Possibility to learn Prakrits and Apabhramsa

Ulrich T. Kragh utkragh at HUM.KU.DK
Tue Apr 5 06:26:45 UTC 2011

Dear Colleagues,
As you may be unaware of this program, I wish to draw your attention to the excellent courses in Prakrits and Apabhramsa offered since 2006 at the Apabhramsa Sahitya Academy run by the Shri Digambar Jain Atishaya Ksetra Shri Mahavir-ji Trust located in Jaipur, India. The courses are tailored especially to the needs of foreign students and new text-books have been published by the academy to teach these languages in English. A unique feature is that the courses and books require no prior knowledge of Sanskrit, thereby making the material highly accessible even to the beginner student.

The Prakrits (including Shauraseni, Ardhamagadhi, and Maharasthri) and Apabhramsa are essential languages for reading the vast corpus of Jain scriptures and later Prakrit and Apabhramsa texts. They are also helpful companion-languages for studying other types of literature written in Indian vernaculars, such as the Buddhist Pali texts, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit works, the various passages in Prakrit occurring in Indian drama-texts, Hindi literature, or texts written in the many other North Indian vernaculars. They also offer a good basis for learning Sanskrit.

The classes are taught by Ms. Shakuntala Jain under the supervision of Dr. Kamal Chand Sogani, retired Professor of Philosophy from Udaipur University and director of the Apabhramsa Sahitya Academy. Professor Sogani is the author of the text-books and the director of the program. The classes are offered in English on an individual basis according to need, and it is therefore possible for students or scholars to visit the academy any time all year round to take classes, or alternatively to study the books as a correspondence course via email. It is also possible to combine a stay at the academy with an ensuing correspondence course. A full course in the Prakrits takes about two months at the school with daily classes, but intensified study of one month or shorter is also possible. The pedagogical principle behind the program is not memorization but rather extensive written homework of manifold exercises that enable efficient learning. Exercises can be done either in English transliteration or in Devanagari. The courses are university approved but do not currently give university credit abroad. The academy also offers certificate and diploma correspondence courses in Prakrits and Apabhramsa for Hindi speakers.

The academy, which is centrally located in Jaipur, offers simple but very pleasant lodging at a reasonable rate. Food is taken at separate cost in local, inexpensive eateries and restaurants. For participation in classes, students this year pay a small tuition fee of Indian Rs. 3000 per month (circa 67 USD) or Rs. 1000 per week (ca. 22 USD) for shorter periods, plus the very affordable cost of the text books.

I have taken the courses myself and find them highly recommendable. Any student or scholar wishing to obtain more information concerning the courses, textbooks, or logistics is welcome to contact me by email utkragh at hum.ku.dk<mailto:utkragh at hum.ku.dk>

Dr. Ulrich Timme Kragh

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