Politics > The sanitising power of spoken Sanskrit
10 COMMENTS
  • Muthu

    If Sanskrit is truly Indian,why was it not taught to every layer of Indians.
    Why was Sanskrit kept hidden,only to people who were related to the temples,people who read the Vedas
    and the kings knew about it through their ministers or advisers or intellectuals.
    Sanskrit was only passed on from father to son or family to family and continued.You can not deny that.
    Also significant others were not supposed to study Sanskrit.
    Upper class Indians or the forward class Indians can not deny that it was not popularised to the lower classes for thousands of years.
    If Sanskrit was popularised to all levels of Indians,particularly the lower and the lowest,India would be A VERY DIFFERENT INDIA TODAY.
    It is a bit too late to start to popularise,Sanskrit, because there are too many chronic permanent faultlines that are already there now in India.
    Anyway good luck teaching India to all Indians Sanskrit now.
    There will certainly be a few too many who will be happier now.

  • वामाचार

    Glad this article exists…samskritam bharati may not be directly tied to the Sangh/RSS/BJP, but it’s ideals are very clearly aligned with theirs. Each teacher comes pre-loaded with a dharma to preserving their culture through a version of colloquial sanskrit that in many ways has been retrofitted to adapt to the modern world. The people posting about the inaccuracy of this article or taking offense at downplaying the politics of a seemingly innocuous organization almost seem to be taking notes from American white nationalist groups (see Matthew Heimbach) by painting any criticism or open discussion about serious conflicts with the organization’s ideology is met with typical knee jerk anti-leftist pinko-smearing. Sarveapi jnatum icchanti: sanskritam jivanam athava mrtyam va?

  • Balaji

    The article is biased.
    1. Samskrita Bharati is not part of Sangh Parivar
    2. “with a destiny to replace all state and national languages. In its extreme rendition, the argument is that a true patriot (deshabhakta) will speak Sanskrit and nothing else”. This is wrong. Samskrit is also for national integration to facilitate interaction between people from different regions, as an alternative to the English thrust by the colonial rule.

  • Shriram

    In my personal opinion sanskrit can be taught to everyone. Whether they be of any religion or caste or community. Teaching it will not be anti-secular. In fact it can bring back true secularism instead of the Pseudo secularism present today. Also there is a probability that this can reduce the viciousness of the Hindutva movements.

    If someone thinks that teaching Sanskrit is not secular please refer to the judgement of the Supreme court of India in 1984 on the Sanskrit case.

  • Patrick McCartney

    There is nothing simple about the attempt to popularise Sanskrit. It is embedded within a chauvinistic nationalist discourse that seeks to make quiet any minority claims to participate in the world’s largest secular democracy by creating a majoritarian Hindu theocratic state.

  • Anand Kumar

    Looks like one polemic (with ample amt of spin) to give a political religious color for a simple attempt to popularize Sanskrit among pop-culture.

  • Patrick McCartney

    Van Der Veer 1999: 419 in his article ‘Hindus: A superior race’ – discusses the concept of the development of a ‘chosen people’ as a way to understand the ‘semiticisation’ of Hinduism through the lens of nationalism.

    Also ‘certain groups (inside and outside India) such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) have influenced a ‘semiticisation’ of Hinduism (in order to make it more dogmatic, ‘national’, creedal and missionary). – From The Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume 9, World Christianities C.1914 – p 508

  • PV Viswanath

    “semiticised, monotheistic figurehead?” I understand monotheistic, and I understand figurehead, but “semiticised” seems totally unnecessary… Unless there is some reference that I am unaware of. It seems like an attempt to tap into the negative feelings of some readers… But I might be mistaken. I look forward to clarification.
    PV

  • Patrick McCartney

    I can only gather from Akaram’s comment that an academic article based on rational empirical observations is no way to gather information and publish the analysis of the data in a cogent and unbiased way to a learned community. Perhaps, instead I should have resorted to a non-cognitive process that relied on emotion and ahistorical sentiments as a way to tone down the academic level?

    Part of the analytical process requires coding data into themes that emerge. The reason for the title of this article is that overwhelmingly and repeatedly I heard people, not just at the Sanskrit camp, but in other Sanskrit language nests and satsangas across India refer to the salvific and sanitising power of Sanskrit that will right the perceived injustices of the colonial and Mughal eras.

    Akaram himself, through his poorly constructed argument, has only verified the logic of my article through asserting that ‘English is the real culprit’. I struggle to locate the hypocrisy in my statements or of the statements of my interlocutors.

    I get the feeling that Akaram did not get much past the title of the article as it no doubt has offended his community of faith. Faith has little to do with analysis of discourse, which is what this article is premised on. Neither do I get the impression he has ever been to the Sanskrit language camp in question. Perhaps Akaram does not even know how to speak Sanskrit let alone understand it, which would really be a shame as he would certainly not be considered a desha bhakta…

  • Akaram

    Not only that this report reads like an academic article, but also that McCartney’s ideas are not informed by current historical research. He also doesn’t understand the meaning of the term ‘Hindu.’ The title of the article is also unfortunate, as it blames a language for its supposed sanitizing power while we all know that it is English that is the real culprit in that regard, which is also the language of Himal. So, why celebrate hypocrisy?

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