Well, mzybe not so cool: Sanskrit script?

Dipak Bhattacharya dbhattacharya2004 at YAHOO.CO.IN
Tue Jan 5 16:08:32 UTC 2010

Where written literary activity is carried on in a single language the script may appear to be dedicated.  But that is dedication by default and does prove a case. By the time local languages gained prominence in Kashmir Islam and the Arabic script had largely replaced the erstwhile culture. So Sarada could not be so widely used for Kashmiri as, say,  the Bengali, Oriya or Kannad script for the native language of the region of its prevalence.  The litmus state is if the apparently 'dedicated' script is used when occasion rises to compose in  a different language. Sarada, perhaps, fails in this test.  See the Maharthamanjari. The Prakrit version is followed by the Sanskrit. Were not they both written in Sarada? Somebody should be able to tell. The edition I have at hand gives no information about the manuscript.
I also wonder if Somadeva or Kshemendra had read the Baddakaha in a script different from proto-Sarada.
Best for all

--- On Tue, 5/1/10, Walter Slaje <slaje at T-ONLINE.DE> wrote:

From: Walter Slaje <slaje at T-ONLINE.DE>
Subject: Re: Well, mzybe not so cool: Sanskrit script?
To: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
Date: Tuesday, 5 January, 2010, 1:15 PM

> > "Did Sanskrit ever have a 'dedicated' script in the North?

à propos "North": Devanagari was not used in Kashmir until it was established under Hindu (Dogra) rule (second half of the nineteenth century). Previously, Sanskrit was written exclusively in (Proto-)Sarada characters. The Pandits, being unaccustomed to it, adopted Nagari only hesitantly and not without reservation.
See the reports of Buehler and Stein;
also Witzel, Kashmiri Manuscripts and Pronunciation; Witzel, The Brahmins if Kashmir.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Allen W Thrasher" <athr at LOC.GOV>
To: <INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk>
Sent: Monday, January 04, 2010 11:13 PM
Subject: Re: Well, mzybe not so cool: Sanskrit script?

> "Did Sanskrit ever have a 'dedicated' script in the North? Grantha belongs to the South. A few other dedicated scripts eg., Nadinagari, were developed in the Decaan. But none became popular in the nineteenth century. Oriya has ever been as good for Oriya as for Sanskrit. So is Devnagari for Hindi and Sanskrit, Count Bengali, Telugu and Malayalam and Kannad too among others. And Gujarati, Newari, the Brahmi and post-Brahmi script and others I miss.  Similar to Latin, French, English,post-Kemal Turkish and post-war German? A situation ripe for Lewis Carroll.
> DB"
> I have always wondered if anyone has done a study of the progress of the use of Devanagari for Sanskrit.  Is it a result of the development of a mass (pan-Indian, plus Western scholarly) market for printed Sanskrit? After what date would a South Indian or Bengali pundit or purohit be more likely than not to know Nagari in addition to his regional script?
> I have a vague memory that at some stage the Government of British India decided it would not subsidize any Sanskrit publications that weren't in Nagari, but can't for the life of me recall where I read or heard this. Has anyone heard of anything of the sort? Are there counter-examples?
> Whenever a member of the public says anything that implies that Sanskrit as a language is linked to a particular writing system, I emphatically state that it is a language, something spoken, and that any script can be used for it, and that the same is true for Pali.  It is interesting, indeed, that Sanskrit and Pali are the only languagesthat come to mind that are used across a large area, with a sacral aspect although also used (in the case of Sanskrit) for many diverse secular purposes, which are not linked with a single script.  How different from Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Chinese, Arabic, Persian, and Church Slavonic.  It seems that with them the script enters into the sociolinguistic definition of the language in a way it doesn't in Sanskrit and Pali.
> Happy New Year to everyone.
> Allen
> Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
> Senior Reference Librarian
> Team Coordinator
> South Asia Team, Asian Division
> Library of Congress, Jefferson Building 150
> 101 Independence Ave., S.E.
> Washington, DC 20540-4810
> tel. 202-707-3732; fax 202-707-1724; athr at loc.gov
> The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.

Prof. Dr. Walter Slaje
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