1st Edition

Sanskrit and the British Empire

By Rajesh Kochhar Copyright 2022
    180 Pages
    by Routledge India

    180 Pages
    by Routledge India

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    This book focuses on the career of Sanskrit in British India. Europe’s discovery of Sanskrit was a development of far-reaching historical significance in terms of intellectual curiosity, evangelical considerations, colonial administrative requirements, and political compulsions. The volume critically analyses this interplay between Sanskrit texts and the imperial and colonial presence in India. It goes beyond the question of what the discovery of Sanskrit meant for the West and examines what this collocation meant for India.

    The author looks at how the British needed Sanskrit for dispensation of Hindu civil law; how learned Pandits were cultivated; and how scholarship was developed transcending utilitarianism. He also studies the extent to which Sanskrit in pre- and non-British India had a bearing on Europe and explores themes such as Jesuit Sanskrit, Hinduism in practice, scripturism, Aryan Race Theory, seductive orientalism, and the introduction of archivalism in India.

    Rich in archival sources, this unique book will be useful for scholars and researchers of colonial history, modern Indian history, Indology, linguistics, history of education, Sanskrit studies, post-colonial studies, and cultural studies.

    1. Introduction  2. Jesuit Sanskrit  3. Colonial Sanskrit  4. European Sanskrit  5. Sanskrit Institutions in British India  6. Hinduism in Practice, Scripturism, and Aryan Race Theory


    Rajesh Kochhar is a former Professor of Astrophysics, and former Director, National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies, New Delhi, India. He is a former President of International Astronomical Union Commission on History of Astronomy. He has been a Fulbright Visiting Lecturer, Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow, and British Council Visiting Scholar at University of Cambridge, UK. He is the recipient of Indian National Science Academy’s 2014 Indira Gandhi Prize for Popularization of Science. He has published original research in a number of fields and lectured extensively in India and abroad including Harvard, Cornell, University of Texas at Austin, Belfast, Brighton, Royal Dublin Society, Tubingen, Copenhagen University and National Museum Copenhagen. He is the author of The Vedic People: Their History and Geography (2000) and English Education in India, 1715-1835: Half-caste, Missionary, and Secular Stages (2020).