Wednesday, July 27, 2005


संस्कृतॆन ब्लाग् कृत्वा बहूनि दिनानि गतानि । गतसप्ताहॆ वा तत्पूर्वं मद्गृहसमीपस्थितमहॊदयॆन गृहं प्रति आगतम् । स तु राष्ट्रिय-स्वयंसेवकसङ्घस्य सदस्येष्वॆकः । संस्कृतमजानन्नपि तस्य संस्कृतविषयॆ महती भक्तिः वर्ततॆ । महाभागॆनैव सुधर्मापत्रिकायाः विचारः उक्तः ।

न जानामि कियन्तः जनाः ऎतत् पठन्तीति । तथापि लिखामि यतः आगामिषु दिवसॆषु कॆनापि ऎतत् पठ्यतॆ इति विश्वासमिदानीमपि करॊमि । तदस्तु ।

सुधर्मॆति संस्कृतदिनपत्रिका मैसूरुनगरतः गतॆषु उपचत्वारिंशद्वर्षेषु प्रकटिता वर्ततॆ । आम् । दिनपत्रिका । न मासपत्रिका । नापि संवत्सरपत्रिका । सम्पादक-महाभागॆन संस्कृतगङ्गावतक-भगीरथसदृशॆनॊत्तमं कार्यमिदं क्रियत अद्यापि । मया विशेषसञ्चिकायां प्राप्तायां सम्पादकः विलपति "न कॆनापि लॆखनानि लिख्यन्तॆ । सर्वकारॊऽपि साहाय्यं न यच्छति । कदापि धनिकॆन संस्कृत-प्रॆम्णा धनसाहाय्यं प्राप्यतॆ । ग्राहक-पाठकानां सङ्ख्या न्यूनास्ति । तथापि गीर्वाणभारत्याः सेवायां रतः पितृवाक्यं परिपालयन् कर्यॆऽस्मिन् मग्नोऽस्मी"ति ।

सुधर्मायाः नाम मय श्रुतपूर्वमेव । परमजानन् यतः ग्राहकत्वं स्वीकुर्यामिति ऎतावत्कालपर्यंतं तूष्णीमासन् । महाभागॆन यॆन पत्रिकाविचार उक्तः स एव विशेषाङ्कस्य मुद्रणानि मह्यं दत्तवान् । अमेरिकॆ मम मित्राणि संस्कृतासक्तानि सन्तीति मत्वा तॆभ्यः पञ्चावृत्तयः मह्यमददत् । प्रेषणीयानि मया ।

संस्कृतपत्रिकास्तीति विषयः नितरां प्रमॊददायकः । परं मुद्रादोषाः आसन्नेव । सम्पादकॆन श्रमः कृतः । तथापि ऎतदभवत् । कथं न भवॆत् ? असहायॆन एकाकिना सर्वं कर्तुं कथं शक्यतॆ ? एतच्चिन्तयित्वैव धनसाहाय्यं लेखनसाहाय्यं च करोमीति कृतविचारोऽस्मि ।

संस्कृतबन्धी ! कृपया सुधर्मायाः ग्राहकत्वं स्वीकुरु ! दॆवभाषा पुनः लॊकभाषा भवतु । संस्कृतस्य मौनपूजनेनालम् ! सम्भाषण-लेखनाद्युपचारैरर्चयामः ! अस्मदुत्तमविचारस्य निवेदनं कुर्मः ।

जीयात् गीर्वाणभारती । जयतु संस्कृतम् । जयतु मनुकुलम् ।

Monday, July 25, 2005

Tagore in America - Sepia Mutiny

Tagore in America - Sepia Mutiny

This is a very interesting article to say the least. I kind of knew that Tagore had visited the US but I did not know that it had been so well documented.

The writer of this piece Amardeep Singh has done a great job in making a nice readable synopsis of a book.

On another note, I've been checking Indian blogs out now and after reading them I have to echo Saint Tyagaraja's words - "endarO mahAnubhAvulu, andariki nA vandanamulu"

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Flying in India - Shivkar Talpade?

This is a very interesting article which speaks of Shivkar Talpade pioneering flight a full 8 years before the Wright brothers did (in 1895). Apparently Shivkar's research was based on Samskrit treatises on vaimAnikashAstra. It would be great if this had been true. I would believe it completely had Stephen Knapp's name not been mentioned.

