Twenty statements from Sheldon Pollock on India, Hinduism and Sanskrit

The Murty Classical Library of India was launched with quite some fanfare recently by Rohan Murty, son of software czar and founder of Infosys Narayan Murthy. The Murty Library under the general editorship of Sheldon Pollock, is part of a $5.2 million endowment that Rohan Murty gave to Harvard University, attracted some controversy from within the India scholarly community. The crux of their objections is centred on giving control of the discourse and scholarship of Indic, classical and Sanskrit studies and more broadly, Hinduism to Sheldon Pollock/Westerners. In view of this, the IndiaFacts team researched some notable works of Sheldon Pollock and compiled the following list of his statements/writing about Hinduism, India, Sanskrit and related areas.


  1. In the age of Hindu identity politics (Hindutva) inaugurated in the 1990s by the ascendancy of the Indian People’s Party (Bharatiya Janata Party) and its ideological auxiliary, the World Hindu Council (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), Indian cultural and religious nationalism has been promulgating ever more distorted images of India’s past. Few things are as central to this revisionism as Sanskrit, the dominant culture language of precolonial southern Asia outside the Persianate order. Hindutva propagandists have sought to show, for example, that Sanskrit was indigenous to India, and they purport to decipher Indus Valley seals to prove its presence two millennia before it actually came into existence. In a farcical repetition of Romantic myths of primevality, Sanskrit is considered—according to the characteristic hyperbole of the VHP—the source and sole preserver of world culture.
  1. Some might argue that as a learned language of intellectual discourse and belles lettres, Sanskrit had never been exactly alive in the first place. But the usual distinction in play here between living and dead languages is more than a little naive. It cannot accommodate the fact that all written languages are learned, and therefore in some sense frozen in time (“dead”); or, conversely, that such languages often are as supple and dynamically changing (“alive”) as so-called natural ones. Yet the assumption that Sanskrit was never alive has discouraged the attempt to grasp its later history; after all, what is born dead has no later history. As a result, there exist no good accounts or theorizations of the end of the cultural order that for two millennia exerted a trans-regional influence across Asia-South, Southeast, Inner, and even East Asia- that was unparalleled until the rise of Americanism and global English. We have no clear understanding of whether, and if so, when, Sanskrit culture ceased to make history; whether, and if so, why, it proved incapable of preserving into the present the creative vitality it displayed in earlier epochs, and what this loss of affectivity might reveal about those factors within the wider world of society and polity that had kept it vital.
  1. In the memorable year of 1857, a Gujarati poet, Dalpatram Dahyabhai, was the first to speak of the death of Sanskrit:

All the feasts and great donations King Bhoja gave the Brahmans

were obsequies he made on finding the language of the gods had died.

Seated in state Bajirao performed its after-death rite with great pomp.

And today, the best of kings across the land observe its yearly memorial.

The poet sensed that some important transformation had occurred at the beginning of the second millennium, which made the great literary courts of the age, such as Bhoja’s, the stuff of legend (which last things often become); that the cultivation of Sanskrit by eighteenth-century rulers like the Peshwas of Maharashtra was too little too late; that the Sanskrit cultural order of his own time was sheer nostalgic ceremony.

  1. The later history of Latin shows striking commonalities with Sanskrit. Both died slowly, and earliest as a vehicle of literary expression, while much longer retaining significance for learned discourse with its universalist claims. Both were subject to periodic renewals or forced rebirths, sometimes in connection with a politics of trans-local aspiration (Carolingian, Ottonian, Humanist; fifteenth-century Kashmir under Zain-ul-‘abidin, eighteenth-century Maha- rashtra under the Peshwas; the Wodeyar court of early-nineteenth-century Mysore). At the same time, paradoxically (this is certainly true for India, at least), both came to be ever more exclusively associated with narrow forms of religion and priestcraft, despite centuries of a secular aesthetic. Yet the differences between the two are equally instructive.
  1. For one thing, Sanskrit literary culture was never affected by communicative incompetence, which began to enfeeble Latin from at least the ninth century. The process of vernacularization in India, in so many ways comparable to the European case, was nowhere a consequence of growing Sanskrit ignorance.
  1. One causal account, however, for all the currency it enjoys in the contemporary climate, can be dismissed at once: that which traces the decline of Sanskrit culture to the coming of Muslim power. The evidence adduced here shows this to be historically untenable. It was not “alien rule un- sympathetic to kavya” and a “desperate struggle with barbarous invaders” that sapped the strength of Sanskrit literature. In fact, it was often the barbarous invader who sought to revive Sanskrit.


