Minute of Dissent
Minute of Dissent
M.R.Ry. Gokul Dossjee Gowardhan Dossjee
as a token of respect and gratitude
for the patriotic enterprise which he has helped to build up
in the publication of Sanskrit and Telugu Classics
and of popular Literature
BY THE AUTHOR
- Admiralty House,
- Mylapore, 17th July 1914
Gokul Doss Gowardhan Doss was a businessman from Gujarat settled in Madras. He was the Honourary Secretary for the Hindu Theological Higher Secondary School, Madras (1915-24)-Eds.
In the interest of Telugu Letters, I deem it advisable to place before the Telugu Public an authoritative exposition of the contentions of rival schools of Telugu Prose, especially as many persons complain that the issues of the Controversy have nowhere been clearly stated. I hope this book will clear the atmosphere of much misapprehension and lead to a rational solution of the question of Telugu Prose Diction.
- Esplanade, Madras.
- 20th April 1914.
MINUTE OF DISSENT
[N.B. The resolutions passed by the Committee at its sittings of the 2nd of August and the 6th of September were numbered separately. The report of the majority of the Sub-Committee quotes numbers without specifying dates; but it is evident that the numbers refer only to the resolutions passed on 6th September].
1. I dissent from the views of the majority of the SubCommittee consisting of Messrs. Vedam Venkataraya Sastry and K. V. Lakshmana Row. They stuck to the position which they had all along occupied and showed no disposition to come to any common understanding with the Modern School.
2. An examination of the lists, which they prepared, and the covering report clearly show that far from entering into the spirit of the second resolution, they tried to get behind it. The report reopens discussion on the principle of the resolution, lays down conclusions at variance with it, and winds up with an appeal in favour of a school of prose with which Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row may be particularly identified as the editor of the Vijnanachandrika series.
3. The lists were drawn up not in accordance with the amendment proposed by Prof. M. Ranga Chariar, accepted by me as proposer of the resolution, and passed by a majority of the committee, but in accordance practically with an amendment proposed by Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu and seconded by Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row, which was lost. The latter amendment was “that the words ‘in standard literary Telugu’ be inserted between the words ‘from’ and ‘be classified.” The same amendment was proposed by Mr. G. Venkataranga Row and seconded by Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastri at the meeting of the 2nd of August, fortified by the additional clause “it being understood that no form not sanctioned by literary usage be permitted”. In fact, the second resolution as modified by Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu’s amendment was one of the draft resolutions, which Mr. G. Venkataranga Row placed before the reconstituted committee on the first day of its meeting.
4. The language of Prof. M. Ranga Chariar’s amendment was clear, and the speech with which he introduced it, left no room for doubt. He mentioned 'వస్తాడు' (Vastadu) as an instance of “polite speech prevailing among the educated Telugu people.’ The very fact that Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu’s amendment was lost showed that the sense of the Committee was against the exclusion of all polite forms, which did not conform to the grammar of the literary dialect or the usage of the poets.
5. As Prof. M. Ranga Chariar explained to the committee, the Syndicate felt that the literary dialect in each of the principal Dravidian Languages had diverged too far from polite speech and thought it desirable to bring them closer together by ‘fixing if possible a standard of colloquiality’ in vernacular composition. Committees were constituted to carry out this object. As defined by the Syndicate, “to seek to establish a standard of colloquiality in composition for each language” was the primary function of the committees. Mr. Lakshmana Row evidently picked up the term colloquiality from the Syndicate’s reference in this connection and utilised it to coin a nickname for the Modern School. His memorandum on modern standard Telugu prose which was circulated to the members of the Telugu Committee, is a violent attack on what he calls the colloquiality school and contains a warning to the University not to lend its support to this ‘New School’. The views of the memorandum are the views of the subcommittee’s report and its classification of forms is practically the classification adopted by the sub-committee.
6. When he moved resolution 6 of the 2 of August, Mr. Lakshmana Row expressed solicitude to adhere to the letter of the Syndicate’s reference. But in framing these lists, he disregarded the spirit of the Syndicate’s reference and the instructions conveyed in resolutions 2 and 3 of the Committee. The majority report clearly states that “the Sub-Committee have classified the grammatical forms into archaic and cuffent.” By grammatical Mr. Lakshmana Row means conforming to the grammar of the old literary dialect. Here his memorandum comes to our help. There he says, “when I say grammar and grammatical forms I mean the traditional grammar of the Telugu Language and the forms sanctioned by it and employed by modern popular prose writers like Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu and Lakshminarasimham”.
7. So the majority of the Sub-Committee have dealt only with forms which have been employed by a certain school of contemporary prose writers to which they belong, and forms which have the sanction of ‘traditional grammar.’ They ignored the second part of Prof. Ranga Chariar’s amendment which extended the classification to the polite speech prevailing among the educated Telugu people; and they gave a restricted meaning to the word, literature in the first part.
8. The Sub-Committee was required to classify forms into current and archaic. The currency or archaic character of any form is a question of fact, and facts are not altered by individual prejudices or predilections. In the majority report there is no discussion of facts. Both Mr. Venkataraya Sastriar and Mr. Lakshmana Row had, no doubt, opposed the second resolution; but I presume, Prof. Ranga Chariar hoped that the members of the Sub-Committee would loyally attempt to give effect to the 2nd resolution laying aside, for a moment, their allegiance to opinions to which they were committed in the past, or to their literary work which was moulded on those opinions. But it was only natural and right that the majority of the Sub-Committee gave expression and effect to their own convictions.
9. It was equally natural that they should cast about to find some justification for their procedure. They resorted to the expedient of reading the 4th resolution into the 3rd resolution, and so reading, they hoped to be absolved from all obligation to admit into their classification polite spoken forms which do not conform to ‘accepted grammar.’
10. The third resolution clearly defined the scope of the Sub Committee’s work which was to “prepare a list of archaic and current forms” in accordance with the second resolution and there is no mention in it of the 4th resolution. The 4th resolution was brought up after the 3rd resolution had passed, and if the former were meant to regulate the classification set forth in the 2nd resolution, Prof. Ranga Chariar, who moved the 4th resolution, would have introduced into it a clause to that effect. As I can understand it, the 4th resolution has application only to slang and other similar forms; that is, to non-polite forms which may be described by the Sanskrit word అసభ్య. If, on the other hand, it was meant to exclude all forms except Mr. Lakshmana Rao’s ‘grammatical forms,’ then the 2nd clause of Prof. Ranga Chariar’s amendment to the 2nd resolution would be purposeless.
But as I have shown above, the meaning of the 2nd resolution is abundantly clear, and any attempt to get round it must fail. The form ‘వస్తాడు’ which Prof. Ranga Chariar instanced as an admissible polite form stares the majority of the Sub-Committee in the face and there is no escaping it.
11. The report of the majority of the Sub-Committee is vague. It does not formulate or discuss a body of principles to govern the classification of forms. I asked them to define the terms current and archaic. Mr. Lakshmana Row showed a disinclination to commit himself to definitions. I then handed in a slip of paper with the following question engrossed upon it.
“What is the meaning of the words current and archaic when applied to the literary dialect?”
Mr. Lakshmana Row told me that his report answered my question.
12. In the report there is no attempt at definition; nor can we gather from it in what sense the writers used the terms current and archaic. They have, however, defined spoken language. “By the spoken language the Sub-Committee understand the deliberate speech of the educated classes of the higher order of society, in the Telugu Country as a whole, and not the speech either confined to any particular area or to particular clan or tribe”.
13. ‘Telugu Country as a whole’ is another instance of the majority bringing up a lost point. When Prof. Rangachariar proposed his amendment to the 2nd resolution, Mr. Ramayya Pantulu suggested the addition of the words “in the whole of the Telugu Country” or words of similar import. Prof. Rangachariar declined to accept the suggestion. But that lost suggestion was to govern the classification of forms in these lists.
14. The majority claim to have striven to “establish harmony between the spoken and written languages”. To establish harmony is a convenient metaphor but it is not very informing. Whatever it may mean, this harmony has been attained here by strongly circumvallating the literary dialect. 15. In the past, non-literary forms used to attain affiliation from time to time though very sparingly. The process was due in some cases, to the inadvertent blunders of old poets; but more often, it was due to the conscious sanction of writers whom metrical exigencies drove to violation of precedent. Later grammarians and rhetoricians accepted those blunders and violations as authoritative precedents. But this process is now to cease at the bidding of the majority. Their report says, “any further attempt to introduce spoken forms into the literary dialect will certainly hinder the growth of a dignified healthy prose literature”. The word further may seem to imply that the Sub-Committee propose to give the literary dialect a fresh accession of non-literary spoken forms to any appreciable extent. But an examination of the lists shows that only one solitary ‘ungrammatical form’ has struggled into the sacred precincts. It is the emphatic particle ఏ (e) followed by the affirmative particle ను (nu) in the case of two demonstrative pronouns వాడేనా (vadena = Is it really he?) వీడేనా (videna = Is it really this man?) This use of the particle ‘nu’ is not recognised by traditional grammar. The corresponding literary forms would be వాడేయా (vadeya) and వీడేయా (videya). Considering that the difference between the two pairs of forms is confined to a single letter, the concession is wondrous small; and I fail to understand why for its sake an important rule of grammar of the literary dialect should have been violated.
16. Let us try to realize what exactly is this spoken language with which the majority of the Sub-Committee have shown a solicitude to harmonize the literary dialect-this spoken language which is used in the Telugu Country as a whole and is not the speech either confined to any particular area or to particular clan or tribe. Here Mr. Lakshmana Row’s memorandum must again come to our help. It says, “the contention that all the gramya (nongrammatical, dialectal and slang) forms are to be found current in every part of the country seems to be a gross exaggeration. I doubt if more than half a dozen common forms, foreign to grammar, could be thus collected”. So the spoken language of Mr. Lakshmana Row resolves itself into half a dozen forms or so. Even on this limited field, Mr. Lakshmna Row does not feel on firm ground. For, he opines that, “until a linguistic survey is undertaken and completed we shall have no reliable data to arrive at a conclusion as to the universal existence of any forms.”
17. It may be pertinently asked how did Mr. Lakshmana Row manage to fill column current in his lists with more than two hundred forms when he did not feel sure what forms were really universally current in the Telugu Country? Mr. Lakshmana Row has kept us in the dark as to the process by which he determined the universal currency of his current forms: particularly of the two ungrammatical forms above quoted and of four individual nonliterary words which he has admitted into his current lists, namely
ఎనిమిది మంది, తొమ్మిది మంది, తొమ్మండుగురు, తోవ.
One important grammarian Mr. Arden who treated also the dialectal variations of the Ceded Districts does not include the first two among current forms; on the other hand, he lays down a principle according to which they would be incorrect even in spoken speech: “Masculine and feminine cardinals use a different form from the neuter cardinals; but in common conversation these forms are only used as far as the number nine. After the number nine the masculine and feminine cardinals are expressed by the neuter cardinal forms with the word మంది persons added to them”.
18. The forms ఎనిమిది మంది and తొమ్మిది మంది are not generally current in this part of the country. I have not met with them in current literature, not even in the literature written in Modern Telugu. So Mr. Lakshmana Row’s condition of affiliation fails in respect of forms which he himself has countenanced. 19. Cuffency in every part of the country and in every section of the community is a utopian standard which brings a smile to one’s lips. Its utter impracticability is amusing enough; but the test of exceptional currency comes with a bad grace from persons who are wholly in favour of literary forms which have no living cuency and which have to be learnt with conscious effort. They are so remote from life on account of their archaism and artificiality that they produce a comic effect when imparted into actual speech.
20. If there are any grammatical forms which have a wide cuency in the Telugu country, I may say, almost universal cuffency, it is the verbal forms in which the conjunct consonant స్త్ (st) occurs, of which వస్తాడు (vastadu) is a typical example. Even according to his own principles of standardization which are not, however, laid down with much clearness or consistency, Mr. Lakshmana Row should have admitted them into his lists. In the absence of a linguistic survey we are not altogether helpless in determining questions of general currency. Modern conditions of life have set on foot migrations on an unprecedented scale. Courts, schools, colleges and offices are places where local peculiarities of speech of different districts and different sections of society are represented. The Railway is a School of dialects. The serious student of language does not lack opportunities of investigating dialectal variations. There is also an abundance of recorded evidence of the speech of various districts. To show their ubiquity I quote verbal forms in స్త్ (st) picked up at random from my own collection of books and manuscripts.(i) In 1868 Major T. G. M. Lane, Telugu Translator to the Government of Madras, published by order of the Secretary of State for India, ‘A collection of official documents in the Telugu Language consisting of Urjees and other papers filed in Courts of Justice for the use of candidates for the Indian Civil Service’; from every district of the Presidency except Ganjam and Kurnool.
A table should appear at this position in the text.
See Help:Table for formatting instructions.
(ii) At one time translations of acts in the Fort St. George Gazette were in Modern Telugu. In the translation of the Indian Limitation Act. No. XV of 1877, the form (Vyapistunnadi) appears in the table of contents from the body of the translation I pick up at random the following forms.
The late Puvvada Venkatarao, an enterprising publisher, compiled a book containing Madras Act No. I of 1889 and allied regulations and rules. I quote the following forms from the sixth edition (1890) 1264 Minute of Dissent (iii) Christian Literature
- 1) Four story books published form 1874 to 1877 A.D. I quote one form from each.
- 2) Similarly from Twelve story and tract books published from 1872-78. ‘ g ,
- 3) Twelve letters of a Hindu Convert (1880) ),
- 4) The Jewel Mine of Salvation (1873) To , .
- 5) Phulmani and Karuna (1881). Page 89 en1j, eij, Page 93 Ô?j, i.
- 6) Come to Jesus (1855) ,
- 7) Hymns arranged in metres (1849) s,
- 8) Treasures of the Spirit (1887) ,
- 9) The barren fig tree (1880)
- 10) Jessica’s first prayer (1879)
- 11) (The Habits of animals) (1855) sS:
- 12) On bathing (1877)
- 13) The turban with a border of gold (1879)
- 14) On famine 2d), c g, ‘D5’ g- , eJe g)), :S:S, S oc
- 15) The story of the pink chaddar by A.L.O.E.
- 16) Wreath of stories by A.L.O.E. () , , ) 25), 8:), o)J.
- 17) History of the true incarnation ;se:),
- 18) A Dialogue on Salvation
- 19) Polycorp, a witness ‘
III. (a) My collection contains three old translations of the Bible. The oldest is an odd volume of the New Testament without title page. 2en ?c, J’ )e 5d), 5&, 2.
The second is a translation of 1881. cJ° S C, G’O je, , ,
The third is the translation of 1890. , , , L,5g3°
IV. The leading periodicals are admitting into their columns contributions in Modern Telugu and the lead in this respect is taken by the Krishna Patrika which publishes every week racy paragraphs on current topics in Modern Telugu.
- 1) Vivekavalli (Chicacole), December 1912. id.
- 2) Desamata (Rajahmundry), 5th November 1913. 2’
- 3) Krishna Patrika (Masulipatam), 1st Nov. 1913. ,
- 4) The Gnanodaya (Masulipatam), 1st Oct. 1912.
- 5) Andhra Bharati (Masulipatam), September 1912.
- 6) Hindujana Samskarini, the journal of the Sadharana Brahma Samaj. The following forms appear in the summary news of the last month (June 1891) &S, &j,
V. The literature which has the widest circulation among the people, far wider than any literature in the Poetic dialect consists of tales, stories, ballads, songs, etc.
- 1) Chardervish by Yerramilli Mallikarjunakavi which went through many editions from 1863 to 1912. 1•
- 2) Rechukka and Pagatichukka. o.
- 3) Sukasaptati
- 4) Kasimajililu. , , , , oS.
b) Ballads and songs of ladies.
- 1) Kuchhala katha Ij(Th,
- 2) The Ellore collection of women’s songs, 2 volumes.
c) Ballads of wandering Minstrels.
- 1) The Siege of Bobbili. A bazaar edition of February 1910. pages 4 & 5 ,
- 2) The Siege of Bobbili, a manuscript copy in my own collection. In 2 pages are found. &.
- 3) The story of Balana gamma. In two pages are found. g, ,
- 4) The story of Rama by Parvati Vardhana and Annapurna. e)cJ, OOCOd.
- 5) Palnati Veeracharita; a manuscript in my own collection. 5
VI. Mackenzie collections and other local records.
- 1) The chronicle of Kondavidu. In one short page. ,
- 2) The chronicle of Barabatti in the Cuttuck Province. In one page is 5yz2:S.
- 3) Mackenzie collections, Local records vol.4. The History of the Pusapaties. oSij,
- 4) The Kayfiyat of Kokata in the Ceded Districts.
- 5) The Kayfiyat of Srikakulam in the Krishna District W, o,
- 6) The annals of Handeh Anantapuram in the Anantapur District published by C.P. Brown. In one page. on’, , oe5
VII. 1) Dramatic Literature. Modern Telugu enters into many dramas. In this respect Rao Bahadur K. Veerasalingam Pantulu Garu takes the lead. Modern Telugu enters largely into the first three volumes of his collected works. I cull the following forms from the speech of Brahmin Pandits in the orginal drama Brahma Vivahamu Vol.2. 3d), ) &)O, iL).
The play bristles with such forms.
- 2) Mr. J. Hanumanta Rao’s Susena Vijayamu. o)_, ,
- 3) Mr. R. V. Subbarao’s Varasulkam e’
- 4) Ushaparinayamu by Dronamraju Sita Ramarao of Raj ahmundry. :)s).
- 5) Rukmangada by Mr. N. Suryanarayanaswamy.
- 6) Kulasekaracharitramu by Arya Somayajulu Lakshmi Narayana Sastri Garu.
