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Govt. to close down Sanskrit college

Nagesh Prabhu

Inadequate number of students cited as the main reason for the move

END OF THE LINE: Chamarajendra Sanskrit College in Bangalore — Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

BANGALORE: There appears to be few to speak up for the cause of Sanskrit. The Government has decided to close down one of the very few Sanskrit colleges it runs in the State, Sri Chamarajendra Sanskrit College at Chamarajpet in Bangalore.

For decades the college has been imparting knowledge of the ancient Vedas and Shastras. But today there is a fall in the number of takers for the courses offered by the college. However, the number of students in the college is not inconsiderable considering that there are a good number of departments in universities in the State with fewer than 10 students in the MA or M.Sc. courses.

So far the only organisation to protest against the move to close down the institution is Sanskrit Bharati.

The college, founded in 1940 by the then Dewan of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail, offers courses in the Vedas and the Shastras. About 190 students are on its rolls and it has 29 members of the staff. The Government's move to close down the college or merge it with Sri Maharaja Sanskrit College, Mysore, has come as a shock to the staff and received a lot of flak from Sanskrit scholars.

The Education Department discussed the issue of closing down the college at a meting held recently. The inadequate number of students for the various courses offered in by college is cited as the main reason for the Government's move.

The contribution of the college in the field of Sanskrit education is quite significant. Sri Balagangadharanath Swamy of Adichunchanagiri Mutt, Sri Shantaveera Mahaswamy of Kolada Mutt, Sri Shivarudra Swamy of Beli Mutt, Sri Shivapuri Swamy of Omkara Mutt, and scholars such as Srinivas Gopalacharya, Vidwan Ranganath Sharma and Vidwan N.T. Srinivas Iyengar were students of the college.

The college has invited applications for admissions for the current year. The Principal, B.L. Manjunath, says the college offers Prathama (three-year), Kavya (two-year), Sahitya (three-year) and Vidwat (five-year) courses. The Rigveda, Krishna Yajurveda, Shukla Yajurveda and Samaveda are taught in the college. There is no age bar or admission fee. Candidates who do not have any formal education can also join the preliminary classes.

A Vidwat course is equivalent to an MA degree. Unfortunately, there is no Government Order recognising the degrees provided by the college.

Satyanarayana Bhat of Sanskrit Bharati says the Government should set up a Sanskrit Directorate or Sanskrit University to give an identity to Sanskrit courses.

The 65-year-old college building requires major repairs and renovation. But it does not receive funds to maintain the building. The infrastructure is inadequate and this will have an adverse impact on the overall academic environment, say staff members.

A couple of years ago, a proposal was prepared for the construction of a hostel but no action has been taken, Mr. Bhat says.


The Government provides scholarships for students. But the amount is meagre: Rs. 47 for students of the Prathama course, Rs. 50 for the Kavya course and Rs. 150 for the Vidwat course.

To attract more students, the Government should provide facilities such as computer education and a good library the teachers say.
Non-Brahmins got a chance to learn Sanskrit

A. Jayaram

BANGALORE: In his autobiography, Sir Mirza Ismail writes of his decision to open the Sanskrit college in Bangalore, although there already existed one in Mysore. The rationale behind it was that he found that the college in Mysore was open only to Brahmins. To enable non-Brahmins to learn Sanskrit, he opened the one in Bangalore and named it after Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar.

It was also Sir Mirza Ismail who had sites allotted to various institutions including the Kannada Sahitya Parishat along what was earlier known as Hardinge Road (now Pampa Mahakavi Road) running through Chamarajpet and Shankarapuram. Earlier the land occupied by the Sahitya Parishat, the State Cooperative Apex Bank and others was an open ground known as Gandhi Maidan.
<b>Geopolitics and Sanskrit Phobia </b> - Rajiv Malhotra
<i>It is based on the plenary talk delivered by me at the Sanskrit Conference in Thailand last month, under the aegis of the Crown Princess of Thailand. </i>
Sanskrit used to boost White Christian Supremacy:

European “discovery” of Sanskrit brought the opportunity to appropriate its rich tradition for the sake of the Europeans' obsession to reimagine their own history. Many rival theories emerged, each claiming a new historiography. The new European preoccupation among scholars was to reinvent identities of various European peoples by suitably locating Sanskrit amidst other selective facts of history to create Grand Narratives of European supremacy. Exploiting India's status as a colony, Europeans were successful in capturing Sanskrit and Sanskriti from India in order to fulfill their own ideological imperatives of reconciling theology (specifically 'Semitic' monotheism, from which Christianity sprouted) with their self-imposed role of world ruler.

