Sunday, May 1, 2016

Reading Notes on Pollock's The Language of Gods in the World of Men

In the first paragraph of his preface itself, Pollock acknowledges the gratitude of an Indian scholar!

A number of the ideas in this book began to germinate as long ago as 1990, when I delivered my inaugural lecture as Bobrinskoy Professor of Sanskrit and Indic Studies at the University of Chicago. Three years later I reformulated that presentation as a series of lectures at the Collège de France. A year’s fellowship under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Institute of Indian Studies, 1995–1996, enabled me to work closely with the greatest living scholar in the field of Old Kannada, T.V. Venkatachala Sastry, professor emeritus of the Institute of Kannada Studies, University of Mysore. It was only then that I began to conceive of this book the way it is today, having come to understand more fully than ever before that just as the history of Sanskrit makes less sense the less we understand of its relationship to local forms of culture and power, so the vernacular revolution in second-millennium South Asia makes less sense the less we understand of the shaping role played by Sanskrit. 

There is more gratitude at the end of the introduction

In closing, I remember two men of Karnataka whose deaths took away not only friends but teachers: A.K. Ramanujan, with whom I had the wonderful if all too brief pleasure of exchanging Sanskrit for Kannada instruction in the early 1990s, and D.R. Nagaraj, from whom I learned how great are the stakes of the knowledge of culture-power, yet how joyful, too, such knowledge can be.

He also thanks U R Ananthmurthy (who died last year) and surprisingly Yogendra Yadav also features in the list of people he thanks. I am assuming he is the same political scientist turned political activist.

1 comment:

  1. Is it possible that I get your name? As I want to quote you in university film studies paper, on the peice you wrote on Bergman's Saraband?