Jaithirth Rao in The Indian Express:
“Professor Sheldon Pollock has just announced scholarships for Dalit students who wish to study Sanskrit at Columbia University. This is indeed welcome news. The tragedy is that this initiative is not being undertaken in India, the home of Sanskrit as well as Dalits.
“It is revealing to note what Professor Saroja Bhate of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune has to say: “I congratulate Professor Pollock for doing this. This is exactly what I would have done and would do in future if I have the resources.”
“The question we need to ask is why Professor Bhate does not have the resources. We spend crores and crores casually on conferences, commissions and committees of which we have lost count, but there is no money in Pune for pursuing Sanskrit studies or encouraging Dalits.
“The irony is aggravated when one knows that the current vice chancellor of Pune University, Dr Narendra Jadhav, is himself a Dalit and a Sanskrit scholar….
“What has gone wrong that we have “out-sourced” all knowledge creation, not just in aeronautics or molecular biology but even in Sanskrit and Telugu studies to foreign institutions? If this continues, we can forget any hope of becoming a prosperous country in the foreseeable future. It is not sufficient if our IITs and IIMs teach well to students who are of a high calibre simply by self-selection. They need to produce seminal research. They need to create original knowledge which is a pre-requisite for any progress that we aspire for.”
Read the full article: Area of Darkness