Comparative linguistics

Bharat Gupt abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN
Mon Mar 20 00:00:59 UTC 2000

Robert Zydenbos wrote:
> > > 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]."

>"Fundamental misunderstanding", not "English language error". I
> assumed this was clear. Sorry if it was not). ...
> If my additions to your original sentence do not convey any
> new meaning to you, then I fear that your missionary school education has not
> done you much good.

The peremptory "should" reveals the correction that you seek to make in the
thoughts of others expressed by them, in this case in English. Else, you would have
written your own sentence instead of ammending mine. Quite clearly, by "my English"
I could not have meant its grammar etc. Such teaching to write (please look for the
vyanjanaa this time) by missionaries at schools or elsewhere has  done no good to

> On the other hand, if you believe that this Canadian-born reader did not
> understand your correct English correctly, then I invite you to henceforth
> write to this list in Sanskrit. The list could benefit greatly if more
> persons were to do that (and believe me, this is _not_ a joke. Na katha.mcit).

You are not the only one I wish to communicate with on this list, nor is this a place
to display or test my sanskrit on others. You may, but I do not presume that the list
members are waiting to "benefit", and least of all from me. In any case, if sanskrit
was natural or acceptable (ask your other fellow Dravidianologists) to Indology members,
they would be talking in that, instead interjecting mere exclamations.

> So I take it that you agree that the recognition of something like South
> India is not an evil colonial construct by some modern linguists,

My post  " Aryan construct served not only the colonial regime, it still serves the
current north-south divide", has no comment on the existence or situation  of
precolonial Northern and Southern parts of India/Bhaarata/Jambudvipa/Karma
Bhumi/Hindostaan, but on the "current" situation, that is, on the cultural constructs
prevailing in modern times.

In these modern constructs the "Aryan" has given a victim syndrome to many "Dravidian"
south Indians (including the ideologues of Tamil Elam and LTTE) as a result of modern
philological and historical theories. You yourself declare that what Nehru and Kosambi
have said  "in essence still holds good" (whatever that may mean).

By repeating the obvious that North and South Indians invaded each other before the
British came are you trying to absolve the linguists of the strife-promoting impact of
their concepts which they set afloat on evidence which they earlier regarded as
sufficient.  Terms like dravida, pancadravida, kerala or andhra  were geographic
and culturally descriptive but not glossocentrically ethnic promoting new nation states
threatening to carve their own territores.

> But on a very different note: both of us should watch out! Rahul Oka may take
> up the issue with us... Or another
> universal 'scientist' may complain that you refer to the word "dakkhin", and
> that I dare write "pa;ncadraavi.da", while he says that philological data are
> "mushy" stuff and thereby presumably not scientific.

I doubt becasue dakkhin or pancdravida are not so mysterious as the IVC script.

Bharat Gupt

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list