POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Nov 16, 2009 AT 23:12 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 17, 2009 00:12 IST

Jaithirth Rao in the Indian Express:

Professor Sheldon Pollock has just announced scholarships for Dalit students who wish to study Sanskrit at Columbia University. This is indeed welcome news. The tragedy is that this initiative is not being undertaken in India, the home of Sanskrit as well as Dalits. It is revealing to note what Professor Saroja Bhate of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune has to say: “I congratulate Professor Pollock for doing this. This is exactly what I would have done and would do in future if I have the resources.” The question we need to ask is why Professor Bhate does not have the resources. We spend crores and crores casually on conferences, commissions and committees of which we have lost count, but there is no money in Pune for pursuing Sanskrit studies or encouraging Dalits.

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Nov 16, 2009 AT 23:12 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 17, 2009 00:12 IST
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Digression
7/D-101
Nov 18, 2009
11:37 PM
India has a lot of talent in the field of academics. But, what is the aim of pursuing academic discipline? Is not academic pursuit, an end in itself? The academic pursuit, may be in the field of military studies. I have possession of a book written by Mr Kaushik Roy, which is highly regarded as a book of military research, though Mr Roy is not, I suppose, a teacher of military research, at Presidency College, Kolkata. I believe, academic pursuit for the sake of academic pursuit, leads to only good. I hope the young people who have the chance to study Sanskrit at Columbia University, a very important university in New York(?) make the most of this opportunity. I wish them all success.
Aditya Mookerjee
Belgaum, India
6/D-69
Nov 18, 2009
06:03 PM
60 to 70 years back,we had Brahmin teachers who were well versed both in Sanskrit as well as in English,in addition to our mother tounge Kannada.These teachers could quote a Milton or Wordsworth with the same felicity as a Sanskrit Sloka.This is infact the right mix and Dalits should learn both Sanskrit and English in addition to their mother tongue.Learning Sanskrit will surely raise them in the Hindu soceity to be on par with the Brahmins.But,sadly today English is taught in convent schools by Keralites coming from villages ,who have not even heard of Shakespeare.This move to give scholarship to Dalits to learn Sanskrit is highly commendable.
S.S.Nagaraj
Bangalore, India
5/D-82
Nov 17, 2009
11:50 PM
Ironically, the mainline universities, by abandoning Sanskrit studies to religious institiutions, actually deepen the cultural divide in India between Hindus and the Muslims and Christians.

People end up thinking the whole Sanskrit heritage of India - the cultural foundation of India - is a Hindu preserve.

This is an extremely negative development, an all Indian governments which have enabled it to develop and continue are to blame.
Momeen Rashid
Delhi, India
4/D-81
Nov 17, 2009
11:40 PM
AUGUSTUS AAA says:

"earlier, "pouring molten lead" into ears of Shudras (let alone dalits) who dared to hear the vedas and cutting off the tongue of those who dared to speak it was demanded by the gods...now, the gods apparently had a change of heart..."

The people who have that prohibitive attitude today to the "worong" people claiming the right to know religious matters and to question religious edicts are the Muslims, and you go to any extreme to cover up for them.

As for learning Sanskrit: it is rather like learining Latin. It helps to know it to understand the major Indian languages, which are derived from it or draw very heavily on its vocabualry.

Morons like you assume anything to do with Sanskrit is some terrible Brahmin conspiracy, and such a mental disorder probably cannot be cured. In reality it is a huge part of India's intellectual and cultural heritage.

As Hindus become more prosperous there is a chance that Sanskritic studies will acquire more funding.
Momeen Rashid
Delhi, India
3/D-57
Nov 17, 2009
08:55 PM
For Indians "higher learning" is defined as something that will result in higher salary. And they're smart enough to know that Sanskrit cannot be monetized. And the most fanatically devoted Sanskrit preserver will not allow his child to learn it since there is no money in it.

>>someone decided that dalits need not learn Sanskirt or any education for that matter

earlier, "pouring molten lead" into ears of Shudras (let alone dalits) who dared to hear the vedas and cutting off the tongue of those who dared to speak it was demanded by the gods...now, the gods apparently had a change of heart...
Augustus AAA
Pune, India
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