a question about 'dalit'

Dermot Killingley dermot at GREVATT.FORCE9.CO.UK
Mon Sep 10 15:35:06 UTC 2012

Dear Madhav, Jonathan and others,

It does indeed look like rubbish, but rubbish of an interesting kind. 
The world is full of claims to antiquity, and other kinds of misguided 
ingenuity. Sometimes it's an attempt by a marginalised group to give 
itself status in the eyes of those who marginalise it. This one 
reminds me of a recent study of a dalit group which claims descent 
from the lost tribes of Israel (Yulia Egorova: "From Dalits to Bene 
Ephraim: Judaism in Andhra Pradesh" in Religions of South Asia 4 
(2010) pp. 105-124.) I wonder if the claim of Hebrew origin for dalit 
has something to do with them. 

Dermot Killingley

On 7 Sep 2012 at 9:36, Madhav Deshpande wrote:

> 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, LIASJohan 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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