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Interpreting Rama's Divinity

The hero Rama was neither just a man, nor just a god—he was inseparably both.

Interpreting Rama's Divinity
Interpreting Rama's Divinity
outlookindia.com
2016-03-04T23:13:01+05:30

The academic and intellectual achievements of Sheldon Pollock, 68, professor of South Asian Studies at Columbia University, and a pre-eminent scholar of the literatures and cultures of pre-modern India, are numerous. In his oeuvre over the past four decades, he has taken one of the world’s most ancient and difficult languages, Sanskrit, and a discipline that was practically moribund, philology (the study of texts), and put both back at the centre of the discussion about the future of the humanities in global academia.

I was a 22-year-old student of English literature at Oxford when I first heard Professor Pollock, affectionately known as ‘Shelly’, speak at a conference about the ‘Ideology and Status of Sanskrit’ at Leiden Univ­ersity, NL. Within an afternoon, I knew that I had found the questions that would preoccupy me for the rest of my life. I knew also that day that I had met my teacher who would help me find my way in this thrilling new world—actually the very old world—of India’s polyglot multicultural pre-modernity, which comes down to us in the largest surviving textual archive known to humanity.

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