Classical vs. Modern

DEVARAKONDA VENKATA NARAYANA SARMA narayana at HD1.DOT.NET.IN
Mon Jan 18 11:54:41 EST 1999


At 07:09 PM 1/17/99 PST, you wrote:
>In a message dated 1/16/99 11:11:00 AM Central Standard Time,
>narayana at HD1.DOT.NET.IN writes:
>
>>  He has already very patiently explained his view why tamil
>>  cannot be called classical . This is because it is current and
>>  evloving and therefore changing. You may not agree with his view.
>>  That does not give you liberty to use disrespectful language.
>
>Sarma is certainly not enhancing the reputation of Bh. Krishnamurti
>by his interpretation and defense of BhK's views on what a classical
>language is. If Sarma's reason for not considering Tamil to be a
>classical language is true, then in Greek and Arabic which BhK and
>he accept as classical languages, all language change has ceased.

I do not think that either me or any body for that matter can either
enhance or decrease anybody's reputation.

As far as classical Arabic and classical greek is concernedis concerned
BHK has already explained his thinking. I am just quoting it again.

"Classical Greek and Modern Greek are different languages. Only the Classical
Greek is a Classical language, just like Classical Arabic.   Such
distinction is not maintenable in the case of Tamil. For all written and
formal spoken purposes (for modern communication and in media) it is the
literary Tamil that is used because of diglossia. Arabic also has diglossia
but when we refer to Arabic in the Indian context, we mean only the
Classical Arabic."

Obviously either you have not read it carefully or you do not accept his
reasoning. Ascribing motives to some thing you do not agree with
is very normal human weakness.

>>  Please will you kindly quote the postings of Prof.Bh.Krishnamurti
>>  which made you feel that he will do any such thing. As far as I
>>  know he has not made any remarks against tamil. As a matter of
>>  fact he in his postings, he has clearly stated that tamil
>>  preserves quite a  bit
>>  old dravidian usages. Please see the archives of Indology. But
>>  of course if any body claims that tamil is the only dravidian
>>  language that is a lie.
>
>BhK said, "Those who have such love should have stayed back in
>India instead of going for greener pastures in a foreign country
>and then start doing this  kind of propaganda ad nauseum." This
>shows that BhK thinks that the persons who want the Indian
>government to recognize Tamil as a classical language are
>saying that because they have a Tamil background. (Even though,
> he uses the word "India", it is obvious he means the Tamil
>linguistic state of  India.) Otherwise why would he comment on
> the ethnic origin of the persons proposing
>the recognition instead of arguing out the proposition on its
>own merits or lack thereof?



I never knew postings in Indology list are read by government of India.

>
>Any way, who said Tamil is the only Dravidian language? If others
>want to present information from texts in other languages, that
>will be a welcome contribution to the list. Instead of doing positive
> things like that, why unfairly criticize some for posting
>information which many list members find valuable?
>
>>  No body has made any remarks about A.K.Ramanujam. Hence all this is
>>  out of place.
>
>BhK wrote, "The pathetic appeal of one list member to place Tamil
>on the same footing as the Classical languages-- Sanskrit, Persian
>and Arabic in India-- sounds ridiculous." In a reply to BhK's post,
>Maureen Fadem quoted A. K. Ramanujan as saying, " "Tamil is one of
> the two classical languages of India, is the only language of
>contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical
>past." When both statements are evaluated together, it
>becomes obvious that according to BhK, AKR's statement also
>sounds ridiculous. That is why I gave AKR's own explanation as
> to why he considers Tamil to be a classical language. If Sarma
>does not see the relevance of the discussion of
>the views of AKR and Lienhard, I will not be surprised.

You have written quite a lot assuming what BHK would have said
in your original posting, when nothing of that sort was said.
In addition to this now you are still harping on the same topic
without any reason or rhyme.

 After
>all he is the one who, in another thread, equates the transmission
> of mahAbhASya tradition among the ancient grammarians/scholars
> with "mass scale cultural diffusion".
>

You have written quite a lot assuming what BHK would have said
in your original posting, when nothing of that sort was said.
In addition to this now you are still harping on the same topic
without any reason or rhyme.

>>  >So certainly, one does not need Bh. Krishnamurti's
>>  >recommendation for recognition of Tamil as a classical
>>  >language on par with Arabic and
>>  >Greek. Reputed scholars have done that already.
>
>>  This shows your irrational hatred towards him rather than any
>>thing else.
>
>Certainly not. Anybody can see that I have defended my positions
>rationally.
>
>>  >Whatever be the positive and negative aspects of N. Ganesan's
>>  >postings, they have certainly done some good in this case.  They
>>  > have serendipitously helped to expose the virulent anti-Tamil
>>  >feelings of Bh. Krishnamurti.
>
>>  Again please substantiate your remarks.
>
>I had come to know about BhK's accomplishments through his
>publications. It is shocking for me to find that a
>historical/comparative linguist who ought to
>know his "science of etymology" cannot rationally explain the
>meaning of the word 'classical', but keeps insisting that Tamil
> cannot be called classical while Greek and Arabic can be. This
> as well as his comments involving the ethnic origin of N. Ganesan
> mean that his position is motivated by anti-Tamil
>feelings rather than any defensible reason.
>
>>  When the list officially recognises classical tamil why was
>>  this demand made on the Indology list? There is no necessity of
>>  the demand. What was the motive in raising the bogey of tamil being
>>  threatned? Who has threatned it? Were your postings censored?
>>  Did anybody prevent you for expressing your view? But if you expect
>>  others to simply accept whatever you post, that of course is
>>  impossible.
>
>N. Ganesan wanted the Indian government and not the Indology list
> to recognize Tamil as a classical language. If there had been any
>question about the justification for such a demand or  how it
>relates to Indology, one can always seek clarification as another
>member did. On my part, I have never suggested
>that people accept whatever is being posted.
>
>>  > If BhK does not like this, he can always pick up his marbles
>>  > and go elsewhere. But, it is pathetic to appeal to listen to his
>>  >views based on his old age. Age is irrelevant in intellectual
>>  >discussions. If age were to be a criterion, one should pay more
>>  >respect to a piece of  rock. However, one should note that its age
>>  >may be two billion years, but it  does not have any knowledge or
>>  >wisdom.
>
>>  You have unwarrantedly used very uncivil language against
>>  a wellknown linguist and it is you who have to consider packing up
>>  and going else where if you do not like this list.
>
>People in glass houses should not throw stones at others. Of course,
> in Sarma's sense of equity, BhK can state people should not have
>left India and gone abroad (in other words, if they are abroad
>presently, they should leave their present country of residence and
>go home to India), if they do not conform to his expectations of
>how and what should be posted on the list. But,
>others cannot say that he should get off the list if he cannot
>tolerate what is found in the scope of the Indology list. Sarma
>conveniently forgot one thing. I did not post anything contradicting
> what is in the scope of the list.
>If BhK and Sarma want to dish out unwarranted comments, they should
> be able to take whatever warranted comments coming their way too.
>
>That, of course, willbe asking them to be logical.
>
>Chris
>
>
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