Thursday, July 27, 2006

Something to Consider

When you read the history of India, it becomes very clear that there were certain times when every creative effort such as the sciences, mathematics, literature and fine arts, architecture, administration and social sciences all flourished. This was mostly during the first millennium AD when such greats as Aryabhatta, Kalidas, Shankaracharya, Samudragupta, Chandragupta Vikramaditya, Vatsyayana, Bhaskara and so many more lived and created their great works. For some reason many of us are unfamiliar with these great individuals and their extraordinary works and achievements.

My schooling was mostly in English and as a result I seem to know more about western systems of thought, their great personalities and their works, the history of their civilizations etc. By and by I realized that I absolutely lacked any kind of knowledge about the great achievments in science, literature and the arts, the history and so much more that originated in my own society and country. I had read, analyzed and written exams on Shakespearean plays, Russian, French, English and American novelists; studied and scrutinized the Irish, English and American poets, learnt the theorems and the laws of mathematics and physics bearing the names of English, French and American scientists. I am now considered by society to be highly educated. In reality, I believe I am almost illiterate.

I have barely read anything in my own native language, Telugu. I haven't read a single book or article in Hindi, except what was necessary for passing examinations in school. Although I was taught a little Sanskrit, I have no working knowledge of the language. All the great works of India are in that language and so for all practical purposes, my access to them is cut off. I have ofcourse read works translated into English, but the number of such works barely scratches the surface.

It isn't any surprise then, that my knowledge of my own country is cursory and patchy at best. So, dear reader, please take my opinions I express here with a pinch of salt. Please do recommend to me any books, resources and other works of interest that may help me improve my skills in those languages mentioned above.

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