  1. I suggest in what follows that the Ramayana came alive in the realm of public political discourse in western and central India in the eleventh to fourteenth centuries in a dramatic and unparalleled way. I believe the text offers unique imaginative instruments-in fact, two linked instruments-whereby, on the one hand, a divine political order can be conceptualized, narrated, and historically grounded, and, on the other, a fully demonized Other can be categorized, counterposed, and condemned. The makers of elite culture in medieval South Asia chose these instruments for the work of divinization and demonization at this historical moment because of the emergence of two enabling conditions. One was the peculiar salience that a far older political theology now seems to have achieved in the service of the legitimation or enhancement or perhaps just self-understanding of kingship. The other was the appearance of Others who-whether, in fact, they presented an unprecedented unassimilability or could opportunistically be represented as such-were especially vulnerable to the demonizing formulation the Ramayana made available.
  1. At the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth centuries, several major cultic centers devoted to Rama are created or reinvigorated.
  1. To infer from temples bearing Rama reliefs that a cult of Rama existed in the ninth and tenth centuries is not possible
  1. I am not asserting, then, that Rama was never the object of cultic worship prior to the period with which I am concerned here. Even less am I claiming that the Rama cult, when it did arise, superseded all others….. What is certain, however, is that the cult of Rama has a history. At first extraordinarily restricted in time and space, it exhibits striking efflorescence and assumes a prominent place within the context of a political theology from the end of the twelfth century onward, achieving in some instances a centrality by the middle of the fourteenth……..
  1. The Ramayana supplies serious material to the political imagination of premodern India as coded in the inscriptional record only from the later medieval period on; references in the first millennium are remarkably few but gain in frequency and complexity especially after the twelfth century.
  1. The public discourse of major dynasties for centuries made virtually no appropriation of the Rama theme. In the records of the Gurjara-Pratihara empire for example, it seems that reference to Rama is altogether absent (Puri 1986:211). There is one exception, however: the ninth-century Gwalior prasasti of King Bhoja. This record, commemorating the construction of a domestic Visnu shrine, reads in vs. 3, “In their family [i.e., the family of the solar kings], [in which] the luster [of Visnu…eventually set foot, Rama of auspicious birth made a war of destruction and slaughter against the demons . . . in which Ravana was killed.”
  1. Whereas the Ramayana may certainly have played a substantial role, in some instances a central role, in the political imagination of earlier India, it comes to be deployed with a fuller and more referentially direct expression-in royal cultic, documentary, and textual representations-from the twelfth century onward. The temporal trajectory of this development, especially plotted against the spatial, suggests compellingly that it was in reaction to the transformative encounter with the polities of Central Asia-with Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Khaljis (and perhaps even earlier, with the Arabs, as the Gwalior prasasti cited above suggests)-and the resultant new social and political order instituted by the establishment of the Sultanate that the Ramayana lived anew in royal discourse.
  1. The Ramayana narrative seems to me to offer special imaginative “resources,” which though perhaps shared to a degree by other mythopolitical narratives, are present in distilled form in this particular story. They are constitutive of it and remain stable, as semiotic slots, however differently interpretive communities will specify their contents. I think these can be categorized under the two broad headings of divinization and demonization. The first points to the fact that, although the political as in so many other Indian texts is at the heart of the narrative, this text offers for the first time a special assessment, or resolution, of the paradox that the political comprises in premodern India. It does this by way of what I think is a new mediation of the religious, that is, the divine or numinous, and the political, by which I mean the nature of life in the human polity. The second heading, the demonization of the Other-a shopworn yet still indispensable phrase-relates to those who stand outside this theologically sanctioned polity. Not only are these two thematics the defining thematics of Valmlki’s epic, they are two of the most powerful conceptions of the social-political imagination.
  1. In the face of substantial political uncertainty, then, and consonant with other kinds of cultural representations, the Ramayana was repeatedly instrumentalized by the ruling Indian elites of the middle period to provide a theology of politics and a symbology of otherness.
  1. If the Ramayana has served for 1,000 years as a code in which proto-communalist relations could be activated and theocratic legitimation could be rendered-if it constitutes an imaginary within which the public sphere is not sundered from the religious, and at the same time cannot be conceptualized without a concomitant demonization of some other-it makes sense that it would be through this mytheme par excellence that reactionary politics in India today would find expression in the interests of a theocratization of the state and the creation of an internal enemy as necessary antithesis.
  1. For one thing, the deity Rama in his abstract (nirguna) form had intervened, occupying in different degrees and for some four centuries starting with Kabir, a focal point of almost supracommunal religious devotion. This is a phenomenon difficult to correlate with a communalist coding of the personalized form (saguna) of Ramacandra, although I don’t think impossibly so (it is not clear that “Ram” ever means Ramacandra for Kabir; Vaudeville 1974:115). A rather stronger reason for caution is that the Ramayana-a work whose fluidity and linguistic variability I alluded to at the beginning of this essay but have a priori bracketed- is, to be sure, more than a single text. For some scholars it rather approximates a literary genre, library, or language, added to, reworked, rewritten in every region and every community, and in every century for perhaps the last twenty; the tradition of the Ramayana, it is often argued, has been a tradition of contestation rather than a tradition of canonicity, starting at least with the Jain Palmacaria in the fourth or fifth century. For this reason, and because of even the Sanskrit text’s instability (often exaggerated, though), some hold that there may no longer exist any such thing as the Ramayana, if ever there did.
  1. The very conceptualization of the JNU scholars-of “the political abuse of history”-ignores the fact that objectivist history has been one of the principal knowledge-forms in which post-Enlightenment politics has expressed itself. The very subject-matter of history is the state, as Hegel put it, which “involves the production of such history in the very progress of its own being.” One can sooner argue that, far from enabling emancipation, historical writing itself-the positivist-objectivist historiography of Western science, what Hegel might call “historical History”- bears a substantial measure of responsibility for the reactionary politics and the romantic historicism driving them for the past century, in Europe as well as Asia. Ayodhya would hardly have assumed the dimensions of the present problem were it not for scientized historicality itself (objectified in such texts as the archaeological reports and colonial gazetteers constantly cited by the parties to the dispute) and the pursuit of origins it delusively inspires. When we consider parallel if more apocalyptic cases such as the role of historicist nostalgia in postcolonial Cambodian politics-the link between modern French historiography of precolonial Cambodia and the political program of the Khmer Rouge it is difficult not to wonder how a mode of inquiry partly responsible for the problem can be expected to solve it.