- 7) Suniti Devi Charitramu by Valluri Bapiraju Pantulu Garu.
- 8) Vidhileka Vidyudu by Mr.V. Venkatachala Ayya. o5o. For forms in (st) in the dialects of the lower classes and in Musselman Telugu see the last mentioned play, Prataparudri yam of Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastry and Bobbili yuddhanatakamu of Mr. Sripada Krishnamurty.
- 9) Apavadatarangini by the Zamindar of Polavaram. In one page.
- 10) Palleturla Pattudalalu by Tirupati Venkatakavulu ,
- 11) Tahasildar Vesya Prahasanamu by Mr. B. Surayya. In one page
Vemana’s Verses. Book 2 verse 43 C.P.Brown’s Edition. Kuchimanchi Jag gakavi-Chandrarekha Vilapamu. , Venugopala Satakamu o), •
VIII School Books and Books of General Interest
- 1) Telugu first book of the Christian Vernacular Educational Society for India 1876, 9th Edition 5000 copies. Total Copies 35,000.
- 2) Geography of the world - by Mr. George Beer (1852). M, e&.
- 3) The habits of animals (1855). ,
- 4) First standard Arithmetic. C.V.S. (1876).
- 5) Arithmetic (1848). im , ,
- 6) The English Instructor No.1. For the use of English schools in the Telugu country. o),
- 7) First lessons in Telugu by Col. Rogers. The text rendered into Telugu from the Tamil Kathamanjari by Maddali Lakshmi Narasayya Pantulu, (1880) (In half a page.) ,
- 8) New Testament stories.
- 9) Kasiyatra charitra by Yenugula Veeraswamy. (In two pages.)
- 10) Brown’s Telugu Reader. S2L). 1272 Minute of Dissent
- 11) Morris Telugu Selections. In one page , (thrice) -
- 12) Ramadas Bandikhana. ge3 . 8z—D
IX Old Manuscripts
- 1. Telugu commentary on Andhra Sabda Chintamani - a standard grammar (from Mr. B. Seshagiri Rao’s collection) ij, fj
- 2. (Prose), Southern Vishnava Literary Telugu.
- 3. Rangarat chandamu, a standard work on prosody.
- 4. A commentary on Raghava Pandaviyam
X Proverbs Most of those proverbs are taken from “A collection of Telugu Proverbs”, by Captain M.W.Carr (1868).
XI. Linguistic survey of India IV.
- 1) From the specimen of Telugu standard dialect (p.590)
- 2) Kamathi Dialect (Bombay and its neighbourhood), P.596
- 3) Dasari Dialect - . p.600
- 4) Beradi Dialect (Belgaum) &. p.602. ,
XII. a) The following forms are quoted from letters written to a pleader in Gooti by clients residing in various surrounding villages.
- b) From similar letters addressed to a pleader of the district court of Kurnool. , oij,
- c) From letters addressed by parties residing in the Ceded districts to persons residing in Anantapore.
21. There are two classes of forms in St. The most numerous are the present participle forms in-tu to which the personal terminations are added. In others the past particle-ti coalesces with the final consonant of a verbal theme. The great frequency of forms with St is due to the very large proportion in the language of Sanskrit verbs which take the formative All the grammars which deal with the living vernacular treat of these forms.
- 1) W. Brown’s grammar (1817) p.80
- 2) Campbell’s grammar (second edition 1820). It was published by the Government who purchased the copy-right of the work from the author. Campbell gives the literary and modern forms side by side (p.98 and pp 11 to 12)
- 3) Grammar of the Telugu Language by C.P. Brown, (second edition 1857 p. 86, pp. 124-134,149, 158 & 159)
- 4) Morris’ grammar of the Telugu language (Trubner’s simplified grammars edited by Rost 1890 pp.64., 75, 89, 91)
- 5) Rev. A. Ricoaz. An abridgement of the Telugu grammar for the use of schools (1869) pp.4.6-54)
- 6) A short grammar of the Telugu language Maddali Lakshmi Narasayya, 1870, Madras Civil Engineering College papers (pp. 30-41)
- 7) Caldwell’s comparative grammar of the Dravidian languages. (Second edition p.396)
- 8) Linguistic survey of India Vol.IV Drs. Grierson and Sten Konow (p.589)
- 9) Telugu philology by the late Prof. Seshagiri Sastri, verbs p.32.
22. The present participle in tu or utu has a very respectable pedigree. It has its sisters in the oldest cultivated Dravidian languages in (1) utu and nine variants of it in old Canarese, of which Mr. Kittel considers utu as the primitive form (vide Kittel’s grammar, page 109 para 173), and (2) in Tamil ttu the suffix of the adverbial participle (strong form). A present participial particle t or its voiced form d is found in several Dravidian languages pointing to its probable existence in the parent Dravidian. It is possible that in Telugu the current particle tu and the archaic particle chu or more correctly tsu, belonged to different dialects and had independent existence. The statement often made by writers of the Old school that cuffent forms are corruptions of literary forms is unsupported. In Tamil and Malayalam the particles tt and chch live side by side in the high and lower dialects. Dr. Grierson says, “In Vulgar Tamil and in Malayalam chch almost always coffesponds to tt in high Tamil after i and ei” (Lingustic survey Vol. IV p. 289). In another place “Tamil has ndu or ttu vulgarly pronounced chchu” (Ibid p.296). If so-called vulgar forms are to be considered corruptions of literary forms and as being “irregular forms of expression which are either the result of the violations of accepted rules of grammar or are produced by means of contractions or other modifications due to hurry, indifference and ignorance’’ then from the evidence of Tamil which had the least contact with NonDravidian languages, forms with chu or tsu must be considered corruptions of forms with tu (vide Caldwell’s grammar p.3 82).
23. The late Professor Seshagiri Sastri of the Presidency College, Madras gave a higher status to forms with tu than to forms with tsu. I give below a translation of his remarks in this connection.
“The ancient present tense forms were considered as gramya (non-literary or vulgar) even in the time of Nannayabhatta and others, and were rejected. But a comparison with the corresponding verbal forms in Canarese, Tamil and Malayalam will show that these alone are suddha forms (i.e. correct, or in conformity with the genius of the Dravidian languages) Vide page 32 Telugu philology. (Verbs)
24. In Telugu the participle in tu or utu is much older than the earliest grammar of the poetic dialect which was compiled by Ketana in the latter part of the 13th or the early part of the 14d century. In the Nellore inscriptions published by Mr. Butterworth, the first instance of a verbal form with St occurs in an inscription of 1208 A.D
(Ongole No.76 p.1035). Finite verbs do not occur with frequency in lithic records and where they occur, they are generally past forms of the donative verb or and st occurs in the first personal forms. Of the dated Nellore inscriptions of the 13th century 20 use first personal past forms of or Of these 15 use the form istimi. Five use other verbal forms with St. A. D. 1246-7 Atmakur No. 7 p. 208 oa 1252-3 Udayagiri No. 48 p.1396. t 1272-3 Nellore No. 25 p. 787. rdTh 1275-6 Atmakur No. 29 p. 240. -- Ongole No. 131 p. 1120.
The inscriptions in which st occurs are distributed as shown below:
Atmakur 4 Darsi 2 Kandukur 7 Nellore 1 Ongole 4 Rapur 1 Udayagiri 1
25. The literary form aDc orza occurs in 7 inscriptions only, that is, one literary form occurs for about 3 forms in St. It is curious to note that of the 7 inscriptions in which the literary form occurs, five come from the same locality, Ongole.
26. Only seven inscriptions of the twelth century use the donative verb in the first person, and all the seven use the literary form. It should be noted, however, that four of these come again from Ongole.
27. No.48 of Udayagiri dated in 1252-3 (pp.l394.-96) has a peculiar interest. It is an inscription of Siddaya, an uncle of the poet Tikkana, the translator of the Mahabharata; and the name Tikkana also appears in it. This Tikkana was either the poet himself, or more probably, his cousin Tikkana, son of Siddanna. The inscription is in fairly conect literary dialect, but spoken forms crop up here and there, and the verbal form j which occurs in the imprecative part of the inscription, shows that forms with St had an extensive polite currency at the period.
28. Mr. Butterworth placed students of Telugu under great obligations by the publication of the Nellore inscriptions which are invaluable for a historical study of the language. Inscriptions of other districts are not available for ready reference like Mr. Butterworth’s volumes. I, therefore, quote a few forms in St which I could readily pick up from my own collection of estampages and transcripts, and from my notes.
- 1) An inscription of the time of Prataparudra, undated:
- 2) An inscription dated in Saka 1231 from Nandalur:
- 3) An inscription from Srikakulum in the Krishna District, of Krishna Raya, of Saka 1440:
- 4) An inscription from Srikakulam in the Krishna District, of Saka 1010: 1.
- 5) An inscription from Srikakulam in the Krishna District, of Saka 1324:
- 6) An inscription from Tadepalli of Saka 1312:
- 7) An inscription from Tadepalli undated:
- 8) An inscription from Gangavaram undated:
- 9) From Anaparti. Inscription of Ravu Telugu Rayalumgaru:
- 10) From Draksharama. A private grant in the cyclic year The Saka year was not quoted. This inscription was engrossed by Peddanacharya.
The engrosser of the next inscription in my list which is dated in the cyclic year corresponding to the Saka year 1083, is also of Peddannacharya. So the undated grant 10 in this list may belong to Saka 1084 as the cyclic year follows
VIZAG PATAM DISTRICT
- 11) From Simhachellam. An inscription of Saka 1203 of Narasimha II of Cuttack
- 12) -do- A private grant dated in Saka, 1343.
THE PECULIAR INTEREST OF PAST FORMS IN St.
29. The past first personal form istimi must have been in general currency for centuries before it could have entered into inscriptions found in localities so distant from each other as Simhachellam and Nellore. It has gone out of general currency in the Circars and, I am informed, also in Nellore. The past forms in Sti persist on the Tamil borders and probably on the Canarese borders also. In the Circars the forms Istimi and Divistimi are found fossilised in benedictory and donative formulae. Divistimi (we bless you) occurs in letters written by elders to youngers, and istimi (we have given) in gift deeds. The form istini is employed by girls when distributing condiments at puja. o5o oJ o)5o.
30. It is probable that these forms went out of general cuency in the Circars long ago, though how long ago it is not possible to determine. It is certain that in later inscriptions they appeared (as they appear now n letters and documents), as obsolete forms which kept up an artificial life in a written dialect after they had died out of living speech.
THE TRADITION OF AN IMMEMORIAL PROSE DIALECT
31. This written dialect was not the ‘kavya’ or poetical dialect. It was the dialect of prose and we have recorded evidence of its existence for at least seven centuries. It was a blend of obsolete and current forms. In inscriptions, the scribes freely employed spoken forms which did not conform to the usage of the poets. The feeling that such forms were vulgar or undignified, or out of place in prose composition was foreign to them. On the other hand, they must have felt that they contributed to the dignity of prose by employing obsolete forms like ఇస్తిమి which had once lived a vigorous life, and became obsolete without finding admission into the poetic dialect. The standing of these forms must have been very high to secure them an artificial cuency in old world prose, when they had died out of living speech.
32. Not only are verbal forms with tu and st most widely current, the corresponding literary forms with chu or tsu are not current in standard speech2, and linger only in the fast disappearing old pandits’ slang to which Brown refers in his grammar under Gramya or vulgar forms (Vide Brown’s Grammar, P. 358)
33. To summarise: The present participle in tu and the verbal forms with st fulfil conditions of affiliation which must satisfy the most exacting critic if only he concedes the principle of affiliation.
- 1. They have almost universal currency.
- 2. The corresponding literary forms have no currency.
- 3. They are as regularly formed as the corresponding literary forms.
- 4. They have recorded existence for seven centuries with certainty of long previous currency.
- 5. They can try conclusions with the corresponding literary forms in respect of antiquity and connections with polite forms in cognate languages.
- 6. Some of the forms with St died out of current speech and were felt to be so important as to retain a place to this day in the traditional prose dialect.
34. Yet these forms failed to find a place in the kavya dialect of the poets. Nor do they find a place in the Sub-Committee’s lists. Can there be a stronger proof of the tradition of grammatical fixity of the poetic dialect, or of the compelling influence which it exercised over the minds of Messrs. V. Venkataraya Sastry and K.V. Lakshmana Row when they prepared lists of current and archaic forms?
35. There are many other widely current, non-literary, spoken, grammatical forms which can be traced to hoary antiquity. I shall content myself with instancing a few typical forms.
36. Nouns ending in mu (ము) - Many nouns in the poetic dialect denoting non-rational beings, inanimate objects and abstract ideas, end in mu (ము). A large proportion of such forms are Sanskrit derivatives. In standard speech these nouns appear with a final anuswara in which form they are current in Nellore also.
37. It is doubtful if the sound corresponding to the symbol mu (ము) of the literary form, was ever widely current, or if the symbol correctly represented the modification which the anuswara sound underwent when Sanskrit and Prakrit neuter nouns were naturalised in Telugu.
38. Sanskrit neuter nouns in a (అ) take am (మ్) in the nominative case. In Prakrit this m is replaced by an anuswara (Vide Hemachandra’s Prakrit grammar, Sutra 13, Page 5, Appendix to Vol. IX, Bombay Sanskrit series; also Trivikrama’s Prakrita Sabdanusasanarn, sutra 40, page 13, Vizagapatam, Arsha Press edition). The same tendency is still prevalent in Telugu so that Telugu scribes replace the final rn ()of Sanskrit words by an anuswara at the end of metrical lines. This feature is found also in many Sanskrit books printed in Telugu type. Sanskrit words first came into Telugu from the vernacular Prakrits and the learned Sanskrit of the Prakrit-speaking Brahmans. It may, therefore, be presumed that Sanskrit neuter nouns in a () came into Telugu with a final anuswara as they are to-day in polite speech. When a u () was sometimes added to the anuswara in the process of naturalisation the resultant sound, represented a nasalised semi-vowel vu (). At the present day the symbol mu () represents a nasalised semivowel in such words asparnu () Chirna(73) and demudu () which are pronounced as pavu, Chiva, devudu.
39. Whether or not the final mu () which Sanskritic neuter nouns take in the literary dialect correctly represented a speech- sound which really existed in the past, the spoken form with an anuswara has claims to be considered at least as ancient as the form in mu (). This view receives support from the fact that according to grammarians, ancient Canarese neuter nouns in a () took an anuswara in the nominative.
40. The Conjunctions ci and (yun and nun). The conjunctions c5 and of the literary dialect, are no longer in use in living speech. In Modern Telugu the lengthening of the final vowel of a word gives a copulative sense. Sometimes a or is added to the final long vowel. and cD are also used as conjunctional post-positions, generally in writing.
41. In Parent Dravidian the copulative post-position was probably urn or un which took an initial semi vowel in combination (Tamil G Canarese o, Telugu In Modern Canarese a change has come over the particle similar to the change in Telugu and takes the place of o. (Ex. Telugu Canarese , The Canarese modern form was standardised and it was accepted by the Canarese Composition Committee. Vide page 3 of the report.
42. In Appendix A, I gave a list of nouns with a final anuswara and modern conjunctional forms from old inscriptions. Neither of these appear in the Sub-Committee’s lists.
43. I hope I have proved conclusively that currency in the living vernacular, however wide, or however long, did not really influence as a principle the classification of forms by the SubCommittee. The words current and archaic, no doubt occur as column headings in the statements. The current column is full of archaic forms and such of the forms as happen to be current, or very similar to cuffent forms, are such as are common to the literary and spoken dialects.
ELEMENT COMMON TO THE POETIC AND SPOKEN DIALECTS
44. There was never any trouble or difference of opinion about the use in composition of words and forms which are common to the poetic and spoken dialects, and a recommendation to use them was hardly necessary, and was not a concession to Modern Telugu. By filling the current column with such forms, the Sub-Committee hoped to create the impression that they had affiliated a large number of non-literary spoken forms. But the Sub-Committee did not include in the lists, as they were required to do, polite spoken forms corresponding to the archaic forms irrespective of their use in literature. Mr. Venkataraya Sastry explained to me that he did not use the terms archaic and current in their normal sense. Archaic meant for him, forms whose employment in prose, the SubCommittee disapproved, and cuffent meant forms whose use they approved. Out of about 256 individual forms given in the list as current, more than half are archaic and the rest with one or two exceptions are sanctioned by “traditional grammar.’
45. The loose use of the words archaic and current in the discussions and the resolutions of the various committees, and the absence of scientific method in classification have introduced much confusion into their proceedings.
CURRENT AND ARCHAIC
46. Current means what is current in speech, be it a standard dialect or a local or class dialect, and Archaic means what has passed out of such currency. These terms were not used in this sense in the proceedings of the Composition Committees. Consequently, the wording of their resolutions and recommendations is highly misleading.
47. The technical terms current and archaic should, on no account, have been used divorced from their normal English signification. More specific terms should have been employed to indicate any kind of usage, however wide, other than in actual speech.
48. When using the term current, the Tamil Committee’s report does not indicate a standard speech or any local dialect with reference to which, currency was determined. No doubt, the expression standard speech occurs in the table of contents of Mr. Subbiah’s note, but a perusal of the paragraph devoted to the discussion of dialects in that note, leaves the impression that in Tamil there is no standard speech but only a babel of unimportant local dialects.
49. Similarly in their report, the majority of the Telugu SubCommittee discourse on currency without feeling it incumbent upon them to indicate the spoken dialect in respect of which such cuency was to be understood. The denial of a polite standard speech is an important article of faith of the Old school. The SubCommittee opine that, “the proposal of some that the dialects of the Krishna and Godavari districts be imposed as standard language on the other parts of the Telugu Country is unsound in principle and will prove most mischievous in practice”. The majority of the Sub-Committee have thus cut the ground from under their own feet. Under the circumstances, they had no right to discuss current forms or to undertake the classification required by the second resolution.
