[INDOLOGY] paṅgu / paṅku [2nd sending]

Elliot Stern emstern1948 at gmail.com
Sat Aug 19 20:18:24 UTC 2017

I would like to draw on the collective manuscript reading experience of our list members. A Sanskrit word paṅgu is well known in dictionaries and printed texts. It denotes a ‘lame person’. In a passage of the ms of svaditaṅkaraṇī  (a palm leaf Malayalam script ms), a commentary on nyāyakaṇikā, this word appears only as paṅku with many repetitions in a long comment on a line in vidhivivekaḥ.. It is possible to argue that this reading paṅku should be corrected to paṅgu, because paṅku and paṅgu are both pronounced the same in the Malayalam language (i.e., the k is pronounced as g). This argument, however, seems weak to me. First, other words like prasaṅga always appear as expected in the svaditaṅkaraṇī ms. Second, a most likely 16th century devanāgarī ms of nyāyakaṇikā certainly reads paṅku in two of the three occurrences of paṅgu later in the commentary, and probably in all three of them (the first fifty or so folia of this ms, that would include the passage on which svaditaṅkarraṇī comments, are not available). In two of these instances, we see a correction to paṅgu, but one stands uncorrected. Third, the ms. of juṣadhvaṅkaraṇī (also a palm leaf Malayalam script ms) reads paṅku a few times, and also consistently renders words like prasaṅga as expected.

I have two questions. First, have you seen the reading paṅku, especially in mss not written in South Indian scripts? Second, are there any etymological or other discussions of the term paṅgu / paṅku not referenced in standard works like Burrows' and Emeneau’s DED or the Turners’  CDIAL?

Elliot M.Stern

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