Word splitting & hyphenation conventions in roman transliteration

Robert Zydenbos zydenbos at BLR.VSNL.NET.IN
Mon Feb 15 10:49:13 UTC 1999

At 22:28 13.02.99 -0500, you wrote:
>On 14 Feb 99,  Robert Zydenbos wrote:
>> A Pakistani visiting professor of Urdu at Heidelberg mentioned in a
>> lecture that the oldest mss. of Tulasi Dasa's Ramayana (in so-called "Old
>> Hindi") are written in Urdu script. Has anybody looked into the matter
>> sufficiently to confirm whether this is so?
>I may not hold an academic position in Indology but I have studied Hindi at
>Sahityaratna level and have enough first hand knowledge about Tulsidas
>and all his works and feel very frustrated that some one would even
>mention such  a possibility on the basis of a Pakistani professor. This is the
>kind of ridiculous insinuations that have resulted in the allegations about the
>lack of honesty and integrity on this list  recently about Christians and
>missionaries having ulterior motives.

I hope you did not understand my query to contain any insinuations on my part. I merely quoted from a lecture on the relationship between Hindi and Urdu by Prof. Shibli (sorry, I do not recall his initials), visiting professor occupying the Iqbal Chair of Urdu Studies in the South Asia Inst. of the Univ. of Heidelberg in 1982. As is customary among scholars when dealing with colleagues who are officially sent from countries with which one is on speaking terms, I too gave him an impartial hearing. I remembered this remark because I found it so surprising. Since I am not a Hindi specialist, I did not know how to check, and moreover I found it insufficiently interesting to enquire until now. The matter of script was brought up on this list (note: not by me), and in good faith I enquired. If anybody feels upset by this, I am sorry that I cannot really say that I am sorry. :-)

>I know that Tulsidas did not write any manuscript in Urdu script and  3 or 4
>original manuscripts in Tulsidas' own handwriting are still available.

That seems to settle the matter, then. You only need say so.

By the way, Amir Khusrau (who lived well before Tulsidas) wrote in different varieties of language called 'Hindavi' and even 'Hindi', and he used Urdu script. So please realise that my enquiry is not facetious.

>The Pakistani scholar does not even seem to know the
>difference between Ramayan and Ramcharitmanas.

Sorry, it was not the Pakistani professor but me who called that work a 'Ramayana', since that says more about that work to non-Hindi-specialists (who are probably the vast majority on this list). It was also used as the basic text for the television version of the Ramayana. Prof. K.A. Kittur's _Bhaaratiiya saahitya samiik.se_ (published by the Text Book Directorate, Karnatak University, Dharwad, 1975) mentions (p. 77) that "tulasiiraamaaya.na" is an accepted alternative title for that work. Kittur is an Indian, and a university professor. Sorry that I believed him. :-)


Dr. Robert J. Zydenbos
Mysore (India)
e-mail zydenbos at bigfoot.com

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