50. The Old school labour under a misconception that no spoken dialect should be considered as a standard, unless it be uniform throughout the whole of the country in which the language is spoken. Even in countries like England where ideal conditions conducive to uniformity prevail, polite speech presents marked variations.
51. In his Primer of Spoken English, Sweet said, “All I can do is to record those facts which are accessible to me, to describe that variety of spoken English of which I have a personal knowledge, that is, the educated speech of London and the district round it, the original home of standard English both in its spoken and literary forms. That literary English is the London dialect pure and simple, has now been proved beyond a doubt by the investigations of the German Morsback... But the unity of spoken English is still imperfect. It is still liable to be influenced by the local dialects in London itself by the Cockney dialect, in Edinburgh by the Lothian and Scotch dialects and so on. (pages v & vi)
52. Again in his Sounds of spoken English, “A standard spoken language is, strictly speaking, an abstraction. No two speakers of standard English pronounce exactly alike. And yet they all have something in common in almost every sound they utter.’ (page 8)
53. In some countries of Europe conditions of standard speech prevail, compared to which, the conditions of Telugu in respect of uniformity may be considered ideal. Darmester says in his Historical French Grammar, “and yet in spite of the triumph of the absolute monarchy and of three centuries of general and local administration in which the language of Paris alone was used and in spite of the rise of the marvellous literature which has given to French an unrivalled position in the eyes of the world, the language has not yet achieved the conquest of the whole land. At the present day, Provencal in the cities of the south and local Patois in the greater part of the country districts belonging to the Langue d’oui, are still spoken side by side with French; in the country districts of the south the peasants hardly know any other speech but their Patois; the Basque region and lower Britanny have been hardly affected at all by French.” (page 36)
STANDARD SPOKEN TELUGU
54. What the Sub-Committee condemns as unsound in principle, the imposition of the dialect of one part of a country on the other parts as the standard language, is exactly the process which occurred in the formation of standard speech at every turn in linguistic history. Everywhere the speech of courts and of centres of learning displaced its neighbours less favourably situated and developed into a standard language.
55. There is little doubt that the same process occurred also in the Telugu country in the distant past. Whatever the old school may say to the contrary, eminent scholars and the people of the Telugu country are agreed that there is a dialect which is acknowledged as the standard. It is no other than the Telugu of the Krishna and the Godavari Districts. 56. Vegi, near Ellore, in the Krishna district, and Rajahmundry in the Godavari district were for many centuries, the capitals of the powerful Andhra kingdom of Vengi at whose court Telugu was first cultivated. Under the Eastern Chalukyas, the dominions of the kings of Vengi included the greater part of the Vizagapatam district and extended in the south-west into the Nellore district. The inland parts of the Telugu country were absorbed during this period by the kingdoms of Dravida, Karnata, or Maharastra.
57. The first eminent Telugu poet whose work is extant, the poet whose language set the standard for the literary dialect in after-times, lived at the court of king Raja Raja of Rajahmundry and was an old resident of the capital. He claims to belong to a Brahman family which was attached to the royal house for generations.
58. Historical conditions point to but one conclusion that the Chalukyan court at Rajahmundry set the standard both for speech and for literature, and that the influence of that standard extended to the utmost limits of the kingdom of Vengi. Beyond it, the standard was carried by the influence of court-poets and pandits -- literary dictators whose rule was not circumscribed by the narrow limits of a kingdom. To this day Rajahmundry maintains its pre-eminence in literary activity.
59. There is overwhelming evidence to prove that a standard speech exists in Telugu and that it is no other than the polite speech of the Godavari and Krishna districts.
In Vol. IV of the Linguistic Survey of India for which Drs. Grierson and Sten Konow, and the late Rao Bahadur V.Venkayya were responsible, the Telugu of the Northern Circars is treated as standard Telugu.
“The dialect spoken in the Northern Circars is usually considered, the purest form of the language.” (Vide p.ST7). Speaking of Telugu dialects in Northern India, Dr. Grierson says, “In reality the differences in phonology and inflexional system is so unimportant that those local forms scarcely deserve the name of a dialect”. (page 577) If the varieties of Telugu spoken by the Telugus settled in different parts of Northern India, do not deserve to be distinguished as dialects, there is little sense in dividing polite speech into dialects by towns and districts as Vizagapatam dialect, Rajahmundry dialect and so forth. If the Komatu dialect, of which a specimen is given at page 595, does not deserve to be distinguished as a dialect, because it does not differ from the ‘ordinary’ standard Telugu, the polite speech of even border districts does not deserve that designation, and the fact will have to be recognised that standard Telugu is remarkably uniform. (Vide Linguistic Survey Vol. IV-page 594)
In his grammar of Telugu (1817) Mr. William Brown says, “The Gentoos spoken by the higher classes in the Northern Circars, particularly the better educated of the Rajah caste in the Vizagapatam province (a race of men distinguished for the elegance of their manners and a high sense of honour) may be considered the most refined and perhaps, the most perfect Gentoos spoken at the present day.” (preface page ii) He advised European students of Telugu to select a tutor from “some district north of the river Krishna.” (Vide preface p. xiv).
In his Telugu Grammar Mr. Arden says, “The Telugu spoken in the Krishna and Godavari districts, which is the purest and most largely used, has been taken as the standard, and the principal differences, met with in the Cuddapah district have been pointed out and explained.., as colloquial dialects of Telugu slightly differ, the book has been affanged to suit, as far as possible, all dialects.” (preface, page vi)
60. Similar testimony comes from a writer whom the Old school have, for sometime, constituted their high-priest. (By Old school, I mean Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu and his friends and not real orthodoxy).
Rao Bahadur K. Veerasalingam Pantulu Garu says in the preface to the revised edition of Brown’s Dictionary “It (Telugu) is spoken and written in its purity along the coast-strip between Nellore and Vizagapatam and in the four districts of the Madras Presidency included with in those limits.” (Brown’s Telugu-English Dictionary, revised edition, introduction p.iv).
61. In deriving the word Telugu from Trilinga, Telugu grammarians gave Srisaila in the Kurnool district and Draksharama in the Godavari district, as the western and the eastern limits respectively of the Telugu country, which again bears testimony to the importance of Krishna and Godavari Telugu. (Vide Ahobala Panditiyamu, Ellore edition, Volume I, page 140).
UNIFORMITY OF STANDARD TELUGU
62. The remarkable uniformity of Standard Telugu is due to physical, social and historical conditions. The Northern districts are isolated on one side by mountain ranges inhabited by uncivilised tribes, and on the other by the sea. The Brahmans who were repositories of culture and the creators of polite speech were constantly at requisition at the courts of kings and chiefs, and everywhere at ceremonials where sumptuous feeding and largess could be had. The proverb went, that a king was respected only in his kingdom, but a scholar everywhere. We learn from inscriptions that, when large agraha rams were granted to Brahmans, Scholars from far and near were invited to settle in them. Brahman families were constantly moving about the country, their objective generally being localities which offered facilities for betterment. A cursory examination of brahman family names which, in most cases, are names of villages in which the families once lived, will show the extent of their migrations. The Brahman created the standard at the capital, and carried it everywhere. The warrior castes were no less restless than the priestly caste. Endogamous castes and sects spread over the whole country were a strong unifying factor. Frequent famines also must have set on foot migrations on a large scale. This state of flux of the higher classes gave their language uniformity. The conservative character of the people and their constitutional respect for authority, left little room for development of individuality which is at the root of all change. (Vide Sayces Introduction to the Science of Language . Vol.1, p.200).
63. Under the British rule more potent causes for the spread of the Standard Speech have come into operation which it is needless to detail. The home of Standard Speech has not merely retained its importance under modern conditions but has shot into the first rank among the districts of India in respect of the material prosperity and educational and literary activity. The Godavary and Kistna (Krishna) deltas are among the richest districts of the world. The great rivers, the sea, and the mountain ranges offer infinite possibilities of development. The East Coast is also studded with important zamindaris which have always been centres of ancient learning.
64. There is far greater uniformity in Telugu than in the principal North Indian Languages. Dr. Grierson remarks that the modern languages of Northern India are said to change every twenty miles. (Vide Linguistic Survey, Volume V, page 3). Local variations in Bengali are very great. They must have been equally so in ancient times. Later Prakrit grammarians speak of a Gaudi and a Dhakki as Prakrit dialects of the day. And yet the nineteenth century witnessed the elevation of the dialect of Calcutta into the literary language of Bengal and it has already a great literature to its credit. Dr. Grierson says, “Literary Bengali, as now known, is the product of the present century. Its direct cultivators are Calcutta Pandits.”
65. In ancient India, local variations, however great, did not prove a bar to the literary cultivation of important dialects. Like any modern scientific student of language, Vamana and Jayaditya discourse in Kasika of variations of speech from man to man, house to house, and district to district, and according to the mood of the moment.
So S?o So S8o g (Vide page 15 Kasika, Benares Edition)
In spite of this dictum, the Prakrits developed extensive literatures and were recognised by grammarians, as did the principal modern languages of Northern India.
66. Scholars are agreed that the Telugu of the East Coast districts is the standard. Currency, must therefore, be determined with reference to it. This does not, however, mean that important local variations of other districts should not receive recognition in literary composition. Such variations are not really a handicap but a distinct gain. “Unity in variety-this is life; unity without variety- this is death. Therefore dialects should be allowed to live.” (Gouin, “The Art of Teaching and Studying Languages” page 386).
MISUSE OF TERMS
67. Before proceeding to a discussion of the Sub-committee’s lists, it is necessary to clear the ground by an approximate definition of certain terms whose misuse by writers of the Old school has tended to cloud the issues. Chief among these terms is ‘grammar’. A misconception of the nature and functions of grammar pervades the discussions of the Committees, especially, of the Telugu Committee. Considering that any modern standard work on English grammar would furnish information on the subject, it is somewhat surprising that persons who claim to speak with authority on questions of language and literature, should ignore modern advance in grammatical studies. Sweet’s New English Grammar contains a very clear exposition of the nature and functions of grammar. “Grammar is generally used to imply a mainly practical analysis of one special language, in which study, general principles and theoretical explanations are subordinated to concise statements of facts, and definite rules.” (page 4).
“In considering the use of grammar as corrective of what are called ungrammatical expressions, it must be borne in mind that the rules of grammar have no value except as statements of facts; whatever is in general use in a language is for that very reason grammatically correct. A vulgarism and the corresponding standard or polite expression are equally grammatical each in its own sphere - if only they are in general use. But whenever usage is not fixed - whenever we hesitate between different ways of expression, or have to find a new way of expression then grammar comes in, and helps us to decide which expression is most in accordance with the genius of the language, least ambiguous, most concise, or in any other way better fitted to express what is required.” (Sweet’s New English grammar, part I, page 5).“We do not study grammar in order to get mastery over our own language, because in the nature of things we must have that mastery before we begin to study grammar at all, nor is grammar of much use in correcting vulgarisms, provincialisms and other linguistic defects, for these are more dependent on social influence at home and at school than grammatical training.” (Ibid PP 4 and 5).
TWO DIALECTS AND TWO GRAMMARS
68. There are two principal dialects in Telugu, one an archaic and artificial literary dialect and the other, the living polite dialect. The facts of the two dialects differ considerably and since grammar is a statement of facts, each dialect has a grammar of its own which takes account of its facts. The literary dialect acquired grammatical fixity centuries back. In other words it did not keep pace with the changes undergone by living speech. It is, therefore, a dead language and its facts are found in books. The facts of polite speech are in the mouths of the best society.
69. Some members of the Old school resent the application of the epithet dead to the poetic dialect; but the word is a technical term of the science of language, and conveys no offence. On the other hand, it is redolent of power, beauty and sanctity. When we mention Sanskrit, Pali and Persian, Hebrew and Arabic, and Greek and Latin, we have summarised the achievements of the ancient world. Some of these languages are said to exercise a living influence. Living influence is a metaphor and means influence felt at the present day. But such influence does not constitute them living languages. Genung explains the nature of a living language in the following paragraphs under “present usage”:-
“Under this head come the considerations that should influence the writer on account of the age of words in general, he should admit only words in good standard present usage. Language evinces its life as do all living things; by growth on the one hand, taking in and assimilating new expressions, as advancing thought or discovery or invention demands them; and on the other hand, by excretion, continually discarding old locutions for which there is no further use. It is this phenomenon of growth and the excretion that distinguishes a living language from a dead one; the latter kind, like Latin or Hebrew, can be added to mechanically, but it does not grow; nor on the other hand does it diminish, being fixed and crystallised in its existing literature. Because it is thus fixed it does not take hold as does a living language; the spirit has gone out of it, so that at best its life can be only galvanised life.’
“In a living language there are always many words on the frontiers of the too new or too old whose use is a matter of uncertainty and debate; and has to be determined by a general consensus of literary usage and authority, in which not only refined speech but the relative rank of authors has to be taken into account.” (Vide The Working principles of Rhetoric pp. 6 1-62)
70. Here it is necessary to invite attention to a fallacy, which vitiates the reasoning of many writers on the Telugu Controversy. They seek to apply to Telugu the principles of standard of usage laid down by English writers without necessary qualification. The usage of the best speakers and the best writers is the standard in English. It is so because the language of literature in English has kept pace with the changes undergone by standard speech, but did not acquire practical fixity like the ancient literary languages of the East. In other words in English there is nothing like the cleavage, which exists in Telugu between the spoken and the written idiom. Therefore in Telugu the usage of the great writers who wrote in the poetic dialect, can set the standard only for that dialect. On the other hand, for the new literature in Modern Telugu the usage of the best speakers alone can set the standard until a literature develops as in Modern Bengali. While laying stress on the usage of great writers as the standard of usage for Telugu, the Old school carefully avoid all reference to the other English standard of usage, namely, the usage of the best speakers.
71. Members of the old school generally treat Telugu as but one language with but one grammar which they call traditional grammar, accepted grammar or existing grammar. This belief is due to the domination of the influence of the old world pandit who refuses recognition to polite speech3. A vague idea seems to prevail that the grammar of the literary dialect has universal application to all dialects, whose usages are considered right or wrong according, as they conform or not, to its rules. This process is something like judging the correctness of Italian by the grammar of Latin, or of the Prakrits by Sanskrit grammar. I am afraid these new grammatical distinctions of traditional grammar, accepted grammar, and existing grammar are not used with any clearness of conception and are meant by their very vagueness, to create an impression that the grammar, which they connote, is fortified by ancient authority and modern acceptance. If by traditional grammar the Old school mean grammatical treatises of orthodox writers old and new, it would be only another instance of the irresponsible manner in which they set up as standard what is unscientific and unsound. Speaking of the Canarese grammar Sabdamanidarpana, Dr. Burnell made a reference to the short-comings of the Telugu grammarians. “The great and real merit of Sabdamanidarpana is that it bases the rules on independent research and the usage of writers of repute; in this way it is far ahead of the Telugu and Tamil treatises, which are much occupied with vain scholastic disputation.” The contrast between the method of Telugu grammarians and Canarese grammarians is put pointedly in Mr. Rice’s remarks on Bhattakalanka’s Canarese Sabdanusasana. “It is not an antique treatise dealing with archaisms and obsolete terms interesting as a literary monument though of little practical value, but has the advantage of treating the whole range of the language down to the modern period and its rules are such as apply to the present time.” (Vide page 4, Rice’s edition of Bhattakalanka’s Sabdanusasanam). In the preface to his Telugu philology, the late Professor Seshagiri Sastri made scathing condemnation of orthodox Telugu grammars. 72. And yet the following resolution (6) of 2 August last which was proposed by Mr. K.V. Lakshman Row and seconded by Mr. Jayanti Ramayya Pantulu pins its faith on Chinnaya Suns grammar.
“That under para 3 of the reference from the Syndicate No. 2873 dated the 18tI September 1911, this Committee is bound to proceed on the basis of the existing Telugu grammar, such as followed by standard grammarians like Chinnaya Sun and Sitaramacharlu and to consider in what respects, if any, the strict rules of that grammar may be departed from, in the interests of simplicity and clearness of expression.”
73. The wording of the resolution betrays a strange ignorance of the nature and functions of grammar. A good grammar is based on usage which a bad grammar cannot adequately represent. Until that usage changes grammar cannot change. To change the rules of grammar first and to seek to change usage in accordance with such change is an impossible process in respect of a living language and wanton vandalism in respect of a language that is dead.
74. Much of the inconsistency which characterises the pronouncements of the Old school is due to a vain attempt to treat a highly archaic and artificial literary dialect as a living tongue.
75. The confusion between the grammars of two dialects, one ancient, and the other modern, is apparent everywhere in the writings and pronouncements of the leaders of the Old school. Refeffing to my attitude in this controversy, Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu wrote as follows, in his pamphlet entitled “A defence of Literary Telugu” (which was reprinted by the University and circulated to the members of the Composition Committee). “As a member of Text-book Committee, Mr. Appa Row would approve books written in accordance with the rules of accepted usage and grammar as well as books which contravene those rules. In writing composition in the School-Final and Intermediate examination, he would leave the candidate’s choice either to conform or to violate the rules of grammar.” (Vide page 7).