  1. We are still unclear, for example, about the conditions under which Sanskrit emerged as one such literary language. Scholars have long called attention to the fact that the first kavyas derive from self-conscious movements such as Sanskritized Buddhism at the beginning of the common era, but no one has offered a good argument for why this might be so, nor explored the character of the social communities-often, it appears, newly migrating into the subcontinent-that may have contributed to these developments. Another way to express this specific historical problem is not that Sanskrit became literary, but that “literature” as such literature as dominant Indian traditions have defined it, came into being at the moment in question. Evidently, what the self-conscious Indian traditions have identified as “literary” must itself be a subject of critical historical analysis as well. We know little, too, about the use of “counter languages” for making literature among Jains, Buddhists, and others, which may actually antedate and stimulate the emergence of literary Sanskrit. What these developments represent is an early instance of an enduring and constitutive issue in South Asian cultural history, that of language-choice in a multilingual space.
  1. It has slowly dawned on many of us working in Europe and the United States that people in South Asia happen to have interests in the interpretations of the texts that have been produced, and continue to circulate, in their worlds. The study of the South Asian past plays as powerful a role in the construction of present-day post-colonial South Asian worlds-whether nationalist, indigenist, reactionary, internationalist, or other constructions-as it did in the construction of the colonial world, only the locus of dominant agency has changed. And whether one does or does not care about the relationship between scholarship on texts and the people who consider those texts to be theirs, no one can any longer ignore the fact that such a relationship exists.
IndiaFacts Staff articles, reports and guest pieces
  • Vishnu Acharya

    All readers of this, please see on you tube or read Rajiv Malhotra’s The Battle for Sanskrit where point by point he has refuted Sheldon Pollock and likes.

  • Ran Nam

    Who is the author of this piece of junk? Nobody takes any notice of anonymous defences of stooges like Pollock. Saying that this junk comes from the staff of India Facts just doesn’t cut it. Bring out the author or authors and we will break some lathis over their heads, figuratively of course..

