many of them outdated) -- that the author's/compiler's purpose is more to undermine Hinduism than to inform his readers about it.
A couple of inconsistencies in Walker's statement on Skt have already been pointed out and attention has appropriately, albeit indirectly, been drawn to the volume _Ideology and Status of Sanskrit_ edited by Jan Houben.
The answer to the old question whether Skt was a spoken language obviously depends to some extent on how one defines Skt. (Did a significantly large number of people speak the language found in the long sentences of Baa.na's Kaadambarii or in the fully worked out p.rthvii-lak.sa.nas etc. of Navya Nyaaya? Obviously not.). However, there is no reason why, *for example,* the predominantly post-Vedic language described by Paa.nini, or the language employed by the bards of the Mahaa-bhaarata or the language attested in Pata;njali's Mahaa-bhaa.sya cannot be called or Skt or could not have been spoken. -- ashok aklujkar
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