Need to sow western thoughts in Sanskrit by Rajeev Malhotra

conferenceRajiv Malhotra, Founder-Director of Infinity Foundation, Princeton, USA, said rather than translating our knowledge into English, the need is to translate western philosophies into Sanskrit so that we can pursue the studies on our own terms. He was delivering the valedictory address of the one-day national conference on Sanskrit held in Sastra University.
Elaborating on the topic, ‘Is Sanskriti being distorted by the Americanisation of Sanskrit Studies’, he said, as the minds of the students of humanities in India is so col-onised, he said he preferred to speaking to students of science.
Tracing the history of Indology, Malhotra said that earlier westerners used the study to claim Sanskrit as their own language which was brought to India by the Aryans. The westerners also had another use of Indology, that is to gain scientific knowledge including linguistics, psychology from Sanskrit texts.
He pointed out that at one time, Indology was studied in as many as 20 colleges across England. After World War II, the US became a leading power, and South Asian studies in the US became the successor of Indology.
“What is happening now is most of the prolific writings on Sanskrit literature, and interpretation of arts are coming from the US,” he added. As Europe once had its own agenda in studying Sanskrit, so has the USA. He said, Sheldon Pollock, a Sanskrit scholar from the USA has become the modern day Max Muller.
 Malhotra said the American idea of Sanskrit is being exported to India through our ‘parampara’. According to this idea, Sanskrit is of foreign origin.
It also paints Sanskrit as the source of oppression in India, whether it is oppression of caste, women or minorities. He said the US idea of Sanskrit dismisses the ‘paramarthika’ – the transcendent aspect of  Sanskrit – and accepts only the ‘Vyavaharika’ – the mundane aspect of the language.
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