[INDOLOGY] Recently Published: GULMINĪ, Anthology of Sanskrit Lyrics and Gazals, by Hari Dutt Sharma

Patrick Olivelle jpo at austin.utexas.edu
Wed Feb 7 01:20:28 UTC 2024

Dear Jan:

Can you send the publication details of the book?


On Feb 6, 2024, at 5:22 PM, Jan E.M. Houben via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

Dear List Members,

This is to announce the recent publication of
GULMINĪ, (An Anthology of Sanskrit Lyrics and Gazals)
by Prof. Hari Dutt Sharma

From the Foreword by Jan E.M. Houben:

... it is fortunate that apart from the rare and inevitably rather closed communities of traditional students of Vedic texts and rituals and also apart from the modern study of Sanskrit at Indian universities along the method of modern philology and textual studies, the tradition of creative writing in Sanskrit is carried on by several authors in India ; and one widely acclaimed author among these is Professor Hari Dutt Sharma. Apart from his academic study of Sanskrit poetry and poetics, Professor Sharma has emerged as a reputed author of modern Sanskrit literature.

... several of his poems and books have been prescribed in courses on Modern Sanskrit Literature at several Indian universities.
Prof. Sharma’s poems and books are excellently suited for introducing students to the lively scene of modern Sanskrit literature, and it would be advisable to add the reading of modern Sanskrit literature in the programs in universities outside India as well, in order to update the student’s mastery of Sanskrit in a way that would be difficult and unthinkable 100 or even 20 years ago. The focus on the study of Sanskrit in order to create a basis for textual research has to be maintained at western universities, because research is still the main professional perspective outside India. But to add an introduction to modern Sanskrit poetry and literature would help to open the eyes of Sanskrit students for the rich and variegated literary production in this domain, till now almost completely neglected by western scholars.
A recent exception is Beate Guttandin’s Rebellionen, Hamburg 2020, which contains annotated translations of a number of short stories in Sanskrit about tradition and innovation in daily life in Indian families.
In addition to the books by Prof. Sharma already mentioned above, also his recent Mahākāvya Vaideśikāṭanam, containing 21 cantos in various classical metres such as Indravajrā, Upajāti, etc., as it deals with the author’s visits to numerous countries and cities, including the then still separate East- and West-Germany, and his participation in academic events such as various sessions of the World Sanskrit Conference, would make an excellent reading for Sanskrit students at universities.
            This applies, finally, also to the current work of Prof. Sharma, the Gulminī, which is a book of lyrical poetry (gītikāvya), in rythmic and melodious Sanskrit in free metre, consisting of 51 poems expressing various sentiments and emotions (rasa and bhāva) on various subjects, from depictions of beautiful seasonal nature (3. madhumāsakathā) to reflections on international travels and the transmission of Sanskrit poetry (6. sañcaraṇam), and on the experience of poetic creation (1. badhyate hi cetanā). Other topics dealt with are recent events in the world and in India such as the terrorist attack on a school (vidyālaya) in Peshawar (2. peśāvara-paiśācikam, referring to the 16.12.2014 terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar), the rioting on Capitol Hill on 06.01.2021 (41. kaipīṭala-kampanam), the storming of Delhi’s Red Fort by protesting farmers on 26.01.2021 (42. dillīdurgākramaṇam). In poem 45 yuddhaṁ na hi ruddham, the author regrets the continuous arising of armed conflicts everywhere, kāśmīraṁ vā yūkreṇaṁ vā syād aphagānistānam.
... The theme of the author’s previous work, Vaideśikāṭanam, is also continued here, with poems 22. viśva-saṁskṛta-sammelanam (refrain : vaiśvika-saṁskṛta-sammelanam iha vaiṅkūvare tatam) and 25 on Vancouver : vaiṅkūvaraṁ varam. Poem 48. nīdaralaiṇḍe ham, deals with a recent trip to the Netherlands (with ham not for aham but as exclamation, as elsewhere in the poem and in the work).
The subject of poem 27. kumbhaḥ is a regular event with a very long history: the Prayāgrāj Kumbhamela in the author’s home city Allahabad. An Ardha Kumbhamela took here place in 2019, the next full one will be in 2025. In 49. kva nu hā gatāḥ the author wonders where all relatives, friends and dear ones who have passed away have gone, and evokes the Upaniṣadic story of Naciketas who questions the god of death Yama about the fate of the deceased : maraṇottaraṁ kva nu yāti saḥ ... mṛtyoḥ rahasyaṁ vai yamaṁ   pṛcchati ca naciketā citā.
Hommage and congratulations to Prof. Hari Dutt Sharma who traveled for many years to many countries outside India to attend academic events on the study of Sanskrit, and composed the fascinating Mahākāvya – poetic work of epic dimension – the Vaideśikāṭana ; who contributed significantly to Sanskrit literature also through the current work in lyrical poetry, Gulminī, and other works :

अनेकवत्सराद् येन   भूरिवैदेशिकाटनात् ।
परम् मनोहरं सृष्टं   काव्यं वैदेशिकाटनम् ॥
संस्कृतवाङ्मयं गीति – गुल्मिन्यादिभिरेव च ।
पुष्टं येन  नमस् तस्मै   हरये दत्तशर्मणे ॥

Jan E.M. Houben
Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology
Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite
École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, Paris Sciences et Lettres)
Sciences historiques et philologiques
Groupe de recherches en études indiennes (EA 2120)
johannes.houben [at] ephe.psl.eu<mailto:johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu>
LabEx Hastec -- L'Inde Classique augmentée: construction, transmission
     et transformations d'un savoir scientifique

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