  • sanch

    Even if the world falls apart , all those heroic depictions in Vedas still happened in India . The architecture still happened in India so Mr. Pollock . You can shut rest your eyes and go to sleep .

  • Dhan_c

    Just like a typical academic with ill intent, Bollock thinks he can pull wool over the eyes of people by talking highfalutin academese. He is inventing history on the fly. Sorry nobody buys this.

  • m p

    Article reminds me of Wendy Doniger and her remark about Gita being a dishonest and nasty book.

    Here is the full reading on it from a newspaper article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, dated November 19, 2000, entitled “Big-screen caddy is Hindu hero in disguise” written byDavid O’Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer:

    “Myth scholar Wendy Doniger of the University of Chicago was on hand earlier this month to lecture on the Gita. “The Bhagavad Gita is not as nice a book as some Americans think,” she said, in a lecture titled “The Complicity of God in the Destruction of the Human Race.” “Throughout the Mahabharata, the enormous Hindu epic of which the Gita is a small part, Krishna goads human beings into all sorts of murderous and self-destructive behaviors such as war in order to relieve “mother Earth” of its burdensome human population and the
    many demons disguised as humans … The Gita is a dishonest book; it justifies war,” Doniger told the audience of about 150” (emphasis added).

  • Heraclitus kapila

    Acclaimed by the west Pollock Let me ask you simple questions. Is it not true that Indian Mathematics emerges from Indian philosophy, aryabhatta and Brahmagupta emerge from Panini, Nagarjuna Gautama and Mahaivira. As I understand it these works were in sanskrit. Now come the biggest problem a simplistic binary logic of Aristotlehas been center stage in the west for 2 thousand years but it does not hold a candle to Indian Logic of Nyaya and the jains or Panini as Aristotle was clueless about relativity,he was a mysogenist and and an ethnocentricist.The foundation of western thought will be challenged by anciant Sanskr that gave the world, epistemology and mathematics Philososphy that his to be learnt through sanskrit. Mr. Pollock Latin did not produce a thing other then dogmatism and theocratic bullcrap.
    This is the problem with Christian/Islamic non criticial thinkers they have blinders on and want to see the progressive works of the past through their own narrative, The dogmatists reject Jain concept of truth having a perspective.
    It is a matter of time before this narrative will be fully blown up

  • southernwonder

    challenging the western indologists is not about working out the differences, using reasonable arguments in a mutually acceptable way. the reason is : because it is political.
    the real hindu scholars, the practicing hindu scholars, could burn the mid night oil all they want, and put in extraordinary efforts in order to meticulously point out the fallacies of this pollock guy and his ilk, both white and brown (aka sickularists) in color. but that settles nothing, and will never settle anything.
    my take is the although the hindus excel in scholarship, they dont do politics well; it is just not their cup of tea.
    you can look at the gross criminality in india by the unrepentant politicians, and you get the idea. hindus get screwed big time when politics is involved.
    i dont expect this pollock to go away until he dies. he has made a living out of it – the white people have a knack for making money even at trouble making – while the hindus are a part time warriors at best.

  • latha

    We ourselves with our British education cannot understand what he says. What would Americans understand ? lol. Probably Rohan Murty couldn’t understand a word of what this guy spoke or wrote. So he thought that he must be a genius. ROFL.

  • #RohanMurthy & foundation must have done due diligence when they hired #SheldomPollock So he must be knowing all this. His last week statement in ET that we could not find any better person in Indian than Pollock and Pollock will continue his work show his arrogance if not wisdom.

    • Jishnu

      Yes. Rogues sponsor rogues.

  • xomile

    Dear author, please put whatever was said by Prof. Pollock in quotes. Block quote or quote marks – whatever, also cite the Publication Name, Page no etc under each quote. Right now, it is easy to misread the quoted words of Prof. Pollock as your position. This can be very counterproductive to your cause.

  • precluder

    While majority of educated people understand this concept as such, we need to realize that we don’t really have channels to express ourselves. While a small but loud mouthed minority among us spews venom in the name of secularism, the rest of us suffer silently or at best went our anger out in the form of these ‘discussions’ in discuss. The reason most of us cite for this is that there are no mainstream media which reflect our view. While that is largely true, here are a few media which needs support and viewership to prosper: Zee News, Swarajya (Founded by C Rajagopalachari), The New Indian Express, OPIndia and off course IndiaFacts. If one is using a news aggregator like Google News, one can adjust the news sources to increase the frequency of the above. Let us do whatever we can from our end instead of silently suffering the onslaught on our minds.

