Abstracts of Manogna Sastry

SI-1 Paper Abstract

Title: On “Death of Sanskrit”

‘The Death of Sanskrit’ – the essay published under this rather astonishing title by the Indologist Sheldon Pollock bids us to a dynamic re-examination and self defense of our invaluable literary instrument. The most august, venerable and determinative creations of the Indian race have been written in Sanskrit and pronouncing death upon the language is tantamount to an inability in understanding the true role of this divine tongue. Pollock’s essay merits a clear understanding of the burden of his song. The motives for the author’s position and the method of his reasoning are studied, to understand why he would see efforts to promote the language as politically biased “exercise in nostalgia”. The distinction the author makes between living and dead languages and his attempts at placing Sanskrit in the latter category are closely examined. The four major questions the author considers as a part of his analysis in proclaiming death upon the language consist of the impact of the vernaculars upon Sanskrit, the political, social and spiritual components that played a role in the decline of the language and the factors he considers necessary for consolidating the language in today’s times. Pollock cites four specific historical instances that apparently illustrate his stance and these are critically examined.

SI-3 Paper Abstract As Co-Author With Megh Kalyanasundaram

Title: The A of ABC of Indian Chronology: Dimensions of the Aryan Problem revisited in 2017

Whether posited as an invasion by or migration of Aryans, these variant forms—of an into-India hypothesis (supposed movement into India around the second millennium BCE)—are underpinned by one constant: the consequence that the earliest forms of Vedic culture and Sanskrit are not indigenous to India. Written in 2017, this paper examines, in three dimensions, whether such a hypothesis, given its startling consequence to Indic history, can remain a preserve of only one domain (linguistics) before demonstrating not only an absence of proof for such a consequence, amongst other related questions, in key Indic texts through a study of the terms ārya and drāviḍa but also specific problematics in the development of this hypothesis in historical linguistics.