Telugu history

Sreenivasa S. S. Nittala sreenivasa.nittala at BLR.SNI.DE
Mon May 4 10:39:22 UTC 1998

Though this seems to be like adding a bit more to the digression from the main issue viz., "Telugu History",
I must say that the stature and position that English as a language enjoys today is due to its reach which
in turn has its roots in the reach and span of the erstwhile British empire and the current political and
economic position of USA.

Adaptability of a language is not the key issue. The stature of a language is dependent on the subject and
the quality of literature (in that subject) that gets expressed in that language. The relationship between thought and language is quite complex and intriguing. At one stage language seems to influence the thought, while at a later stage it is the other way round.

The great philosophical treatises of India have been in Sanskrit (though of varying forms in script and grammar). In those topics Sanskrit is a default language. That's the power of the thought. For instance take the concept of "Maya". The Sanskrit term comes with a contextual and conceptual air around it. It is not a dead word but has the vitality in it. Try translating it into English : "illusion", etc. None of these words will have the same power. That is the power of the thought. So by this yardstick, English is not adaptable ?!! This holds good for all languages and thoughts.

As another example : during the time when Berlin shone as the "Jewel in the Crown" for Theoretical Physics, German was THE language for Physics. Even Theoretical Computer Science has had its strong roots in the German and Dutch speaking zones.

The question is not that of adaptabaility. "Adaptability" in the context of a language is a misnomer. The issue is that of the level of thought that is generated and published via a particular language. This has a sort of a binding effect and there is no option but to learn the language !!!

With Regards,
Sreenivasa S. S. Nittala

Nittala Sreenivasa Subramanya Sharma

Associate Consultant                            |       Part Time Student
Siemens Information Systems Ltd.                |                   M. Tech. 
B - 8, Jungpura B                               |       Computer Science & Engg.
Mathura Road, New Delhi 110 014.                |       Indian Institute of Technology,  Delhi.
Tel. : +91- 11- 431 1245/2379/2389                      |
Email : Sreenivasa.Nittala at           |

-----Original Message-----
From:   Vidhyanath Rao [SMTP:vidynath at MATH.OHIO-STATE.EDU]
Sent:   Monday, May 04, 1998 1:56 AM
Subject:        Re: Telugu history

I don't really want to get involved in this fight, but there are
a couple of things I just have get off my chest.

> English has become the lingua franca of the modern world not just
> because of a concerted campaign by English people. It has its present
> position because of its adaptability, readiness to borrow words from
> other languages, availability of a large body of modern knowledge
> (especially scientific and technical) and so on.

The present position of English is a reflection of the economic and
political dominance of the USA.

Large body of technical knowledge in topology was in German till
1955, and much in French. None of these had been translated into
English by 1978, and what I know of German and French comes from
trying to read these books. But few new papers in topology were
being published in German by 1980. This had nothing to do with the
choice of technical words.


I disagree with what N. Ganesan said, but the correctness or
acceptability of what he said cannot be determined by his CV,
or by the length of his publication list or some kind of
citation count, but by the particular idea itself.

This particular point has always been what impressed me most about
modern Western shcolarship, and which I always felt to be welcome
contrast to the attitude seen in the legends of Ashtavakra, Anglimala
etc. But what I have seen posted in the last few months makes me wonder
if Indologists still believe that ideas have to be judged by themselves,
with no reference to who put it forth.

Imagine ourselves taken back to 1860's. Would we consider the
knowledge of Roth to be same as that Yask? would that imply that
criticisms of Roth are worthless?

Why then this concern with CVs, than with ideas?


-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: attachment.bin
Type: application/ms-tnef
Size: 4478 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list