  • RVenkatanarayanan

    A lot of Sheldon Pollock’s wrtiings excerpted appeal as some gibberish to make an ordinary reader think that the man is saying something very weighty, little known before he wrote them. Many sentences he writes make no sense. The man has been given too much importance. May be he has studied Sanskrit literature and can make references to texts, obscure or otherwise. But what he wants to convey will not impress any intelligent sceptic.

  • Chandra Shekhar

    Dear whoever presented these facts, or anyone else who can, please re-write this content in simple English, so that anyone can understand. In the current form, which is directly taken from Polloc’s papers/books, the content is very difficult to understand.

    • latha

      Good. Let it stay like that. Let nobody understand it. It is better that way.

  • 4thaugust1932

    I’ve seen millions/generations of Brahmin begging for alms in temples; I’ve hired couple of Brahmin to clean toilets in our home.

    • latha

      Dalit & muslim beggars clean toilets in our whole colony of 250 houses.

    • depp

      the way you show your self is not your mistake it is your father mistake he should have taught you about equality thank you so much we have intellectuals like you to carry our secular society forward

  • Nagaraja

    It would be excellent if the author of this article can share the sources from where he has picked Sheldon Pollock’s statement quoted in the article.

    • Megh

      I am not the author of this piece; at the same time, you may find some of the statements in this piece, in Professor Sheldon Pollock’s paper “The death of Sanskrit” @

      PS: Just before typing this sentence, the link above still led to an online version of a paper titled “The Death of Sanskrit*” with SHELDON POLLOCK underneath the title and University of Chicago beneath that.

      Hope this helps and apologies if it was not welcome 🙂

      • Nagaraja

        Thaks for sharing. It is welcome.

  • Megh

    I thank India Facts staff for this piece.

    For those interested and who might not have read the full paper “The death of Sanskrit” by Sheldon Pollock, as of when I am typing this, the full paper is accessible at:

  • malavika

    Rich scion Rohan was never expected to replace Pollock, that would be acknowledging his mistake.Will not happen in a million years, Billionaires live in an alternate world. The idea was to ensure that the aam Hindu is not taken in by Ivy League presentations of Pollock and his sponsor. The idea is to inform our own and not taken in by the smooth talk Pollock and his shishyas in ELM.

    As such the cat is out of the bag and Pollcoks Hinduphobic agenda is out. Once we(all Hindus) regard him as a sophisticated version of Wendy a major battle is won. The second is to come up with our own interpretation of our lived Sanskriti.

  • शरण् कुमार्

    On the dismal failure of the Petition against Shri. Sheldon
    Pollock: ——– By now it is clear how powerful Pollock and his sponsors are. I read a few comments in Indian newspapers and it is woeful to see the helplessness of Indians and their inability to come up with a solution. ——— It’s simple: the White folks have been translating Samskrut works since the time of Muller. They care a fig if
    it is true to the Samskrut original or not. Truth be told, the Hindus should not have been in slumber all these years before finally deciding to start a “lame duck” online petition. Macaulay must be having a hearty laugh in his grave. ———- As a translator, I can tell you that the notions of “violence” and “conflict” play a significant role in Translation Studies in the West. This is so because translation in the West historically has always been about the translation of the Word of God and the control of people’s opinions. This is exactly Pollock ji’s
    attitude towards translation of Samskrut works. ——– There is only one solution. As long as Indians are Samskrut-illiterate, there will be a thousand Pollocks who will readily fill the void. ——— Unless Indians reject English for good and erase it from all walks of life and
    replace it with Samskrut, Indologists will rush in to pollute the colonized “subaltern” Hindu mind. ——– Make no mistake, these translations are NOT meant for the curious American Indologist on the path of discovering Dharma. THEY ARE MEANT SOLELY FOR THE INTELLECTUAL/SOCIO-ECONOMIC COLONIZATION OF THE ENGLISH-EDUCATED INDIANS. THIS IS HOW THE AMERICANS DO IT. ——- Declare Samskrut as National Language, make Samskrut compulsory in schools and ensure that Samskrut is made the sole language of instruction in the next 25 years . Set aside Rs.500 every month and make generous donations to Samskrutha Bharathi. If not, let Hindus join Pollock and declare
    Samskrut as a dead language.

