No incoming Sanskrit students at Andhra University :-(

Thrasher, Allen athr at LOC.GOV
Wed Jul 6 02:15:36 UTC 2011

Shelly Pollock and I had some exchanges on the decline of Indian classical or philological studies, and also on the financing of Sanskrit studies in the colonial and early post-colonial period.  One speculation I made, and it is nothing but a speculation, was whether the scholarship of Sanskrit and for that matter other premodern languages was de facto financed in part by incomes from lands the scholars inherited, which would have mostly ceased with the abolition of zamindari in the 1950s.  If so, this might have made bright boys, and their families, more willing than in more recent decades to commit to the study and teaching of Sanskrit etc.,  because their salaries would not have been their whole incomes.

Another economic factor was that the best scholars could publish one or more profitable books a year in the form of a text, notes, and commentary on the book set for that year's exams.  With the greater number of students in Sanskrit, Prakrit, etc. back then this may have brought in substantial royalties.


Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
Senior Reference Librarian and Team Coordinator
South Asia Team
Asian Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20540-4810
tel. 202-707-3732
fax 202-707-1724
The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.

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