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Download PDF by Alain Daniélou: A Brief History of India

By Alain Daniélou

ISBN-10: 1594770298

ISBN-13: 9781594770296

Alain Danielou ways the historical past of India throughout the enduring associations of its tradition that experience formed its future. His synthesis and narration create a completely attractive and readable trip via time, with a degree of aspect and comprehensiveness that's really a surprise. Winner of the Broquette-Gonin Prix de l'Academie Francaise.

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Trace, if possible, a common origin among these far-flung languages, and, second, to determine whether the languages spoken by the “various independent and unconnected nations” of the interior of Sumatra are radically different, “as is generally supposed by the Europeans resident there,” or are different dialects of a single language. The vocabulary appears to be a mere list, and its evidence is offered modestly by the young author, with but a minimum of analysis, in deference to what the wiser heads of the Royal Society will make of it.

If the method was useful in India, with its long and ancient literary tradition, how much more useful it must be as a way of finding history in places were there was no writing in which memory could be made fast. Such a program for recovering the history of the nations of North American Indians had been proposed before, in 1744, by the Jesuit missionary Francois-Xavier de Charlevoix. He argued that previous writers had compared the morals, customs, religions, and traditions of the American Indians with those of Old World cultures to determine their origins but had neglected the one means that would solve the problem: comparison of their languages.

I have already suggested that this narrative is defective, and we need to explore the matter more deeply. Accounts of the history of linguistics almost invariably quote a certain passage of Sir William Jones from the “Third anniversary discourse,” on the Hindus, which Jones delivered to the Asiatic Society at Calcutta, as its president and founder, in 1784. The overall scheme of these annual discourses marking the anniversary of the Society’s founding was to examine the five “stock nations” of Asia, namely, the Hindus or Indians, Arabs, Persians, Chinese, and Tartars, one by one, and determine their relations to one another.

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A Brief History of India by Alain Daniélou

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