Dr. Sowmya Krishnapur has completed her PhD in the area of Sanskrit Grammar under the guidance of Dr. P Narasimhan, from the Department of Sanskrit, University of Madras. She was a UGC Junior and Senior Research fellow. After acquiring an M.S. in Biochemistry from Central College Bengaluru, she has gone on to obtain Acharya Vyakarana (M.A.) degree from the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Sringeri. She has worked as Senior Computational Linguist and Subject Matter Expert at Vyoma Linguistic Labs Foundation Bengaluru, for the production of several multimedia resources for Sanskrit learning. She is currently the head of e-learning at the company, in charge of the online Sanskrit learning portal, http://www.sanskritfromhome.in. She has presented and published several research papers, notably one on Vyakarana at the 16th World Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok in 2015.
SI-2 Paper Abstract
Title: On Grammar and Royal Power
Sheldon Pollock uses Vyākaraṇaśāstra to exemplify some of his pet political theories. He portrays grammar as a form of political power, and holds that formal grammar was developed and publicized by kings as a tool to spread their political power. He claims that all the major texts of grammar were produced under political direction, and that grammar was a veritable weapon in the hands of a king. He maintains that royal power was an essential precondition for the flourishing of the grammatical tradition, and grammar was in turn a precondition for power. On the basis of three factors – 1) celebration of grammatical learning especially in kings 2) royal patronage for the study of grammar and composition of new texts 3) competitive zeal among rulers everywhere to encourage grammatical creativity and adorn their courts with scholars who could exemplify it – Pollock claims that the mutually constitutive relationship between Grammar and political power was a fundamental feature of the Sanskrit cosmopolitan order from birth throughout its lifetime. This paper examines the tenability of his claims of such a relationship and the validity of examples that he provides to prove it.