a question about 'dalit'

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at UMICH.EDU
Fri Sep 7 13:36:48 UTC 2012

Dear Jonathan,

     While the word dalita as a past participle of the verb dalati is
widely used in the classical literature, the use of this term to refer to
"down-trodden" or lower-caste people is entirely new, no more than 20 or 30
years old, but indeed very widespread today in India.

Madhav Deshpande

On Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 5:46 AM, Jonathan Silk <kauzeya at gmail.com> wrote:

> dear Friends, I was sent the following with a question whether it made
> any sense. I am, let us say, suspicious, but since I can't categorically
> say it's rubbish...
> "According to James Massey, the term "Dalit" is perhaps, one of the most
> ancient terms which has not only survived till date, but is also shared by
> a few of world's oldest languages, namely, Hebrew and Sanskrit. Though they
> differ in their grammatical and lexicographical connotations, both these
> languages share the term "Dalit" with the same root and sense. It has been
> said that the root word 'dal' in dalit has been borrowed into Sanskrit from
> Hebrew." (www.csichurch.com/article/dalit.htm and see
> www.dalitsolidarity.org/meaning.htm)
> --
> J. Silk
> Instituut Kern / Universiteit Leiden
> Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
> Johan Huizinga Building, Room 1.37
> Doelensteeg 16
> 2311 VL Leiden
> The Netherlands

Madhav M. Deshpande
Professor of Sanskrit and Linguistics
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
202 South Thayer Street, Suite 6111
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608, USA

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