Thursday, 17 November 2016

FB Discussions - Sanskrit, Identity, and Self Respect

"To cry 'saffronisation' at any mention of Sanskrit takes a special loathing our own past, language, culture, roots. A special brainwash" !!

And this is why though I do not belong to the Right, nor do I belong to the Left !
Adharshila Learning Centre
Adharshila Learning Centre I think its also about choice over imposition, which in any case doesn't work in the long run.
Gangadharan Kumar
Gangadharan Kumar @Adharshila: Curious - Where is the question of imposition here? There are a set of optional languages kids choose from and Sanskrit is being made available instead of German. How does that become imposition?
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan And choices, I am afraid, are manufactured choices. The mindlessness, and unthinking sheeplike choices, I see in the present day youth, who are 'far freer' than I was a generation ago, make me wonder. The corporates and consumerism seem to dictate choices very deeply, though subtly.
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan And anyway, English is 'imposed' in most schools as the medium of instruction. I think its fine if an Indian, knowing the richness of Sanskrit, 'imposes' it as the second language. There are always vernacular schools parents may choose to go to, if they are anti-English for their wards. Similarly there will ne non-Sanskrit-teaching schools also, if they wish to avoid Sanskrit..
Naveen Manikandan Periasamy
Naveen Manikandan Periasamy There are more universities in countries like US and Germany that have Sanskrit studies than Indian Universities. Linguists and scientists in the Artificial Intelligence domain see Sanskrit as the most suited language for interactive computing in the future, because the language is phonetically consistent and it's grammatical formulations are impeccably perfect. None of this is an exaggeration or extrapolation. With this being the scenario,the so called "freedom loving leftists and communists" with poor intellectual fiber are hell bent on resisting any attempt to bring in Sanskrit in the curriculum. They don't mind the soft power push or tactful imposition that Angela Merkel tried on the India delegation at the G20 summit on Indian government's decision to remove German from the KV curriculum. Dravidian politics is the worst of all as they welcome imposition of English, but are vehemently against "north indian" Sanskrit - while the truth is every Indian language has it's roots in Sanskrit. Agitation against imposition of bollywood Hindi is totally understandable though.
Adharshila Learning Centre
Adharshila Learning Centre Nothing against Sanskrit or any other language being offered. Could have been in addition to German rather than instead. More the merrier. Though cant figure out why was German there in the first place ?? it is not just this. when this is heard in conjuction of adding Ramayan, Mahabharat, Geeta to the syllabus - all great works in their own right - but definitely not history, With rightist organisations bending double to change books, eulogiseing Hitler and Godse.... and so on, it definitely raises suspicions on the intent. Another thing is this whole hulloabaloo about the great 'Indian' tradition. having lived most of my life amongst tribals and roamed around India extensively, i am pretty sure that there is no one indian culture. It is a fact that most of us upper caste, class indians are reaping the benefits of wealth accumulated by our forefathers through direct or indirect exploitation of other indians. I can narrate umpteen stories of how people became poor directly due to the greed of the great Indians.If we are really concerned about real pan indian exposure to our kids and not just converting congress agenda to hindu agenda then there will be lots of other cultures, languages, strengths of small communities whom we will have to learn to respect. All is not well within India.
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan My own understanding and faith is in a deep strength and rootedness of the Indian culture and tradition. I suppose I would have to call my commitment as Gandhian, were I to give it a name. In case your location is more Left, that would again be a perspective difference. The Left in my  understanding on one hand discards religion, and on another does not fundamentally question modernity to the extent of looking at gram swarajya as the option. 
Having said that, 

1. All is certainly not well in India

2. BJP has appropriated and distorted the concepts of Hinduism, and thereby the need to own it up more intensely as my heritage, and own up the responsibility of correcting and affirming. And because they say "Ramayana' it does not becomes an unmouthable word !

Not just because of 'heritage', but because the lives of my village people is rooted in this religion.

In my years in the village, I have seen that religiousness (in a simple and holy sense - including gangamma, and vinayaka) is a cornerstone of existence. And the Mahabharatam, with its million and one  tales,  anchors life and ethics and goodness. As mine is an ordinary, and just-off-the-road village, and just 50km from the town on Tirupathi, I would generalize this reality.