76. In his memorandum on Telugu Prose, Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row recognises but one grammar, which he calls the traditional grammar. In the P7th paragraph he speaks of polite Telugu which he calls ‘gramyam’ as “non-grammatical, dialectal and slang.” Its forms are “foreign to grammar.” (Vide page 7). In para II he says that the new School of linguistic reform has no grammar of its own. Here he probably means a treatise on grammar. This statement is somewhat surprising when we consider that modern standard Telugu has received a more thorough and scientific treatment from modern scholars like Campbell, Caldwell and Sten Konow than the old poetic dialect did at the hands of orthodox grammarians.
77. While dividing polite speech into innumerable dialects, some writers of the Old school refuse to recognise, explicitly or by implication, the existence of two distinct dialects like an old literary and a modern spoken. Such of them as taken an extreme position are at least consistent when they speak of one grammar for Telugu, but Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu believes in different dialects and one grammar. At a conference of Pandits held in May 12tI in Madras which was organised by Mr. Ramayya Pantulu and his friends, a resolution was passed which stated that there were no essential differences between literary or grandhika Telugu and spoken or Vyavaharika Telugu. In a report of the pandits’ Conference which appeared in the Madras Times of 17d idem, a writer said, “The speakers were unanimous in declaring that there was no need for the reform as there was, strictly speaking, no such thing as spoken as different from written Telugu.” In a memorial to Government which Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu proposed for adoption at a meeting held in Madras for that purpose appears this somewhat startling statement. “The distinction between modern and old Telugu exists only in the imagination of reformers and is unintelligible to Telugu people. We have nothing in Telugu corresponding to old English. What they call Modern Telugu is nothing but the colloquial dialect.”
78. In his pamphlet Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu says, “The difference between the two dialects grammatically is no more than exists between the literary and the colloquial dialects generally.” But every student of the science of language knows that among conservative oriental peoples with an ancient civilisation, literary languages showed a tendency to acquire fixity, while the spoken languages changed, and as time went, widened the cleavage between the spoken and the written idiom. In his Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian languages Mr. Caldwell says, “It is a remarkable peculiarity of the Indian languages that, as soon as they begin to be cultivated, the literary style evinces a tendency to become a literary dialect distinct from the dialect of common life with a grammar and vocabulary of its own.” (page 81). This tendency has been noticed by eminent authorities on the science of language. But I shall content myself with quoting from Professor Whitney.
“Thus far in the history of the world, this kind of conservative influence has usually been active only within the limits of a class; a learned or priestly cast has become guardian of the national literature and the conservator of the tongue in which it was written; while to the masses of the people both have grown strange and unfamiliar. Deprived of the popular support, the cultivated dialect has at once begun to lose its vitality; for no language can remain alive which is not answering all the infinitely varied needs of a whole community, and adapting itself in every part to their changes; it is stinted of its natural and necessary growth when it is divorced from general use and made the exclusive property of a class. Thus there come to exist among the same people two separate tongues; the one, an inheritance from the past, becoming ever more stiff and constrained, and employable only for special uses; the other, the production of the present, growing constantly more unlike the other by the operation of the ordinary processes of linguistic change; full of inaccuracies and corruptions, if we choose to call them so, but also full of healthy and vigorous life, which enables it finally to over-throw and replace the learned dialects of which it is the offspring. Such has been the origin and such the fate of all the learned dialects which, in various parts of the world, have been preserved as ‘dead languages,’ for the purposes of learned communication, after losing their character as the vernacular speech of a community; for instance, the ancient Egyptian, long kept up for sacred uses, and written in the hieroglyphic signs, after both language and letters had in popular use taken on another form; the Zend, in the keeping of the ministers of Zoroaster’s doctrine; the Sanskrit, even yet taught in the Brahmanic schools of India, amid the Babel of modern dialects, its descendants; the Latin, the common language of the educated through all Europe, for centuries during which the later forms of Romanic speech, now the vehicles of a culture superior to that of Greece and Rome, were mere barbarous patois. Every dialect which is made the subject of literary culture is liable to the fate of the Latin; aristocracy and exclusiveness tend to final over throw, in language as in politics; the needs and interests of the many are more important than those of the few, and must in the end prevail. True Linguistic conservatism consists in establishing an educated and virtuous democracy, in enlisting the whole community, by a means of thorough and pervading education, in the proper and healthy preservation of the accepted usages of correct speech and then in letting whatever change must and will come, take its course. There is a purism which, while it seeks to maintain the integrity of language, in effect stifles its growth; to be too fearful of new words and phrases, new meanings, familiar and colloquial expressions, is little less fatal to the well-being of a spoken tongue than to rush into the opposite extreme. It is hardly needful to point out that these desirable conditions are much more nearly realised in the case of our modern cultivated and literary languages than in these of olden time, and that the former have, in all human probability, a destiny before them very different from that of the latter. In the present constitution of society, among the enlightened nations of Europe and America, the forces conservative of the general purity of language have attained a development and energy to which only a distant approach was made under the most favourable circumstances in ancient times. The conscious and reflective users of speech, the instructed and cultivated, the writers of their thoughts, have become everywhere a class powerful in numbers as well as dominant in influence. Education, no longer confined to the upper layer, more or less pervades the whole mass of the people. Books are in every one’s hands, assimilating and establishing the written and spoken usages of all. That form of the common speech in each country which has enlisted in its support the best minds, the sweetest and most sonorous tongues, is ever gaining ground upon the others, supplanting their usages, and promising to become and to continue the true popular language.” (Language and the Study of Language by Whitney, pp. 149 to 151. See also appendix H).
79. The cleavage existing between the literary dialect and polite speech in Telugu, hardly requires proof and has been attested to by eminent scholars. Dr. Sten Konow says, “On the other hand, the difference between the conversational language and the literary form is considerable” (page 577). “The greater part of Telugu literature consists of poetry and is written in a dialect which differs widely from the colloquial form of the language.” (page 579, Linguistic Survey of India). 1301 Minute of Dissent Dr. Campbell : “Nearly the whole body of the Telugu literature consists of poetry, written in what may be termed the superior dialect of the language; but so different is this from the inferior or colloquial dialect in common use among all classes of people, that even to the learned, the use of commentaries is indispensable for the correct understanding of many of their best works.” (Vide pp 12 and 13 of the introduction to Campbell’s Grammar).
Arden’s Telugu Grammar: “In Telugu the dialect used in ordinary conversation differs so much from that used in grammatically written books that thousands of Natives, who use the language as only the medium of conversation, cannot read a grammatically written book, or understand it, when read to them. For the same reason, a foreigner may be able to read and understand a Telugu book, but at the same time may be unable to converse with Natives, or understand what they say to him. Owing to this great difference between the colloquial and the grammatical dialect, in the present work the former has been kept entirely distinct from the latter.” (Vide page 4 of the preface).
“Upon opening a Telugu book written in the grammatical dialect, the student will find, that not only do the forms of the individual words differ very considerably from those used in common conversation, but that the words are so run into each other, and have their initial letters so altered, that the whole is rendered almost unintelligible.” (Vide Page 312).
80. When the majority of the Sub-Committee undertook to classify grammatical forms into archaic and current and filled the archaic column with so many as 359 archaic forms as against 246 which they call current they clearly admitted that the poetic dialect was archaic. But in appendix B of his defence Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu quotes with approval two passages from Brown’s essay on Telugu literature in which he held that, “No part of the language not even in the oldest poems, has become obsolete.” And Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu exclaims, “What should be said to an educated Telugu man complaining that literary Telugu is archaic, obsolete and unintelligible?” Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu does not tell us that the paragraphs in question were addressed to European students of Telugu whom Mr. Brown desired to convince of the advantages of studying popular Telugu poetry. I wonder if Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu is not aware that Mr. Brown in his grammar published later, and in the preface to his dictionary expressed quite a different opinion. “If we wish to be intelligible we must use the common dialect. The two dialects differ almost as much as ancient and modern Greek: and were a resident in Athens to attempt to transact business in ancient Greek (using likewise poetic elision!) he would not easily be understood; nor can the Telugus understand us, unless we speak and write as they do. These remarks are made in consequence of the publication, by Natives at Madras, of some small works on grammar and religion, which by using poetical rules are hard to be understood.” (page 34). Again at page 45 Mr. Brown said, “As the principal Telugu rules are used in poetry, but much neglected in common life, I have placed them at the end of this grammar to be refeffed to when questions arise in Telugu poetry. Among the Natives these rules are known to few but poets; who use them (and often break them) in writing verse.”
“Each of the Southern languages has a poetical and a vernacular dialect : which vary as widely as Saxon varies from English.” (Preface to Brown’s Telugu-English Dictionary, Page iv)
81. Like the “Little Cottage Girl” of Wordsworth, Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu disbelieves in death, in the Telugu poetic dialect. In his note on the compilation of a comprehensive etymological dictionary of the Telugu language which the Telugu Academy was to publish, Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu suggested the exclusion of quotations from Modern Literature from the dictionary. He remarks, “It will, perhaps, be desirable to fix a time-limit and rule that no book written after that limit should be quoted from. This will shutout almost the whole of prose literature which is quite recent and cannot lay much claim to authority.’ (Vide page 3). This is a scathing condemnation by the President of the Senate of the Telugu Academy of a Prose literature whose praises Mr. K.V. Lakshman Row sings in the report of the majority of the SubCommittee. This scholar to whom archaism in language is sacred, and current usage is repugnant, undertakes to settle the lines for the Composition of candidates at the Intermediate examination!
82. In the columns of the ‘Madras Mail” of the 6tI Instant a correspondent takes great pains to defend the misuse of the term ‘grammar’ by writers of the Old school. I notice his letter because it bears internal evidence of the authority of the old school. For misuse of terms, mis-statements of facts and for confusion of thought, the letter is remarkable even for a writer of the Old school; to its stock phrases, “traditional grammar,” “accepted grammar” and “existing grammar”, the writer adds two more, namely, “grammar in the wider sense and grammar in the narrow sense of the pedagogue and the school time-table.” If I may venture an interpretation of the letter, I suppose the writer seeks to draw a distinction between descriptive and historic grammar on the one hand and normative or didactic grammar on the other. But modern scholarship does not recognise the authority of normative grammar except within very narrow limits and the modern world refuses to acknowledge its authority when it seeks to “measure the correctness of current speech by the standard of a more or less arbitrarily chosen past period often termed classical”. The nearest analogy in European history to the pretensions of the Telugu poetic dialect was the “humanistic apotheosis of the Ciceronian latinity and the unreasonable contempt of the Humanists for the medieval Latin which after all was the organic development of the speech of Rome."
83. The psychology of the grammatical puzzle of the Old school is not inscrutable. I suppose it sprang from a desire to find a bad name for a dog that was to be hanged. It obviated the necessity of explicitly recognising the existence of two dialects and facing the problem as to which of the two dialects was best indicated as a suitable instrument of Modern Prose.
84. Another much misunderstood and misinterpreted word is Gramya. It is a technical term of the grammar of the poetic dialect which is variously explained. The first grammarian Ketana did not define the term but the examples which he gave are all from the spoken Telugu of his day which, he thought, did not find recognition from the poets. According to him gramya bore the same relation to the poet’s Telugu as the Apabrahmsa of the Sanskrit grammarians bore to classical Sanskrit. Like Ketana all subsequent grammarians gave their examples of Gramya from spoken Telugu but later grammarians introduced confusion into the meaning of this technical term of Telugu grammar, by importing into it the meaning it carries in Sanskrit rhetoric, of ‘vulgar.’ Appakavi says in one place that gramya is the speech of the rustic classes. (Vide appakaviyamu, The edition of Messrs. V. Rama swami Sastrulu & Sons, page 37). The meaning of the term was further extended to ingrammaticisms. The Old school call polite Telugu of the present day gramya and the term is rendered by the English words “vulgar, slang, dialectal, ungrammatical.” Of the three meanings given by the grammarians to the word gramya only one, the first, applies to that portion of polite spoken Telugu which was not utilised by the early poets. The very term ‘polite’ excludes slang and vulgar. Slang is evanescent and disreputable, Polite Telugu is not. The vulgar of English rhetoricians generally corresponds to the second meaning of the word gramya and canies low class associations with it. Let us honestly call Polite spoken Telugu by its correct name; and then discuss its worthiness or unworthiness; only let the Old school bear in mind the logical consequences of calling it vulgar. Says Lounsbury, “Language is no better and no worse than the men who speak it.” (page 184, History of the English language)
85. The character of slang and the vulgar is, in the first instance, determined by the speech-sense of polite society, from which it is imported into literature. As irony would have it, the Telugu poetic dialect contains a large number of low class forms which are considered vulgar in polite society. I need only instance one grammatical form widely cuffent in literature and low class dialects, which is condemned as improper in the polite society of the Circars. The past-tense forms formed from the past participle adjective Mothers administer a prompt rebuke to children when they pickup such forms from their low class surroundings.
THE REAL PROBLEM
86. Is it worth while to have in Telugu a modern prose such as they have in English? The question is capable only of one answer and it is no longer left to our option to have it or not to have it. Social, political and literary ideals have changed. Literature is no longer confined to a cult; and mass education which is one of the greatest blessings of British rule has necessitated the creation of a modern prose in Telugu.
87. If so, from English analogy which is the dialect indicated as most suitable for modern prose? This question admits of but one answer — the polite spoken dialect. A highly artificial and archaic poetic dialect is altogether unsuitable for modern prose. (When speaking of a modern prose, I exclude emotional or imaginative prose which in the matter of diction, partakes of the character of poetry). The use of acrhaisms to a limited extent is permitted in English poetry. But archaisms are considered to be incompatible with a prose style. A modern prose must be based on present usage.
88. The recommendations of the Tamil Composition Committee acknowledge this fundamental principle. The following passage occurs in a letter addressed by Rao Bahadur Professor M. Ranga Chariar as convener to the members of the Tamil Composition Committee, indicating the lines on which it was to work. ‘The other point relates to archaic forms of inflexion. It will perhaps be good to classify the inflexional forms of the language into obsolete, obsolescent and cuffent forms, and prohibit the use of all obsolete forms in modern prose as well as poetry, permit to some extent obsolescent forms in modern poetry, and allow only the cuffent forms in modern prose. In this respect also the object to be kept in view is to make the written (prose) language be as near as possible to spoken speech.” (Vide p.36 of the Report).
89. In support of this principle, I have made citations from English writers in Appendix B.
90. Let us examine the claims of rival schools of prose. To avoid misconception it is necessary to revise the names which are given to them. The opponents of the modern school are all grouped under one name, the conservative, traditional or orthodox school. But there are such radical differences in literary doctrine and in practice among the various groups which comprise it, that it is necessary to distinguish them.
91. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu recognises but two schools, a classical and a modern. Mr. K.V. Lakshman Row concedes that there are three “differing widely from one another on the question of how far it is desirable to follow the traditional grammar and the classical style in modern prose.” We are not here concerned with style which tends to confuse the issues. We are concerned only with dialects. What is called traditional grammar is only a periphrasis for the poetic dialect. Mr. K.V. Lashman Row’s three schools are:
i. “The conservative school, represented by some pandits of the old orthodox type” who, “naturally protest against any departures from the rules of traditional grammar.”
ii. The modern prose school who avoid archaic forms and write a grammatically correct simple style intelligible to the ordinary reader is headed by Rao Bahadur K. Veerasalingam Pantulu Garu.
iii. The “colloquiality school”, that is the Modern School which Mr. K.V. Lakshman Row believes, “seeks to discard altogether literary tradition and grammar, and desires to raise the various spoken dialects to the dignity and rank of the standard literary language in supersession of the now recognised popular style of prose”.
92. It is not easy to conceive how the first two schools could differ widely in their allegiance to traditional grammar and yet both write grammatically correct language. What Mr. K.V. Lakshman Row calls the modern prose school has deviated largely from traditional grammar.
93. Since the basis of classification into schools is difference in respect of dialect, it is advisable to give them names which will bring out that difference. I, therefore, propose to call the Real Orthodox School, the School of the Kavya or Poetic dialect, or for convenience, the Kavya School. Since Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu and his followers employ varieties of the literary dialect in which they violate its rules of grammar and precedents of usage I would designate them the School of Neo-Kavya Dialect or Neo Kavya School. The Neo-Kavya School comprises a hetero geneous crowd of writers who may be roughly classified into three groups.
i. Writers like Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastri who deviate from literary tradition in certain matters basing such deviation on interpretation of rules, but otherwise write a correct Kavya dialect.
ii. Writers like Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu who deviate widely from literary tradition, partly deliberately, and partly unconsciously.
iii. Writers who profess to follow Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu in deviating from authority but break rules at will and write a very incorrect Kavya dialect.
94. Mr. K.V. Lakshman Row calls this Neo-Kavya School, the school of modern prose, meaning thereby, probably, that it is progressive in ideas of style. But since dialect is the real basis of classification, it is advisable to drop this designation. This school does not accept spoken cuency as the standard of usage as against literary tradition, but professes to conform to that tradition. I have dropped the names, Grammatical School and Classical School, as the terms are misleading. The Kavya dialect was no doubt the dialect of the earliest and the best of the poets, and the dialect with which the grammarians busied themselves, but the employment of the term grammatical dialect has led some persons to believe, or make others believe, that the spoken dialects are ungrammatical.
The term classical Telugu may lead a foreigner to associate with Telugu poetical literature those qualities which distinguish the great literatures of ancient Greece and Rome. The modern school employs polite speech. There are two sections in this school. One section avoid archaisms altogether, and the other admit them sparingly according to literary exigencies. 95. Before we discuss the question of prose in the Kavya dialect it is necessary to form some idea of the nature of that dialect and its tradition.
96. The Kavya dialect was the product of a condition of society dominated by narrow social, political and literary ideals. The masses lived and laboured for the benefit of the aristocracy and the education of the sudra was a crime.
