The Anarchy, the latest book by William Dalrymple, has been seen as an “ energetic pageturner” in The Guardian and stayed for some time on top of the Asian Age Bestseller list. The book portrayed how the British India Company was a pre-cursor to multinationals.
Dalrymple himself is a recorder of history around the Indian subcontinent, has reviewed another book which shows how conquest linguistically over rides the existing culture and languages Richard M. Eaton’s India in the Persianate Age 1000–1765. Read more
(From Open Magazine. Link to the complete article given below)
What does the expression ‘Elysium Bower’ remind you of? I wonder how many people will think of John Keats and Endymion, a poem published by Keats in 1818. One of India’s greatest translators was Manmatha Nath Dutt (Shastri), 1855-1912, who translated from Sanskrit to English and did much more. Chronologically, he translated the Valmiki Ramayana (sequentially from 1892 to 1894), Markandeya Purana (1896), Bhagavata Purana (1896), Vishnu Purana (1896), Hari Vamsha (1897), Mahanirvana Tantra (1900), Agni Purana (1903-04), Mahabharata (1895-1905), Kamandakiya Nitisara (1896), several samhitas anddharmashastra texts (1906, 1908-09), Garuda Purana (1908) and Rig Veda Samhita (1906-1912). Compared to Kishori Mohan Ganguli (the translator of the Mahabharata), Manmatha Nath Dutt was much more prolific. (Ganguli did not translate any of the other texts—not Puranas, not Hari Vamsha, not Valmiki Ramayana). But compared to Manmatha Nath Dutt, Ganguli is much more known, probably because the Ganguli Mahabharata translation is available online, while the Dutt one isn’t. (The language used in the two Mahabharata translations present an interesting contrast, but that’s a different story.) Apart from this remarkable body of translation work, Dutt wrote a biography of the Buddha (1901), retold stories from the Puranas (1893-94, the four volumes titled Gleanings from the Indian Classics), retold stories about famous women in Hinduism (1897), wrote a book on Hindu metaphysics (1904) and wrote another book on the dharma of householders (1905). These were also in English. I have not been able to track down anything by Manmatha Nath Dutt written in Bengali, or in any other language. (In compiling a list of his works, I came across a stray reference to a monograph in Bengali known as Banglar Meye (Women of Bengal), but I am not sure what this was.)
The Ganguli translation was funded and published by Pratap Chandra Roy. Thanks to Pratap Chandra Roy and Pratap Chandra Roy’s wife, we know something about Ganguli. (P. Lal compiled an annotated Mahabharata bibliography in 1967). The negative reference to the Dutt translation in this annotation may also have something to do with Dutt receiving less attention than he deserves.) We know almost nothing about Manmatha Nath Dutt and about this amazingly productive period from 1892 to 1912, a period of 20 years. There is a piece written by Shashi Shekhar in The Pioneer in 2011 and there is a German website with some information. That’s about it.
Read more at this Open link
Kashmir is a land blessed with incomparable beauty and cursed with seemingly interminable turmoil. Both these things usually create a very fertile ground for powerful literature. Furthermore, Kashmir possesses a rich literary heritage that goes back many centuries. There is a vast literature in Sanskrit that was produced in Kashmir, including possibly the best and most scientific work of history that ancient India saw, Kalahana’s Rajatarangini. But great literature in the valley wasn’t limited to ancient period or even Sanskrit. As the Kashmiri language grew and evolved, a new and beautiful literature flowered. This literature was initially nourished by the two great streams of spirituality that flowed in Kashmir, Shaivism and Sufism.
In the 14th century, a great Shaivite mystic poetess, Lalleshwari, rose to prominence by writing verse in Kashmiri language known as Vakhs, devoted to Lord Shiva but also questioning certain dogmas related to religion. Read more
…Human resource development min wants IITs, IISc to teach students in ancient language
In a move that questions its own feasibility and success, the Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) plans to establish Sanskrit cells in the prestigious institutions of science and technology across the country. The aim is to facilitate studying science and technology in the Sanskrit medium, besides inter-disciplinary study of various modern subjects and their corresponding subjects in Sanskrit literature; and is a part of the Centre’s 10-year road map to promote Sanskrit.
The institutions targeted by the MHRD for this ambitious programme are the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Central universities and 16 All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)-approved technical colleges.
There aren’t many better examples of India’s diverse culture than its linguistic diversity. The country is home to 780 languages with over 120 of them holding the ‘official’ status. But the other side of the story is that India currently heads the list of UNESCO’s world’s languages in danger. The constitution, in its eighth schedule, lists 22 languages as the official regional languages in the country. This series of articles is an attempt to focus on these 22 languages, their pasts and present, and cherish our linguistic diversity. After discussing Assamese, Bodo, Kashmiri and Konkani in the previous write-up, today, we shift our focus towards Bengali. Read more
Although some of his works might lead us to conclude that Max Müller thought little of India in general and Vedic literature, in particular, his anthology India: What Can it Teach Us? conveys his genuine love for India in the twilight of his life and career: Swarajya
F. Max Mueller / Foto um 1895 Mueller, Friedrich Max Indologe u. Historiker, Dessau 6.12.1823 – Oxford 28.10.1900. Portraetaufnahme, um 1895.
In my two earlier pieces, I had promised to review Friedrich Max Müller’s anthology of lectures titled India: What Can it Teach Us? which may be accessed for free on Project Gutenberg’s portal. Before I review the anthology, I wish to set out a few preliminary thoughts. Those interested in decolonising the Indian mind and purging Indian history textbooks of colonial and Marxist biases must appreciate that views held by scholars and historians are not immutable. They are susceptible to change over time, and this can be attributed to several reasons, Max Müller’s views on India, Hinduism and the Vedas being a classic case in point. Read more
Nakul Krishna in The Caravan
Count on Urdu to have a word for it: shahr-i-ashob, lament for a city. Here is Mirza Muhammad Rafi Sauda, a poet from the eighteenth century:
How can I describe the desolation of Delhi? There is no house from which the jackal’s cry cannot be heard. … In the once-beautiful gardens where the nightingale sang his love songs to the rose, the grass grows waist-high around the fallen pillars and ruined arches. … Jahanabad, you never deserved this terrible fate, you who were once vibrant with life and hope, like the heart of a young lover. Read more
Stories of love and longing from ancient Sanskrit literature, lesser known among modern readers have been rendered into English by retired diplomat and Haksar, acclaimed for his translation of the Kama Sutra.
In “The Seduction of Shiva: Tales of Life And Love” Haksar has compiled an eclectic stories of erotic love from ancient Sanskrit texts which academics have estimated to have been spread over a period of 1500 years, nearly a millennium from the present times.