    • malavika

      No one expected Billionaires son Rohan to replace Pollock .The idea is to inform our own and not taken in by the smooth talk Pollock and his shishyas in ELM.

      As such the cat is out of the bag and Pollcoks Hinduphobic agenda is out. Once we(all Hindus) regard him as a sophisticated version of Wendy a major battle is won. The second is to come up with our own interpretation of our lived Sanskriti.

      • JagoBharatVasiyo

        It’s not only Hinduphobic agenda but extremely political and religious as well.

    • Dr M

      Good Points शरण् कुमार्

      This petition has done its job – stirring up a quite a good number of patriotic Indians to start thinking in what you have said!

      How about for a start, getting folks to learn & spread sanskrit & sanskriti as well as the pitfalls of these pollock-poisons among all the pious hindus from the lowest sections of the our society! that will be a truly encouraging grassroots movement!

  • mechprince

    Glad that Pollock has been thrusted into awkward limelight.

    How stupid are our own wannabe-whites who dole out millions to outsiders to gain knowledge about ourselves!!

    How Pollock must be laughing his pants off behind closed doors thinking: “I ask for money from these brownies, to show their own past in bad light, to belittle their own achievements, to polarize their own society, to mix academics and politics in their own country, and yet they give me what I ask for. Gracious god, thank you for these inferiority-complex-filled rich brownies”.

  • Puneetchandra Sharrma

    The biggest mistake on our (Indians) part is that we’ve given our *adhikar over Sanskrit to outsider who seldom have any insight or the knowledge that we possess. They come with their on baggage of prejudices, hidden motives & agendas and under the garb of objectivity, write utter rubbish which is then jammed down the throats of our own children through education institutions, which they control.And we, mostly ignorant or passive, let them take over our History & the so called narrative of our Civilization. Sheldon Pollock is one writer who I writes with malicious intent & a hidden agenda. He seems heel-bent on finding evil intent in even our sacred texts leading us to believe that he is a mere stooge of the American imperialists. His statements lack any proof, are so bizarre & over the top that every Indian who knows even a little history, can debunk his arguments easily. But it is our passiveness that they take advantage of.
    We;re the only people in the world that allow a foreign power to write our own history. No other country, whether, China, Japan,Russia, America, France etc will allow anybody else to do this.Its high time we take back the *adhikar of writing our own *Itihaas.

  • Pushya

    Rajiv Malhotra has written an entire book on the western hijacking and distortion of Indology/Sanskrit studies. He empirically states the attempt to politicise Sanskrit studies to justify western universalism and underminine Indian traditions and knowledge to create long lasting schisms within the Indian society by the western scholars and particularly Sheldon Pollock. “Battle for Sanskrit” is the name of the book and is must read for concerned Indians.

  • P B Ind

    Do we sense some bigger thing at play here? First fragment the Hindu society in the name of caste. Then re-write our history so as to make it sound like a story of oppression and make our religious texts like Ramayana sound like clever inventions by the ruling class. To be sure, these people (Pollock et al.) do not appear to be religiously motivated – but have some sort of an ulterior Marxist agenda, specifically the cultural variety. While interest in Christianity is rapidly waning in Europe and America it may no longer be fashionable to flog it – maybe its already overdone. So these scholars are now training the guns elsewhere, with the middle-east and much of the Islamic world in turmoil, perhaps India is game. Remember that indulging in book bans or any other extremist offensive does more harm, since the media is also controlled by their fellow ideologues and ends up portraying Hinduism even more negatively.

    • yes, u r apprehension is right, evangelist foxes have hatched this grand plan backed by USAs Total War simulation theatre programme which makes Culture as the ultimate frontier. Liberation Theology is the key tool to mask evangelist interventions, pls read official website page of Truthseeker International, native church planter, subverting Indian cultural themes to widen social faultlines through Indian version of raising Constantine through caste iconography and mythology about Phule, Ambedkar, Periyar , which is technically called ‘deep Contextualization strategy’ in missological lierature

  • Dharana

    It is widely known in western literary circles that when one want to research in English language history they will take pride in referring to Aristotle, Socrates etc. since Latin and Greek are the mother of English language.It is amazing that only in the case of Sanskrit language and its history no root is traced or claimed to Asian subcontinent. A westerner , who never visited Asia or India( till 1999) nor studied anything about its history claim to be an expert in Sanskrit language and opined thus.His only reference was the written documents by Britishers who ruled India. This type of half cooked knowledge has been in circulation in the western hemisphere for such a long time and no Indian historian has challenged their thoughts and works. It is high time the experts in the field of classical languages in India rise to the occasion and condemn these group of politically motivated authors who claim themselves expert. It is pitiable that the recent bunch of Indian middle class fall for words like Sanskrit in western education system without verification of their motives or ill motives.A fellow who is ready to fund any such ventures need to first examine the veracity and motive of such projects and then only need to commit otherwise it will rather damage the image of India rather than help establish the fact.

