Murty Classical Library of India discussion

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The Sanskritist Controversy

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Major underwriter of the Murty Classical Library of India, Rohan Murty, responds to what I'm calling the Sanskritist controversy, whereby a certain conservative segment of Indian scholarship has objected to Sheldon Pollock serving as general editor of the Murty Library (use your favorite news search engine for details ; I find their objections ridiculous, but others in this gr-Group will understand more about the situation than I, clearly).

"The classics belong to the world, and no one has exclusive rights"
by Rohan Murty, Mar 6, 2016
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ho...

"MCLI is perhaps the most ambitious translation project, spanning over two millennia and 14 classical Indian languages."

"I am proud to have such a diverse mix of scholars contributing to MCLI, as ancient Indian classics ought to have universal appeal. They are as much a part of world heritage as Greek, Latin, or Chinese classics. Hence I do not agree with the view that classical Indian scholarship is the sole purview of Indians, no more than I believe that the study of Shakespeare ought to be exclusively left to the English."


message 2: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 15 comments This is silly and sounds like misplaced nationalism gone off the rails.

By the same token no one who is not Indian should be allowed to translate classical Indian texts! But of the first batch of five books, only The Story of Manu has Velcheru Narayana Rao as the co-translator. All others are non-Indians.


message 3: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Major underwriter of the Murty Classical Library of India, Rohan Murty, responds to what I'm calling the Sanskritist controversy, whereby a certain conservative segment of Indian scholarship has ob..."

Watch the second half of this program & you'll know what's bothering the academia, also, read the comments posted on the article you've shared. Some of that's nonsense but some genuine concerns are there too. Right now I don't want to say much 'cause when it comes to Prof Pollock, my knowledge is second-hand & when it comes to the politics of it, my sympathy is with the ruling party, albeit with some reservations.
Here's the video:
http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/the-...


message 4: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Mala wrote: "Watch the second half of this program & you'll know what's bothering the academia, also, read the comments posted on the article you've shared. ."

Thanks, Mala! I'd already seen that video and wasn't impressed. What bothers me is that those who are objecting to Pollock seem to be Sanskrit-only folks. The Murty Library is publishing works written in 14+ languages. And I do disagree with Jibran's comment that "no one who is not Indian should be allowed to translate classical Indian texts!" I don't understand that kind of claim. [And from what Pollock has said about trying to find someone to teach him Sanskrit, it would seem that non-Indians shouldn't even learn Sanskrit]

I had also read a chapter from The Battle for Sanskrit which was posted somewhere (can't find it atm). And was more disturbed than impressed.

I guess I just believe that there can be an academic and scholarly respect for texts which do not belong to oneself. As an instance, The Study Quran was put together my a Muslims-only team, as insisted upon by its General Editor. And I think that is totally appropriate. But at the same time, there is a (call it Western) scholarly project to assemble a critical edition of the Quran being worked on in German ::
The Corpus Coranicum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_...

I just don't get the feeling that those objecting to Pollock and The Murty Library are actually looking at the work being done, the results as it were. I don't know what the state of Classical Scholarship is in India, but from what I've heard from Murty and from Pollock is that it has substantially declined over the past generation*. And those pursuing Indian Classical Scholarship are now located elsewhere. And I guess that's the distinction that is pitting these two sides against each other, the question of who you are and the question of what do you know. The very thrust of the Murty project is to get this Indian tradition back into the curriculum.

I'd just reiterate the two videos at the bottom of ::
http://murtylibrary.com/events.php
And of course Pollocks' book :: The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India, which should probably be read if The Battle for Sanskrit is to be read.


* It has also significantly declined in the West as well.


message 5: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments It seems the whole controversy was started by that Battle for Sanskrit book but apprehension had already been there right from the beginning wrt Pollock's leftist reading of Hindu religious texts.
Why do you say that it's okay for The Study Quran team to only insist upon Islamic scholars but wrong if Indian Sanskrit scholars are wary of misrepresentation of their religious & cultural legacy to the rest of the world?!
I'll give only one example: I read that Pollock called the Mahabharata specifically a political work— but how can that interpretation be correct when the Bhagwad Gita is a part of it???
And as a religious scholar you know that Gita is a way of life for the Hindus. You are a leftist but would you teach Hegel from a Marxist point of view? Will you dilute & distort his views?
Sheldon Pollock is a very powerful academic & he has his own coterie as it usually happens in academia. And they all promote one another.
I'm not ruling out a bit of envy on the part of the Indian intelligentsia for being left out of this prestigious undertaking but I do think that when Pollock's biases are well known, then there shd be a representation of qualified Indians on the editorial board too for checks & balances.
The Murthy family can claim that it's their money & they can endow chair anywhere & choose anyone to lead that project but the fact remains that Indian classical texts belong to the whole of India & they do have a stake in how they are presented to the world & preserved for posterity.
I'm sorry if any of this hurts your feelings. It's an emotive issue for Indians.


