Sanskrit teaching at Cambridge to end

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK
Mon Oct 16 18:40:37 UTC 2006

It is shocking to note the closing of the Tripos in Sanskrit and Hindi at 
the University of Cambridge (U.K.).

This announcement follows the award of an honorary degree to Dr Manmohan 
Singh, the Prime Minister of India.

For news items see the following links:

The Cambridge university website that used to announce the Sanskrit course 
has been deleted.  It was

It used to begin as follows:

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South Asian Studies
Undergraduate Programme


Our four-year BA Honours degree provides students with the opportunity of 
studying Hindi or Sanskrit or both languages combined, and then to explore 
the literature, history and religion of the subcontinent through an array 
of texts, from the Rigveda to the epics and classical literature, religion 
and philosophy for students of Sanskrit, and from nineteenth-century plays 
to contemporary autobiographies for students of Hindi.

We offer a range of courses, from spoken Hindi to Indian history and 
historiography, from Indian epics to Sanskrit linguistics. Our aim is to 
give students a thorough grounding in their language of choice in the 
first two years and a broad introduction to Indian culture, religion and 

The year abroad gives Hindi students an exciting chance to experience 
day-to-day life in India, improve their language and meet Indian students. 
The final part of the programme involves a wider range of course options, 
the possibility of studying Pali, Prakrit, Urdu, Rajasthani and Bengali, 
and the chance to study subjects more in depth. Students also get the 
chance of writing a dissertation on a topic which particularly interests 
them, using sources in the language they have studied.
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The first professor of Sanskrit at Cambridge (1867 to 1903) was E. B. 
Cowell (see, who moved 
there from his post at University College London.

On Cowell's death in 1903, his former pupil Cecil Bendall (1856-1906) was 
elected professor of Sanskrit and was made honorary fellow of Caius in 
1905. (Bendall was at also UCL before going to Cambridge.)

Bendall collaborated in research with W. H. D. Rouse (1863-1950), who 
taught Sanskrit at Cambridge for thirty years From Cowell's death in 1903 
to 1939, Rouse was university teacher of Sanskrit at Cambridge to 
candidates for the Indian Civil Service.

More recent past professors of Sanskrit at Cambridge included Prof. Harold 
Bailey (1899-1996) from 1936, and Prof. John Brough (1917-1984) from 1967. 
After Brough, the Cambridge chair of Sanskrit was abolished.

Sanskrit is currently taught by Readers Dr John Smith and Dr Eivind Kahrs.

Bailey's library is still available at the India and Iran Trust in 
Cambridge ( 
Obituary: Sir Harold Bailey 1899-1996 Nicholas Sims-Williams, George 
Hewitt Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University 
of London, Vol. 60, No. 1 (1997), pp. 109-116.  Brough: Bulletin of the 
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 48, No. 
2. (1985), pp. 333-339.  His materials at Cambridge:

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