One of the leading promoters of Aryan theories, Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900) described the inception of his discipline as the starting point for a new science of human origins:

Thanks to the discovery of the ancient language of India, Sanskrit as it is called . . . and thanks to the discovery of the close kinship between this language and the idioms of the principal races of Europe, which was established by the genius of Schlegel, Humboldt, Bopp, and many others, a complete revolution has taken place in the method of studying the world's primitive history (Olender, 7)

The central theme to this reinvention of European (read “Christian”) narrative was of origins and, thus, implied destinies. Determining what language was spoken in the Garden of Eden was considered central to this. The newly discovered language of Sanskrit and its literature proved to be vast and erudite and the uncovered links between European language and Sanskrit excited the scholars and encouraged an assimilation of this most ancient and profound linguistic culture. At the same time, the perceived spiritual providence that the Abrahamic God had bestowed on Europeans in the form of Christianity had to be incorporated and synthesized into the narrative. The “scientific” and empirical evidence of linguistic survey had to coincide with theological laws.

”The comparative study of languages was inspired by Renaissance debates over what language was spoken in the Garden of Eden. By the eighteenth century scholars were persuaded that European languages shared a common ancestor. With the adoption of positivist, "scientific" methods in the nineteenth century, the hunt for the language of Eden and the search for a European Ursprache diverged. Yet the desire to reconcile historical causality with divine purpose remained... ” (Olender, jacket)

The formation of two mutually exclusive and diametrically opposed groups of peoples was the device constructed to achieve this need – these were the Semitic 'race' and the mythical 'Aryans'. The Semitics, synonymous with the Hebrews, were portrayed as a sedentary, passive, inclusive, and trapped in time. However, they were a people who were in communication with the one true God and thus held the seed of religion.

Faithful guardians of pure monotheism, the Hebrews had a magnificent part in the divine plan, but one wonders where the world would be today if they had remained the sole leaders of mankind. The fact is, while they religiously preserved the principle of truth from which a higher light would one day emanate…(Olender: 99-102).

The rightful rulers of the world had to have been intelligent, moral, active, and industrious - a people willing to explore and expand, conquer and dominate. The concocted Aryan race was assigned this role. Scholars coined various ethno-linguistic terms such as “Indo-European”, “Indo-Germanic”, and “Aryan” to refer to this newly discovered people, and used these interchangeably to refer to the linguistic family as well as a race.

As scholars established the disciplines of Semitic and Indo-European studies, they also invented the mythical figures of the Hebrew and the Aryan, a providential pair which, by revealing to the people of the Christianized West the secret of their identity, also bestowed upon them the patent of nobility that justified their Spiritual, religious, and political domination of the world. The balance was not maintained, however, between the two components of this couple. The Hebrew undeniably had the privilege of monotheism in his favor, but he was self-centered, static, and refractory both to Christian values and to progress in culture and science. The Aryan, on the other hand, was invested with all the noble virtues that direct the dynamic of history: imagination, reason, science, arts, politics. The Hebrew was troublesome, disturbing, problematic: he stood at the very foundation of the religious tradition with which the scholars in question identified, but he was also alien to that tradition. Wherever he lived, under the name of Jew, in a specific place among a specific people, he remained an outsider, aloof, different (Olender: Foreword x-xi).

The key players in the scholastic juggling act who attempted to reconcile the Semitic and the Aryan included several famous European scholars, namely: Renan, Pictet, Max Muller, and Grau. Christian supremacy and Christian manifest destiny was central to the works of these Orientalists.

In the works of Renan, Pictet, Max Muller, and Grau, Christ remained a central figure in the conceptualization of Indo-European civilization. The new religious sciences attempted to treat all religions in the same way and yet to impose a Christian providential meaning on the new comparative order. The very organization of religious data was affected by older hierarchical classifications. The cataloging of peoples and faiths reflected the belief that history was moving in a Christian direction (Olender: 136-7).