97. The education of the masses was no part of the orthodox tradition. Learning and literature were the monopoly of the Brahman to whom Sanskrit precedent was sacred and inviolable. Telugu literature originated under Sanskrit influence and as the beginnings of Telugu literature synchronised with the decadence of Sanskrit literature, the conventions of language and art which characterised that decadence, fixed themselves on Telugu literature.
98. The Kavya dialect was a poetic dialect. In the absence of mass education or democratic religious movements, the Telugu poets did not feel the need for prose. Prose pieces, no doubt, entered into poems. There, the poet sought relief from composition in metres which taxed all his resources. Sometimes a single word, sometimes a prose sentence, served as a useful link in metrical naffation. The longer prose pieces generally differed from verse only in not being thrown into a metrical mould. Old literary Telugu was a poetic dialect. Its development was determined by the needs of a highly conventional poetical literature with a complicated system of versification. Words and grammatical forms which expressed set ideas, or met certain, ever-recurring metrical exigencies, were retained in the language permanently as a valuable and indispensable asset. 99. Telugu poetry appealed to a narrow cult. Scholars wrote for scholars, and as time went on, unintelligibility was felt to be high literary merit. The Kavya dialect abounded in learned Sanskrit and in archaisms.
100. Perhaps, no language of the world has a more copious stock of synonyms than the Telugu poetic dialect; for, here, we have the singular phenomenon of an almost wholesale annexation of a great dead language, Sanskrit, and unrestricted borrowing from the literary Prakrits.
101. In the native element there is a wealth of variants of words and of grammatical forms belonging to different ages and different dialects and there are coinages of the poets too.
102. The retention in hand of this cumbrous vocabulary was necessitated mainly by metrical exigencies. Indigenous Telugu poetry was alliterative and the pandit imposed upon it the quantitative restrictions of Sanskrit regular metres. Telugu metres modelled on Sanskrit regular metres, had eight alliterative points and the first two letters of a verse determined the shape and position of seven words in a quatrain!
103. In indigenous metres, the alliterative points were fewer. Sometimes whole poems were written in one of these metres, namely, dwipada. But this metre was not popular with the poets who preferred the varying rhythm and the majestic sweep of Sanskritic metres to the dull monotone of the dwipada. In the former, lines ended in longs; but words with final shorts preponderated in the poetic dialect; and poets were reduced to all kinds of shifts to close verse lines with longs. The Canarese poets from whom Telugu probably borrowed some popular Sanskritic metres, were wiser and discarded what is called the pause 1311 Minute of Dissent alliteration. But the Telugu poet preferred to race in jingling chains. The following table will indicate the wealth of synonyms which was all too small for the needs of the average poet (and, sometimes, even of eminent poets) who called into active service a formidable reserve of veteran expletives when confronted with a metrical difficulty.
Number Idea Number of Number now synonyms current 1. Woman 130 7 2. Beauty 91 11 3. Cupid 88 1 4. Love 71 10 5. Courtesan 50 6 6. Todie 79 5 7. War 42 7 8. Warrior 56 5 9. Deceit 44 14
104. In the following list I omitted Sanskrit synonyms and took into account only Telugu words and Sanskrit derivatives which together are called achcha Telugu or pure Telugu, by Telugu grammarians.
Number Idea Number of synonyms 1. Toexcel 97 2. To spread 90 3. Much 6 4. Little 82 5. Sorrow 84 6. Joy 33 1312 Minute of Dissent 7. Anger 58 8. Enmity 27 9. Pride 59 10. Prosper 56
THE TRADITION OF GRAMMATICAL FIXITY
105. So much for the vocabulary. The grammar of the literary dialect acquired practical fixity long long ago. Grammarians have laid down in unmistakable terms that the usage of the most ancient poets was the standard. Appakavi whose authority Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu sets very high, quotes from ‘‘‘ reputed to be an ancient poet, the dictum that poets should use only such words as were used by Nannaya in his translation of the Mahabharata. The same idea appears in Ahobala Panditiyamu (Vide page 3, Ellore Edition). In another place Appakavi defines a Satkavi or ‘good poet” as fS i.e., one who is skilled in using the language of the ancient poets. With a vocabulary largely obsolete and a grammar which had acquired practical fixity in the dim distant past, the Kavya dialect is not indicated as a suitable instrument of modern prose.
THE MAKERS OF NEO-KAVYA PROSE
106. British Rule with its broad educational ideals necessitated the creation of a modern prose, but the task fell into the hands of persons who had no notion of the requirements of a modern prose. An intimate acquaintance with English literature and literary history, and a mastery of at least the technique of literary art, were the qualifications required in a writer who undertook the creation of a modern prose in Telugu. The pandit who assayed it in the first instance and the layman who followed in his wake with an uncritical and superficial knowledge of English literature, were both not qualified for the task. They gave Telugu prose a wrong start and the result proved injurious to literature and to education. 1313 Minute of Dissent 107. Under missionary influence, no doubt, Telugu School books were once written in the polite spoken dialect, and spoken forms entered largely into the translations of the Bible.
108. But Elementary Education came under the influence of the pandit and school-books were written in the poetic dialect. Even the pandit realised in time, that a study of the poetic dialect was beyond the capacity of elementary school boys, and that it was an unsuitable medium of instruction in elementary schools. He, there fore, sought to simplify it by deliberately violating some of the rules of its grammar, chiefly those bearing on sandhi. In 1856 The Upayukta Grandhakarana Sabha of Madras i.e., the Textbook Committee of the day which wrote or published school books appended a notice to the 31 edition of an “outlines of geography” of which the following is a translation.
“The Upayukta Grandhakarana Sabha (society for the writing of useful books) of Madras, wrote this book in the cyclic year Saumya corresponding to 1849 A.D. They made a new departure in this edition. In order to secure general intelligibility, they discarded difficult sandhis and observed only such sandhis as are in common use, though such a process involved violation of grammar. They have made the style very easy and brought out this revised edition. In this task they were assisted by V. Satagopacharyulu and some pandits” (Vide page 5).
109. This step was a turning point in the history of Telugu. It was unfortunate that U.G.K. Sabha should have started the fallacy that the discordance of sandhi was an advantage. To a student who could understand the obsolete words and archaic forms of the literary dialect, sandhi is not likely to present difficulties. The object with which the U.G.K. Sabha violated sandhi was soon forgotten and breach of sandhi became a fashion and an end in itself. 110. The sandhi of the poetic dialect is more than mere coalescence of sound with sound. Its laws effect changes in the initials and finals of words, and operate with so much uniformity that they constitute the dominant characteristic of the phonology of the literary dialect. A majority of these changes are based on the classification of all words into two distinct classes, Kala and Drutaprakritika. This distinction is so important that it runs through the entire framework of the grammar of the poetic dialect. Certain case inflexions, verbal forms, particles and individual words are called Drutaprakritikas, because they end in (n) in their normal condition, and when the (n) drops, as it sometimes does, it is supposed to be still present for the purposes of sandhi. When the final (n) dropped in the earlier stages of the language, either it left a faint nasal sound or, a sound-idea which developed into (n) before an initial vowel. Drutaprakritika words have generally three forms:
111. All the three forms were freely used in the poetic dialect according to metrical or rhythmic exigencies. These drutaprakritikas have almost disappeared from modern Telugu. In the Kavya dialect all words which are not drutaprakritikas are called kalas.
112. The initial sounds of words within a sentence undergo two sets of changes according as the previous word happens to be a Kala or a Drutaprakritika. After drutaprakritika words which have dropped (n) the initial vowel of a following word invariably took the augment (n) in the absence of coalescence. After a drutaprakritika, unaspirated initial surds changed into the corresponding sonants. With the general disappearance of the drutaprakritika most of these incidents of sandhi have disappeared from modern Telugu. A somewhat similar change of unaspirated surds occurs after some kala words also, but optionally.
113. After kala word, in the absence of coalescence, a vowel invariably took the augment o (y), so that, except in the beginning of a sentence or of a number of sentences which formed a sandhi group, no word in the kavya language began with a vowel.
114. To summarise : In the absence of coalescence, after a drutaprakritika an initial vowel invariably took a (n) augment, and after a kala word, it took a o (y) augment. After druta words, initial unaspirated surds changed into sonants.
115. I said that the drutaprakritika has almost vanished from modern Telugu and with it, many of the connected sound changes incidental to literary sandhi. The drutaprakritica sense is so entirely lost from popular consciousness that the augment o (y) which could come in the Kavya dialect only after a kala appears in modern Telugu after words which were considered drutaprakriticas in the Kavya dialect. I cite the following examples from Mr. K. Veerasalingam Pantulu’s works in the spoken dialect and from Mr. Venkata Sastri’s See. + + + oo + +
Instances of a vowel appearing after a druta. 116. But a new phenomenon appears in modern Telugu. Words which appeared in the Kavya dialect with an initial (u) or e (o) long or short now take the augment (v) for which there is no parallel in the Kavya dialect. Examples + oöom + + + +
117. In his works in modern Telugu Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu freely uses forms with an initial ) (vu).
118. In his grammar of the Dravidian languages, Caldwell remarks, “There is a tendency in all the Dravidian languages to pronounce e as if it were ye and o as if it were wo. In colloquial Tamil, this pronunciation though often heard, is seldom represented in writing; but in modern Canarese and Telugu y before e and w before o are often written as well as pronounced. (Vide page 4). In a foot-note he remarks, “Europeans often notice the appearance of this peculiarity in the pronunciation of English by the people of Southern India. ‘Every’ becomes ‘yevery’ and ‘over’ becomes wover.
119. The uniformity of sandhi in the Kavya dialect was, no doubt, to some extent artificial as in classical Sanskrit. Whether in any particular case the y augment was a fleeting incident of sandhi, or formed an integral part of a word, we have no means of determining. In the older stages of the language as now, the initial letters of many words probably varied from a vowel to a semi vowel according to their position in a sentence. The author of Andhra Sabdachintamani who is held by the orthodox school to be the most authoritative grammarian to Telugu held that many words which were supposed by grammarians to begin with vowels other than (a) really began with the semi-vowel o (y). When following a final vowel, he ruled, that semi-vowel lost its consonantal character and coalesced with it. This accords with the phonetic laws of modern Telugu.
120. Another important feature in which the phonology of modern Telugu differs from the phonology of the Kavya dialect is this. Many words and grammatical forms which appear with a final short vowel in the Kavya dialect, appear in modern Telugu with a final long vowel or a long vowel attached to the penultimate consonant. Examples:
Plurals of nouns in (mu) Kavya dialect Modern Telugu e)
Verbs Kavya dialect Modern Telugu
Conjunctional Particles Kavya dialect Modern Telugu Sjo, a&J,
Individual Words Kavya dialect Modern Telugu
121. From this it is patent that the phonetic laws of the Kavya dialect differ very widely from the phonetic laws of modern Telugu. It was, therefore, unscientific, absurd, useless and harmful to seek to apply to the Kavya dialect the laws of sandhi of modern Telugu or to reverse the process.
122. It was a grave error on the part of the Upayukta Grandhakarana Sabha to have discarded sandhi in the interests of intelligibility. That intelligibility could have been better secured by writing school books in modern Telugu.
123. But the departure made by the Upayukta Grandhakarana Sabha had this redeeming merit. If they discarded sandhi, they discarded it systematically and the augments (n) and o (y) rarely appear in their books.
THE FATAL ERROR OF THE LATER NEO-KAVYA SCHOOL
124. A further departure from tradition made by Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu and his followers rendered the phonology of the Neo-Kavya dialect chaotic. Under exactly similar conditions the (n) and o (y) augments appear and disappear in their prose; under precisely the same conditions surds sometimes change into sonants and, at other times, they do not.
125. I cite the following instances of this grave irregularity from Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu’s works:
Observance of Non-observance of incidents of Sandhi incidents of Sandhi This irregularity in the application and non-application of the rules of sandhi, is fatal to the artistic merit and the educational value of the Prose of the Neo-Kavya School. Students learn a language from books, and not from grammars. Students who read the works of Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu and his followers in the Neo-Kavya dialect, acquire very incorrect and confused notions of the complicated laws and operations of literary sandhi. A study of these books, therefore, acts as a serious handicap to the student who aspires to a mastery of the Kavya dialect.
126. Is such violation of Sandhi a deviation from literary tradition?
The scholars and pandits of the Upayukta Grandhakarana Sabha who initiated the reform clearly expressed their opinion that the omission and violation of sandhi was a breach of grammar. rd (Vide page 5 of the Society s History of India 3 Ed. 1856 and rd page 5 of The Outlines of Geography 3 Ed. 1856.)
The grammarian Chinnayya Sun was an honorary President of that Sabha and his authority must be held to be conclusive by the members of the Neo-Kavya school who accept his grammar as standard.
127. The Pandits Conference held in Madras on the 15th and the 16th May 1912 under the auspices of the Telugu Academy was of the same opinion as the U.G.K. Sabha. Says the official account of the conference:
“On the question of Sandhi the conference came to the conclusion that in poetry, sandhi should be invariably observed and that in books intended for children the rules of sandhi should be relaxed in all cases in which such relaxation is permissible. In ordinary composition the conference advocated the existing rules’.
128. As against the opinion of Pandits who initiated the system of violation of rules of grammar more than fifty years ago as an unavoidable evil in the interests of school children, and of the Pandits Conference, held two years back, Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row expressed in his memorandum a view that a breach of the rules of sandhi was in accordance with literary tradition. He says, “I have to point out that a misconception has long existed among a number of Telugu Pandits who have not been evidently acquainted with the tradition of Sanskrit grammar. These pandits seem to be of opinion that sandhi is everywhere and in all cases obligatory. This is a mistaken notion. Sanskrit grammarians give the following rule for the coalescence of contiguous sounds in language. 30:gs c3’g c3’g c3’g ss
“This means that sandhi (o) is obligatory in a single word, between a verbal root () and its prefix and in a samasa (°) and that apart from these it is optional in prose.
“This rule must hold good equally in Telugu. Prakrit grammars end with a sutra lo Traditional Telugu grammar considers itself a kind of Prakrit grammar (Vide Appa Kavee yam 1st Aswasam) and therefore Telugu grammarians have generally borrowed supplemental rules from Sanskrit and Prakrit grammars.
“Thus the rule says that except in the above three cases, the laws of sandhi may be left to be optional so far as prose-writing is concerned. This option has proved to be of considerable value in the development of modern Telugu prose. The modern prose writer in Telugu is at perfect liberty to break sandhi in the middle of a sentence with a view to making his meaning clear, his periods balanced and his diction forcible’.
The whole argument is a tangle of fallacies and misstatements of fact. That traditional Telugu grammar considered itself a kind of Prakrit grammar, if it means anything, means that traditional grammar is a bad grammar. The grammatical structure and idiom of Telugu are so different from those of Sanskrit and the Prakrits, that their grammars cannot be considered to be identical or similar.
129. The pandits whom Mr. K. Lakshmana Row taxes with ignorance are not really ignorant of Sanskrit grammatical tradition “governing sandhi”. The Pandit rightly understands o The rule means as one grammarian puts it ‘g (what is not stated here may be taken from elsewhere). It is explained by two rules in the Telugu grammar Andhra Kaumidi (1) (2) o Where Telugu grammarians have laid down definite rules, the rules of Sanskrit grammarians have no application. Telugu grammarians have ruled that omission of sandhi is not permissible except at the end of a sentence. Early poets made sandhi even between sentences. So the Adharvana karika runs.
(At the end of a sentence even the omission of sandhi is not a fault)
130. Traditional Telugu grammars being defective, has Mr. K.V. Lakshman Row considered the logical consequences of the application of the rules of Sanskrit grammarians to all formations and usages which Telugu grammarians failed to note?
131. It is well known that the option allowed by Sanskrit grammarians in the matter of sandhi has no application to literary composition and Sanskrit rhetoricians are emphatic in their condemnation of omission of sandhi.
Mammata says,”S (of these, wilful omission of sandhi, even rarely, is a fault)
132. There is little relevancy in going to Sanskrit grammarians to settle the usages of a Telugu literary dialect which is found in the works of the early poets. An examination of their language clearly shows that omission of sandhi has no place there except at the end of a sentence.
133. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu’s treatment of the question of sandhi differs materially from Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row’s. In the opening sentence the former concedes that the question of sandhi admits of difference of opinion, and then disposes of the analogy of Sanskrit. “In Sanskrit as well as in the cultivated Dravidian languages these phonetic changes are carefully studied and embodied in rules. It is a mistake to suppose, as is sometimes done that the Dravidian languages have borrowed the rules of sandhi from Sanskrit. It will thus be seen that there is little in common between Telugu and Sanskrit in the matter of sandhi except in the nomenclature and method of treatment”. About the usage of Telugu poets he says, “In verse, it is regarded as compulsory with one exception, viz., at the end of a sentence. The word sentence is sometimes literally interpreted so as to include a verse line. But relaxation of sandhi even in these cases is rare in practice. Sandhi is the rule.”
134. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu advocates the omission of sandhi in some cases — but not uniformly — not certainly to the enormous extent to which it is practised by Vijnanachendrika, and by Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu in his latest work. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu limits omission to cases where “making sandhi is likely to obscure the meaning or convey an incorrect idea of the form of a word — such as a foreign word or a proper name”. But since the extent to which sandhi obscures the meaning varies with the capacity of the reader “the degree, to which sandhi should be dispensed with must vary with the class of readers for whom any book is intended”. But since the capacity of readers of ordinary prose varies infinitely, there can be no standard of (i.e., omission of sandhi). If like the Pandits conference Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu had contended himself with drawing a distinction between works intended for children and books intended for grown up persons, two systems of sandhi would have sufficed.
135. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu does not rely upon traditional authority for omission of sandhi. He conjectures the rationale of that authority and finds reasons for deviation in the conditions of prose. He believes that Telugu stanzas (except sisa which is long) are usually read as single breath-groups, which obviated the necessity for omission of sandhi in the middle of a sentence. “These considerations do not apply to prose”.
136. The man must yet be born who will read a stanza as a single breath-group. Good readers always make pauses in the middle of a verse sentence iffespective of sandhi. The metrical pause is an integral part of Sanskrit versification. Telugu poets neglected the pause restriction when adopting Sanskrit metres, but good poets positioned pauses in their verses with great rhythmic effect.
137. If it were first proved that the poetic dialect was a suitable instrument for a modern prose, it would be hardly necessary to twist tradition into an acquiescence of breach of Sandhi. When deviation from tradition is so far allowed as to utilize an archaic and artificial poetic dialect for purposes of modern prose, no justification in tradition need be sought to break the laws of sandhi in prose, provided of course that the breach of laws followed some definite and rational principles. 138. It is precisely such principles that are lacking in the shapeless prose of the Neo-Kavya school. This movement was never strong in western scholarship, and the vagaries of writers who were generally poor scholars, were not controlled by the literary critic and the scientific student of language. Even to-day there is no literary criticism in Telugu and a scientific study of the language has only just begun.
139. Rao Bahadur K. Veeresalingam Pantulu who is considered to be the leader of the Neo-Kavya school, published a grammar and a work on rhetoric , and the two works are incorporated in his collected works, thereby showing that he holds by them even now. There is not a single word in either work about breach of the rules of sandhi in prose. No attempt is made in these books or elsewhere in his collected works to reduce to a system his own violations or the violations of other writers.
140. The first volume of Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu’s autobiography which was recently published is significantly silent about Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu’s reform of the poetic dialect. The book describes in great detail the struggles of social reform in the last century. The author was hardly conscious that he led a reform in the world of letters, nor seemed to realise the magnitude of the problems which were raised by that reform.
141. Nor has any other writer of the Neo-Kavya school analysed the incidents of sandhi in the writings of his school. One or two general principles are vaguely laid down by writers like Mr. K.V. Lakshmna Row but these principles do not accord with actual practice. Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row opines that breach of sandhi in the middle of a sentence conduces to making the meaning clear, the periods balanced, and the diction forcible. An examination of the prose of the Neo-Kavya school will show that violation of sandhi has in actual practice, produced effects far other than those which are claimed for it. 142. One need not go far to test the validity of Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row’s dictum. He has given side by side a passage from Nannayya and a translation of it into the Neo-Kavya dialect. One wonders why it did not strike Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row that there is between the two, all the difference that exists between good language and bad language, good prose and bad prose. It does not require much discrimination to see that the rhythm of Nannayya has been utterly destroyed in the translation and that the diction has become weak.
143. Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row does not give any new values to Telugu vowel symbols like Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastry Garu. In the absence of such innovation there is unpleasant hiatus where sandhi has been omitted - Witness: + e.)o + .)
Does Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row believe that either intelligibility or rhythm required the breaking-up of c5 into ? ?
144. As I have said in another place, breach of sandhi has become a fashion, an end in itself, and even an eminent scholar like Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastry makes which is justified, in my humble opinion, neither by considerations of rhythm nor by the consideration of intelligibility —Witness: Sandhi cannot certainly act as a bar to intelligibility in the case of readers who can understand Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastry’s archaic Telugu and learned Sanskrit with which his prose abounds.
145. It is unjust, however, to class Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastry, as Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row has done, with the crowd of writers whose writings carry the hallmark of incoffectness and bad art. To him the diction of the poetic dialect has living associations and when his imagination is touched, much of the drops and his sentences move with the rhythm of the masters. It must be said to the lasting credit of Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastry that he gave the first start to modern Telugu as a literary instrument in his plays. He has little in common with the other writers of the Neo-Kavya school.
146. In his “Greek Myths’ an adaptation of Hawthorne’s Greek Tales, Mr. Chetti Lakshminarasimham of Vizagapatam has avoided many of the blunders and inconsistencies of the Neo-Kavya school, by systematically avoiding sandhi. It was once the fashion to condemn his book as a production in ‘gramya’i.e., modern Telugu, which it was not. His language was no better and no worse than the language of the leaders of the Neo-Kavya school. “Greek Myths” has outlived adverse criticism and has entered the Valhalla of Mr. Venkataranga Row’s models of composition.
147. Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row admits that option in the matter of sandhi is leading characteristic of the Neo-Kavya prose. He says “this option has proved to be of considerable value in the development of modern Telugu Prose.”
If, therefore, the option was irrational or was exercised without discretion, Neo-Kavya prose will stand discredited.
148. It is sometimes claimed that this option was exercised by leading writers in the direction of making the sandhi of the NeoKavya dialect accord with the laws of sandhi of modern Telugu. That was the aim of the U.G.K. Sabha who initiated the reform more than fifty years ago. Since then the reform of the poetic dialect has been mainly identified with Visandhi. The fifth resolution of the 6th September last of the Telugu Composition Committee which was moved by Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastry and seconded by Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu legalizes violation of sandhi with the express condition, “that care should be taken to see that in this respect the written sentence approximated as nearly as possible to spoken speech.”
149. If the language to be used in composition was to be as indicated in the second resolution, a blend of literary and spoken forms, the condition in the fifth resolution which I italicized in the preceding para was right and intelligible. Any rational blend must be based on the phonology of modern Telugu. But if as Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu said and his school understand it, the language of prose composition were to be the traditional Kavya dialect, it would be absurd and comical to divest it of its characteristic phonology and to impose upon it the phonology of modern Telugu. The same phonetic laws are not always in operation in a language or a group of languages. The phonetic laws which are in operation in one period are sometimes replaced by another set of phonetic laws in another period.
OTHER DEVIATIONS FROM TRADITION
150. The Neo-Kavya school also effected other deviations from tradition. The average writer violates the grammar of the poetic dialect and of Sanskrit generally from sheer ignorance, and cuffent Neo-Kavya prose has no claim to be styled as Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row styles it, grammatical. It is essentially ungrammatical.
151. I shall only note a few deviations from tradition made by Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu, the leader of the school. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu is of the opinion that those alone are competent to effect reforms “that have been trained in the literary and linguistic tradition”. One of the principal points of difference between the phonology of Kavya Telugu and modern Telugu consists in the change of the p sound in imperative, negative and other verbal forms to a ts sound. The habit of current speech or metrical exigencies were accountable for the occasional violation of literary usage by one or two good poets; but their violation was not accepted as a precedent by poets. In the report of the Sub-Committee as issued in manuscript, p and ts were made optional, but when the printed report came out, there appeared a note of dissent from Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastry, “I do not approve of this”. If Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastry has not been trained in the “literary and linguistic tradition” no one is.
152. But Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu filled his works, even those in the Kavya dialect, with verbal forms with ts. e.g., o. Mr. K.Veeresalingam Pantulu has also affiliated verbal forms like which even second rate poets avoid.
WHO BROKE AWAY FROM TRADITION?
153. The charge is often laid at the door of the Modern School that we are revolutionary in our aims and that we have done violence to tradition. An impartial reader of this note will be convinced that, in this case, as it often happens, it is the criminal that raises the cry of ‘thief! The Modern School is strongly opposed, and for scientific and artistic reasons, to a violation of the grammar and precedents of usage of the early poets. We have declared this, in unmistakeable terms but Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu will not understand it.
THE MODERN SCHOOL CARRIES ON THE LITERARY AND LINGUISTIC TRADITION
154. In one of his brilliant paragraphs in the Illustrated London News, Mr. Chesterton noticed a vagary of conservatism. He said that revolutions sometimes continued the old order of things under new names, but it was the curse of conservatism, to change the old order of things without changing names. That is precisely what has happened in Telugu. The Neo-Kavya or Pseudo-Kavya School, deliberately broke away from tradition on a wrong track, and yet succeeded in securing acceptance all these years as the classical school, and the school of orthodox tradition. It was sailing under false colours.
155. In his pamphlet Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu taxed me, as examiner and as member of the Text-Book Committee with “approving books written in accordance with the rules of accepted usage and grammar as well as books which contravene those rules” and that I would leave the candidates “choice either to conform to or violate the rules of grammar.” Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu and his school have a new English of their own. In that English, Mr. Ramayya Pantulu’s remarks mean that I give writers and students option to write in the Kavya dialect or in polite modern Telugu. I insist on the observance by writers of either dialect of the grammar peculiar to it, but Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu knows only one grammar. As for candidates, unfortunately, they generally write ajargon which is neither this nor that.
156. It is Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu and his friends who have all these years, given license to authors and students to write the Kavya dialect ungrammatically. This option was, from every point of view, harmful and did permanent injury to Telugu prose literature and to vernacular education.
Mr. VENKATARANGA ROW’S MODELS OF COMPOSITION
157. It was a grave injustice to the Real Kavya school which Chinnayya Sun represented, to group it with the Neo-Kavya School. Nowhere is this confusion of schools more glaring than in the list of models of composition which Mr. G. Venkataranga Row submitted for the consideration of the Intermediate Composition Committee. Few books in the list make any pretensions to high literary merit. Most of them can prove of use only as furnishing illustrations of faults of style, and in respect of language, they range from the inflated Kavya dialect of Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu’s Nitichandrika to the incorrect and colourless Neo-Kavya dialect of the Vijnana Chandrika series.
158. Chinnayya Suri is called the father of Telugu prose in the Kavya dialect. His rendering of the Sanskrit fable Hitopadesa has some literary merit, especially the first part. The sentences are short and rhythmical. The sense is always clear; and the author showed a restraint, rare among Telugu writers in the use of words and figures of speech.
159. The same cannot be said of his imitators whose name is legion. It is unfortunate that nearly every Telugu Pandit in a college felt and feels that he must needs be a poet, because he happens to be a pandit. His influence generally secures recognition to his works, and many bad books are thus foisted upon the unfortunate students - books which would not have commanded a circulation but for the patronage of the University or the Department of Education.
160. Two renderings of the Sanskrit (Beast Fable) Hitopadesa into the Kavya dialect, are connected with the honoured names of two scholars who served as Pandits in the Presidency College, Madras - both excellent men. Some of Rao Bahadur Veeresalingam Pantulu’s works have undoubted literary merit, especially his work in the spoken dialect. But among the writers who followed Chinnaya Sun as translators of Hitopadesa into Kavya Telugu, Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu was the worst literary sinner. For years Telugu prose muse could not soar higher than second hand Beast Fable, and Neetichendrikas by Chinnaya Sun, Rao Bahadur K. Veeresalingam Pantulu, and Mahamahopadhyaya Kokkonda Venkataratnam Pantulu were read year after year by pupils in high school classes. To crown all, the versions of Messrs. Veeresalingam Pantulu and Venkataratnam Pantulu appear side by side with Chinnaya Sun’s masterpiece as models of composition to pupils in Intermediate Classes in the list of books submitted to the Committee by Mr. G. Venkataranga Row.
161. The faults which Chinnaya Sun avoided by a coffect taste rare among Telugu pandits, are found exaggerated in Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu. His extravagance transgresses even the bounds of proverbial oriental extravagance. What the Sanskrit Hitopadesa or Chinnaya Sun said in ten words, Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu said in a hundred. Sound fascinated him, and he indulged in fantastic alliteration. Words were let in merely to fill long drawn alliterative schemes. Synonyms were piled up and unfamiliar words were marshalled to express the simplest ideas of a beast fable. Even the example of the Sanskrit original did not save Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu from the besetting sin of most prose writers in the kavya dialect, namely, the frequent use of long Sanskrit compounds. Witness the following from his Nitichandrika. 162. At the time when he wrote this book, Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu aimed at excelling Chinnaya Sun, and no doubt, felt that , he outdid him in the kavya style. He was in his youth and was either imperfectly acquainted with Sanskrit rhetoric or did not appreciate the natural diction of the great Sanskrit classics, and believed that unintelligibility and an exhibition of learning were the chief merits of a prose composition. He must have felt contempt for the brevity and the conversational style of the Sanskrit original.
163. But it must be said to the credit of Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu that he soon discontinued writing in the inflated kavya style of his Neetichendrika. That he has lived to strongly disapprove of it is evident from his subsequent work wherein he discarded alliteration and verbosity to a large extent. In fact, in his later popular prose, Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu went to the opposite extreme, and attempting to simplify his prose, he made it bald and rhythmless.
164. True, Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu discarded the Nitichendrica style. But the scholars who sit in Academies and on text-book committees have discarded neither his Nitichendrika nor its style. They have done more. They have exalted Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu’s worst work in a vitiated kavya style, into a text-book for students preparing for the Matriculation and S.S.L.C. Examination. It is only four years since the latter examination was instituted, and Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu’s Nitichendrika was prescribed as a text for three years consecutively without a word of protest from the self-constituted guardians of the Telugu Language. The Honourable Rao Bahadur Mr. Sarma condemned in the Legislative Council that excellent book of travels in modern Telugu, Yenugula Veeraswami’s Kasi Yatra Charitra, one of the best prose works in the Telugu Language. I wonder what he thinks of Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu’s Nitichendrika. 165. Here I must point out another fallacy of the old school. They seem to think that the only condition which a literary language need fulfil is intelligibility. They think that intelligible prose can be written in the Kavya dialect if it is divested of learned Sanskrit and very obsolete Telugu. They forget that it is not easy, to reproduce an archaic dialect in composition, and that few writers have succeeded in writing fairly intelligible prose in the Kavya dialect with correctness or with elegance.
166. They forget the standpoint of the learner and the writer. The literary dialect is very difficult to master. That is the reason why Telugus who have received the best Western culture are unable to cultivate composition in Telugu. They are afraid or committing blunders, and give up the attempt in despair. Spontaneous writing is out of the question, when one has to write a language which he has to learn from books and is in mortal dread of violating grammar or usage at every step.
167. Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row hardly seems to be aware that the question of Telugu prose diction affects a great educational problem viz. Elementary Education. Under the influence of the pandit the educational department was long violating a fundamental principle of educational method by compelling little urchins at elementary schools to learn readers written in a wretched variety of the literary dialect. The badness of these readers some of which bear the honoured name of Rao Bahadur K. Veeresalingam Pantulu Garu is a scandal to which the advocates of orthodoxy in literature choose to be blind. With rare exceptions elementary school teachers are ignorant of the poetic dialect. Vernacular teaching in elementary schools has long been, therefore, a tragic farce. (vide Appendix H.)
168. To a writer, the kavya dialect has decided advantages over the Neo-Kavya dialect. One who applies himself to the cultivation of the Neo-Kavya dialect is not relieved from the necessity of mastering the Grammar of the kavya dialect. The Neo-Kavya dialect sometimes observes the grammar and usages of the kavya dialect and sometimes violates them. A writer must be well versed in the kavya dialect to be able to observe rules and precedents; and in addition, he should master the principles of violation which, however, is not an easy task. Every one concerned has shirked the duty of reducing the practice of writers into rules for the simple reason that such practice is not capable of reduction into uniform laws.
THE PROCESS OF SIMPLIFICATION
169. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu will, no doubt, say that the kavya dialect has undergone a process of simplification at the hands of the Neo-Kavya school, and that the charge of difficulty, obscurity and artificiality which might be legitimate against the kavya dialect, does not lie against the Neo-Kavya dialect. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu explains the process of simplification thus:
‘The proper thing to do to ‘simplify and modernise’ literary Telugu is, as far as possible, to avoid archaic and less usual forms and words, and to use words and forms which are more familiar and grammatical, to avoid sandhi in prose whenever that course is necessary to secure clearness of expression and to use foreign words when it is necessary to do so.” (p.36).
170. An examination of the lists which were prepared by the majority of the Sub-Committee, and were adopted by a majority of the Composition Committee will give a tangible idea of this process.
THE CLASSIFICATION OF FORMS BY THE MAJORITY OF THE SUB-COMMITTEE
171. The duty entrusted to the Sub-Committee was simply to classify forms into archaic and current in the first instance; and then to classify archaic forms into two classes, namely, forms used by the leading prose writers of the day, and forms not used by them. It was open to the majority of the Sub-Committee to illuminate the classification by deducing from the practice of each writer any rules which governed his acceptance or rejection of particular archaic forms.
172. But the majority of the Sub-Committee did nothing of the kind. They did not analyse the prose of the leading prose writers to ascertain their use of archaic forms, because such a troublesome process was foreign to their methods of work. They simply classified some individual words and typical forms into two classes, archaic and cuffent. By archaic they only meant words whose use in prose they did not countenance. The Archaic was something arbitrary. It was what Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastri and Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row, two prose writers who had the advantage of being on the Sub-Committee, did not choose to use in their prose, or to be more correct, do not choose to use hereafter. Rao Bahadur K. Veeresalingam Pantulu and Mr. Ch. Lakshmi Narasimham who are placed at the head of the Neo-Kavya School had no voice in the matter.
173. The Committee decided that in respect of archaic forms usage in literature was the standard.
The Sub-Committee were not entrusted with discretionary powers to sanction or disallow the use of particular archaic forms. They were simply to formulate the usage of leading prose writers. That was exactly what they did not choose to do.
RESULTS OF AN ANALYSIS OF CURRENT PROSE
174. I made an analysis of the language of some pages taken at random out of the following prose works.
- 1. Mr. Veeresalingam Pantulu’s Nitichendrika, which was prescribed as a text for Matriculation for three years, and his articles from the Newspaper, Vivekavardhani.
- 2. Mr. Ch. Lakshminarasimham’s Rajasthana Kathavali, Saundarya Tilaka and Karpura Manjari.
- 3. Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastri’s Katha Saritsagaramu
- 4. Several volumes of the Vijnanachandrika Series.
