First part of a new monthly column, ‘The Rachel Papers’, for OPEN Magazine.
While the relationship of Sanskrit studies in India to that in the Western academy has been much discussed following the Murty Library controversy, not enough has been said about the wider context of classical education in India. Language debates and policy in India have regrettably eschewed discussion of the many pleasures and purposes of a classical education, of learning grammar and rules which can be creative and puzzling. There is also the benefit of face-to-face encounters with the past through direct contact with a text rather than a second-hand account. This allows one to learn to appreciate and understand different times, values and peoples, instead of imposing today’s mores, with all the restrictions that entails.