Comparative linguistics

Bharat Gupt abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN
Sat Mar 18 02:59:14 UTC 2000

Robert Zydenbos wrote:
> Am Thu, 16 Mar 2000 schrieb Venkatraman Iyer:
> > Contrary views on Linguistics by distinguished Professors.
> >
> > Prof. Gupt earlier:
> > > [...] Aryan construct
> > >served not only the colonial regime, it still serves the current
> > >north-south divide.
> Like the contributions of some other list members, this too reveals a
> fundamental misunderstanding. The sentence *should* have read: "[The] Aryan
> construct [may have] served not only the colonial regime [even if we do not
> know how, and linguists are totally unaware of this, but] it still serves
> [i.e., helps] [*to explain*] the current north-south divide [which already
> existed for a very long time prior to the British period]."

BG: I am overwhelmed on my inclusion in the category of distinguished professors.
What greater sukha ("axle holes" ?)! Perhaps my next promotion shall be to the
company of "eminent" indologists.

I am  further awed by the thunderous correction to my sentence. I am used to it.
Like  many Indians from missionay schools, even when I was saying exactly what
I meant, my English has been improved by tutors from the Indo-European nations.
Prof. Zydenbos  has rushed to put words in a mouth where Saraswati fears to tread.

> Probably Prof. Gupt in Delhi is not a linguist, or if he is, he has not done
> the basics of Dravidian studies (which in itself is no terrible sin, since
> linguistics is a vast field with many specialisations. But for an Indian
> linguist this would be strange). But by reading some old messages to this list
> over the past few years, he and others can learn a little about the
> 'Madrasis' -- as everyone roughly south of Bombay is pejoratively called in
> Delhi: and that is a divide that has not been caused by any activities of
> modern linguists.
> RZ

BG : Yes, we are all cab-drivers in Delhi and we look down upon all Indians.
For us "Madrasis" includes not only South Indians, but Sri Lankans and Australian
natives too.

But I wonder why for more than  century after establishing the  Boden chair,
the British continued to include the Tamilians, Kannadigas, Telugus, Marathawadis
and Malayalis under the "Madras Presidency "?  Monier Williams admonished nothing
to the Burrah Sahibs ?

Why was all Maharashtra and beyond called  "dakkhin" by Turks and Mughals ?
Too bad , the wisdom of comparative philology and Dravidian studies never fell on
the ears of Allauddin Khalji, Akbar or Aurangzeb.  Inshallah, we Delhi-ites would not
have so ignorant.

Bharat Gupt

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