[INDOLOGY] New article on Sanskrit

Ananya Vajpeyi vajpeyi at csds.in
Sat Sep 17 07:55:30 UTC 2016

I would be glad to list for the benefit of those who have been cut off from
daily news of Indian politics for the past two and half years, the
innumerable "facts" of discrimination, beatings, lynchings, rapes, arson
and killings of Muslims, Dalits, Christians, tribals and other vulnerable
groups all over the country. However, I fear it would take us rather far
afield from the principal fact-based issue addressed in this article --
viz., the Modi government's policies with regards to Sanskrit language
education, and the growing misuse of Sanskrit in the BJP-RSS agenda to
saffronize the Indian polity, against the spirit and the letter of the

The "facts" of majoritarianism came up as the context in which to answer
Artur Karp's query, since the "facts" about the role of Sanskrit in
furthering Hindutva ideology have to be understood against this broader
background of the ongoing struggle in India's politics.
To your point, Arlo Griffiths (and I would expect a linguist to take the
trouble to spell my name correctly, if you wanted to address me), it might
be worth debating, in some other forum and on some other occasion, the
relative merits and demerits of covertly illiberal democracy as against
explicitly authoritarian rule. If an "elected" BJP-PDP state government can
feel it within its powers to impose close to 10 weeks of curfew in Jammu
and Kashmir, killing, arresting, detaining and injuring civilians at will,
deploying thousands of additional military and paramilitary forces on top
of the already bellicose and excessive militarization of the Valley,
clearly something is going terribly wrong with Indian democracy in the
hands of the Hindu Right.

I would point you to dozens of news reports, op-eds, analytical articles,
policy documents, legal opinions and so on, that leave no room for doubt
about the alarming encroachment of the state of exception on the rule of
law in India under the current dispensation, democratically elected as it
is, but Indology in my view is not the appropriate space for that

Ananya Vajpeyi
Fellow, CSDS
vajpeyi at csds.in

On Sat, Sep 17, 2016 at 12:36 PM, Arlo Griffiths <arlogriffiths at hotmail.com>

> Dear Dr. Vajpayee,
> I join Nityanand's call in favor of keeping political messages as close as
> possible to reliable reports on facts. I was concerned by your comparing
> the Emergency of the 1970s in a positive light with the current government
> of India. If we cannot all agree that democratic rule is better than any
> alternative, then it seems to me that we lose all foundation for debate.
> Arlo Griffiths
> École française d'Extrême-Orient
> ------------------------------
> *From:* INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of
> Nityanand Misra <nmisra at gmail.com>
> *Sent:* Saturday, September 17, 2016 4:08 AM
> *To:* Ananya Vajpeyi
> *Cc:* Indology
> *Subject:* Re: [INDOLOGY] New article on Sanskrit
> On 16 September 2016 at 12:50, Ananya Vajpeyi <vajpeyi at csds.in> wrote:
>> 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).
> Dear Dr. Vajpayee
> Is there any statistical evidence (for example, communal violence rate or
> casualties/number of communal riots per capita) to back the claim that
> minorities in India have never been so vulnerable since 1947 as they are
> now? As per the recently released “Crime in India” 2015 report by the
> National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), number of riots were almost the same
> in 2015 as in 2014: there have been more agrarian riots, but less communal
> riots.
> The full NCRB 2015 report is here: http://ncrb.gov.in/
> StatPublications/CII/CII2015/FILES/CrimeInIndia2015.pdf
> There are several reports summarizing the riot statistics, including one
> in The Hindu here: http://www.thehindu.com/news/
> national/327-rise-in-agrarian-riots-in-2015-ncrb-report-
> shows/article9051348.ece
> Same for media discourse: are there any data-based statistics available to
> conclude that media discourse is the most muted or stifled now in India?
> Would it not better be if such a claims are backed by evidence based on
> data?
> Thanks, Nityanand


*Ananya Vajpeyi *
*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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