    • Megh

      Namo Namah Dharana, you raise a point that resonates with me. It is highly likely that you are aware of what I am about to share and in which case, apologies but just in case you have not read, you might find the recent Amazon best-seller book “The Battle for Sanskrit” by Shri Rajiv Malhotra of interest/use.

      • Dharana

        Shri Megh- thanks a lot for your comment. I am a big follower of Shri Rajiv Malhotra and has been keeping myself updated of his writings. If there exists one Indian nationalist who aspires to keep the image of the country intact , it is Shri Rajiv only.I wish the younger generation in India gets inspired by his observations , teachings etc.

  • roger_25

    Sidney Pollock and Wendy Doniger gang are the continuation of Macaulay cult of westerners looking to digest the Indic civilization and the worst part is we with our apathy have let that happen. No more – time to stand up.and make ur voice count.

  • Pollock thinks we don’t know, indeed can’t know, whether Lord Ram loved his dad or his wife!- vide Pollock justifies his view by appealing to Bhatta Nayaka- however, the fact that rasa is subjective means that the rasika is more not less emotionally invested in the kavya.
    Pollock has a wholly crazy theory of Literature. He thinks a Language can be ‘penned up in the realm of the sacred’ but, like a caged beast, it can escape and invade the secular realm and turn into Literature.

    Pollock’s crazy theories appeal to Careerist Academics because it lets them talk high falutin nonsense and then get cited by others of their ilk. Vide

    Some are genuine scholars- like Prashant Keshavmurthy- but more commonly the Ananya Vajpayee type predominates.

    Hilariously, Pollock thinks only America can now do Indology. The Germans can’t because in the 20’s and 30’s the German Universities wanted to curtail the number of chairs in Sanskrit (Germany was too poor to afford such luxuries) so German indologists allied with Christian Missilonaries and the burgeoning Nazis (but also the neo-Pagan movement) to pretend they were relevant and thus should get funding. Similarly, Doniger, Pollock et al pretended they were fighting Hindu Nazism in the Nineties and Noughties and thus should still get funding because Hindu terrorism is such a terrible threat to World Peace and that nasty Narendra Modi must never get Visa. The stupidity displayed by the Americans in this respect drew the ire of the Germans (who are also stupid, but more scholarly) as shown here-

    Murti was just a young kid doing his PhD when he made this horrible mistake.

  • al p

    total dull egghead over-analyzing to the point of obscurity. lost in his own head he discounts that which is in the heart of millions

  • K.Harapriya

    There has been a steady but growing movement to first separate Sanskrit and through it, the Vedas from Hinduism and India. All traditional knowledge of India can then be questioned. By removing Sanskrit from India and making it Indo-
    European, then Vedas becomes European as does Yoga and Ayurveda. There is also the movement to remove Hinduism studies out of the hands of Hindus. We, by not having significant departments of Hinduism in all major state universities, have contributed by our silence. Plus, why is Rohan Murty funding an overseas university research project. Why doesn’t he help create a Hinduism Department in local Unversities. BTW, Madras University has a dept. of Islamic studies and Christian studies. But Hinduism is split into three underfunded blocks, Vaishnavism, Saivism and Indian Philosophy in order to maintain secularism.

    • Ashish Bagade

      Absolutely true……hit the nail on the head !!!

    • Dr M

      Folks should crowdsource this activity of visiting their neighbourhood universities to figure out what departments they have for semitic cultures versus sickular studies (all flavours of political correctness) versus what they have for hindu/dharmic cultures!

    • precluder

      What is the so-called Hindu nationalist BJP doing to protect the native Philosophy from being appropriated ? It is we commoners, who appear to be more concerned while ‘our’ Government is basically doing nothing.

    • L Radhakrishna Rao

      Hinduism is a con.

