Re: secularism: ‘sarva dharma s ama bhava' vs. 'panthnirpeksha'

Dipak Bhattacharya dbhattacharya200498 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Sep 6 15:08:27 UTC 2011

Dear Friends,

It must be known to everybody that the nearest Sanskrit equivalent
to ‘secular science’ is aparāvidyā, a very ancient term. ādhibhautika
is perhaps an exact equivalent of what is meant by ‘secular’ in the
dictionaries. Our Hindi inventors of terms denoting modern concepts hardly
looked into the ancient near equivalents. Not only is the term dharmanirapekṣa
‘neutral to religion’ is a modern invention, it is understood too not in
its literal sense but as meaning ‘inclusive of all religions’. 

The idea of making ‘secularism’ in its dictionary meaning an
inherent principle of the Indian state, owes its origin, most probably to the father
of the Indian Constitution that is Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.  But Nehru and his followers always opposed ‘communalism’
to ‘secularism’ that gave rise to the new meaning of the term that is ‘tolerant
or inclusive of all religions’. This has
led to hilarious propositions that make saints like Ramanuja and Ramakrishna
promoters of secularism! But the meaning has changed for good and, I think, it
cannot be reversed.

As for the actual terms it is perhaps best to look into the
works of the various Paribhasha Committes that coined the new terms in
Independent India till the mid-fifties. I may mention a few names only. Littérateur
Rajsekhar Basu, linguist Sunitikumar Chatterji, Vedic scholar Durgamohan
Bhattacharyya, Sanskrit scholar Patanjali Shastri, linguist Sukumar Sen among
others for Bengali.

For Hindi the most well-known name is Dr. Raghu Vira.

But I do not know about the genesis of the terms.





--- On Tue, 6/9/11, Peter Friedlander <peterfriedlander at YAHOO.COM.AU> wrote:

From: Peter Friedlander <peterfriedlander at YAHOO.COM.AU>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] secularism:  ‘sarva dharma sama bhava' vs.  'panthnirpeksha'
Date: Tuesday, 6 September, 2011, 12:18 PM

Dear Colleagues,I am looking at various Hindi words for secularism. ‘sarva dharma samabhava'
  was I believe coined by M.K. Gandhi in 1930, but do any of you know if it has any earlier provenance?The other terms I am looking at are dharmanirpeksha, the most ordinary Hindi term, and 'panth nirpeksha' the term which is in the Hindi version of the constitution. Does anybody know where I can find the story of how the Hindi version of the constitution ended up with the term panth nirpeksha?Peter 

Peter Friedlander
Asian StudiesLa Trobe University

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