Stephen Knapp has a web site that is pro-Hindu. But it also claims that Taj Mahal was a Shiva temple with pretty poor proof. Any pattern is dubbed 'vedic'. That is another thing I hate nowadays. People are bringing the Veda to everyday life to the extent that soon we'll have vedic tea, vedic coffee and vedic TV. Why the urge to prefix everything under the sun with vedic?

The veda is supreme for me even if it does not talk about quarks or the distance from the earth to the sun or the string theory. It is like a mother to me even if it calls the sun rising and setting. Because the physical realm is not where the veda rules but in the spiritual. What else can declare in words that words and mind cannot reach it ? "yato vAcho nivartante aprApya manasA saha". That, is the realm of the veda and not something like vedic nuclear science or vedic toothpaste. Study of the veda traditionally and with a shraddhA-strengthened intellect should let us into the secrets of the veda.

What can you say to those who think that the puruSha sUkta has coded the distance between the earth and the sun?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Meat/Beef eating and Dharma

I am a member of a particular mailing list which had discussions on how Mecca/Medina were Hindu temples of a bygone era. The proof given was not rigorous but something that seemed to be made up. One thing led to another and we had a discussion on whether beef was eaten during the vedic times or not. At a certain point, I was especially irritated when someone mentioned that "if a person eats beef, he ceases to be Hindu". That got me writing this post.

To make things clear, I have been a strict lacto-vegetarian all my life and I have no intention of changing that.

I, for one, will not be bothered if it is conclusively shown that people in vedic times ate beef. I won't be bothered even if it were shown that beef was never eaten. My contention is simply that sanAtana dharma won't be affected if it is shown either way and one will not cease to be a Hindu just because he/she ate beef. karma will accumulate and bad health will also result - but I am not going there.

What constitutes Dharma externally has changed over the ages. Beef eating for instance did not make it adharma in the vedic ages. But after the middle ages (circa 12th century CE, I think) and islamic invasion, beef eating and cow slaughter began to be considered adharma. It could also be the case that in our pastoral culture, the cow came to be regarded very highly and so could not be killed. Whatever the reason that made it adharma, it seems to be the case that beef eating existed during vedic times.

There is one particular proof to show that BhavabhUti, one of Samskrit's greatest poets, mentions sage VasiShTha eating beef. The sage actually requests for some tender meat of a young calf as his teeth were getting old. This proof in itself is quite significant. Because, why would BhavabhUti show vasiShTha eating beef? Did he have a blatant agenda like DN Jha (author of the much maligned book on beef eating in the vedas) who is a known leftist? As chroniclers of a particular era, poets and dramatists provide great contribution to history. How else can we see dharma in action if we can't have stories of people that actually followed it? It is from that perspective that I gave this example. And if BhavabhUti has given an example, it has considerable weight and needs our attention.

I say, "if a Hindu in a bygone era ate beef, so be it". I personally may or may not want to do that. But the thing to know is that it won't affect Dharma mainly because Dharma, though having external representations, is mainly mental, intellectual and spiritual.

I have a question to people who read this. Who is a better person ? A beef eating Dalai Lama or an especially harmful vegetarian? So what I am trying to say is even though meat eating is considered rAjasika and generally considered a bad habit, a meat eater may show better concern towards his fellow beings than a vegetarian because of his adherence to dharma. Who was more virtuous ? The brAhmaNa kaushika or the butcher dharmavyAdha?

Of course, eating meat constantly may cause a rAjasika mind to develop. Also eating meat causes more harm to the environment than not eating it. But these are different arguments from whether a person ate meat in the past. For example - it is the way of Eskimos to eat fish. Can you expect them to eat anything else? Are they worse people because they eat fish? I am sure Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ate fish and so did Swami Vivekananda. So, are they worse than a south Indian vegetarian brahmin who spent his life criticising non-vegetarians?

Someone also mentioned that there was no meat eating in the vedas. To them I can say - strive to be better informed. There have been yajnas where the fat (vapa) from a pashu has been used. The people who conduct the yajna have to partake some meat (not a great amount - but some). Such yajnas have happened even recently. And please don't give me the Kaliyuga answer. The concept of yugas as a means to perform or not perform some actions are, in my opinion, mere arthavAda. I am with the mImAMskas on this - "na chAnIdRshaM jagat kadAchit" - which means "the world (or more specifically its inhabitants) was never different from the current world". But that needs a separate post.