My analysis shows that avoidance of obsolete words and archaic forms by writers of the Neo-Kavya school is a myth. The following varieties of learned words and forms occur in these books.
I have given in Appendix C a list of forms which the majority of the Sub-Committee have ruled out of use as archaic and of forms which go on all fours with such forms. These were picked up from a few pages of the prose works mentioned above.
When there are Sanskrit words widely current in modern Telugu, poets affect learned Sanskrit derivatives, which sometimes corresponded to literary Prakrit forms. Appendix D gives a list of such non-current Sanskrit derivatives which were used by leading prose writers of the Neo-Kavya school.
Appendix E is a list of variants with anuswara of words which exist in the poetic dialect also, without an anuswara. Appendix F gives a formidable list of obsolete words used by these writers in a few pages of their works. I have given the words used by each writer in parallel columns to show that the choice of no two writers generally agreed.
175. These writers generally show a marked partiality for sonorous and out of the way grammatical variants — Witness: 176. Even elementary school readers are not free from these features. A woman is not or bute.)g, is o To come is not but To speak is not or even eot but The school reader also aims to cultivate in the little urchins a taste for long Sanskrit compounds.
All these usages are picked up from a school reader which bears on the title page the name of Rao Bahadur K. Veeresalingam Pantulu Garu, the leader of the Neo-Kavya school!
177. His Nitichendrika, a favourite text with the University Board of Studies and the Text-Book Committee is full of Sanskrit compounds and synonyms. Nor does Mr. V. Venkataraya Sastry neglect Sanskrit in his prose. But it must be said to his credit, that he always uses Sanskrit words which have well-established poetic associations and does not hanker after the out-of-the-way.
178. It is thus apparent that the simplification and modernization of the poetic dialect is only an ideal of Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu which is not evident in the actual practice of the best writers of the Neo-Kavya school.
179. Even supposing that the process of simplification has been attempted by some writers, there can be no simplicity in the process of simplification. Considering that the vocabulary of the literary dialect is enormous, and its grammatical forms manifold and remote from life, any process of elimination must be a painful process attended with much uncertainty. It is something like distilling seawater to supply a city with drinking water when there is an abundance of spring-water available. 180. One process of simplification is elimination. The other appears to be the avoidance of words and forms which are “less usual” and the use of words and forms which are “more familiar”. This means, I suppose (as Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row puts it more clearly when speaking of Taddharma forms and their alternatives), a recommendation to use only those forms “Which are nearer to the colloquial forms”.
181. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu and Mr. K.V. Lakshmana Row think this a process of simplification. But it is not. The very similarity between the literary and the spoken forms which they consider as a recommendation, proves an inconvenience on account of cross-associations and leads to much uncertainty and confusion. Why should I say ‘leads’? It is precisely the use of these similar forms which has led to one large class of blunders which deface Neo-Kavya prose and the answer-books of candidates at examinations.
182. The slight variation in form of these similar forms is due to an important phenomenon in the history of the language. In Telugu there is a law of vowel mutation which modern grammarians have called harmonic sequence or vowel harmony. This law is more extensively in operation in modern Telugu, than it was in old Telugu. Therefore many words of the literary dialect appear in a slightly different shape in modern Telugu. A writer who elects to use the archaic forms has to work against the strong phonetic tendencies of the present.
Current & Non-literary Archaic (This form appears in an inscription of the 13th century.) THE LAW OF THE ORDERLY DEVELOPMENT OF LANGUAGES
183. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu thinks that the propaganda of the modern school is “ill-conceived, revolutionary and contrary to the Law of the orderly development of languages”. The orderly development of languages is a long exploded myth. Does Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu seriously mean that the forced and chaotic changes to which the poetic dialect was subjected within the last 50 years in a misdirected attempt to force it into a modern prose mould, can be honored with the name of orderly development? Thank God! the poetic dialect is intact in the works of the early poets, and the so-called “orderly development” has benefitted only an illegitimate false personation, the Neo-Kavya or Pseudo-Kavya dialect.
184. The poetic dialect has great merits but only as a poetic instrument. Poetic exigencies conditioned its development. An attempt to use it for modern prose is no more sane than running the sacred car of Jagannath on a modern rail road.
185. Organic growth or orderly development of languages is a metaphor and like most metaphors — introduced into serious discussions, it is misleading. Living languages change sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. The forces which are in operation in a living language and the process of operation are very different from the few changes, mostly mechanical, which occur in an archaic literary dialect. Telugu poets made a few deviations from literary usage but these were mostly due to metrical exigencies and did not, except in rare cases, receive general acceptance. I may instance The following extracts clearly explain the limits within which languages change.
1) “So long as a language is alive, it is constantly changing, so that the grammar and rhetoric of living language can never be absolutely fixed. It is only when the language has ceased to be spoken — has become as we say, a dead language — that fixed rules can be framed which every one who undertakes to write it must observe. The very statement that a language is dead implies that hence-forward no individual or body of persons has power to change it in any particular.” (Words and their ways... In English, Greenrough and Ketredge).
2) “This is the error of the classical creed, to imagine that in a fleeting world, where the quickest eye can never see the same thing twice, and a deed once done can never be repeated, language alone should be capable of fixity and finality. Nature avenges herself on those who could thus make her prisoner, their truths degenerate to truisms, and feeling dies in the ice-palaces that they build to house it. In their search for permanence they become unreal, abstract, didactic, lovers of generalization, cherishers of the dry bones of life; their art is transferred into a science, their expression into an academic terminology. Immutability is their ideal and they find it in the arms of death. Words must change to live, and a word once fixed becomes useless for the purposes of art.” (Walter Reliegh’s Style pp. 40,4 1).
3) “It must once for all be clearly understood that the people can be said to make and change language only in the same sense and insofar as “the people” in a democracy may be said to make and change institutions and laws or insofar as ‘society’ may be said to set and change fashion. This does not mean that all members are actively engaged in it. In all three cases the majority of the people or of society play a passive and, in Tarde’s sense, an imitative part. With them rests merely the privilege of final acceptance or refusal. It is the individual, from whom all social alterations start, be they linguistic, or political, or economic. If it be admitted that innovations in language are not “nature growths” but social products, there is no good reason why criticism should not be passed on them. If language be primarily a tool, why should we not have a right to fashion it in the same manner in which we fashion social conduct by laws, and with the same partial success” (Collitz). “Reverence for the historical creations of the people” is the proper attitude of the historian, including the historian of language; but it gives us no help as to the position we ought to take towards a proposed innovation. The first question, in such a case, is whether it is worth while to take any action whatever, and if this be answered in the affirmative, by what canon we should judge; and for this purpose Noreen’s principles appear sound and practical; first, that changes in the existing speech-material by which a distinct gain is not obtained should be discountenanced; second, that, as the chief aim of all speech is to be a means of communicating thought, that form of speech must be deemed best which is most quickly and most clearly understood by the listener and at the same time, most easily produced by the speaker. Wrong (because counteracting the very purpose of speech) is therefore everything which is likely to be misunderstood, or cannot be understood at all, or is understood only by some effort, or increases the difficulty of production (as the retention of foreign sounds in naturalized words), or requires special mental labour on the speaker’s part by falling outside his customary association groups, or additional physical exertion by unnecessary fullness. And finally, a point neglected by Noreen, as speech is the raw material from which literature is hewn, the aesthetic canons of literature must in a certain measure react upon speech, that the adoption or rejection of an innovation may depend on purely aesthetic considerations, such as ugliness due to low associations. In this way it may happen that the same phrase at different periods of a language may be literary or vulgar not because it is inherently so, but because its rank is determined by the company it keeps and the place where it was born. (Lectures on the Study of Language, Oertel, pp. 89-91)
THE MODERN SCHOOL
186. The modern school is very much misrepresented by Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu and his school. It is credited with a desire to “abolish by a single stroke of the pen the current literary language which is the result of the growth of centuries and to install in its place numerous colloquial dialects” (page 10 of the Defence). Nothing can be farther from truth. The modern school advocates the teaching of polite spoken Telugu in schools, especially elementary schools, and its employment for literary purposes, especially for the creation of a Modern Prose. We take the Telugu of the Godavary and Krishna Districts as the standard. Local variations of other districts need not be neglected. They will secure affiliation when good writers of those districts use them. Such a process is already in operation.
187. The merits of Modern Telugu (by which I mean, the polite speech of Godavary and Krishna) as a literary instrument are great.
1) Intelligibility — Intelligibility which the old school claim as the saving merit of the Neo-Kavya school is best secured by the employment of Modern Telugu in literature. Local variations are slight; and even if they were considerable, they could not prove a bar to intelligibility, as the countless variations from standard speech which the poetic dialect presents. In his Defence, Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu mentions that Chinnaya Sun gives no less than 16 forms of g (one man) and no less than 29 forms of its plural! “We have no less than sixteen forms of this single word 5? (that is, or that is to say), all of which are met with in poetry” (pages 40 & 41) Local variations of words are not many, and when they are introduced into literature they are easier learnt than poetic forms.
2) Literary cultivation of Modern Telugu necessitates a study of it, and the study of a refined living vernacular has great cultural value.
“Command of a noble vernacular involves the most valuable discipline and culture that a man is capable of receiving. It conditions all other discipline and culture. Reference is not now made to its scientific study, to its history and phonology, its lexical and grammatical elements; what is meant rather is the man’s growing up in the language, so to speak, and using it for all the purposes of his mental life.” (Hinsdales’ --Teaching the Language Arts, Page 17)
3) If school books are written in Modern Telugu, vernacular education will improve at one bound. At present elementary school books are written in a bad type of the poetic or Kavya dialect and the elementary school teachers who are required to teach those books are, as a class ignorant of the literary dialect. To impart instruction to little urchins in an unfamiliar literary dialect contravenes the first principles of educational method. To this fact should be traced the failure of vernacular studies in the Madras University. In this connection, I invite attention to an article on the Arabic Language Question in Egypt which appeared in the Asiatic Quarterly Review of October, 1912. (Appendix H)
4) A study of Modern Telugu will prove the best training for a proper study of the language of the poets. A scientific study of Telugu can begin only with the spoken vernacular, and without such a study, a study of the poetic dialect would continue to be irrational and blind. Far from supplanting the study of old literary Telugu, a study of Modern Telugu will improve it and strengthen 5) If books are written in Modern Telugu, both the quantity and quality of literary production will improve. The difficulty of the poetic dialect has discouraged literary composition in the vernacular on the part of intelligent graduates, who dread violating rules of grammar at every step. They can write coffectly in Modern Telugu without fear of violating an imaginary and impossible standard which is fatal to all spontaneity. In Bengal and Bombay persons who have received the best English culture apply themselves assiduously to the cultivation of the vernaculars while the leaders of Madras are content with talking about the improvement of the vernaculars on wrong lines.
6) Modern Telugu is acquired naturally, by the higher castes, and it can be acquired by the natural or direct method by the lower classes. It is so learnt now in towns by domestic servants.
188. Elementary School-books should be written in Modern Telugu without an admixture of poetic forms. Poetic forms may be sparingly used in books intended for higher forms. But it should be borne in mind that the writing of books should not be entrusted to writers who have not cultivated literary art on Western lines. That a person has succeeded in securing appointment as pandit in a school or college does not augur sound scholarship or literary power. Good writers alone can decide which poetic forms can be used with effect in prose; but not writers wedded to the Kavya or the Neo-Kavya dialect whose literary sense has been trained to abhor spoken forms.
REPUGNANCE TO SPOKEN FORMS
189. This repugnance to spoken forms is a feeling of recent growth. Its psychology is simple. Two generations of schoolboys were bredup in the grammatical tradition. Those school-boys have grown up to be the men of to-day--and the grammatical tradition - what is worse, the really ungrammatical tradition of the Neo-Kavya school - has grown natural to their tastes and deviation from it sounds like hereby.
190. But the great pandits who lived before modern schoolbooks came into existence felt no such repugnance to the employment of Modern Telugu forms in prose. This prose was the traditional prose dialect which I mentioned in paragraph 31.
191. The question of a prose diction which we seek to re-solve now, was solved long ago in practice by the ancients and the tradition of that practice has continued unbroken to the present day. It is the diction of epistles of popular stories and local chronicles, of light literature and of learned commentaries. It should not be supposed that this blend of poetic and modern forms was the creation of the half-educated. The pandits employed it in learned commentaries on books on grammar, poetics, philosophy and the sciences. In inscriptions this traditional prose blend appears side by side with verse in Sanskrit and in literary Telugu. This fact shows that the writers were scholars.
192. It is essential that we should not lose sight of one material distinction made by the pandits of by gone days. When verse entered into a work, that work was kavya or literature. To a Pandit an epistle, a commentary, an inscription was not generally literature. When he felt that he was not writing kavya or literature, he gave full play to his natural tendencies and employed modern form. This gave to his prose a life and a spontaneity, which is always lacking in later poetry in the literary dialect.
193. What the pandit with his naow literary standards was unable to recognize as literature is literature in the view of advanced western nations. A well-written epistle, a diary or a speech is prose and good literature in English.
THE POPULARITY OF THE TRADH1ONAL PROSE BEEND
194. In his pamphlet entitled “A Defence of Literary Telugu” Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu speaks of the popularity of the literary dialect. The literary dialect was never popular. It was the property of a narrow cult. Some Telugu poetry of a popular character was, no doubt, taught in pial schools in the old days, but students used to “get up” verses without being taught their meaning. The classics were as unpopular in those days as the Honors courses of our University are to-day in the vernaculars. The pial school teachers were poor scholars and could not teach them.
THERE WAS NO VERNACULAR EDUCATION IN THE PAST
195. There was no vernacular education worth the name in the past. British rule with its system of popular education has brought it into being and there is little sanity in all the talk of the present neglect of vernacular education. It is equally absurd to say that the Modern school seek to supplant literary Telugu by Modern Telugu. The position which literary Telugu has acquired in education is quite recent and it was due to the establishment of schools and the University. To prose works in the kavya and pseudo-kavya dialect patronage came from the University and the Department of Education, that is, practically from Boards of Studies and Textbook Committees. But for the patronage most of them would not have commanded any circulation. Their existence has been artificial.
196. Without the advantage of any such adventitious aid, but on the other hand discouraged by the University and by schools, the traditional prose blend has maintained a vigorous life. After the introduction of printing into the country, a vast mass of popular literatures has sprung up in this dialect and appealed to a much larger reading public than prose works in the kavya dialect. Under para 20, I have given quotations from this class of literature.
197. Under sub-division iii of paragraph 20, I mentioned some school books, written in the traditional prose blend. The ninth book in this list is a remarkable prose work of travel by Yenugula Veeraswami which is the only work of its kind in Telugu literature. His language is direct and natural, and his descriptions of places, and his comments on men and manners always interesting.
198. Another book which deserves mention is V(a)1 Chardarvish by Yerramilli Mallikarjuna Kavi. In his preface to this work, the author stated that he had employed the spoken idiom as he had found that the literary dialect could not render thoughts adequately. It was first published in 1863. It has passed through innumerable editions and is immensely popular at the present day. Prose works in the traditional blend have a real cuency in the country which most prose in the Kavya and Neo-Kavya dialects has not.
199. If I understand the reference of the Syndicate rightly as explained by Prof. Rangachariar, it is this prose blend precisely which the Syndicate are disposed to approve. The modern school does not advocate the discordance of poetic forms. The prose of the leading writers of the school will bear out my statement.
200. But though we do not limit the use of archaic or artificial poetic forms, any rational blend must be based on the phonology and grammatical structure of Modern Telugu.
201. For guidance, students may be advised to use modern forms and modern sandhi employed by the higher characters in Rao Bahadur K. Veeresalingam Pantulu’s adaptations of French English acting plays, and in his dramatic sketches which are found in volumes one and two of his collected works. By higher characters, I mean pandits and persons who have received English culture. Fortunately for the students, Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu does not generally vary his language with the social status of his characters and their language may be taken as the language whose use which Mr. Veeresalingam approves.
202. Students may be given freedom to use archaic forms, but they should be warned to use them coffectly.
203. Rao Saheb Mr. G. V. Ramamurti has examined the SubCommittee’s lists in his note. Therefore, I content myself with remarking that the lists do not contain the verbal forms which Mr. K. Veeresalingam Pantulu and other writers employ.
204. The pandits and scholars who formed the Upayukuta Grandhakarana Sabha, who began fifty six years ago a reform of the literary dialect were more liberal than the majority of the SubCommittee who drew up the lists of current and archaic forms. In their school books they made some very important deviations from grammar. They affiliated the third personal neuter plural base 5 (‘), There is no form in the literary dialect coffesponding to this. Among other deviations made by them are , In 1834 P. Sitharama Sastri who was Sanskrit pandit to the Hindu Educational Society (ocSo gS) published a Telugu grammar at the request of Mr. Kallo. He freely used modern forms in it.
205. Before I close this minute, I should notice at the risk of repetition some objections raised by Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu in his ‘A Defence of Literary Telugu” (Addison & Co., 1913 Madras) to the literary cultivation of Modern Telugu. It will be seen from what I have said in the preceding paragraphs that Literary Telugu has nothing to fear from the modern school. On the other hand, the modern school stand for its integrity and for a rational study of it on scientific lines. The following resolution of the Telugu Literary Association of Vizianagaram which represents the new movement in Telugu literature will speak for itself.
“That a committee be formed to prepare grammars and glossaries for the early poets, and to encourage a critical study of Telugu classics by organising lectures in literary art and critisism.”
By passing, I may remark that Vizianagaram is the chief centre of Sanskrit and Telugu learning in the Telugu country and that the Telugu Literary Association has on its rolls some of the greatest Pandits and Scholars in the country. It is from Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu and his friends of the Pseudo-Kavya school, that the old literary dialect really requires defence, and it is really necessary that the University should give it protection by insisting on its correct use by students and writers.