3. Of course there is vast diversity, and all has to be incorporated, We will have to fight for that also. But I think the best lessons from Ramayana and Mahabharatha are part of the deep inheritance of many ordinary illiterate village people.
Sashikala Ananth
Sashikala Ananth I think we are waiting for the time when our european masters can come and teach us about our vedic traditions! Its already happening, our sports teams have european yoga teachers, so that no minority sentiments can be hurt. What a tragic and distorted level of self hate and hindu hatred! Particularly when the subjects such a yoga ayurveda and vaastu were never the basic building blocks of a monolith religion.
Sanjeev Deshpande
Sanjeev Deshpande Curious: In which part of india the masses spoke sanskrit and for how long? Would be interesting to see the upholders of tradition practising their language of choice at home or among themselves instead of blindly adopting the language of our english masters.
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan one is not talking of speaking Sanskrit. there is culture - of the mahabharatha, which forms the lifeline of much of rural india, and much else - and knowledge (including Ayurveda which is a very valuable inheritance). All this is anchored in Sanskrit.
Subha Bharadwaj
Subha Bharadwaj You definitely belong to the CENTRE
Aparna Krishnan
Subha Bharadwaj
Subha Bharadwaj you said not right not left, so centre
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan in this day and age, we are the nowhere people !!
Vidyasankar Sundaresan
Vidyasankar Sundaresan For all those who have a problem understanding why Sanskrit is an unalienable part of Indian identity, think of ancient Greek and Latin instead. Nobody speaks Latin, only a few stuffy Vatican officials write it, yet Latin informs intellectual life enormously in today's world. Today's Greek is quite different as compared to ancient Greek, yet if we need a new word for anything, whether in science or in law, people go back to Latin and ancient Greek. That's the same kind of role that Sanskrit continues to play in Indian civilization, yet we Indians want to queue up to disparage any attempt to keep some familiarity with Sanskrit going. We always want to be dependent on someone else, never stand on our own feet. This is exactly what a colonized mindset is. A pity that Indians want to perpetuate it, almost a century after our colonizers physically left our land! And that is why the rightwing derogatorily uses the word Macaulay-putra.
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan maccauly putra is a fact. I see it in myself ... and most vividly after I moved to a village. Actually delhi to california is a smooth move, compared to delhi to a village. Delhi is far closer culturally to California, than to a village. (I was in US for a year before I resigned and moved to a village. So I am speaking from experience.). Urban English medium educated Indians are all brown sahibs. The education itself ensure that.
Vidyasankar Sundaresan
Vidyasankar Sundaresan Yes, I think those of us whose life experiences are informed largely by Indian city life have never been forced to hold a mirror to ourselves and answer for who we are, really. It is only those who have had to find a footing outside, whether abroad or in an Indian village, who see the difference. And I agree, moving from Mumbai to LA was not that big a deal. Anyway, I can quite resonate with your not right, not left, but I prefer to think of myself also as not center and not nowhere. I think we can comfotably situate ourselves along a third dimension that is orthogonal to left, right and center! But we are definitely somewhere. :)
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan Yes, in today's fairly reactionary and shallow thinking milieu (though possibly english fluent and well degreed), one has to keep explaining and defending oneself. Gets boring.
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan Yes, orthogonal to left and right and centre sounds like a nice place to be in ! Thanks.
Gautam Benegal
Gautam Benegal "What is outrageous is the callousness of the Government which is following the time-honoured socialist tradition of treating the nation's children as sheep to be brain-washed; their future prospects be damned. When cultural nationalism -- and of the narrowest Hindu-belt kind -- becomes compulsory educational curriculum, it moves straight into the realm of authoritarianism.
For all its talk of 21st century, the government is displaying a very old-fashioned and time-tested desire to turn education into a propaganda tool. A key characteristic of propaganda is, of course, the contempt it reserves for its audience -- who are sheep to be led, not citizens to be informed. No nation can aspire for progress on the foundations of bad information."
- Lakshmi Chaudhry, writer - FirstPost
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan I hold no brief for this government - or for any government. A State is top heavy and authoritarian, and were the gram swarajya model possible, it would be a different debate. Having said that - I would like to stick to just the issue. Our country has ended up in a state where it despises itself (shown by the overt and covert respect given to him who can speak English fluently, and stunbles over Tamil, compared to him who stumbles over English, and is well versed in Tamil.). That is a deep crisis that we need to face and address urgently and in all ways. A country that does not value itself (and that includes its heritage, its present mores, everything) is lost and defeated.
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan I suspect when things swing to one insane extreme, as they have done today - with western clothing, language, mores being preferred over all things native - society will swing to the other extreme as a reaction. maybe we need to watch that also. Meantime introspecting and correcting in sane and deep ways, so as to control the takeover of the swing by the rightwing forces.
Aparna Krishnan
Aparna Krishnan If we wish to simply react to everything, and reject, we can sit talking to the winds.

No comments:

Post a Comment