message 6: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments NR wrote: Thanks, Mala! I'd already seen that video and wasn't impressed. What bothers me is that those who are objecting to Pollock seem to be Sanskrit-only folks. The Murty Library is publishing works written in 14+ languages. And I do disagree with Jibran's comment that "no one who is not Indian should be allowed to translate classical Indian texts!" I don't understand that kind of claim. [And from what Pollock has said about trying to find someone to teach him Sanskrit, it would seem that non-Indians shouldn't even learn Sanskrit]

No, it's not a sanskrit-centred controversy only. That professor in that video is a professor of English at JNU. The worry is with a secular reading of religious texts & misrepresentation via leftist-feminist reading lens.
I don't think Jibran meant that only Indians shd deal with Indian texts. He meant it ironically.
And there's a crying need for Sanskrit education in India, as most parents keep their children away from learning the language because this is not commercially viable & that's why you are finding Indologists in the rest of the world, while in India, scholarship in such related disciplines is declining!
So I don't think that Sanskrit teachers are acting as gatekeepers. It might have been different during Pollock's time; he is an old man.
And I do think Rohan Murty shdn't act so arrogant.


message 7: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Mala wrote: "It's an emotive issue for Indians. ."

This is true! And I'm trying to moderate my remarks with due acknowledgement of my scant understanding of the whole range of issues. I'll be back with some responses to your comments ; after I think on them a little more.

Have you seen the interview with the translator of Ramcharitmanas?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwOQX...


message 8: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments No, I haven't seen the interview. Am bookmarking it.
I don't doubt the good intentions of the people involved with this huge project but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions...
I'm a little wary, is all.
Okay, I gotta go now.


message 9: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 15 comments @ Nathan, re: excluding non-Indians from translator team. Perhaps you misread. That's not my view. I was criticising the demand that Pollock as a foreigner shouldn't head the Murty project.

Anyway, I did not know the full extent of the controversy (thanks for the vid @Mala!) but I can see they have a point insofar as Sheldon Pollock's framework for studying Sanskrit culture is concerned. The bone of contention seems to be Pollock's alleged Macaulayaesque / neo-Orientalist projections on Sanskrit texts and, by extension, on Hindu civilisation.
Unless a scholar 'converts' to the native view of interpreting a civilisation or religion, it is unlikely that they would come to a similar understanding of the internal dynamics of the same; there has always been friction between natives and foreigners when it comes to these issues, and I believe this is expected.

I don't know about Pollock's work so can't say, but I do think that although the apprehension isn't unfounded, it's overemphasised, at least in the context of Murty project. Their books are not scholarly studies of classical India and its scriptures; the focus is entirely on producing quality translations, so I don't think there's much of an affect of Pollock's views upon the actual translations. (Granted, translations are prefaced with extensive introductions but there's no space for a neo-Orientalist to insert their cleverly-disguised theories there. And btw, correct me if I'm wrong, Murty hasn't produced any translation of Sanskrit done by Pollock so far and I don't see his name among translators of the next batch of books). I'd worry about translator credentials and the veracity of their work in rendering them into English than their opinions on contemporary Indian political issues. It's unfortunate that his statements regarding the events at JNU were held against his scholarship. This makes no sense, and I can't defend the opposition here. This might not be palatable to the nationalistic elements but there are many Indians who'd share his views.


message 10: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Jibran wrote: "@ Nathan, re: excluding non-Indians from translator team. Perhaps you misread. That's not my view. I was criticising the demand that Pollock as a foreigner shouldn't head the Murty project."

I think my confusion is cleared up! Thanks. I'm a curious foreigner who's got some views on things ; but don't have a handle on many nuances, to say nothing of my understanding of Indian politics. I'll be back for more conversation.


message 11: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Dropping a quick link that represents something close to my position ::
"Murty Classical Library is a project that every 'nationalist' should take pride in"
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/n...

