[INDOLOGY] regarding Malhotra's plaguerism

George Hart glhart at berkeley.edu
Mon Jul 20 17:27:29 UTC 2015

(This is rather far afield of Malhotra, who is not one of my favorite people — he maligned me in his book “Breaking India,” little aware that I was treasurer of a Hindu temple for 6 years and have supported Hindu temples in the Bay Area for years. I and my students have been translating Hindu classics with great reverence ever since I became a professor. I think he called me an enemy of Hinduism or something like that. With friends like Malhotra, does Hinduism need enemies?)

The use of iti in Sanskrit is quite fascinating. As is well-known, a parallel construction exists in the Dravidian languages — various forms of eṉ (“say”) in Tamil and counterparts in other languages. What makes the Dravidian usage interesting is that the word used like “iti” occurs in many forms — adverb (eṉṟu), infinitive (eṉa), adjective (eṉṉum), verbal/participial noun (eṉpatu), participial noun (eṉpavaṉ etc.), and perhaps a few others that have not occurred to me. It would seem that the use of direct speech followed by a quotative word (with nothing except intonation, which cannot be indicated by writing, to mark the beginning of the speech) was an areal feature of some or all non-IE South Asian languages 3500 years ago. We don’t know whether Sanskrit borrowed the usage from Dravidian or some other family that is extinct, but it is clear that such syntactical features can enter one language from another when speakers learn a new language and transfer those features into the new language. Another example — deprecated, obviously — is the use of vā in spoken Sanskrit for interrogative sentences (āgacchati vā bhavān — are you coming?). This is a clear transference of Dravidian -ā, interrogative marker (nīṅka varrīṅkaḷā). This usage also comes into English: "comfortable-ā," “are you comfortable?”  

The syntactic parallels between Dravidian and Sanskrit are extensive and include almost exact parallels to api and eva. It is much easier to translate a Sanskrit stanza into Tamil than into English, even though Tamil is not related to Sanskrit and English is. Many writers in Sanskrit have been native Dravidian speakers.  To write good Sanskrit, such people need to learn the morphology, but they already know much of the syntax. Nor do they have much trouble with vocabulary. Even in Tamil, borrowings of Sanskrit words are plentiful (though they are not used much in the formal language).  It’s also worth pointing out that Sanskrit compounds ape almost exactly the syntax of sentences in Dravidian. George Hart
> On Jul 19, 2015, at 10:06 PM, Luis Gonzalez-Reimann <reimann at berkeley.edu> wrote:
> Dominik, the justification on those grounds would go something like this.
> Malhotra defends "tradition," which is embodied in Sanskrit texts. Therefore, he is not bound by any modern academic conventions because he follows the traditional system, the one expressed in Sanskrit. And if “Sanskrit does not even have quotation marks in its character set,” why would he, a defender of the "tradition," use them. 
> The use of iti has already been mentioned, so the whole justification is, of course, null and void, even from a 'traditional' point of view.
> Luis
> _____
> On 7/19/2015 9:26 AM, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:
>> I entirely fail to understand the defence of plagiarism on the grounds that Sanskrit has no quotation marks.  Malhotra's books are written in English.  
>> Dominik Wujastyk
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