Published in The Adyar Library Bulletin 2014-15.
In three independent as well as inter-connected essays, Ashok Aklujkar tries to establish Kashmir as the homeland of Patanjali in the background of the importance assigned to the study of the Mahabhashya by the royalties and the epithets associated with Patanjali, who came to be worshipped as Naga/Ananta. The Rajatarangini statements on the revival of the Mahabhashya study in three widely separated times are reinterpreted along with the Vakyapadiya II.486 by Johannes Bronkhorst in his essay titled “A Note on Kashmir and Orthodox Paninian Grammar”. In his second essay, the author gives an insight into the free thinking of Udbhata, drawing from his interpretation of rules of Ashtadhyayi and the Lokayatasutra.
About nine essays directly deal with grammatical nuances and technicalities as found in the writings of Kashmiri thinkers. George Cardona tries to show the presence of theoretical precedents to one of the earliest grammatical elementary text namely, Katantra attributed to Sarvavarman. P. Visalakshy in her paper gives a comprehensive note on the authorship and structure of Kashika with a detailed account of its influence of Candragomin’s grammatical thought. Malhar Kulkarni’s new research findings of the manuscripts of the Kashikavritti in Shrada script adds to the rich repository of grammatical literature.
We are talking about the languages in South Asia. If you are a South Asian, how do you feel when someone from a mono-linguistic culture asks you — “Do you speak Indian in India?” “Ya ya”, I usually answer. It becomes difficult to make them understand that I am a native speak of Kashmiri that I never learnt in school (now from the year 2005 the Government of Jammu & Kashmir has introduced Kashmiri into schools of the valley), but I can also speak Hindi-Urdu to communicate with people from most parts of Northern South Asia (including Nepal and Pakistan) where they do not understand Kashmiri, and for rest of it I use English and some times if you land up in a place where only the regional language is spoken then one has to communicate with sign-language (as I usually do in Italy). Some reports say there are nearly 780 dialects spoken in India alone and some 250 dialects have died out in past 50 years. I also grew up speaking what is called Urdu in the State of Jammu and Kashmir (Urdu is the official language of the State) although I am not really good at reading the script, but when visiting Delhi or some other parts of India I was told it was Hindi. Hmmm…!!! I still recall my first day in St Stephen’s College in Delhi where I met a fellow interviewee from Bihar who spoke what I called Television language. For me it was the same language spoken by the characters of the TV Series of B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharat. Much later, I came to know that the so called pure Hindi never existed and the Hindi used by B.R. Chopra was basically artificial. There is hardly any much difference between Hindi and Urdu for me, but when I was in Delhi, in the beginning often there were problems in understanding the vocabulary of some college-mates arriving from Eastern India. This part that mostly constitutes of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is known as the Hindi Belt, and the so-called pure Hindi is mostly spoken is parts of this region.
Recently when I came across a newspaper report [read the report here] it made me think about the history of language politics in South Asia. How Hindi became Indian and Urdu became Pakistani! When I talk to young people in India today they seem to think Urdu is not spoken in India, but it is the language of Pakistan alone. If I meet younger people from Pakistan they believe Urdu is not spoken in India but it is Hindi that is. “It is different that we understand each other”, they say. The problem is the political boundaries. We are so used to looking at political maps alone. A friend one day asked me that how is the Bengali of Bangladesh different from the Bengali spoken in the Indian Bengal. I said his question was wrong. One answer is it is not at all different, but the Bengali spoken in border regions of both the countries those are in proximity would have more similarities than the diametrically opposed ends of these regions.