"Of course, a rational response to the misinformation that the Murty Library might generate under Pollock's stewardship would be to produce another set of translations that counter the misconceptions that are so maliciously sent out into the world by non-Indian scholars and translators. There is a handful of Sanskritists among the core petitioners who could embark on this immediately."


message 12: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 15 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Dropping a quick link that represents something close to my position ::
"Murty Classical Library is a project that every 'nationalist' should take pride in"
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news..."


Interesting article.
Coming from someone called Arshia Sattar, I doubt the "Hindutva intellectuals and their supporters" will even register her argument, despite her background in Sanskrit translations.


message 13: by Mukesh (last edited Mar 10, 2016 06:18PM) (new)

Mukesh Kumar (protagonist_mukesh) | 10 comments Mala wrote: "NR wrote: Thanks, Mala! I'd already seen that video and wasn't impressed. What bothers me is that those who are objecting to Pollock seem to be Sanskrit-only folks. The Murty Library is publishing ..."

There is a good reason to question the motives of the petitioners. I dare say their 'demands' are not scholarly in nature. If you understand the politics of this place even slightly, you would get the 'arrogance' of Murty in response. Please have a read here
http://thewire.in/2016/03/02/what-the...


message 14: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Mukesh wrote: "There is a good reason to question the motives of the petitioners. I dare say their 'demands' are not scholarly in nature.."

That's about exactly the same conclusion I've come to. Thanks for the link. Pretty much spot on. If the petitioners are concerned about Pollock (mis)representing "Indian"* values etc, they should've been more deliberate about correctly representing Pollock's views.

The thing from the article I would place a lot of stress upon is this distinction :: "Clearly, the signatories do not understand that there is an important difference between an actual practice and its practitioners, on the one hand, and the intellectual study of the practice and the practitioners – which can be undertaken by anyone regardless of their civilisational ‘lineage’." --> This is the same distinction I made above between The Study Quran (produced by believers) and The Corpus Coranicum (produced by nonbelievers). A relevant distinction is of course for whom a work is produced. The Study Quran is mostly addressed towards Westerns (both Muslim and non-) ; while The Murty is address to both Indians and non-, it has especially in mind Indians who have lost their heritage to a study of Shakespeare, etc. It's not a religious project and need not be run for the sake of religious communities ; religious communities are good at producing their own works for their own needs too.

At any rate, it's depressing that these petitioners have gotten any traction at all.



* Chomsky has made the point that the anti-national accusation (anti-German, anti-American, anti-India, anti-etc) can only be made in a totalitarian atmosphere. That's what seems to be the case here where being anti-(or even critical of)current government equals being anti-Indian ;; where in fact what is at stake is a different view of what India should mean, for whom is India to be India. Of course my tendency is to desire a generally more liberal more diverse India (because that is good for me too, even as an outsider).


message 15: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments This one with a focus on the situation of academic independence ::

"Nonscholarly Litmus Tests for Key Scholarly Role: Thousands of academics and others in India attack esteemed book series by Harvard U Press and its well-respected editor, a Columbia professor, because the project is in the U.S. and the editor has differed from Hindu nationalist teachings."
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2...


message 16: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments Mukesh wrote: "Mala wrote: "NR wrote: Thanks, Mala! I'd already seen that video and wasn't impressed. What bothers me is that those who are objecting to Pollock seem to be Sanskrit-only folks. The Murty Library i..."

I am already familiar with that write up. And I'll repeat that while perusing an article, it helps to familiarize oneself with the feedback too: there are not always trolls operating in the comments section, you know.
Well, one look at this website's trending articles & one knows they got many axes to grind there...
I'm an Indian living abroad so not really a babe in the woods when it comes to the cesspool of Indian politics & media in general.
To use that website's own parlance, as India is a democracy, the petitioners have as much right of "freedom of expression" as the rest of the people who have been justifying all of their shady activities lately in the name of their democratic rights.
I never said Prof Pollock shd be removed, only that the MCLI would do better to include deserving Indians in the decision making body as well.
That'll assuage the feeling of the skeptics & create harmony.
Strange that people who go hoarse shouting about their democratic right to be heard would deny the same to another group & rebuff the offer of debate & discussion.
About time the senior Murthys got involved!