Anyway, modern Hindus, especially those heavily influenced by the RSS/VHP, become very touchy when such issues are discussed. (Note: I am sympathetic to RSS/VHP but they have to understand that sanAtana Dharma is not a monolithic religion like Islam) I say to them, your Dharma is indeed greater than these petty concerns. Why do you even worry about this? Do you, instead, perform all your daily duties - social and spiritual? For example, if somebody calls himself a brahmin, he has to perform sandhyAvandanaM thrice a day at the minimum. That will be his dharma. Of course there are vishESha dharmas, but it is left to the individuals to identify those. Do these people do their regular dharma? Are they honest? I will call someone a better Hindu if he/she performs these activities than go out and shout one's throat hoarse over an event that has been sensationalized.

So, should we just sit at home doing our individual activities without going to the aid of our dharma? Should we practise unconditional ahimsA like Gandhi?

My answer is a loud NO! Our dharma advocates ahimsA - but not pacifism. Krishna told Arjuna - "yudhyasva vigatajvaraH". He addressed Arjuna as "parantapa" (scorcher of foes). But those become vishESha dharmas. For instance, vasiShTha ate the meat of a dog from a chaNDAla as the former was starving. He made prAyashchitta after that. At that point dehadhAraNa (sustenance of life in the body) was more important than anything else. So, if push comes to shove, it will be expected of everybody to contribute in a similar manner. Our conscience is the decision maker. That is the final court of appeal.

One thing I have noticed is that Dharma comes in hierarchies. For example, suppose a person sees his criminal son committing a gruesome murder and is unable to prevent it. His citizen-dharma asks him to turn him over to the police whereas the dharma of a father calls for his child's protection. In this case, the citizen's dharma is more important than that of a father and so, exhorts him to send his son to jail. This is decided by the person's buddhi. But it isn't simple all the time. For example, Krishna says in the gItA - "svadharme nidhanaM shreyaH paradharmo bhayAvahaH". - "It is better to die performing one's duty than doing someone else's which is more dangerous". But what is our svadharma? Is it static all the time? Does it change? In my opinion - all the time. For example, a man can be son, father, husband, teacher, soldier, citizen, human being - all at the same time. What dharma to follow at what time is the question. This for anybody (at least myself) is difficult to answer. But once dharma is followed it brings us long lasting happiness and satisfaction. At no point of time will a dhArmika be ashamed of one's action. That, in my opinion, is how to identify dharma.

So is it still OK to sit back when people are denigrating our deities?

No! Denigrating deities like Ganesha and Shiva by the likes of Wendy and her students should definitely be not tolerated and should be protested. We should strive to educate them and fight their malicious intentions. But don't lose track of your path by helping some one else on the way.

But if somebody shows conclusively (this is also left for us to decide) that a sage ate beef a while ago, it should not be our problem. If modern RSS/VHP Hindus are so touchy about this, they should know that they are betraying the diverse character of the Hindu society that they claim to represent. In fact, by being very touchy and protesting about these things, we have unfortunately become the enemy we love to hate.

Hinduism is not a monolithic religion like Islam or Christianity. There are hundreds of denominations, millions of deities and thousands of gurus. How do you choose what sanAtana dharma is from these? Vedas can be claimed to be the bedrock of Hinduism and yet you have tAntric people claiming that their Agamas are higher than the vedas. Are they not Hindus? Of course they are. And this is what people tend to forget when they try to make a monolithic religion out of Hinduism.

I hope I have made myself clear in where I stand on this. I should write more on this to give form to my thoughts. I will post references from the veda when I get the chance.

|| iti sham ||

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

ತಮಿಳು ಪುರಾಣ

ನನ್ನ ಹಿಂದಿನ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್-ಲೇಖನ ಸುಲೇಖ ಜಾಲತಾಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಕಟವಾದ ಲೇಖನದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಆಗಿತ್ತು. ಇದು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಅದರ ಮೇಲೆಯೇ ಆಗಿದೆ. ಆದರೂ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ದಿನಗಳಾದ್ದರಿಂದ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲೇ ಬರೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ.

