Sanskrit teaching at Cambridge to end

Tenzin Bob Thurman tbt7 at COLUMBIA.EDU
Tue Oct 17 03:58:36 UTC 2006

This is truly shocking. And the chair abolished since the time of 
Brough! Who makes such decisions? OIs there anything good that letters 
from outside could accomplish? Anyone in authority who would care about 
the disgrace of a major university in this world abandoning the study of 

Dominik Wujastyk wrote:
> 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:
>  and 
> The Cambridge university website that used to announce the Sanskrit 
> course has been deleted.  It was 
> It used to begin as follows:
> ------------ cut --------------
> South Asian Studies
> Undergraduate Programme
> General
> 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 history.
> 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.
> ------------ cut --------------
> 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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