Ps. I don't think Prof Pollock is going to be removed and/or any drastic change going to take place. So you guys needn't lose your sleep over it. This is India — there is a new controversy to engage people everyday!


message 17: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments NR wrote:
* Chomsky has made the point that the anti-national accusation (anti-German, anti-American, anti-India, anti-etc) can only be made in a totalitarian atmosphere. That's what seems to be the case here where being anti-(or even critical of)current government equals being anti-Indian ;; where in fact what is at stake is a different view of what India should mean, for whom is India to be India. Of course my tendency is to desire a generally more liberal more diverse India (because that is good for me too, even as an outsider).


If you think present India is "totalitarian"; kindly refer to the Emergency years in India when democratic rights were trampled over nite & press was a mute spectator.
Today people can openly question govt policies because they have the freedom to do so.
And just like America, we have our paid media too which manipulates facts & manufactures controversies. Don't get fooled.


message 18: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Mala wrote: "only that the MCLI would do better to include deserving Indians in the decision making body as well."

I really do believe that that is the intention of the Murty Library. I don't think the petitioners have been showing themselves to be those people. My opinion.


message 19: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments We'll see.


message 20: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Mala wrote: "Don't get fooled. "

I won't! ; )


message 21: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Mala wrote: "Don't get fooled. "

I won't! ; )"


But this thread's got too serious! I do want to fool around a bit...


message 22: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Mala wrote: "But this thread's got too serious! I do want to fool around a bit... "

Srsly! That's why I had hesitated to start it up.


message 23: by Jibran (last edited Mar 11, 2016 10:13AM) (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 15 comments I think the distinction between religious study vs scholarly study sums it up, at least for me, for which they may try to find some sort of common ground, but a union of intentions and approaches is nearly impossible. (A feedback comment in Mukesh's link asks why Pollock is bent on taking away the "sacredness" of Hindu texts, and why the "baseless theory" of Aryan invasion is being hawked around? It's difficult to see how both these concerns could possibly be accommodated under MCLI).

So far we haven't seen any publication that makes the controversy relevant to MCLI, except perhaps The Epic of Ram (not even that - it's not Sanskrit). So far the battle is being fought over an issue that lies outside Murty publications or its planned issues, which is why I think if there's going to be a debate and more inclusiveness, it should focus on the actual work being done.

Should there be more Indian representation in the decision-making body? Absolutely. This shouldn't become, or be seen as, White Western project Indians in great numbers are suspicious about. We have had plenty of knowledge production with an Orientalist spin while a couple of nodding natives are tagged along for legitimacy. It would be unfortunate if MCLI is come to be seen as one.


message 24: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments Thanks, Jibran. You make some valid points. Thing is, after Wendy Doniger's book, western scholarship is deeply suspect for the majority of Hindus in India, & now when they see Prof Pollock at the helm of MCLI; that hostility only gets augmented. GR friend Riku was reading that book but I never got to see the review!

So far we haven't seen any publication that makes the controversy relevant to MCLI, except perhaps The Epic of Ram (not even that - it's not Sanskrit). So far the battle is being fought over an issue that lies outside Murty publications or its planned issues, which is why I think if there's going to be a debate and more inclusiveness, it should focus on the actual work being done.

Maybe the opposition is taking a long term view - after all, this massive undertaking is supposed to go on for a hundred long years! Imagine the number of books, the prestige, the money involved, (and therefore the possibility & the scale of misrepresentation & the damage that might do). Both sides really need to sit together & thrash out the misunderstandings instead of running a shrill vilification campaign via the media.

We have had plenty of knowledge production with an Orientalist spin while a couple of nodding natives are tagged along for legitimacy. It would be unfortunate if MCLI is come to be seen as one.

Unfortunately that's what seems to be happening! There's a copyright related issue too.


message 25: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Mala wrote: "Both sides really need to sit together & thrash out the misunderstandings instead of running a shrill vilification campaign via the media."

One side is running a shrill vilification campaign via the media. The other is publishing books. I don't think there's two symmetrical sides here.

This kind of 'controversy' has always followed almost every scholarly approach to religious texts -- The Revised Standard Version of ta biblia back in the '50's (centered around correcting 'virgin' to 'young woman' in a passage in Isaiah) and now The Study Quran (because apparently it makes clear that people of the book are in Allah's hands and Muslims needn't worry too much about whence those folks go when they die because Allah is Powerful, Merciful) -- and Pollock has already served as General Editor of a massive Sanskrit translation project, The Complete Clay Sanskrit Library: 56-Volume Set. So if there is evidence of bias, it should be presented. This groundless suspicion should be laid to rest. If the petitioners have concerns they should present the relevant, scholarly evidence for those concerns.

