In 1791, Kalidasa's Shakuntala had become a rock star in Germany

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In 1791, Kalidasa's Shakuntala had become a rock star in Germany

Post  Guest on Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:18 am

When Abhigyana Shakuntalam, the Sanskrit play by classical poet Kalidasa, was translated in Germany in 1791, it created quite a stir among young intellectuals of the time. So much so that Shakuntala, the lead character of the play, became as popular as a rock star, said German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner. He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Sanskrit Caravan and a conference of “Sanskrit as a Language of Science” here on Thursday.

The Sanskrit Caravan is part of Indian Heritage Caravan, an initiative of Press Council of India chairman and former Supreme Court Judge Justice Markandey Katju, aimed to promote, preserve and propagate Indian languages like Sanskrit and Urdu.

After elaborating in detail about the contribution of India to the evolution of the discipline of science, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor said Sanskrit was the very basis of science. He said India’s contribution to the evolution of science was made possible due to the fact that Sanskrit was the carrying language.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice-Chancellor Prof. S. K. Sopory said: “We are a part of the Caravan because we wanted to make a point that study of Sanskrit is not the study of any religion.”

Talking about “Sanskrit as a language of science”, Prof. Sopory said NASA scientists were developing several programmes on artificial language in Sanskrit. JNU has also developed programmes based on Sanskrit language, he added.

Justice Katju said the Sanskrit spoken and read in modern times was defined and shaped by Panini. Arguing that science requires precision of expression, Justice Katju said Sanskrit became that language which is a “powerful instrument to express scientific ideas with great precision”.


http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/sanskrit-heritage-caravan-launched/article4417079.ece

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Re: In 1791, Kalidasa's Shakuntala had become a rock star in Germany

Post  Guest on Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:00 am

Speech by German Ambassador Michael Steiner to India

Dear Justice Markandey Katju, Honourable Minister, dear Shashi Tharoor, Dear Shri Digvijay Singh,
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
This is my second caravan.
I already had the privilege to participate in the launch of the Urdu Heritage Caravan last year which also owed its existence to Justice Markandey Katju – world-wide the only Justice ever known as convener of caravans.
Historically, caravans connected Asia and Europe to share precious goods - and that is exactly what I want to address today. I am, therefore, truly delighted and grateful to be part of this launch of the Sanskrit Heritage Caravan!
Let me be bold and tell you, right at the outset, what thoughts and feelings I want to share with you on this remarkable occasion.
First, a sense of deep respect and emotional warmth towards the millennia old history of the Indo-Germanic language family, its similarity and intellectual closeness, all linked to mother language Sanskrit. By the way the scientific term of the “Indo-Germanic language group” itself can be traced back more than two hundred years.
Secondly, and even more importantly, the firm belief that this familiarity is not just heritage and a distant past, but a solid fundament for us today on which to build our shared future.
Indeed, it’s a mandate and an assignment for us.
In other words: Highlighting Indo-Germanic closeness should not be left to historians and “Altphilologen”. It is a task and commitment for politicians, movers and shakers of today in both our countries.
I ́ll come back to that.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
One cannot but be marvelled – as were Max Müller and so many other German and European scholars of the 18th and 19th century – by the evident similarities between Sanskrit and the German spoken today.
Although the distance between the two languages is of thousands of years and kilometres, one can easily detect and discover the linguistic and etymological affiliations.
Let me just give a few examples that, though well-known to linguistic experts, may nevertheless be of interest to this audience.




http://www.india.diplo.de/contentblob/3818374/Daten/3041308/Speech_SanskritCaravan.pdf

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