Let us have a glimpse of the languages of Northern South Asia:
Which is the fourth most spoken language in the world ? They say it is Hindi. Which is the nineteenth most spoken language in the world ? They say it is Urdu. What is the language spoken in India? They say it is Hindi. What is the language spoken in Pakistan? They say it is Urdu. Yet there are only 39-41% native speakers of Hindi in India and 8% people regard Urdu as their native tongue in Pakistan where 54-60% population speaks Punjabi. This makes us think that it is not only about language politics, but it also involves script politics. [Rahman, Tariq (2011) From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History, Karachi: Oxford University Press]. Read, for instance, this abstract of Robert D. King’s paper titled “The Poisonous Potency of Script: Hindi and Urdu” [International Journal of Sociology of Language. 150 (2001), pp. 43-59].
Hindi and Urdu are variants of the same language characterized by extreme digraphia: Hindi is written in the Devanagari script from left to right, Urdu in a script derived from a Persian modification of Arabic script written from right to left. High variants of Hindi look to Sanskrit for inspiration and linguistic enrichment, high variants of Urdu to Persian and Arabic. Hindi and Urdu diverge from each other cumulatively, mostly in vocabulary, as one moves from the bazaar to the higher realms, and in their highest – and therefore most artificial – forms the two languages are mutually incomprehensible. The battle between Hindi and Urdu, the graphemic conflict in particular, was a major flash point of Hindu/Muslim animosity before the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947.
We know very well that basically Hindi and Urdu are the same language, but it is the nationalistic absolutism of the two countries that has lead them believe that languages belong to religions and religions belong to nations. The ephemerality of this notion also became clear when the federal government of India had to face a deep dismay from it’s southern States first during 1937-40, and then again in 1946-50, 1965, 1968 and 1986 for imposing Hindi on the non-Hindi speaking people of India. Thanks to these movements that India has no national language. And in case of Pakistan, the West Pakistan had to face the revolts of Bengali speaking people from the East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and one of the major reasons of this revolt was the imposition of Urdu (the so called national language, even though before 1971 Bengali was also officially recognized by Pakistan) on Bengali people. This lead to what came to be known as Bengali Language Movement. This was one more proof of the fact that language and religion should be understood as two different segments under a single canopy of ‘Culture’, but the linguistic identity should not be confused with religious identity or vice versa.. In case of India, the Nagari Pracharini Sabha was implementing all the Urdu works to be transcribed into Devanāgarī. I mean, come on, if you cannot de-Persianize (which had become the policy of the Government of India after 1947) ‘the Hindi language’, at least it is worth trying to de-Nastalique it.
The Directive for development of the Hindi language of the Constitution of India (Part XVII.—Official Language—Arts. 349—351. Chapter IV—Special Directives) in its directive No. 351 says:
It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.
Urdu, the language of the cultured in Awadh, was subjected to hatred and dismay in its land of birth. On the other hand it was obviously impossible to imagine that Hindi and Sanskrit would continue to be studied in Pakistan after it officially became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The 1973 version of the Constitution of Pakistan says this about its language policy:
The rationale for this privileging of Urdu, as given by the government of Pakistan, is that Urdu is so widely spread that it is almost like the first language of all Pakistanis. Moreover, since most jobs are available through Urdu, it is only just that all children should be given access to it. Above all, it is a symbol of unity and helps in creating a unified “Pakistani” identity. In this symbolic role, it serves the political purpose of resisting ethnicity, which otherwise would break the federation. As for the provision that other Pakistani languages may be used, it is explained that the state, being democratic and sensitive to the rights of the federating units, allows the use of provincial languages if desired.
I think the notion of Indian Government of having one language for India is unrealistic. Have you observed that often when we visit websites there is an option on the top corner highlighting some flags for languages. For instance if we want to read that website in French, we click on the French flag and the website would be shown in French language and so on and so forth. Now the idea India has is exactly this that it also wants to have that little flag there for Hindi (in fact, on many websites you do have such option) which does not make sense at all. There is Orientalism in play and countries like India and Pakistan, instead of recognizing their own diversity of cultures and languages, are becoming the victims of their ‘intimate enemy’.
