Well, may be not so cool: Sanskrit script?

Mrinal Kaul mrinalkaul81 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 12 13:21:20 UTC 2010

Dear BD

Thanks for sharing this information. I guess it is not actually very helpful. We have known that one of the major reasons of naming the script as Śāradā might have been naming it after the goddess of learning in Kashmir called Śāradā (that is called Sarasvatī in the rest of India). Śāradā University was one of the major seats of learning in ancient India. A small portion of this university or temple is located in the form of ruins in the present Neelum valley (Neelum District) (also called so because of the Neelum river that was called Kishanganga in ancient sources) located in the modern Azad Kashmir or the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in Pakistan. We have many epithets in Sanskrit literature of scholars having visited this university and got appreciation of the goddess Śāradā (I guess that also meant to get their work approved by the Sanskrit pandits of Kashmir who had high reputation at that point of time in the country).

But we still are not very sure if the name of the script was taken from the name of the goddess. Some years back I wanted to allude to the etymology of the word Śāradā as given in the beginning of the Śāradātilakatantra, but later I came to know that this tantra was of east-Indian origin and had nothing much to do with Kashmir as such (I would have loved to cite the reference, but I have landed up in a university where the library is extremely poor). Yes, as you would agree, Śāradā does resemble Nāgarī to a much extant, but at the same time is very different from it. I am afraid for Roth's conclusions are not very significant.


Mrinal Kaul   

Mrinal Kaul
(Doctoral Fellow)
Concordia University
Department of Religion, FA-101
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd West
Montreal, Quebec
Cell: +1-514-8028228
e-mail: mrinal.kaul at stx.oxon.org 

On 2010-01-12, at 7:26 AM, Dipak Bhattacharya wrote:

> Dear Scholars,
> As to the meaning of the term śāradā the following excerpt from Roth’s Der Atharvaveda in Kaschmir (13-14) may be of interest 
> “Herr T.H.thornton schreibt unter dem 23. Mai: … 
> …I have had an opportunity while at Srinagar of seeing a Ms. 
> written in the Sharda character, which appears to me to so closely 
> resemble the ordinary written Nagri that there would be no difficulty 
> to a Sanskrit Scholar interpreting it. … --I may mention that the Sharda 
> character is the character in which the Kashmir Sanskrit Manuscripts 
> are ordinarily written. The name is said to be derived from Sardah
> a village in the vicinity of Chilas.”
> Roth comments 
> “Gegen diese kaschmirische Etymologie besten einige Bedenken. Das Wort ist
> Wohl arabischen Ursprungs und bedeutet Urkundenschrift…” 
> In his support Roth cites shurṯah, shurṯī and sharṯ meaning ‘writer’, ‘notary’ and ‘contract’.
> Best wishes
> DB

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