These scholars' main objective was to use scientific reason to substantiate theological necessities no matter how far the hard facts had to be bent. Max Muller, in reference to comparative philology, explicitly stated the orientation of his research:

“We are entering into a new sphere of knowledge, in which the individual is subordinate to the general and facts are subordinate to law. We find thought, order, and design scattered throughout nature, and we see a dark chaos of matter illuminated by the reflection of the divine spirit.” (Olender, 90-92)

Since the paradigmatic expectations of the scholar are exposed as foregone conclusions of his analysis, the bias and subjectivity in the writer's scholarship becomes obvious. Furthermore, the Christian supremacist agenda behind his work is obvious:

The Science of Religion will for the first time assign to Christianity its right place among the religions of the world; it will show for the first time what was meant by the fullness of time; it will restore to the whole history of the world, in its unconscious progress towards Christianity, its true and sacred character." A good disciple of Augustine, Max Muller was fond of citing his remark that Christianity was simply the name of "the true religion," a religion that was already known to the ancients and indeed had been around "since the beginning of the human race (Olender: 90-92).

He deplored the tactlessness that many Christian missionaries exhibited in their dealings with pagans, and advocated subtlety in asserting superiority:

The man who is born blind is to be pitied, not berated. . . . To prove that our religion is the only true one it surely is not necessary to maintain that all other forms of belief are a fabric of errors. (Olender: 90-92).

One large problem about the synthesis was that the Vedic religion had to be shown as barbaric and primitive in order to legitimize the need to colonize Indians. Therefore, it could not have been the beliefs of the ancestors of Christian Europe with its perceived religious supremacy. The scholars were forced to reconcile with the paradox of how the intellectually superior Aryans believed in such a low form of religion. Pictet was forced to ask himself:

Everything known about them [Aryans] suggests that they were "an eminently intelligent and moral race". Is it possible to believe that people who ultimately brought such intensity to intellectual and religious life started from the lowly estate of either having no religion or wallowing in the abyss of an obscure polytheism? (Olender: 93-98).

The result of such groping in the dark was pathetic and childish. The theories proclaimed with great aplomb fit into a general framework of Aryan people being superior in every way except the spiritual impetus to be world rulers. Therefore, the early Indo-Europeans were said to posses the seed of monotheism which did not sprout until the providence of the Abrahamic God through Christ. Pictet justifies this 'primordial monotheism' as follows:

Pictet then attempts to provide philological justification for the notion of "primitive monotheism" by examining Indo- European words for the divine. The Sanskrit word deva attracts his attention. Can a word exist without a prior meaning? If deva is attested, then so is the implicit sense of "superior Being".

Shrouded in mystery, the Aryas' idea of God remained "in an embryonic state," and their rudimentary monotheism lacked rigor. Pictet readily concedes all this, all the more readily as it is hard to explain why, having once known the truth, the Aryas should have abandoned it for error. Weak and vacillating as their monotheistic vocation no doubt was, it was nevertheless providential; it would fall to Christianity to nurture the seed first planted by the Aryas. (Olender: 93-98)

Christianity was thus deemed to be the destiny for the Aryans to adopt and eventually transmit to the whole world. Grau, a German Christian evangelist, took this idea to a new level by purporting that though the Aryans were “endlessly adaptable”, without Christianity the Aryans were hopeless and lost. In other words, they “suffered a congenital lack of backbone provided by monotheistic Christianity” (Olender, 106). The preservation of Christian dominance was Grau's primary directive.

Grau's views were in some ways "reactionary," in the sense that they ran counter to the praising of Aryan values that was all too often to the detriment of the Christian church. For Grau, the danger was that Christ would be forgotten: the Cross had to be planted firmly at the center of any venture of cultural understanding. Grau's writings give a surprising new twist to the fortunes of the Aryan-Semitic pair. (Olender: 106).

