Friday, December 09, 2005

An analyst on hymn street

Some cultured vultures , some new generation Indian and of course Chutney Spears have got so hassled with my earlier post 'Marutis who sold their monks' that I sometimes feel like Uma Bharti. In writing, usage of extreme poles always attracts attention and thats normal. But some further 'mediocre' thoughts from my side.
Should we junk sanskrit just because it cant give jobs? The script of both Chinese language ( Mandarin and Cantonese) is very tough to learn and is very old . Nobody in China should learn or write it. If they learn it also , they wont get the BPO and IT jobs which India has. So lets not learn even Hindi or mother tongue, Sanskrit to door ki baat hai.
In sheer capitalist terms, why cant things several hundred years old be a big opportunity for India. One-third of Americans consume alternative medicine and its a $ 10 bn industry there. Why does Ayurveda provide a much holistic cure for some illnesses than allopathy. Yoga with different versions of it ( Bikram, Iyengar et al) are slowly taking over fitness machines in the US. Give me the chicks at the gym anyday boss, who will eat all these bitter Pith nashak kadhas and perform the akhandbhujasana.
Should the spirit of human inquiry be crushed just because the process means digging into something old. Well paleontologists dug our evolutionary past to discover dinosaurs which was interesting to know but practically useless( of course smart people like Spielberg made millions from it).
Why do self help books sell more than management books. Why are so many people in the world in search of a greater meaning to life inspite of achieving all material wealth. Most self-help books prescribe nothing but a ritual . The previous best-seller Stephen Covey had a rational core whereas the latest Robin Sharma has a spiritual core that gleans a lot from some old Hindu ways of life and religion.
But some dudes feel religion is irrational . So are a lot of things we humans do . Even the most rational breed of analyzers better known as economists are junking their rational choice hypotheses. We all love to think we are rational but while standing at the shopping mall with twenty five shirts to choose from, we might be making irrational choices and still not be sure if we made the right choice.
Everyone loves the seduction of logic and order. Unfortunately gaining insights by reading and synthesising multi-threaded information pathways is difficult. Ask anyone trying to research or do a Phd . Most scientific papers are writings where the simplicity of thought is lost in the complexity of equations and other scientific terms. The Vedas or other religious texts are no different in terms of degree of difficulty. But if one believes there is no benefit like enjoyment and practicality(essentially lower order needs which every man achieves with temporal imbalances) in reading or delving deeper, dont even try. You would be worse off than Schrodingers cat.
The other big crib is "hey dont blame us , nobody taught us , didnt give us a for dummies type textbook blah blah". Well dudes no one taught us sex education we all learnt it in our own unique ways.
At the end of the day, everything is a personal choice. Collectivism even in India is finally a summation of millions of different views, and I am just on a quest to form a view. But let us not delude ourselves into thinking that a community of 15000 bloggers represents a fair sample of the vast population of resident and non-resident Indians. Issues still affect real India but may be not virtual India.
In a lighter vein , what is a Sanskrit name like pundit doing on the gateway of Indian blogosphere?
Amen to that.

12 Comments:

At 12:39 AM, Blogger TTG said...

Should we junk sanskrit just because it cant give jobs?

No. Sanskrit has junked itself, because it is not in use _anymore_. Mandarin and Cantonese are in use every single second, Sanskrit is not. You cannot survive in China without either of those languages or that script. You can get by very easily without Sanskrit in India. Duh. The same applies to Latin. Latin is also a dead language. I wonder why....

Why cant things several hundred years old be a big opportunity for India.

Who says they can't. But I'm curious, in your original post, where do you mention that these should be exploited as opportunities?

...I always wonder how Hindu roots, rituals and traditions would evolve in the next 5-10 years...

Its a strange vaccuum where the joys of materialism after years of Brahminical restraint and the vapidity of mainstream media have left us very little time or inclination to find and know our roots.

You don't seem to be saying we should use Sanskrit or any of our roots as opporunties to be exploited. You want us to pray better.

It is unfortunate that most youngsters learn a foreign language like French during school for better global prospects rather than Sanskrit. Knowledge of Sanskrit enables one to atleast understand the various mantras chanted during a ritual or the scriptures in the Vedas.

Again, where in this paragraph does it say knowledge of Sanskrit can help build global business opportunities. I don't see it there. If it was meant to be implied, then it was something that the youth of today already know. But guess what, if we want to sell Ayurveda to the French, we need to learn....FRENCH. If we want to market Yoga to Americans...we need to learn Marketing and English. I'm curious...where does the Sanskrit come into play here?

Should the spirit of human inquiry be crushed just because the process means digging into something old.

