Lynken Ghose lynkenghose at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 13 21:42:08 UTC 2001

Dear Dr. Bhatta:

I feel that your last comments about Dr. Farmer's postings seemed more like
a personal attack than a critique that could be useful for list members.

Dr. Farmer's last posting was obviously one of inquiry concerning Panini
etc. I didn't think that it was from the standpoint of an expert at all.

You have made a good point about not claiming expertise on texts which are
written in a language that one knows imperfectly. That point is well taken
by myself and probably most people in Indological studies.

My impression was that Dr. Farmer admitted this point, although I am sure
that he will speak for himself on this.

I am not sure what purpose it serves to "rub one's point in", and that is my
impression of what is happening.

Lynken Ghose
>Of late I have been intrigued by the postings of Dr. Steven Farmer.
>Dr. Farmer admits he is not a Vedicist, is not proficient in the grammar
>language of Sanskrit (Vedic or otherwise), but has concluded that,
>nevertheless, he is qualifiied to post on Vedic matters, Indological
>matters, in
>that he is a Comparative Historian who has mastered several Western
>During my last few posts, I have questioned not the secondary sources to
>which he has relied, but have instead directly questioned his
>qualifications to
>post on Vedic matters in that he is not proficient in Sanskrit (Vedic or
>For, from my perspective, it is ludricrous to merely point one's fingers at
>of translations to grind one's own axe in that the language, in its orginal
>must be impressed permanently within the mind and heart of the student in
>order for one to proper make an utterance.
>However it seems, my point of view, espcially in light of Dr. Farmer's
>methodology, my approach is somewhat antiquated.
>Dr. Farmer though has admitted that language proficiency is important, but
>what he has not admitted or demostrated is that language proficiency on the
>subject which one addresses is a necessity.
>Just today, Dr. Farmer has now posted an enquiry on Panini.
>I do not understand this: How can one just jump about like this, from Vedic
>Panini as if it they were TV programs which one flits between with a flick
>of the
>button on the channel changer?
>True scholars of Sanskrit are limited to a certain realm of thought.
>For example, unlike Dr. Farmer, Dr. George Thompson and Dr. Witzel, rightly
>so, have mostly spilled most of their ink on Vedic matters and I believe
>never even attempt to discuss matters of which they has not been properly
>versed in that it is beyond the scope of their experience and training.
>Thus my *specific questions* in re to methodology in the American Academy
>1) Is a proficiency in language a thing of the past?
>2) Are secondary sources the preffered choice of citation today?
>3) Is scholarship more akin surfing the internet, where one achieves to
>have a
>New York minute with the language, author, culture, and text rather than to
>absorb one's self with it incrementally?
>4) Along with God, is Philology now dead also?
>Chat with your friends as soon as they come online. Get Rediff Bol at

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