[INDOLOGY] New article on Sanskrit

Artur Karp karp at uw.edu.pl
Fri Sep 16 18:07:14 UTC 2016

Once more:

<<To my mind, it's not the question of Sanskrit and the projects of its
re-introduction, but rather of - *why* the Hindutva people are voted into

Do we, really, understand the voters' motivations?


2016-09-16 16:34 GMT+02:00 Lubin, Tim <LubinT at wlu.edu>:

> Dear Artur, et al.,
> It is worth noting, for comparative purposes, the success of late
> 19th-century efforts of groups like the Nāgarī Pracāriṇī Sabhā to create a
> more Sanskritic Hindi out of the north Indian lingua franca
> Hindustani/Hindvi by promoting the use of Devanāgarī.  This was accompanied
> by a concerted effort to substitute Sanskrit tatsamas for more words of
> Perso-Arabic origin in common use (e.g., pratīkṣā for intezār, vyavasthā
> for intezām, etc.), to the extent that such words cease to be included in
> some popular-market Hindi dictionaries.  The result was to nurture a split
> in the language into two, communally aligned languages, Hindi and Urdu.
>  (The Bollywood film industry would come to serve as a countervailing force
> in many cases later.)  A nice account of part of this story (the script
> part) is provided by Christopher R. King, “Forging a New Linguistic
> Identity: The Hindi Movement in Banaras, 1868-1914,” ch. 6 in Sandria B.
> Freitag, ed., *Culture and Power in Banaras: Community, Performance, and
> Environment, 1800-1980* (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).
> This of course is not at all like successfully instituting spoken
> Sanskrit, but as a social movement, it certainly had a long-lasting effect
> on language use.
> Tim
> Timothy Lubin
> Professor of Religion and Adjunct Professor of Law
> Chair of the Department of Religion
> Washington and Lee University
> Lexington, Virginia 24450
> http://home.wlu.edu/~lubint
> http://wlu.academia.edu/TimothyLubin
> http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=930949
> From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of Ananya
> Vajpeyi <vajpeyi at csds.in>
> Date: Friday, September 16, 2016 at 3:20 AM
> To: Artur Karp <karp at uw.edu.pl>
> Cc: Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
> Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] New article on Sanskrit
> Dear Professor Karp,
> The question of "resistance" arises in a a given political context, which
> those of us who live and work in India, and happen to care about Sanskrit,
> whether for cultural, scholarly, religious, educational or other reasons,
> experience here on a daily basis for the past 2-3 years, but especially
> since May 2014.
> In this environment, as I am sure you must know from news of current
> affairs in this country, everything, from the most innocuous name of a
> street or square that no one had paid attention to for decades, to
> prestigious national institutions of higher learning; from what people eat
> to what people wear; from founding fathers to government holidays; from
> textbooks to novels and policy reports to poetry -- every single aspect of
> civic life is aggressively being appropriated and painted with a saffron
> brush by the ruling dispensation. Minorities have never been so vulnerable
> at any time since Partition and Independence, nor has media discourse been
> so muted and stifled. (This reportedly happened during the Emergency in the
> mid-1970s as well -- but at least then, it was a properly declared period
> of emergency, and people were aware that the rule of law had been suspended
> in favour of a state of exception).
> It is in this very particular and increasingly suffocating situation that
> Sanskrit too, has become yet another weapon in the armoury of the Hindu
> Right, which it selectively "promotes" (or rather, deploys) -- not because
> of love of the language or a genuine understanding of its historical
> significance and its wealth of knowledge -- but in order to further a
> majoritarian and communal agenda. Scholars and intellectuals -- like others
> in public life -- have to resist this climate of intimidation and
> censorship, not because they may or may not have this or that linguistic
> preference or pedagogical skill, but because Sanskrit is now much more than
> an ancient, classical, dead or living language. It's part of everything
> that has to be fought over to protect the diversity and inclusiveness of
> India, its secular state and its egalitarian Constitution. This is a
> difficult proposition when it happens to be a democratic mandate that has
> installed a Hindu nationalist party in the Centre, with a majority vote.
> My point was that as Indologists, philologists, historians and educators,
> we cannot allow the architecture of the Hindu Rashtra to rest on a
> scaffolding of Sanskrit. In failing to be aware of the flaws and
> contradictions within the complex history of this rich language, in curbing
> our criticisms of the way it is implicated in caste ideologies and social
> inequality, and in abandoning its pedagogy and cultivation to inept if not
> malign government bodies, we are remiss in our responsibility towards the
> very thing we claim to love the most.
> With best regards,
> Ananya Vajpeyi.
> On Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 11:15 AM, Artur Karp <karp at uw.edu.pl> wrote:
>> > academics need to step out of the ivory tower and resist the
>> government’s manipulation of this ancient language
>> Dear Ananya,
>> Why should they *step out* and *resist*? Whatever the government's
>> efforts, people aren't going to start speaking/writing Sanskrit.
>> Do you suspect that replacing some - yes, Islamic and Christian
>> (Arabic/Persian and English) - parts of Modern Indian Languages
>> vocabularies with their - yes, Hindu (Sanskrit) equivalents could create
>> communal tension?
>> Look at European Languages and the role of Latin/Greek lexemes in their
>> development, especially late XIXth century. In the case of my language
>> (Polish) many German(ic) lexemes were being then systematically replaced
>> with their Latin equivalents. And new Latin/Greek lexemes introduced - to
>> describe, by one word, new philosophical, scientific, technological,
>> political concepts.
>> Yes, there were some people who tried to resist this trend and kind of
>> re-introduce (largely artificially created) Old-Slavic lexemes. Yes - but
>> their efforts were soon forgotten.
>> Regards,
>> Artur Karp (ret.)
>> University of Warsaw
>> Poland
>> --
> *Ananya Vajpeyi *
> *Fellow*
> *Centre for the Study of Developing Societies*
> *29 Rajpur Road, Civil Lines*
> *New Delhi 110054*
> *e: vajpeyi at csds.in <vajpeyi at csds.in>*
> *ext: 229*

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