It's become clear to me that the insider-outsider distinction is not a very reliable basis for determining who does and who does not have knowledge/understanding of a religious life. Manymany christians in the USofA know zilch about their religion. A Muslim scholar of catholicism could easily and without controversy know far and away know more about catholicism than the average parishioner. But, as Jibran has argued, these issues are only peripheral to the Murty project.


message 26: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments The headline caused a minor degree of panic ::

"Murty Classical Library: Project interrupted"
fortunately, it's misleading.
http://www.business-standard.com/arti...

Of course, imho, the best solution to this tempest is :: "There need to be many more such ventures, rather than this totally counter-productive call to shut down what has been created with so much difficulty and what has delivered and promises to go on delivering in the form of new volumes every year into the foreseeable future."


message 27: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments "Authentic' Vande Mataram Library aims to challenge Sheldon Pollock's 'foreign' one: A sensitive Indian would be in pain reading translations of Sanskrit by non-Indians, says head of a project that hopes to compete with the Murty Classical Library."
http://scroll.in/article/804770/authe...

"Dr Sampadananda Mishra, director of the Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture at the Sri Aurobindo Society in Puducherry, has announced that he will start the Vande Mataram Library as an open source, volunteer-driven project to translate what the editorial board deems to be important Sanskrit scriptures in India."

Not too many specifics yet, but there's an interview with Mishra included here.


message 28: by Jibran (last edited Mar 15, 2016 07:49AM) (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 15 comments Good article ^ (from business standard)

A bit off-topic: I was initially interested in Murty project precisely because of its inclusion of, indeed emphasis on, the so called vernacular languages. They could have started with the Vedas and Puranas but we already have translations of those. But great literature, devotional or otherwise, from regional languages has been neglected for a long, long time. MCLI put it back into focus. Correct me if I'm wrong, but The Story of Manu is the first ever full trans of the Telugu epic. I couldn't believe such a gem had remained "hidden" for so long. Listen Tolkien, that's Indian Middle Earth right there, four hundred years before you thought up yours.

As for how good the trans was, it worked perfectly well for me. Native experts will always have different opinions about how certain things/situations/idiom should or should not be rendered into English, as there are, mostly minor, if I look at the reviews, here or elsewhere, but I still think the effort is commendable and credit goes to the general editor under fire for organising the whole thing, and to its bankrollers. Same goes for other volumes. I have the first set of books. Buddhist women poems in Therigatha and Bulleh Shah are next. I'm familiar with the latter in the original pre-modern Punjabi (not my native tongue but having lived in Punjab and studied medieval Punjabi in my formative years I have a good grasp of the language), so it should be interesting comparing the translation.


message 29: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: ""Authentic' Vande Mataram Library aims to challenge Sheldon Pollock's 'foreign' one: A sensitive Indian would be in pain reading translations of Sanskrit by non-Indians, says head of a project that..."

Great! Somebody paid heed to your words...


message 30: by Mala (new)

Mala | 18 comments Jibran wrote: "Good article ^ (from business standard)

A bit off-topic: I was initially interested in Murty project precisely because of its inclusion of, indeed emphasis on, the so called vernacular languages. ..."


If there's a folder for reviews here then Jibran you should post links to your MCLI reviews there. Seems to me you are the only one reading them! Makes me glad I mentioned this group to the right reader.


message 31: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Mala wrote: "If there's a folder for reviews here then Jibran you should post links to your MCLI reviews there."

There should be a thread for each volume. Post away!


message 32: by Jibran (last edited Mar 15, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 15 comments Mala wrote: "If there's a folder for reviews here then Jibran you should post links to your MCLI reviews there. Seems to me you are the only one reading them! Makes me glad I mentioned this group to the right reader. "

I have read only one book so far, will review it soon and post it here in the group. Reading Manu Charitra put me on a Telugu / S. India trail from which I haven't yet come back! It led me to a rich anthology of classical Telugu literature translated by the same duo. Then to padam poems of Kshetrayya, Annamayya and Sarangapani, which in turn led me to medieval Bhakti poetry in Kannada, of the Shaivism tradition; and from there I'm currently reading a collection of lyric poetry in Prakrit: Poems on Life and Love in Ancient India: Hala's Sattasai.

I had made a mental note to acquire the first set of when I was in England next. So imagine my surprise when I walk into this Lahore bookshop and see a whole shelf loaded with MCLI prints. These were for Indian subcontinent markets so quite cheap for their page count. That's another good thing about MCLI: affordability.