ಈ ರಾಜೀವ ಮಲ್ಹೋತ್ರಾ ಎಂಬುವರ ಲೇಖನದ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರಿಯೆಗಳು ಬಂದವು. ತಮಾಷೆಯ ವಿಷಯವೇನೆಂದರೆ ಇವರಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾರೋ ಪಾರ್ತಿಬ ಎಂಬುವನು ತಮಿಳಿಗೆ ಆದ ಕಾಲ್ಪನಿಕ ಅವಮಾನವನ್ನು ಮನಸ್ಸಿಗೆ ಹಚ್ಚಿಕೊಂಡು ಬಹಳ ಗಲಾಟೆ ಎಬ್ಬಿಸಿದ್ದ. ಒಂದು ವಿಷಯವನ್ನು ಮಾತ್ರ ಹೇಳಬೇಕು - ತಮಿಳರಿಗೆ ವಿಷಯ ತಿಳಿದಿರಬಹುದು ಅಥವಾ ತಿಳಿಯದೇ ಇರಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ ಅವರೊಡನೆ ಅರ್ಥಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗಿ ವಾದ ಮಾಡುವುದು ಬಹಳ ಕಷ್ಟ.

ತಮಿಳನ್ನು ದಲಿತರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ತುಳಿದಿದೆಯಂತೆ. ಎಷ್ಟು ತಮಾಷೆಯಾಗಿ ಈ ವಿಷಯ ಕಂಡರೂ ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಜನ ಇದನ್ನು ನಂಬಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಈ ರೀತಿ ವಾದ ಮಾಡಿದ ಪಾರ್ತಿಬನಿಗೆ ತನ್ನ ಹೆಸರು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದ ಪಾರ್ಥಿವದಿಂದ ಬಂದದ್ದು ಎಂದು ಕೂಡ ತಿಳಿಯದೇ ಹೋದ. ಇರಲಿ - ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಜನಗಳ ಒಂದು ವಿಚಾರ ಸರಣಿಯಿದೆ. ಅದೇನೆಂದರೆ -
೧. ಆರ್ಯ ಎಂಬ ಜನಾಂಗವೊಂದು ಬೇರೆ ದೇಶದಿಂದ ಬಂದಿದೆ.
೨. ಅದು ಬಂದು ಭಾರತದ (ಅಲ್ಲ, ಅಲ್ಲ, ಪ್ರಾಚೀನ ಇಂಡಿಯಾದ) ಮೂಲನಿವಾಸಿಗಳಾದ ದ್ರಾವಿಡರನ್ನು ದಕ್ಷಿಣಕ್ಕೆ ಅಟ್ಟಿತು. ಅವರ ಮತ್ತು ಅವರ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಅಧಿಕಾರ ನಡೆಸಿತು.
೩. ಆರ್ಯರ ಭಾಷೆಯಾದ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತವು ಈ ದಬ್ಬಾಳಿಕೆಯ ಸಂಕೇತ.
೪. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತವನ್ನು ನಾಶಮಾಡಬೇಕು.
೫. ತಮಿಳು ಶುದ್ಧವಾದ ತಾನೇ ತಾನಾಗಿ ಉದ್ಭವಿಸಿದ ಭಾಷೆ. ಇದು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕ್ಕಿಂತಲೂ ಉತ್ಕೃಷ್ಟ.
೬. ನಮ್ಮ ಸಂಘದ ಕಾವ್ಯಗಳು ಎಲ್ಲ ನಷ್ಟವಾಗಿವೆ -(ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರತಿಕೂಲ ವಾತಾವರಣ ಮತ್ತು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಗಳೇ ಕಾರಣ!). ಇಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೆ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕಾವ್ಯಗಳಿಗಿಂತ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ನಮ್ಮ ಕಾವ್ಯಗಳೇ ಇವೆ.
೭. ಮೇಲಿನ ಆರು ಅಂಶಗಳು ಆಕ್ಷರಶಃ ನಿಜ. ಯಾರು ಏನೇ ಹೇಳಿದರು, ಎಷ್ಟು ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ ತೋರಿಸಿದರೂ ನಾವು ಅವರ ಮಾತನ್ನು ನಂಬುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.

ಮೇಲಿನ ೭ ಅಂಶಗಳು ಇವರ ವಾದದ ಸಾರಂಶವನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿವೆ. ನೀವು ಏನೇ ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ ತೋರಿಸಿದರೂ ಅವರ ಏಳನೇ point ಇದೆಯಲ್ಲಾ, ಅದನ್ನು ಮೀರಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ತಮಿಳಿನ ಪ್ರೇಮಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದ ಬಗೆಗಿನ ದ್ವೇಷ ಎದ್ದು ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ರೀತಿ ವಾದ ಮಾಡುವ ಜನರೊಂದಿಗೆ ವಾದ ಮಾಡಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.