Parallels with the Self-Appropriation of Judaism by Europe:

An interesting parallel is to examine the colonial mindset of self-appropriation of knowledge in the case of the Jews for the creation of the European identity. Though history-centric monotheism was appropriated by Europe from the Jews to be implemented in the colonial scheme, the Jews were excluded as “others” and even denigrated. For example, Grau is explicit in his distancing Christian Europeans from the Jews.

The monotheism with which Grau credits the Semites has little to do with the Jews. When he does speak of Jews, it is to recall the wretchedness of a people that has contributed nothing to history other than perhaps its religious potential- and in that case he generally refers to "Hebrews" rather than "Jews”… (Olender: 109-110).

The theme of feminizing the colonized by the masculine conqueror is also applied to the Hebrew people.

Semites, Grau argues, are like women in that they lack the Indo-German capacity for philosophy, art, science, warfare, and politics. They nevertheless have a monopoly on one sublime quality: religion, or love of God. This Semitic monism goes hand in hand with a deep commitment to female monogamy. The masculine behavior of the Indo-German, who masters the arts and sciences in order to dominate the natural world, is met with the Semite's feminine response of passivity and receptivity. As the wife is subject to her husband, so the Semites are absolutely permeable to the God who chose them (Olender: 109-110).

In one fell swoop of the ideological axe, European scholars were able to take ownership of the 'backbone' of monotheism through Christ and the masculine traits of world domination.
Many Christian evangelists have jumped on this bandwagon as a great way to earn the trust of India's downtrodden, by projecting their fellow Indian countrymen and countrywomen as the culprits. The project includes reinventing the history of various Indian jatis to make them feel un-Indian and eventually anti-Indian. Once a certain threshold is reached, i.e. once the ground has been prepared, a given local activist “cell” can get appropriated by other more blatantly political forces. Many foreign funded activities are going on that create a separatist identity especially among the youth of these jatis. The intellectual cover for this anti-India work is under slick terms like “empowerment”, “leadership training” and, of course, “human rights”.

One may say that certain portions of the Indian left have been appropriated by the very same “imperialistic” forces which in their day jobs they attack. In fact, it is precisely such leftists who make excellent candidates to be recruited as they seem more authentic in their stands on India. This has created a career market for young Indians seeking to step into the shoes of such sepoys in order to enjoy the good life promised and delivered by the well funded foreign nexuses of South Asian Studies and related institutions of Church, government related think tanks and even the supposedly liberal media.

There is a major untold story in the way many Indian intellectuals play both sides, some more intentionally than others: On the one hand, they project images of being patriotic Indians winning recognition abroad and are being idolized back in India. On the other hand, they are deeply committed in often deliberately ambiguous work which can be made to appear in multiple ways, but which ultimately feed various separatist forces. Meanwhile, ambiguity serves as great cover because many Indians tend to be naïve about geopolitical implications of such work, are trusting of the good intentions of others or feel uncomfortable confronting problems they cannot deal with.

Florida International University announces an on-line Sanskrit program
consisting of two full years of college-level Sanskrit instruction.

The four courses each carry 3 semester hours of credit through FIU and
transferrable anywhere. Students anywhere in the world are most
welcome to take the courses.

The courses, offered in conjunction with Hindu University of America,
comprise the first accredited on-line Sanskrit program in the world.

For information on how to register, background on the instructor, and
tables of tuition and fees, please see<b>ON-LINE SANSKRIT PRORGAM</b>
Hindi should be replaced with Sanskrit as the official language of the Union. Sanskrit is acceptable to all Indians, northern as well as southern. It would be a truly uniting force. Besides, all our ancient cultural heritage is contained in Sanskrit, but because this language is neglected our heritage rots in archives and libraries, only to be occasionally studied by a curious Westerner.

Let us work to restore to Sanskrit the glory it had in times past. Kashmir was once the abode of Sanskrit learning in the world. Sanskrit survives in a more intact form in Kashmir (Kashmiri language) than in any other place of India.

<span style='color:red'><b>Kindly change your username/userhandle
Please send personal message to one of the moderators.</b></span>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Sanskrit survives in a more intact form in Kashmir (Kashmiri language) than in any other place of India.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Spoken sanskrit and Spoken Telugu (Grandhicom) are alomst identical ( 80%).

