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HENB | New Delhi | January 30, 2016:: Outstanding and thought-provoking, the recent book named “THE BATTLE FOR SANSKRIT” (The Battle for Sanskrit: Is Sanskrit Political or Sacred, Oppressive or Liberating, Dead or Alive?) by Shri. Rajiv Malhotra, proposes a set of debates for the intellectual kurukshetra (battlefield) pertaining to the social, political, historical and contemporary dimensions of Indian Sanskrit. It is intended as a wake-up call to the traditionalists and seeks to inspire a home team to pursue such debates.
The book explores the battle between Western and traditional approaches to Sanskrit and Sanskrit (civilization). It exposes the dominant Western scholarship, in particular its subversive allegation that the Sanskrit heritage has been a political weapon for social oppression. Without adequate critical inquiry, Indian English-language elites have internalized such lopsided ideas and enshrined them in various mainstream institutions.
There is a new awakening that is challenging the ongoing westernization of the discourse about India. The Battle for Sanskrit seeks to alert traditional scholars of Sanskrit and Sanskriti ‑ Indian civilization ‑ concerning an important school of thought that has its base in the US and that has started to dominate the discourse on the cultural, social and political aspects of India. This academic field is called Indology or Sanskrit studies. From their analysis of Sanskrit texts, the scholars of this field are intervening in modern Indian society with the explicitly stated purpose of removing ‘poisons’ allegedly built into these texts. They hold that many Sanskrit texts are socially oppressive and serve as a political weapon of the ruling elite; that the sacred aspects need to be refuted or side lined; and that Sanskrit has long been dead. The traditional Indian experts would outright reject or at least question these positions.
Above: Shri. Rajiv Malhotra is speaking on his book in a prog organised by Sanskrit Bharati.
The start of Rajiv Malhotra’s feisty exploration of where the new thrust in Western Indology goes wrong, and his defence of what he considers the traditional, Indian approach, began with a project related to the Sringeri Sharada Peetham, one of the most sacred institutions for Hindus. There was, as he saw it, a serious risk of distortion of the teachings of the peetham, and of Sanatana Dharma more broadly.
Whichever side of the fence one may be, The Battle for Sanskrit, offers a spirited debate marshalling new insights and research. It is a valuable addition to an important subject, and in a larger context, on two ways of looking. Is each view exclusive of the other, or can there be a bridge between them? The reader can judge for himself.
Shri Malhotra attended a programme to talk on his book, The Battle for Sanskrit as organised by Sanskrit Bharati in Bangalore on January 17, 2016. The Sanskrit Bharati also organized the book launch programme in Mumbai on Jan 28.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union has arranged a Panel Discussion on Feb 1st at JNU at 2 pm on the seminal new book on Indology “The Battle for Sanskrit”.
The book is available in renowned book stalls in the Indian metropolis and online through amazon.
In his lecture and interaction afterward, Shri Malhotra urged a big support for his battle for Sanskrit from the Indian base to expose the culpable efforts of the westerners to misuse and misinterpret Sanskrit language and its rich treasures of literature, philosophy, science, medicines and many things required for our way of life.
Source: RM’s blog.