Coming back to the news paper report that I mentioned above, it makes one think – is the Sanskritization of Hindi and Persinization of Urdu still continuing. And where do you make this distinction of what is Hindi and what is Urdu, and who will make that. Yes, both India and Pakistan are trying very hard to make Hindi ‘Hindi’ and Urdu ‘Urdu’ respectively, but can they change the language of Bollywood–I mean the language of the common people. Did you read this recent article, by the way –
While I think Bollywood is still that speaks the language of the masses (because it is not controlled by the government, but keeps in mind what common people would understand), but if you listen to the official news or official TV channels both in India and Pakistan, you will observe the gradual development Hindi and Urdu have undergone in all these past decades. And now it is that that most of the Northern Indian and Pakistanis can talk to each other, but they cannot read each other’s writings unless that re written either in English or in Roman transliteration of Hindi-Urdu. Thanks to the British legacy that there is English.
1. One Language, Two Scripts: The Hindi Movement in Nineteenth Century North India, by Christopher R. King, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1994.
2. The Politics of Language – Urdu/Hindi: An Artificial Divide, Abdul Jamil Khan.
3. From Hindi to Urdu – A Social and Political History by Tariq Rahman, Oxford University Press.
4. Hindi Nationalism by Alok Rai, Sangam Books.
5. Hindu Nationalism and the Language of Politics in Late Colonial India by William Gould, Cambridge University Press.
The British Library’s Kashmiri collections contain 7 manuscripts, principally vocabularies and poetry in the Perso-Arabic script; approximately 300 printed books dating from the early 19th century to the present day; and various issues from 1967 to 1996 of Son Adab, the literary annual published by the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.
The collections are particularly strong in the fields of Kashmiri language, literature, history, politics and religion, and offer a wealth of information for the study of Kashmir, India and Pakistan.
Book Review: Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir: Essays in Memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksh
Name of Book : Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir: Essays in Memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksh
Edited by : Mrinal Kaul and Ashok Aklujkar, New Delhi & Jammu
Published by : DK Print world and The Harabhatta Shastri Indological Research Institute.
Price : Rs. 1250; US$ 62.50.Pages : xxxiii + 609.
Review by : Raj Nath Bhat, Professor, Department of Linguistics, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
Sanskrit scholarship suffered a sudden break and a loss of momentum when Persian came to occupy her place as the language of administration and royalty in the sub-continent. The tradition of a continuous flow of commentaries and treatises on earlier knowledge texts either slowed down or stopped. Even the preservation of knowledge texts became an uphill task. The destruction of libraries added a new dimension to the colossal loss of the knowledge and tradition of a civilization. A revival of Sanskrit learning made a second beginning during the British rule and a huge corpus of manuscripts have been procured and preserved.
For over two millennia, ‘Sanskrit-Kashmir’ has been a major centre of learning and scholarship in almost all branches of knowledge. During the last century or more Kashmir Shaivism and aesthetics has engaged scholars’ attention in a noticeable way, but very little has been done to explore the linguistic traditions of the region. The present Volume brought out in memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksh – one of the doyens of Sanskrit scholarship of the twentieth century – is a noble, rich, refreshing and scholarly tribute to the great Pundit. The Volume comprises twenty-one essays authored by nineteen eminent scholars including such stalwarts as George Cardona, Johannes Bronkhorst, VN Jha, Raffaele Torella, C. Rajendran, P. Visalakshy, Bettina Baumer, HC Patyal among others. Mrinal Kaul, one of the editors – has given a thoughtful introduction to the linguistic traditions of Kashmir, besides providing, in the appendices, a very rich list of Sanskrit manuscripts from Kashmir that are available across the country and abroad.
The world of scholarship has maintained for quite some time now that Patanjali, the author of Mahabhashya, was a native of Gonda- east-central India, but Ashok Aklujkar in the present Volume argues that Patanjali was a native of the region between Madra and Punjab i.e. Kashmir. Despite being a grammatical text, Mahabhashya for several centuries occupied a pride of place with the kings as well as scholars in Kashmir. The rulers ensured continuation of its study which was linked to the welfare of the region and royalty. The Mahabhashya provides ample geographical details that can relate it to Kashmir. Aklujkar’s meticulously worked out essays cover nearly two hundred pages of the Volume.