The lipi is devanagari for sanskrit (atleast now) and telugu lipi is little different.
[QUOTE=vishnua,Jul 20 2005, 08:13 PM] [QUOTE]Spoken sanskrit and Spoken Telugu (Grandhicom) are alomst identical ( 80%).

The lipi is devanagari for sanskrit (atleast now) and telugu lipi is little different. [/QUOTE]
"grAnthikam" (from the root word "grantham" = book) literally means "literary" in sanskritam.

"grAndhicom" is a "vikruti (degenrate version) of "grAnthikam". The letter
"tha" has been disappearing from Telugu and is being replaced by "dhaa" which IMHO is a retrograde. I don't
know much about Tamil history nor language but AFIK Tamil does not have "tha". Was it possible that Tamil
had the letter "tha" but the language in the process of being simplified lost the letter and Telugu letters might
be vanishing into the same place?

There was a nice article I read somewhere that talks about this trend and exhorts all the native speakers of Telugu
to preserve the 56 letters.

"vADuka telugu" (Telugu used in the regular daily transactions), "accha Telugu" (true Telugu) and "tETa telugu" (pure or clear or limpid Telugu)
have varyuing closeness to Snaskrit.

My "renDu nayA paisalu"
Kashmiri language is Sanskrit. The vocabulary of the Kishtwari dialect of Kashmiri is 95% Sanskrit, and not Prakritised Sanskrit but real, uncorrupted Sanskrit. However, there has been an attempt to change the character of Kashmiri for the last 50 years, by making it subordinate to Urdu and flushing it with Arabic/Persian words.

The Indian Government has failed to promote Kashmiri. This language contains a large amount of Shaivist literature which is about to go extinct. The language itself is dying and being replaced with Urdu in Kashmir. No prizes for guessing why this has been happening. Kashmiri should be taught in all Hindi-speaking areas in universities.
Can you give us more info on the relationship between samskrtam and Kashmiri?

Is the Kishtwari dialect the primary dialect of kashmiri Hindus?
How many dialects exist in Kashmiri?

Do the kashmiri Hindus use devanAgarI script or the SAradA script to write kashmiri?
Sanskrit must have had many spoken dialects. It was the dialect of Panini which became the standard throughout India. However, we know that there were many other spoken dialects, e.g. the language of the Vedas is slightly different from Classical Sanskrit.

The Kashmiri language is much closer to Vedic Sanskrit than Classical Sanskrit. All the native words of Kashmiri, i.e. excluding those borrowed from Persian or Tibetan, are Sanskritic. It is a proven fact that an ancient dialect of Sanskrit was the mother tongue in Kashmir for a long time. However, in Kashmir it did not develop into a Prakrit but remained pure. Most of the changes that took place were vowel-based. The grammar of Kashmiri is very ancient and is based on Vedic forms, e.g. Kashmiri 'nitam' (please take me) or 'ditam' (please give me). These are found only in Vedic.

The 'purest' form of Kashmiri, i.e. the one least corrupted by Persian, is the Kishtwari dialect, which is spoken by both Hindus and Muslims in the Kishtwar region of JK. Other than Kishtwari, there is the standard Valley dialect.

The Kashmiri language has been facing an onslaught for the last 16 years. Attempts are being made to Persianise it to such an extent that it is changed beyond recognition. Many elements have even denounced Kashmiri as a 'Hindu' language - parallels can be drawn with pre-1972 Bangladesh.

As for script, the original Kashmiri script was Sharada, but the Hindus nowadays write it in Devanagari.
can you explain more about sharada lipi?? is it used at all and how it has replaced devanagiti script ? any pointers would be greatly appreciated..

If you can point us to book on Kashmiri grammar and vocabulary that would be great. We can then compare its relation to Vedic Samskrta.

Articles on Sharada script:


Articles on Dogri and the Garkhun languages:

There's plenty of books on Kashmiri grammar and vocab. Dr. Ganjoo has written a treatise in Hindi on Kashmiri language and Sanskrit in which he demonstrates the Vedic character of Kashmiri. Unfortunately, many of these books are not available in the market.

the following articles are useful however:

Links on varieities of Stotras other informative links.