Should the spirit of Human inquiry be crushed and limited to only studying one's own past, and not that of various other cultures. Should the spirit of Human inquiry be crushed by preventing attempts to cast off some ancient baggage in an attempt to approach a new problem with a new solution? Did the Vedas cover everything about everything. Is there nothing left to discover? Do I have to keep referring to 5000 year old texts for every part of my daily life?

Of all the problems facing the youth and people of India, lack of Sanskrit is not one of them.

 
At 2:34 AM, Blogger doubtinggaurav said...

Jayesh,

Good points,
Quite a few number of blogger who so enthusiastically cheer junking /trashing of indian cultures, suffer from gungadeen complex.

We have been taught to believe that before British came we were mostly bunch of semi-literates with nothing of value.

This lesson gets internalised and if anyone even discusses anything about our past, it is dismissed as "It is not relevant" or "Hey this is hindu- fascist- brahminical conspiracy".

TTG,

Sanskrit has not junked itself, we have. Further , we will keep on junking our heritage as we are under the false notion that only by imitating west in all respect we can hope to succeed, this is incorrect and just a reflection of our inferiority complex.
Chinese are proud of their heritage and I am sure soon it will be mandarin which our descendant will be studying.
We seek to excel in service Chinese seek to dominate

Regards

 
At 7:27 AM, Blogger Manu J said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7:33 AM, Blogger Manu J said...

Totally agree with TTG.

@doubtinggaurav

Sanskrit killed itself just like Latin.(Both were never taught to the common man).Now Hindi and English has replaced Sanskrit and Latin.

No we won't need to study mandarin
Chinese are studing english.
Peking
Duck


Computer World

CNN

"
To that end, China has pulled out all the stops as only an authoritarian government can. In the past half-decade, the country's strong university system has ratcheted up programs in both computer science and English, says Atul Vashistha, CEO of NeoIT Inc., an offshore outsourcing advisory firm in San Ramon, Calif. And McCaffrey says China is building no fewer than 10 universities right now to increase its supply of IT professionals."



Chinese cherish their culture and heritage ?
Can you give some examples please vis a vis India ? It is easy to make sweeping generalizations.

 
At 8:53 AM, Blogger Shivaji said...

@manu_j

There's a proportion issue between 10 universities teaching English/ IT in China and 1.3bn Chinese people in China who speak in Chinese..
Also there is a difference between learning "English in addition to Chinese" and learning "English and not chinese"

 
At 9:00 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Jazz, this chain of 'sanskrit blogs' have a good intention but not-so-strong content. Reflection of fuzziness?
Anyhow, point taken.. I support your view that sanskrit shouldn't be let dying.. There are quite a few things which could be revealed from the archived transcripts which might atleast help save some time for the human race from re-inventing / evolution..
However, the digging of evolutionary past shouldn't be dismissed as meaningless.. For all you know, it might have pointers to future just like what the sanskrit transcripts might have..
Above all, Sanskrit as a language has its own historical importance and is something Indian in nature. Preservation of culture would encompass the much-valued-languages I believe. Atleast, the vedas would help carry forward the culture (religion to some part) to the future world..

 
At 9:01 PM, Blogger Manu J said...

@shivaji
1. If you had read through the links, you wouldn't have made the comment

Let me quote from peking duck

"The Chinese mainland will have the largest English speaking capability by 2008, with a significant impact on business and IT globally. Removing the language barrier will enable mainland companies to work in a wider range of markets and segments. While English will become the preferred language of business in China, the context will remain in Chinese and the cultural barriers will remain." Dion Wiggins, vice president and research director at Gartner, said."

The previous poster said that we will have to learn mandarin.Which ofcourse is not going to happen.

2. Ofcourse they are learning English and chinese.That is the same in India.English hasn't replaced/killed any language.Hindi/Telegu are as popular as ever.

3. The previous poster indirectly compared Sanskrit to Chinese and lamented the fact that we are not learning Sanskrit but Chinese are learning Mandarin.What he conveniently forgets are
the facts.
a. In India English is studied in addition to ones mother tngue.Sanskrit is no ones mother tongue hence the decline.
b. In India English is a connecting language.Chinese has only one language to learn hence there is no need for a connecting language.
c. As ttg said learning chinese is essential to survive in china.Learning sanskrit is not
essential to survive in India.Going one step further learning sankrit does not help me or anyone in earning a living.
d. The chinese have realised that to succeed in the global market and not the just the chinese market they need to be proficient in english and they are taking steps to popularise english.

I'm still waiting for the examples of "chinese cherishing their heritage" vis a vis Indians.