Of the eight grammatical schools of ancient India, namely Indra, Kashakrtsna, Apishali, Shaktayana, Panini, Amara and Chandra, the Paninian grammatical thought has pervaded the linguistic scholarship in Kashmir and there have been scholars who went on to modify, reinterpret, even differ from the dominant Paninian tradition on several occasions. Rajatarangini testifies to the fact that “Kashmir has played a key role in the preservation of the commentarial tradition associated with the Mahabhashya” ( p.278). Two kinds of Paninian grammarians co-existed in Kashmir- the orthodox who followed Patanjali and Bhartrihari rigorously, and free thinkers who proposed altogether different interpretations of Astadhyaya where this seemed useful. Udbhata (8th cent.CE) belonged to the latter class. Sadly, the free thinkers could not last longer and their texts were subsequently lost. Katantra, a pedagogical grammar of Sanskrit, introduced by Sharvavarman shows a very strong dependence on Panini and Katyayana despite differing from Astadhyaya in its treatment of some phonological rules and derivational processes. Uvata, a predecessor of Mahidhara, for the first time makes a distinction between Shiksha texts and Pratishakhyas- the former is a text of phonetics and the latter that of phonology. Chandra vyakarana does not discuss Vedic Sanskrit, hence the Vedic portion of Panini is absent in it. Chandra vyakarana and Katantra have impacted Kashika in a significant way. Kashika is believed to be a joint work of the king Jayaditya and his minister Vamana and it is an “excellent aid for understanding the pithy sutras of Panini” ( p.560). The grammatical thought pervades monistic Shaivism in a very subtle way. In Trika singular, dual and plural numbers are analogous to Shiva, Shakti, and nara respectively (p.215). Shaivas do not believe in any unrelated components of a sentence. For the mall syntax is related through the agent (p. 468). Utpaladeva, a disciple of Somananda, in his masterpiece Ishwara pratyabhijnakarika overwhelmingly appropriates Bhartrhari’s epistemology to oppose the Buddhist notion of depersonalized universe made up of discrete and discontinuous realities, and to establish the Shaiva doctrine of absolutely unitary universe. The strong influence of Paninian thought can be gauged from the fact that in the last quarter of the nineteenth century Pandit Ishwara Kaula authored the first ever grammar of Kashmiri in Sanskrit which was published by the Asiatic Society under the guidance of Sir GA Grierson.
In her Foreword to the Volume, Kapila Vatsyayan rightly observes that the vigorous intellectual tradition of Kashmir in varied fields exhibits an interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary epistemological base. She believes that the Volume shall persuade scholars in future to undertake elaborate analyses of texts and commentaries from Kashmir preserved in different parts of India and abroad. The Volume indeed provides ample material for researchers to be motivated and persuaded to undertake research on a massive scale on the philosophical and linguistic heritage of the subcontinent- Buddhist, Vaishnava, Jain, Shaiva etc. I wish the editors bring out a series of Volumes in the years to come where all schools of thought get plenty of space and exposure. The editors deserve all admiration and praise for conceiving and subsequently working out a Volume of such superb merit and scholarship.
The publishers deserve a word of admiration too for the care and attention with which they have brought it out. I could find just one singular error in the whole text on p. 30, para 1, line four classifie as in place of classifies.
By Professor Saroja Bhate (Former Professor of Sanskrit, University of Pune; Former Secretary, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune) email: <email@example.com>
Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir : Essays in Memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksha, Mrinal Kaul & Ashok Aklujkar (eds.), DK Printworld (P) Ltd., F-52, Bali Nagar, New Delhi 110015. Web-site: dkprintworld.com. First edition year : 2008. xxxiii + 609 pp. Bibliographic Details : Appendicies ; Indices.
“Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir” edited by Mrinal Kaul and Ashok Aklujkar is a very appropriate tribute to the memory of Pandit Dinanath Yaksha, “the towering figure of traditional learning in Kashmir”, whose main field of study was linguistics. It is a testimony in letters to the multifaceted Kashmiri scholarship, to its profound depth as well as to its ingenuity. As Kapila Vatsyayan pointed out in her forward, Kashmir’s contribution to the study of language was not paid due attention and the present volume has fulfilled the desideratum.
The Volume contains 21 papers by renowned scholars on different aspects of language studied and discussed by Kashmiri Pandits through the ages. Even a cursory glance at the table of contents reveals the vast range of approaches with which the phenomenon of language was examined in Kashmir. Here we get a glimpse into the world of diversified insights into the world of words. The Volume opens with a life-sketch of Pandit Dinanath Yaksa and introduction by Mrinal Kaul, one of the editors. The introduction itself is a well-studied document on the history of the development of grammatical tradition in Kashmir. The introduction ends with valuable directions and suggestions for future research which provide useful guidelines for prospective researchers. Three profound essays by Ashok Aklujkar are focused on the issue of Kashmir as the provenance of Patañjali, the greatest among the three sages of Pāṇinian tradition, though each one of them elaborates a single, related point. Aklujkar has, following the style of a traditional Sanskrit Pandit, presented first a mighty pūrvapakṣa and then a mightier uttarapakṣa. His view of Kashmir as the domicile of Patañjali is based on the following arguments: 1. There are references in Sanskrit texts which show that Kashmir tradition of learning attached great importance to the study of Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya not only as an object of academic achievement but also for good governance. 2. Gonardīya, one of the epithets of Patañjali is a corrupt form of a Gonandīya derived from Gonanda which is the name of a founding figure in the area of governance for the Kashmirians. 3. Nàgas were venerated in Kashmir and Patañjali was worshipped as the incarnation of the divine serpent, śeṣa. 4. The existing manuscripts of the Mahābhāṣya probably go back to a manuscript written in Kashmir. Aklujkar has spared no pains in proving his point with his logical acumen accompanied by a rich score of citations establishing a special connection between Kashmir and Patañjali. Notwithstanding his application of perfect research methodology and higher textual criticism we have to wait until a conclusive evidence presents itself to put a stamp on his thesis. However, all the three essays by Aklujkar certainly convey the hidden message “that in the highly troubled state of contemporary Kashmir we should, regardless of how unrealistic it may seem at present, aim at creating a situation in which MB (Mahābhāṣya) expertise again begins to flourish” (p. 87).
Estella Del Bon and Vincenzo Vergiani have, in their essay on the treatment of present tense in the Kāśmīraśabdāmṛtam, a grammar of Kashmiri in Pāṇinian style, have tried to show, on the basis of their study, though confined to a limited section of the grammar, how the grammar of Kashmiri represents `an impressive intellectual breakthrough’ (p.224) by achieving `the unprecedented grammar of a “vernacular” language’ (p. 224). Use of the Pāṇinian model in writing grammars of regional languages is not uncommon in the history of Indian grammatical literature. However, here we have, for the first time, a complete grammar of a vernacular composed by using Pāṇinian terminology and technique to some extent. This study opens, in fact, a new chapter in the study of Pāṇini as a model. It further underscores the invincible character of the Pāṇinian model of grammar.