      • Arun Jetli

        no shortage of yard apes.
        MAthematics, epistemology, logic, philosophy of language , study of the self
        All hindus

        • L Radhakrishna Rao

          Ha ha typical hindutvawadi. Forgetting that there are no Hindus. Many migrants have come here and they developed lot of things. It has nothing to do with hinduism. Yes, they can be taken as part of India’s history.

          • Arun Jetli

            oh really. I ascribe to the thesis that the mode and realtions of production determine a social consciousness but this phenomenon is a species of a larger genus where all thoughts are matter, so this makes me a Marxist as well. And yes I am an atheist as well. you are brainwashed into thinking that Hinduism is a religion. a narrative extolled by the dogmatists of Judeo-Christian Moslem tradition separates culture from epistemology and mathematics. Tell me one atheist who was burnt at the steak ala Giardano Bruno by the Hindus. I love Sufis, Rumi and Buelh Shah but does that mean that the Islamic theocrats did not retard philosophy andgrowth in epistemology and math. The only mathematics that flourished during islam was the Aryabhattaa school of Kerala where Islam was late getting, so please get off the generic ethics and pay heed to material conditions as they eliminated the entire corpus of investigative themes of Sanskrit . Pollock shabbily applies Vico’s paradigm which is theological hermeneutics, and misrepresents Walter Beniamin as he superimposes the materialist categories of Nazi Germany on to ancient India where there was no bourgeoisie to contend with,
            the relations of production were different and above all the hegemony of power play interpretation of society was not ubequitous, .
            Yes, oppression happened in the past but that was not the summon bonum of Sanskrit literature, All fields have their merit ,especially epistemology for me since that is what I specialize in. Pollock is an incompetent academic clueless about the development of epistemology but ossified in the Judeo-Christian framework of power
            so he says we should ignore everything but literature because that is a soft target he can attack

          • L Radhakrishna Rao

            Only frustrated and rejected people write such long non sensical defense. You people have no acceptance in anyways.
            There was no India and there is no such thing called hinduism. Infact the thing which is being labeled as hinduism came in existence during the time of rammohan Roy and he imported judeo Christianity theosophy. It was after dayanand saraswati came that Hindu month movement started.
            Not only hinduism of s religion, it is system of oppressive slavery too. This point even Mr Pollock has interpreted and explained. And it is correct. The slavery of hinduism goes beyond caste. A Hindu is slave when he takes birth.
            And no, many races have come here and worked. There was no India.
            And about myself, I am not a Hindu.

          • Arun Jetli

            You are confused young man. It is not shether semantically tou call one a hindu. There are two traditions One is Judeo Christian M<oslem the Other Eastern, namely Sanatan dharam. JJsinism, Buddhism etc, The first is full of power play and nothing else it has no process of validation of propsitions save a Bible or Koran. it is based on dogmatism , not on perception and inference. The Eastern systems have a mode of validation that involve perception validation as well as testimony. Now Pollock is a neo Marxist who is inconsistent as a Marxist and incompetent as an epistemologist, because his background is in the dogmatism of Judeo Christianity.
            He gives no bases for aestheticization except the word of Walter Benjamin. His biggest fraud is to reject the connection between Buddhist and Samkhya philosophy to the development of mathematics. Pollock ignores every aspect of Indian contribution save Kavya because he can attack that as there are no perimeters of reason that need to be followed He is a perpetrator of the Canard that the Geeks invented everything since the Dark skinned Indians were only interested in oppression. No wonder you love him. It was the Dark skinned Indians who discovered mathematics , trigonometry, infinite series. not the Greeks, not the bible or the Koran and they did so because of the history of debates and freedom that the Athenians did not have that is why the Athenians passed death sentences on Anaximander, Themostecles and Socrataes.
            If you want to be an ignoramus that ignores history it is your choice . McCauley should be your other hero besides Pollock.
            I t migt be better to become objective and study the following works.Upanishads, Samkhy . Madhaymika and the Jain sutras if you want logic. If you want blind faith go the route of the the Abrahamics

          • L Radhakrishna Rao

            You can write and follow whatever you want. But you can’t slave me. Hollow philosophy will make me a beggar

    • L Radhakrishna Rao

      And it is correct. Vedic literature and vedic races are not Hindus.

  • Kishan Sharma

    When you have nothing of substance to say or you want to hide the reality, use a language that people find very hard to understand. You will be acclaimed a great scholar !

    • latha