 
At 3:00 AM, Blogger Ambar said...

Should we junk sanskrit just because it cant give jobs? The script of both Chinese language ( Mandarin and Cantonese) is very tough to learn and is very old . Nobody in China should learn or write it. If they learn it also , they wont get the BPO and IT jobs which India has. So lets not learn even Hindi or mother tongue, Sanskrit to door ki baat hai.

Should we junk stone age grunt language because it can't give jobs?

On a more serious note, why are you so fixated with Sanskrit? What about Pali and Prakrit?

Should the spirit of human inquiry be crushed just because the process means digging into something old. Well paleontologists dug our evolutionary past to discover dinosaurs which was interesting to know but practically useless( of course smart people like Spielberg made millions from it).
Nobody crushed anything. We already dug up our past and read all about it. Say what? Yes, I read the Mahabharatha, only it was the translation.

Why do self help books sell more than management books....

Have you considered that its because there are a lot of dumb people around?



But some dudes feel religion is irrational . So are a lot of things we humans do . Even the most rational breed of analyzers better known as economists are junking their rational choice hypotheses. We all love to think we are rational but while standing at the shopping mall with twenty five shirts to choose from, we might be making irrational choices and still not be sure if we made the right choice.
Everyone loves the seduction of logic and order. Unfortunately gaining insights by reading and synthesising multi-threaded information pathways is difficult. Ask anyone trying to research or do a Phd . Most scientific papers are writings where the simplicity of thought is lost in the complexity of equations and other scientific terms. The Vedas or other religious texts are no different in terms of degree of difficulty. But if one believes there is no benefit like enjoyment and practicality(essentially lower order needs which every man achieves with temporal imbalances) in reading or delving deeper, dont even try. You would be worse off than Schrodingers cat.


So now you want us to abandon all rationality and logic.

Anyway, here's the bottomline Jayesh. Put your money where your mouth, or in this case your post is. Take your kid (present/yet-to-be born) and send the kid to All-Sanskrit School/Gurukul. Then you can argue on how well it went for you and your kid.

 
At 6:11 AM, Blogger Sib said...

Just wondering about this comment...

Ask anyone trying to research or do a Phd . Most scientific papers are writings where the simplicity of thought is lost in the complexity of equations and other scientific terms.

Well, I am one of those people doing research/PhD . From my personal experience, papers do not lose any of their simplicity by use of scientific terms/equations. In fact they are the very reason why understanding the concepts in the papers is much easier. If one had left these important notations out, then the papers would have to be at least 2-3 times as long, simple because the text will have to be more verbose to explain the same concepts - and the verbosity will not really make it clearer - just muddle things up further. Sometimes the cleanest/easiest way to explain concepts is mathematics.

But I seriously agree on the rest of the materal you have presented.

Another reason to learn Sanskrit (doesn't matter if we killed it or it killed itself - the point is moot) - the whole knowledge of ancient India, which can only be understood in detail only with a good knowledge of Sanskrit- sure, we can read translations, but remember one point - a translation is always someone else's opinion of the topic, and could easily be coloured. There is a great deal of knowledge to be gained from these texts - knowledge which can easily rock the modern world.

 
At 8:38 AM, Blogger Manu J said...

@sib

Translation by definition is not an expression of opinion.A review is.

There is knowledge to be found in the ancient texts.No doubt about that.Most may have no relevance today but some are real gems (Arthashaastra for example).

But to tap into that knowledge what govt./sanskrit scholars should do is to produce excellent peer reviewed translations of the texts into Hindi/English etc. You can't ask people to learn a language just so they can read
some ancient texts.

Whether Sanskrit junked itself or not is not a moot point because the original post laid the blame on the people for the state sanskrit is in now.The people to blame for the decline of sanskrit are the
people who never tuaght it to the common man out of fear/superiority complex/whatever. As TTG said the reasons
for the decline of Latin and Sanskrit are the same.

 
At 1:27 AM, Blogger w00t? said...

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At 9:21 PM, Blogger Nandita said...

Be it medicines, cures or science there is still loads to be unearthed, patented and marketed in millions.
Nicholo Machiavelli’s prince is one of the most popular treatise o power, politics and leadership; little does anyone know that Chanakya’s Arthashatra is nothing but Machiavelli’s Prince.
Come on guys Kamasutra was in Sanskrit!!! Translated and sold by a Brit (Richard Francis Burton)
Be it Machiavelli, yoga , neem or love I thing the language can unravel tons and so it has a sheer capitalistic value. And the German universities who research on the language and the our texts perhaps understand this better than us.

 

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