In Kashmir the influence of Pāṇini transcended linguistic area and exerted itself on the philosophical deliberations. Application of some of the Pāṇinian grammatical categories in the argument on certain philosophical issues by Kashmiri Pandits of the past has been a topic of the essays by Bettine Bäumer, David Peter Lawrence and Raffaele Torella. These essays represent well studied documents illustrating how Pāṇinian grammatical concepts are pressed into service by the philosophers of Kashmir. Kashmir emerges from the two essays by Johannes Bronkhorst as a thriving centre in the past, of both, orthodox as well as non-orthodox schools of interpretation of Pāṇini. His observation, namely, that “Kashmir may have saved the now orthodox tradition of Pāṇinian interpretation” is based, mainly, on the interpretation of the well-known set of verses at the end of the second kāṇḍa of Vākyapadīya of Bhartṛhari which describes the history of the downfall and revival of the tradition of the Mahābhāṣya studied. According to him the new interpretation of the words parvata and dākṣiṇātya in the verses offered by him leads to the conclusion that “the Mahābhāṣya had survived only in the form of the book south of Kashmir, whereas the oral tradition was still alive in Kashmir” (p. 277). Puṇyarāja, the traditional commentator explains, however, parvatāt as referring to a part of a mountain range in Shreelanka and refers to a grammar composed by Rāvaṇa, a mythical personality, which was handed over to Candra and Vasurata by a spirit. Apparently, this mythical interpretation hardly makes any sense. It cannot be, however, dispensed with.
In his second essay Bronkhorst presents Udbhaṭa as a non-orthodox grammarian interpreting Pāṇini independent of Mahābhāṣya. His observation, namely, that Udbhaṭa represented the group of “Pāṇinian freethinkers” (p. 298) is interesting. It is, however, hard to state with conviction about a tradition (if at all) which is lost. Geroge Cardona has elaborately dealt with the issue of omission of certain sections of grammar in the Kātantravyākaraṇa and argued that this omission is due not to the need for brevity alone, but it can be traced back to the theoretical discussions that took place among the grammarians of different schools including the Pāṇinian school. Oliver Hann’s essay on the three Kashmirian texts on Sanskrit syntax has illuminated a so far unknown corner of the tradition of linguistics in Kashmir, namely, the Samanvaya texts. Hann has, in fact, carried further the task, already commenced by Slaje, by giving a detailed account of the three Samanvaya texts with reference to the nature and contents of the manuscripts as well as their interdependence. The essay points out that the authors of these texts dealt with the whole range of possible syntactic relations within a sentence as well as between sentences. Hann has also recorded the terminological deviations from Pāṇinian tradition found in these texts, which show some influence of the Kātantra tradition.
Essays by V. N. Jha, S. D. Joshi, Nirmala Kulkarni, H. C. Patyal, Vincenzo Vergiani and P. Visalakshy deal with specific issues in the works of the linguistics of the past such as Jayantabhaṭṭa, Kaiyaṭa, Uvaṭa and Helarāja who are believed to have belonged to Kashmir. All these scholars have brought to light certain new aspects of the works of these authors. In his essay Malhar Kulkarni has presented a close scrutiny of a part of the Śāradā manuscripts of the Kāśikāvṛtti and has concluded that the Kashmir tradition of Kāśikā manuscripts represents a shorter version and that further study of the Kāśikā manuscripts might lead one to claim that Kashmir preserved the ur-text of Kāśikā. The essay is based on a careful study of the Śāradā manuscripts and has thrown a challenge before the students of Pāṇinian tradition, particularly of Kāśikā. The three appendices giving details about the select manuscripts lists followed by authors-and-works lists constitute very important data in the form of a corpus of texts from Kashmir dealing with linguistics. They have enhanced the value of the volume as a research aid. They are, in fact, an invitation to prospective students and scholars to revive the tradition of linguistic studies in Kashmir.
The volume is thus rich with scholarly discussions pertaining to various aspects including historical, textual, inter-textual, exegetical and also pertaining to manuscriptology. Mrinal Kaul, the budding and promising scholar deserves great compliments not only for stringing together valuable research contributions from specialists but also for giving a detailed outline for further research. Further generations of research scholars will, I am sure, remain grateful to the editors for providing guidelines for further research in linguistics. Lastly, the volume has succeeded in bringing Kashmir on the Indological map and in drawing attention to the fact that it still remains a fertile soil for studies in linguistics.