Reclaiming Sanskrit Studies

Series Editorial

It is a tragedy that many among even the conscientious Hindu scholars of Sanskrit and Hinduism still harp on Macaulay, and ignore others while accounting for the ills of the current Indian education system, and the consequent erosion of Hindu values in the Indian psyche. Of course, the machinating Macaulay brazenly declared that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India, and sought accordingly to create “a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect” by means of his education system – which the system did achieve.

An important example of what is being ignored by most Indian scholars is the current American Orientalism. They have failed to counter it on any significant scale.

But it was given to Rajiv Malhotra, a leading public intellectual in America, to expose the Western conspiracy on an unprecedented scale, unearthing the modus operandi behind the unrelenting and unhindered program for nearly two centuries now of the sabotage of our ancient civilisation yet with hardly any note of compunction. One has only to look into Malhotra’s seminal writings – Breaking India(2011), Being Different (2011), Indra’s Net (2014), The Battle for Sanskrit(2016), and The Academic Hinduphobia (2016) – for fuller details.

This pentad – preceded by Invading the Sacred (2007) behind which, too, he was the main driving force – goes to show the intellectual penetration of the West, into even the remotest corners (spatial/temporal/thematic) of our hoary heritage. There is a mixed motive in the latest Occidental enterprise, ostensibly being carried out with “pure academic concerns”. For the American Orientalist doing his “South Asian Studies” (his new term for “Indology Studies”), Sanskrit is inherently oppressive – especially of Dalits, Muslims and women. And as an “antidote”, therefore, the goal of Sanskrit studies henceforth should be, according to him, to “exhume and exorcise the barbarism” of social hierarchies and oppression of women happening ever since the inception of Sanskrit – which language itself came, rather, from outside India. Another important agenda is to infuse/intensify animosities between/among votaries of Sanskrit and votaries of vernacular languages in india. A significant instrument towards this end is to influence mainstream media so that the populace is constantly fed ideas inimical to the Hindu heritage. The tools being deployed for this are the trained army of “intellectuals” – of leftist leanings and “secular” credentials.

The first two conferences focussed on the writings of Prof. Sheldon Pollock, the outstanding American Orientalist (also of Columbia University, ironically) and considered the most formidable and influential scholar of today. There can always be deeper/stronger responses than the ones that have been presented in these two conferences, or more insightful perspectives; future conferences, therefore, could also be open in general to papers on themes of prior conferences.

Hemalamba Saṃvatsara
Date 30-09-2017

Dr. K S Kannan
Academic Director
General Editor of the Series