Saturday, March 02, 2013
Sanskritization, Anglicisation or Modernisation
I read the riddle number 1. Fortunately its available online. Itessentially means that it is difficult to define what a hindu is. Itmade me very happy that its easy to define buddhism (whatever is inpali canon of Theravada). But it did not help me understand, why abuddhist leader should not participate in a non-buddhist publicfunction conducted by his non-buddhist followers. Please send mecontact details of Mr Raja Dhale. I am eager to meet someone whom youregard as an expert in Ambedkarism and Buddhism.I have studied Anthropology. I got around 220/400 in the IAS mains init, which is considered high. I also own a many books inAnthropology, with a focus on caste related topics, collected overthe last 15 years. More over MN Srinivas worked at NIAS, which was inIISc Campus in 1995. I met him there in 1995 and argued with himabout sanskritization. I am thorough with the key concepts relevantto analysis of caste, including sanskritization.The concept of sanskritization implies that all dalits want tosanskritize and hence demeans them. MNS replied that he was reportingthings as they were and not as they should be. MNS's definitive workon sanskritization seemed to allow dalits only sanskritization andanglicization as means of upward social mobility.Sanskritization is what "dalits" do. Sanskritization by dalits doesnot change hinduism, beyond adding one "myth", at best. Theassimilative efforts that I spoke about are efforts of hinduism tomodify itself. I did not invent the idea that hinduism modifieditself to incorporate buddhist elements. Much of dalit literaturesays the same thing.Anthropological literature also talks about modernization as one moremeans of upward social mobility. It is different from Sanskritizationand Anglicization. I have already explained Sanskrization as I haveread ( an attempt to become like "Them-hindus"). Anglicization, asdefined in the literature is "killing ones past/tradition" and takingon a totally unrelated "English" (typically) life style andtradition. This means changing food habits, clothing, language, etcto become like "Them-english". In this context, Anthropologicalliterature defines "Modernization" as selecting/interpreting fromones own past and (in result) creating a present (and thereby) afuture, which ensures continuity and change. This ensuresrejevunation of traditions as well as ensures their cleanup such thatthey are not in conflict with the day to day realities (at thought,speech, action levels) of the present. Essentially Modernization isan attempt to retain ones identity (and also clean it up).To me Ambedkari Buddhism is an attempt to modernize us, the dalits.Dr. Ambedkars book essentially "modernized" buddhism by changing itsfocus from a liberator of individuals to a liberator of communities.World buddhism now has a new category of buddhist people (in andoutside India) who follow "engaged buddhism", a buddhism, which isengaged in social upliftment.