Sanskrit soul of nationhood: N. Vittal

Staff Reporter

PALAKKAD: N. Vittal, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner, has said that Sanskrit represents the soul of Indian nationhood. The fact that Sanskrit is the root of most of the Indian languages shows "how like a golden thread it connects all of us not only today in the day-to-day languages we use but also through history." A collective national effort is necessary to take Sanskrit as a repository of Indian culture and heritage to the masses.

He was delivering the Justice P.R. Sundaram Iyer Memorial Lecture on `Sanskrit and Nationality' at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Pudukode kendra here on Sunday.

"If we focus on Sanskrit and promote it, we can also get as a spin-off benefit, the healthy linking of values in education and, perhaps, ensure that the social evils of today such as corruption are tackled more effectively,'' he said.

Sanskrit is a great heritage of Indians. The great language must have evolved practically in the whole of India by the process of assimilation and the natural growth of the indigenous communities coming into contact with each other.

Sanskrit is a very ancient language. Perhaps, it is older than many languages in the world. It has the tradition of at least 5,000 years. The longer a language exists, the greater its history and acceptance, and Sanskrit is no exception to this.

Practically all languages in India have the influence of Sanskrit, in the sense that Sanskrit words are found in most of them. The extensive presence of Sanskrit words in Indian languages today underlines its history and its capacity for national integration, Mr. Vittal said.

``Sanskrit is the treasure house of our historic past. It has been a binding force of the nation's unity and integrity through the centuries, enabling us to absorb many shocks and vicissitudes.

"Thus, the challenge before us is whether we can revive Sanskrit and make it a spoken language once again. We have seen in our times how Israel revived Hebrew, considered once as a dead language. For every lover of Sanskrit and India, making Sanskrit into a spoken language should be a life-long mission," Mr. Vittal said.
Project Gutenberg --By Language: Sanskrit
There is only one book at this moment.

Love for Sanskrit

Special correspondent

KOZHIKODE: : Jagiellonian University in Krakow in Poland played host a lively seminar on Saskrit poetry demonstrating once again that the love for Sanskrit language persists even outside India. The seminar was at Zakopane, a mountainous, lushful and stunningly beautiful town two hours drive away. Recalls Rajendran, head of the Department of Sanskrit-University of Calicut who was there recently to attend a three-day seminar on love and nature in Sanskrit poetry.

The event was organised by Lidia Sudyka, Professor of Sanskrit, at Jageillonion University which is one of the oldest universities of Europe. It had once on its rolls celebrities like Copernicus and the late Paul Pope. More importantly, it has also an active Indian Study Centre.

Looking back at his Poland visit, Prof. Rajendran was amazed to find such a vibrant academic community in central Europe "engaged in serious deliberations on an unearthly subject like Sanskrit."

The scholars gathered for the seminar were from Poland, Italy, England, Finland, France and the Czek Republic. To them it was a regular get-together, an annual communion triggered off by the sheer love of an exotic language which they study in right earnest.

Said Prof. Rajendran: They were articulate and passionate about Sanskrit poetry. They discussed sea and rivers, parrot and cat, elephant and lion, jasmine and "parijata" in sessions that lasted from dawn to dusk .The range of their knowledge was staggering. The manner in which they could distinguish subtle differences of meaning of Sanskrit words was remarkable. They had the right perspective and the right kind of tools to make sense of a distant, glorious literature which, they felt, strangely soothing. Prof. Rajendran was the only Indian among the Indologists, young and old, who had gathered there to attend the deliberations. But he felt at home for they were united in their love for Sanskrit. Apart from Sanskrit, some of them knew Tamil and Hindi.

Jaroslav Vacek, the very learned Dean Of Charles University of Czek Repulic, talked to Prof. Rajendran in Tamil with a perfect accent. Some young scholars knew enough Hindi to carry on a conversation. They spoke chaste Tamil and chaste Hindi though with a strange accent.

Cezary Galewicz, a young and very accomplished scholar at Jageillonion University, has even made a film on Aksarasloka. It is titled The Undying Verses. "You study Sanskrit and we study about Sanskrit," remarked Prof. Vacek, a participant, wistfully. "There is not much difference between the two" says Prof. Rajendran.

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