Many thanks for introducing me to MCLI, Mala. This is one of those instances that help me believe that time on GR is well-spent!

@Nathan, didn't you have a group on Library of Arabic Literature? I can't find it. I have acquired the whole of Leg Over Leg. Skimmed through it. Its comic hilarity and scope is on a par with any 18th century epic. Great fun ahead.


message 33: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Jibran wrote: "@Nathan, didn't you have a group on Library of Arabic Literature? I can't find it. I have acquired the whole of Leg Over Leg. Skimmed through it. Its comic hilarity and scope is on a par with any 18th century epic. Great fun ahead. "

I haven't created one yet, but I've thought about doing it. I'll certainly let you know. It's a pretty impressive project and they're producing some beautiful editions. Leg Over LEG is an absolute hoot ; belongs right up there with Rabelais and Sterne and Cervantes.

I'm way behind on starting in on the MCLI ; my excuse being that Indian Classics are currently in competition with the Six Chinese Classics for my attention. I'm trying my damnedest to do both!


message 34: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments btw, I was this close the other day to bringing home The Epistle of Forgiveness: Volumes One and Two. It's definitely my next from the Arabic Library ; sounds intriguing. And now in pb ::
http://www.libraryofarabicliterature....


message 35: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 15 comments I have always loved Al-Ma'arri quatrains. Glad to see this one in translation. Gotta get this too.

It's commendable that they have issued quite a few books in a short time. I would like to see more literature / epic poetry, esp Kalila wa Dimna. We already have a translation of Ibn Tufayl's Hayy Ibn Yaqzan: A Philosophical Tale, but Ibn al-Nafis' Al-Risalah al-Kamiliyyah which was written in response to Ibn Tufayl would be a good choice. Also some key philosophical texts by Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd - and better marketing.


message 36: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Jibran wrote: "@Nathan, didn't you have a group on Library of Arabic Literature?"

It's now here ::
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...


message 37: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 15 comments Great work Nathan! Thanks for taking the initiative.


message 38: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments From The Hindu, by Ananya Vajpeyi, a former student of Pollock's ::

"Why Sheldon Pollock matters: The campaign to remove Sheldon Pollock from the general editorship of the Murty Classical Library of India is based on right-wing propaganda. To challenge such unparalleled erudition betrays a profound ignorance."
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/...


message 39: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments I still think he's wrong, but here's a piece by one of the Petition Signers ::
"The problem with Pollock : Why the Murty Classical Library of India needs a rethink."
http://indianexpress.com/article/opin...

I really do see here an anti-colonial theory being employed to buttress the Home Ruling Elite. Which I think is unfortunate.


message 40: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 84 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "I still think he's wrong, but here's a piece by one of the Petition Signers ::
"The problem with Pollock : Why the Murty Classical Library of India needs a rethink."
http://indianexpress.com/artic..."


And an intelligent response ::
"A Library controversy: Nationalism is identified by what you shouldn’t eat, mustn’t read, can’t watch, and certainly not share or like on social media"
http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/h3hAg...

As I've said :: "There is a sensible way to challenge the Murty-Pollock project: to compete. Sampadananda Mishra, director of Sri Aurobindo Foundation in Puducherry, is planning a library called Vande Mataram, which will be an open-source, volunteer-driven project. Mishra had signed the anti-Pollock petition, but he now says he intends to build this library, working with US-based technology professional Rajiv Malhotra, who has been writing and campaigning for Hindu assertiveness, although Malhotra’s own scholarship has been questioned. He continues to challenge what he believes are institutional biases in western academia against India.
"Whatever the merit of that venture, this competition between the two libraries is a far more constructive response than the churlish attempts to ascribe motives to Pollock, or to insist on how Murty should spend his money: those arguments are unworthy of scholars."


message 41: by Vrixton (new)

Vrixton Phillips (sirredcrosse) | 3 comments Nationalists tend to rewrite their history and opinions far more than the scholars they accuse of doing that very thing. Just take a gander at the far-right here in the US, which has a lot of odd claims about our past that are patently false.

But that said, I do have to admit that I find it odd that the project isn't co-sponsored by an Indian university, have a good number of Indian translators (as far as I have seen... perhaps I am mistaken) or at the very least have an Indian at its head. I'm wildly out of my depth (and lane, honestly) but even as someone who wants to work in Sanskrit translation as a mostly white Westerner, I can kind of see some concerns about academic colonialism having at least a little weight, if not merit.


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