ಇಂದು ಕಛೇರಿಗೆ ಬರುವ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ - ಪಂಡಿತರೂ ಸಜ್ಜನರೂ ಆದ ಮಹನೀಯರೊಡನೆ ಇದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆಯೇ ದೂರವಾಣಿ ಚರ್ಚೆ ನಡೆಸಿದೆ. ಅವರು ಹೇಳುವ ಪ್ರಕಾರ - ತಮಿಳಿಗೂ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತವೇ ಮೂಲ. ಅಥವಾ - ತಮಿಳಿಗೂ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕ್ಕೂ ವೈಷಮ್ಯಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿ ಸಾಮ್ಯವೇ ಕಾಣುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂದು. ಇದರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ನಮಗೇ ತಿಳಿದಂತೆ ತಮಿಳಿನ ಮಹಾಕಾವ್ಯವೆನಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಸಿಲಪ್ಪದಿಕಾರಂ ಗ್ರಂಥದಲ್ಲಿ ವೇದಗಳ ಉಲ್ಲೇಖ, ವಿಷ್ಣುಪೂಜೆಯ ಉಲ್ಲೇಖವೆಲ್ಲವೂ ಇದೆ. ಇದರ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರದ ಉಲ್ಲೇಖವೂ ಹಾಗೆಯೇ ಬರುತ್ತದೆಯಂತೆ. ಹೀಗಿರುವಾಗ ತಮಿಳು ಎಂದು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತವನ್ನು ದ್ವೇಷಿಸಿತ್ತು?

ಅಷ್ಟೇ ಅಲ್ಲದೆ ತಮಿಳಿನ ಕಾವ್ಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಭಿನ್ನವಾದ ಅಂಶಗಳು ಕಡಿಮೆಯೇ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಬಹುದು. ತಮಿಳುನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲೇ ಹಲವು ದೇವಾಲಯಗಳಿರುವುದು. ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕ್ಕೂ ಸನಾತನ ಧರ್ಮಕ್ಕೂ ಅವಿನಾಭಾವ ಸಂಬಂಧವಿದೆ. ದೇವಾಲಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದಲ್ಲಿ ಪೂಜೆ ನಡೆಸುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲವೇ? ಹೌದು, ಶ್ರೀವೈಷ್ಣವರ ನಾಲಾಯಿರ ದಿವ್ಯಪ್ರಬಂಧವನ್ನು ವೇದಸಮವಾಗಿಯೇ ಕಾಣುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಆದರೆ ಅವರು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ದ್ವೇಷಿಗಳೇ? ಅರವತ್ತುಮೂರು ನಾಯನ್ಮಾರ್ (ಶಿವಭಕ್ತರ) ಗಳ ಚರಿತ್ರೆಯನ್ನೊಳಗೊಂಡ "ಪೆರಿಯಪುರಾಣ" ಕೂಡ ಶಿವನನ್ನು ವೇದಪ್ರಿಯನೆಂದೇ ಹೊಗಳುತ್ತದೆ. ವೇದಗಳು ತಮಿಳಿನವೇ?

ಹೀಗೆ ನೋಡಿದಾಗ ತಮಿಳಿಗೂ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಕ್ಕೂ ನಡುವೆ ದ್ವೇಷವನ್ನು ಕಲ್ಪಿಸಿದ್ದು ಹತ್ತೊಂಭತ್ತನೆಯ ಶತಮಾನದ ಮಧ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ. ಕ್ರೈಸ್ತ ಮತ ಪ್ರಚಾರಕರಾದ ಹಲವು ಪಾದ್ರಿಗಳು ತಮಿಳಿನ ಕೆಲಸವನ್ನು ಕೈಗೊಳ್ಳುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡಿ ಸನಾತನ ಧರ್ಮದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಡಕು ಮೂಡಿಸಲು ಯತ್ನಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಇವರ ಕೆಲಸವೇ ನಂತರ ಬಂದ ಮತಿಗೇಡಿ ದ್ರಾವಿಡಪಕ್ಷದವರಿಗೆ ಮೂಲಸಾಮಗ್ರಿಯನ್ನು ಒದಗಿಸಿದ್ದು. ದೇಶವಿಭಜನೆಯನ್ನು ಮತ್ತೆ ಮಾಡುವಷ್ಟು ಮಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಈ ಮೂಢಾಂದೋಲನ ಬಂದಿತ್ತು.

