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I was browsing through a book by Rajiv Malhotra where he was launching an invective against Sheldon Pollock. I don’t question him or his motive over this. But, there are some serious things to look into, in that regard. Looking all over the shop, it’s very hard to find any books over serious Indian history or culture published by Indians based in India. Nearing three quarters of a century of independence, why are we in such a situation that John Keay or Max Muller are the still the standards? Why is it that Michael Witzel or Sheldon Pollock are the undisputed authorities of Sanskrit? Rajiv Malhotra may be correct in his argument that Pollock’s views are warped. Is it because he is learning about the life of an animal by seeing how it lives in a zoo park? He hasn’t seen Sanskrit in it’s native environment, it’s applicability in day to day life. He is a Christian with a degree in Greek who learnt Sanskrit. What he knows and what his convictions are based on who he is and who taught him. One cannot blame him. If anyone is to blame, it’s us. What is our contribution to Sanskrit studies and generalizing, what is our contribution, one of the top five or ten most powerful entities in the world? Not a single Nobel for research done in India, not a contribution of world renown.
Let’s confine ourselves to Sanskrit and Oriental Studies. We have got sufficient number of entities like Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham or BORI or even the Sanskrit Departments of eminent colleges. Why can’t we leverage their expertise to churn out information?
1. There is an immediate need of Sanskrit primers and dictionaries.
2. One very good idea which I found in the book is, a discussion over the word Atma – 1008 Sanskrit Words which can’t be translated into English. These sort of curios will create interest over the language
3. Authoritative translations plus word to word meaning of traditional literature, not just in Sanskrit, but in other languages as well. One example is the essay 300 Ramayanas. What exactly are the differences between Kamba Ramayana and Valmiki Ramayana? What is the source of these teo versions?
4. Regular seminars and conferences and even annual language Congresses over Indian languages
5. Encouraging research over Indian literature. Let’s take an example as the Kakatiya Kala Toranas. What exactly existed between them? Is it the royal palace? Is it a massive temple? Is it anything else? And what are the sources for this? Literature in Sanskrit, Arabic, Turkish, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and even Chinese and Italian; inscriptions discovered and yet to be discovered, treaties signed. This one single topic touches a hell lot of areas and is impossible for a single person to gloss over. Or, may be, application of Sukraneeti, Brihaspati Sutra or the such in modern management.
6. Bringing Sanskrit and other languages into day-to-day scientific relevance. If people are forced to learn German for ABAP, what’s the problem with Sanskrit?
In simpler words, Sanskrit should become a language of relevance, not a fringe, exotic, historic language for crackpots to study. We made a mistake by ditching Sanskrit in favour of Hindi but are we sure it can’t be undone?

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