[INDOLOGY] The Story of Sanskrit (for Women and Non-Brahmins)

Ananya Vajpeyi vajpeyi at csds.in
Thu Feb 21 09:43:50 UTC 2019

Dear Shri Varakhedi,

Thanks for your notice below. I haven't had a chance to watch the videos
yet, but I would like to do so and to respond once I have seen and heard
the women scholars you say spoke in Udupi at your function.

You and your colleagues at the BVP deserve to be acknowledged for taking
very seriously the discussion on caste and gender in Sanskrit Studies
initiated in Vancouver last summer. It's heartening that you identified and
invited women scholars, from different parts of India and belonging to
diverse social backgrounds, to share their experiences and learning with a
predominantly male field.

I would urge you to go further and also acknowledge that not all women and
not all people outside of the traditionally sanctioned Brahmin community
have found Sanskrit institutions and discourse to be egalitarian and
inclusive, even in today's context. I do hope you can find it possible,
given the process of self-examination and self-criticism you must have
undertaken, to go back and hear what Dr. Kaushal Panwar was narrating, and
to understand the struggles that lie behind what she and so many others
have gone through in the present and in the past.

Eventually I would like to see a rapprochement between Dr. Panwar and the
members of the audience who so rudely interrupted and attacked her (and the
rest of us on the panel) at the WSC. I would expect a retraction of the use
of terminology and nomenclature that is deemed offensive to the
self-respect of social groups that have long faced discrimination,
exclusion and violence in the arena of knowledge and education.

This is the real goal of telling ALL the stories of Sanskrit that are
circulating out there, every one of which has its reality and its
relevance, even though they may be difficult to reconcile sometimes with
one another, given the massive and deep contradictions in our society.
Without mutual respect and the ability to empathise with one another's
different experiences, we cannot live together.

I look forward to a continuing dialogue.

With good wishes,

Ananya Vajpeyi.

Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2019 23:25:11 +0530
From: Shrinivasa Varakhedi <shrivara at gmail.com>
To: Veeranarayana Pandurangi <veerankp at gmail.com>
Cc: indology at list.indology.info
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] " Story of my Sanskrit" at BVP conference
Message-ID: <DDEC7D19-55A1-4715-AD44-0900BE3D7E84 at gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Dear Colleagues,

This is the direct response to the "Open Forum" that has been staged in
Vancouver last year. Thanks to the organisers for sharing the link of the
event. It is an eye-opening sharing of personal experiences of young women
studying/researching/teaching Sanskrit  in Indian Academia. The personal
stories narrated by these women inform us the current trend of Sanskrit
studies in India. Statistics suggests that more than 60% female students
are studying and same no of women are enjoying faculty position in some
states like Maharashtra, Kerala, and WestBengal. Two among these five women
do not belong to so called upper cast (as they narrate). They are speaking
in Sanskrit fluently. They are encouraged to study Veda, Shastras along
with others. No discrimination is experienced. This is the REAL story of

https://youtu.be/jVq7OjL3Oz4 <https://youtu.be/jVq7OjL3Oz4>

Interestingly NO response/feedback/discussion is initiated. Other part of
the continued story is the Mahila Vakyartha Goshthi. The exposition of
Shastrarthas by these young women was astonishing. You will really wonder
to experience the quality of presentation of ideas without any error or
confusion at any point. The clarity and exhibition of confidence are beyond
words. These are ?unheard voices? in real sense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaOuxiYbVpo <

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMp9ngdvzSc <

I appreciate the response from scholarly fraternity on these events.

Warm regards,
Shrinivasa Varakhedi


*Ananya Vajpeyi *
*Fellow and Associate Professor*
*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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