ಒಂದು ಮಾತನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಹೇಳಬೇಕು. ನಾನು ತಮಿಳಿನ ವಿರುದ್ಧವಲ್ಲ. ಎಲ್ಲ ಭಾಷೆಗಳ ಹಾಗೆ ಅದೂ ಒಂದು. ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಕಾವ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿದೆ. ಹಲವು ತಮಿಳು ಜನರು ನನ್ನ ಮಿತ್ರರು. ಹಲವು ತಮಿಳು ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನಾನು ನೋಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ, ಮೆಚ್ಚಿದ್ದೇನೆ ಕೂಡ. ತಮಿಳುನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಓಡಾಡಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಜನರೆಲ್ಲ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯವರೇ. ಆದರೆ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ದುರಭಿಮಾನವನ್ನು ಸಹಿಸುವುದು ಕಷ್ಟ. ಯಾರೇನೇ ಹೇಳಿದರು "ಉಲಘಮೆಲ್ಲಾ ತಮಿಳ್" ಎಂದು ತಮ್ಮ ಮಾತನ್ನೇ ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ ದುರಭಿಮಾನವನ್ನು ತೊರೆದರೆ ತಮಿಳು ತಾಯಿಗೇ ಸಂತೋಷವಾಗುವುದು.

ನಾನು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದ ಕಟ್ಟಾಭಿಮಾನಿಯೂ ಅಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ಆ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಸವಿಯನ್ನು ಬಲ್ಲವರೇ ಬಲ್ಲರು. ಎಲ್ಲ ಭಾಷೆಗಳಿಗೂ ಅವುಗಳವೇ ಆದ ಪ್ರಯೋಜನಗಳಿವೆ. ಇಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೆ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ಮತ್ತು ತಮಿಳಿನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲೇಕೆ ಬರೆಯಬೇಕಿತ್ತು?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Geopolitics and Sanskrit Phobia by Rajiv Malhotra on Sulekha

Geopolitics and Sanskrit Phobia by Rajiv Malhotra on Sulekha

A very interesting read (a trifle long). One part I would like to quote is this -

There are pragmatic reasons behind the intensifying clash of civilizations, and ideology may often be a weapon rather than the underlying cause: Only one billion out of the six billion people in the world today live at Western levels of consumption, but by mid century most of the ten billion people (projected population level by mid century) will mimic Western consumerist lifestyles, and this will further pressure the environment, resources, capital and labor markets.

Looking at this piece, I thought for a moment that Malhotra was exhorting the world to cast away Western consumerist lifestyles. IMO, western consumerist lifestyles have proved to be very harmful to the environment. Untrammeled greed and the desire to make oneself more and more comfortable regardless of what it may cost the world are characteristics of this malady. This leads to trends such as the protracted use of fossil fuels that harm the atmosphere, uncontrolled mining, denuding tropical forests (especially in the Third world), and other such acts. Even if environmental concern is reflected, it is limited more often than not to their own homelands without even considering that their lifestyle is causing a strain on natural resources elsewhere in the world.

The end consumer may not even be educated enough to recognize that he/she is in fact the perpetrator of such an environmental tragedy.

But in the next paragraph itself - Malhotra enters geopolitics again. But of course - this article speaks of Geopolitics even before Samskrit.

BTW, the Adi Hastings that this article mentions had visited Samskrita Bharati, an organization solely dedicated to the spread of spoken Samskrit. He was treated so well by the people there, I heard and yet, he chose to continue to see the activities of Samskrita Bharati via a communalistic lens. People in Samskrita Bharati felt very bad when their hospitality was repaid with a hostile (and incorrect, I may add) thesis.

I've been thinking on similar lines on how much a language influences our thinking. Samskrit and Samskriti are indeed inseparable.

On an entirely different note (slightly related to language and the culture it reflects), I see people in India ending their emails with "Warm regards". In India, especially in South India, it is warm throughout the year. It is considered hospitality when people are served cool (even cold) beverages on hot days. How would "warm regards" work on a very hot day?

In Indian literature, shItala or coolness is what is much desired because of the prevalent climatic conditions. Likewise, in the West, warm feelings are the norm. The "warm regards" phenomenon is what happens when a language such as English gains international currency. It probably sounds OK to most people but just think of it -- don't warm regards on a hot day make the situation more uncomfortable? Yes, yes, I realize that "warm" is about the feelings and all that ... but that's what I am saying. Because of the English language, "warm" has changed its meaning to "cordial" .

To be sure, I use "best" regards whenever I can - but I may have slipped on an occasion or two. But is that really a slip or am I using the language like it should be?