TWO TRADITIONS, ONE FOR POETRY AND ONE FOR PROSE
Our traditional prose blend is not the poetic dialect and we advocate the recognition of its employment in schools and colleges for prose composition.
206. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu’s line of argument is nowhere clear. The reason is not far to seek. He makes misuse of technical terms and speaks of Telugu in language applicable only to English in which the grammar and idiom of the literary language differs but slightly from those of standard speech.
207. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu appears to justify the use of the poetic dialect for prose for the following reasons.
No spoken dialect of Telugu, or several dialects at the same time, should be employed for literary purposes, because there is a tendency in languages everywhere to develop a common uniform literary dialect out of a number of heterogeneous local dialects. Where such a literary language already exists as in Telugu, no local dialect should be employed for literary purposes.
208. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu’s general proposition is not correct. Many languages have lived and died without developing literary dialects. There exist even now languages spoken by civilised communities which have not developed a literary dialect. As I have stated in previous paragraphs, it is the archaic and artificial character of old literary Telugu that necessitates the cultivation of modern standard Telugu, and it was single favoured dialects that developed, generally, into literary languages. English and French literary dialects, as well as standard speech, developed mainly out of London and Paris dialects.
As time went, forms from other dialects made their way into the standard, owing to causes which it is not necessary to detail here.
209. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu says that Rao Sahib G.V. Ramamurti misunderstood the case of Italian. Prof. Whitney will answer for him. “The Italian was, in like manner the popular idiom of ‘Tuscany’ (Language and the study of Language, page 165)
210. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu, likewise, thinks that the Modern School misapply the analogy of Bengali to Telugu (Vide page 61 of his pamphlet). Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu imports the question of foreign words into the discussion which is quite irrelevant. Modern standard Bengali is the dialect of Calcutta and the surrounding districts, and it was formed in the last century. It had no grammar or dictionary about a hundred years ago.
211. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu wholly misunderstands the analogy of English and his quotation from Lounsbury* of passages which go against his own contentions is amusing (Vide pp. 38-40). When speaking of the English language Lounsbury means both the standard spoken and the literary language. But Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu understands him to mean “literary language” only.
From the end of the fourteenth century our tongue has pursued an orderly development. It suffers changes, both in grammar and in vocabulary; if it did not, it would no longer be a living speech. But these changes take place within well-defined limits; they require the consent of vast numbers, sometimes of generations; they are spread over great spaces of time “. The Italics are mine. Does Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu believe that all this applies to an archaic poetic dialect like Telugu?
212. The next dictum of Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu is that “Every literary language must fulfil two conditions — it must be uniform and fixed (g g)”. That is, it must not vary from place to place or from time to time except, of course, ‘within well- defined limits.’
Does Lounsbury’s description apply to literary Telugu in support of whose fixity Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu quotes a standard grammarian whose dictum he, however, modifies slightly, but without any authority?
213. Uniformity is no virtue unless it is accompanied by ease in acquisition. Sanskrit is uniform in the whole of India, but like literary Telugu it has to be acquired with great effort. The vernacular on the other hand, is acquired naturally.
214. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu opines that if Modern Telugu is cultivated, it will acquire fixity and deviate from speech. He quotes Lounsbury to show that the changes in English during the last five hundred years were ‘insignificant’. Why should then the language of a conversative oriental people like the Telugus change more? The Telugu poetic dialect acquired fixity and became artificial because it was shaped by the pandit and came under the influence of Sanskrit. There is now a revolution in social and literary ideas, which will not permit the new literary language becoming the property of a learned priestly class. This silent revolution Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu ignores and talks of political revolutions as factors of linguistic change.
215. Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu says that the people do not want Reform and that they are fond of the old literary dialect. I do not suppose that the masses, or the people can have any partiality for an archaic and artificial literary dialect. Nor in fact, have the English educated laymen who constitute themselves knight-effants to fight the battle of old literary Telugu, shown any marked partiality for it.
No doubt, some memorials advocating the exclusive use of literary Telugu in literature and in schools were largely signed but there is little doubt that very few of the signatories understand the questions at issue. Such educational problems can be solved only by expert educationists and scholars.
216. With rare good taste, Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu compares the leaders of the Modern Movement to the three tailors of Tooley Street. Tailors have a useful part in life. They can mend old clothes. Sartor Resartus!4 May I not retort that the attempts of Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu and the handful of his Madras friends to stamp out Modern Telugu in the name of the Telugu Academy, resemble the equally laudable efforts of that good old Lady of Sydney Smith who armed with a broomstick manfully fought the Atlantic Ocean to keep it out of her little tenement?
217. By the bye, the few reforms which Mr. J. Ramayya Pantulu suggested after mature deliberation in pages 41 and 42 of his ‘Defence’ do not find a place in the lists prepared by his friends who formed the majority of the Sub-Committee.
218. We stand at the parting of the ways and our decision will affect the future destinies of the Telugu people. It lies with us to chain and starve Telugu literature or to give it liberty and vitality and to make it a great civilizing force. Individual likes and dislikes should not be allowed to sway the decision of problems which affect a whole nation today and who knows, for all time to come. I commend the pregnant words of Prof. Hinsdale in this connection to the serious attention of my friends of the Neo-Kavya school.
“Language is at best only symbolic of the world of consciousness, and nearly every word is rich in unexpressed associations of life - experience which gives it its full value for the life of mind. Subtleties, delicacies and refinements of feeling and perception are only indicated by words, the rest lies deep in our conscious or unconscious life, and is the source of the tone and colour of language. Words accordingly must be steeped in life to be living and as we have not two lives, but only one, so we have only one language. (Teaching the Language Arts, P. 19).
“Scholars might be developed and sustained on the old literatures, but not the people.” (Ibid. Page 18).
Speaking of educational ideals in the modern world, Rev. W. Temple said, “The truth about the traditional type was its tendency to lose touch with the realities of the changing world”.
Noun forms with a final anuswara from ancient inscriptions.
From Mr. Butterworth’s Nellore Inscriptions. Number Date Forms
ATMAKUR 24 1187-88 ? o 29 1275-76 13 1277-78
DARSI 43 1050-51 41 1134-35 ooSo 39 1141-42 ? (o) 45 1170-71 ? go 69 1218-19 ? 6 1291-92 ? °o 70 1305-06 85 1310-11 ogo; 13 1384-85 ?
KANDUKUR 22 1237-38 ? 50 1268-69 to 2) fl ‘ 53 1273-74 1 1315-16 54 1320-21 28 1329-30 o, ô’eo
KANIGIRI 24 1268-69 23 1393-94 ? eom KAVALI 39 1207-08 31 1217-18 ? 45 1230-31 ? 43 1263-64 ? 26 1264-65 19 1274-75 ? 22 1275-76 ? 30 1277-78 27 1278-79 ? 36 1312-13 ? go
NELLORE 103 1218-19 28 1346-47
ONGOLE 19 1153-54 ? 51 1155-56 oSgo 59 1167-68 ? 76 1208-09 oo 139 1218-19 ? go 138 1247-48 129 1293-94 136 1300-01 ? °5o 54 1306-07 ? 149 1310-11 98 1310-11 gomS, 7 1314-15 10 1320-21 35 1338-39 So&, jØo 78 1353-54 o?co, -() RAPUR 20 1247-48 o, ego, goS 27 1392-93
PODILI 18 1369-70 go
FROM INSCRIPTIONS AT DRAKSHARAM Saka Year Form 1088 o 1059 o?co (b) 1036 oO(T), Q, o, o 1075 1044 1057 1087 1015 oo 1214 oo 1175 (mS) 1070 1052
FROM INSCRIPTIONS AT SIMHACHALAM Saka Year Form 1190 o, 5o 1209 1214 o(m), 1208 oSo 1220 1211 1218 oo Page:Gurujadalu English.djvu/408 Page:Gurujadalu English.djvu/409 Page:Gurujadalu English.djvu/410 Page:Gurujadalu English.djvu/411
WORDS AND FORMS
“Some words and forms, which in ordinary speech have gone out of use, have, when introduced into written discourse, a quaint effect, as if the writer were trying to imitate some old model. Herein lies the objection to the employment of such obsolete words. They do not sound as if the user were fully in earnest; they draw attention to the oddity of the form and by so much, withdraw it from the importance of the object that the writer has at heart.” 6
Such use of terms beyond the call of the occasion is peculiarly the fault of those who, with little experience in writing, think that the distinction of a subject lies in words about it rather than in its own inherent character.
FOR PROSAIC WORK DISCARD POETIC FORMS
“By ‘Prosaic work’ is not meant here merely work in prose, for prose may sometimes be applied to subjects not prosaic. The meaning rather is, prose expressing common homely ideas, and in the spirit of ordinary life.”
WORDS CHOSEN FOR UTILITY
“The ruling standard of choice made imperative by the dominating prose mood, is utility.
“As long as this standard of utility dominates, any expression that promotes the end is open to prose.
“The staple of a diction governed by such practical mood will, of course, be the words of ordinary life and the recognised usage of the lay. Any departure from this into a more abstruse or dignified region caffies with it its sober justification. The hardest words to reconcile with this utilitarian vocabulary are the archaic and abbreviated forms of poetry; if in any prose they are found, it is such prose as seeks confessedly to produce poetic effects. This exception aside, in-as-muchas the pedestrian movement of prose has no occasion for quaintness, and the rhythm of prose does not require abbreviation, when such terms are employed they have merely the effect of affectation and finery.’8
THE NUCLEUS OF LITERARY PROSE
“The standard with which all prose writing begins is naturally and properly conversation, the spoken word... Whatever refinement literature reaches, therefore, there still inheres in it as it were the vibration of a voice, dictating, as a sound universal rule, to write as if speaking. That is, aim at the directness, the simplicity of structure, the buoyant life that belong ideally to conversation ...“
“The antique comes from the study of some past usage or period of literary expression, like that of Malory’s Morte Darthur, for instance, or the Bible. To be kept free from lapses of consistency requires not only the literary spirit which can move at home in past habits of thought and phrase but the sound philological knowledge which can separate the strata of usage peculiar to the different ages and follow the analogies of form, derivation, and the like, characteristic of each period. Working in the antique is cheapened and vulgarised by the throwing about of catch words like whilom, quoth, in sooth, yclept such relics of the ‘by my halidome’ — period of writing are now a days beneath the dignity even of humor; and this because the real proficiency is felt to be more a matter of flavour and texture than of single hard used words. Imitation of biblical diction, in-as-muchas the Bible is always with us a sacred possession, is hazardous, not to say a foregone failure because if applied to thought less serious than that of scripture, it
1363 Minute of Dissent is necessarily of what is most venerated, while if applied to solemn thought it runs the risk of being either artificial -- which defeats its end, or goody-goody.
“Note: The peril of an assumed diction of a past period arises from the fact that a very small slip will betray the manufacture and destroy the illusion. It will be remembered how Lowell pointed out to Thackeray the modern provincialism “different to” in Henry Esmond; and how Ignatius Donnelly’s Baconian cipher was discredited by the occurrence therein of the modern split infinite.10
“Do not, out of mere affectation, indulge a fancy for quaint or archaic terms.
“There is little tendency to use words too old to be cuffent or, that have a quaint effect, except from affectation:- but from this cause, in some stages of the writer’s culture the tendency is considerable.
“There is at present a strong effort on the part of scholarly authors to revive some of the hearty old Saxon expressions that have passed out of current use and this is commendable for many of these terms are too good to die. Study of the early English from an earnest desire to enlarge and diversify the resources of expression is certainly very valuable. But fondness for old words may also be, like fondness for old China, a fashion, a craze and when writers adopt them as mere affectation their style becomes artificial and fanciful and loses its earnestness and power.” John Franklin Genung, Practical Elements of Rhetoric, pp 38 - 39).
“Language is constantly changing. Yet it changes so gradually that it may be regarded as fixed for the lifetime of any one writer. The usage to which we must conform therefore is that of our own time. We cannot justify a violation of modern usage by
1364 Minute of Dissent quoting Shakespeare, any more than Shakespeare, if he had infringed on the usage of his day, could have defended himself by quoting Chaucer. Plainly therefore, our standard of expression must be the practice of good writers and speakers of the present day.
WORDS NOT IN GOOD USE
“Every language contains a large stock of words that are not in good prose use. Among these may be mentioned archaisms or obsolete words” (Vide Gardiner, Kitredge and Arnold Manual of Composition and Rhetoric, p 347 and 349)
“Good Use is the use, or general practice at, present of good writers and speakers--the best if we could find them. From this definition it follows, that you should put yourself in the way of hearing and reading good speakers and writers in order to become familiar with their general practice.
“Archaisms or old terms no longer cuffent in good writing must be left to the poet, and even he will do well to use them sparingly. They have no place in prose. Thus the third person in ct/i, of the present indicative of the active verb, is out of place in prose of the twentieth century, though common and in good use as late as Washington’s time. The language of the pulpit is, of course, justified in a certain use of the archaisms found in the King James Bible or other early versions. (Vide Canby and others : English Composition in Theory and Practice by , p 149 - 151)
Usage as Reputable, National, present--Good use or correctness in language, has been admirably defined by Dr. Campbell as (1) Reputable use (2) National use and (3)
Present use. Present use as opposed to past use we need not discuss; for few of us are tempted to use abandoned old words. (Vide Baldwin’s Writing and Speaking, 41).
1365 Minute of Dissent ACCURACY IN THE CHOICE OF WORDS OR IN THE MEANING ATTACHED TO THEM
Barbarisms include archaic obsolete words.
ARCHAIC OR OBSOLETE WORDS
“As a rule, avoid the following and similar words and phrases: albeit, aught, behest, ere, erst, every whit, here-to-fore, hither, hight, howbeit, marry (indeed why), methinks, perchance, peradventure, prithee, right (very), sarcease, save (except), it were (would be), had as lief, it irks me, his speech bewrayeth him, to wit “ (vide Murision’s English Composition, pp 31 and 32).
“Occasional: We have implied in former sections, and shall here take it for granted that occasional archaism is always a fault, conscious or unconscious. There are, indeed, a few writers-Lamb is one of them, whose uncompromising terms ‘Love me, love my archaisms’ are generally accepted; but they are taking risks that a novice will do well not to take.
“As to unconscious archaism, it might be thought that such a thing could scarcely exist; to employ unconsciously a word that has been familiar, and is so no longer can happen to a few. Yet charitable readers will believe that in the following sentence ‘demiss’ has slipped unconsciously from a learned pen:
“He percieved that the liberal ministry has offended certain influential sections by appearing too demiss or too unenterprising in forgotten affairs. - Bryce.
“The guilt of such peccadilloes as this may be said to vary inversely as the writer’s erudition; for in this matter the learned may plead ignorance, where the novice knows too well what he is doing. It is conscious archaism that offends, above all the conscious
1366 Minute of Dissent archaisms of the illiterate; the historian’s ‘it should seem,’ even the essayist’s ‘You shall find,’ is less odious though not less deliberate than the ere, oft, aught, thereanent, I wot, I trow, and similar ornaments, with which amateurs are found of tricking out their sentences. That is only natural. An educated writer’s choice falls upon archaisms less hackneyed than the amateur’s; he uses them, too, with more discretion, say, of once in three essays. The amateur indulges us with his whole repertoire in a single newspaper letter of twenty or thirty lines and - what is worse-cannot live up to the splendours of which he is so lavish; charmed with the discovery of some antique order of words, he selects a modern slang phrase to operate upon; he begins a sentence with ‘oft times,’ and ends it with a grammatical blunder; aspires to ‘albeit,’ and achieves ‘howbeit.’ Our list begins with the educated specimens, but lower down the reader will find several instances of this fatal irregularity of style, fatal because the culprit proves himself unworthy of what is worthless to use and by using it to make it worse is to court derision.” (Vide King’s English by H.W. Fowler & F.C. Fowler, pp. 193 - 194).
“The only standard by which the conformity implied in grammatical truth must be ascertained in every language, is the authorized, national, and present use of that language...” (Vide Literary Hand Book of Composition and Style By Blackman, pp. 28 - 29).
“Knowledge of good usage can be acquired only by associating in life with the best speakers or in literature with the best writers .... Neither the grammar nor the vocabulary of one age is precisely the grammar or vocabulary of another. The language of a later period may not vary much from the language of an earlier one, but will vary somewhat. It is not necessarily better or worse; it is simply different.” (Vide The Standard of Usage in English by Thomas R. Lounsbury, pp. 98 - 99.)
1367 Minute of Dissent Authority as to usage:
Obviously his first source of information and authority will be the body of intelligent and educated people with whom he comes in contact. If he follows their usage in matters of language, he cannot go for astray....
“If we know what a man means and if his usage is in accordance with that of a large number of intelligent and educated people, it cannot justly be called incorrect. For language rests, at bottom, on convention or agreement, and what a large body of reputable people recognize as a proper word or a proper meaning of a word cannot be denied its right to a place in the English vocabulary.’ (Vide, Rhetoric and English Composition by Carpenter, pp. 21 - 22)
“Language is at best only symbolic of the word of consciousness, and nearly every word is rich in unexpressed associations of life-experience, which gives it its full value for the life of mind. Subtleties, delicacies and refinements of feeling and perception are only indicated by words; the rest lies deep in our conscious or unconscious life, and is the source of the tone and colour of language. Words accordingly must be steeped in life to be living; and as we have not two lives, but only one, so we have only one language.” (Vide Teaching the Language Arts, Hinsdale, - 19)
1368 Minute of Dissent
(Abbreviations: Vir for K. Veeresalingam Pantulu,
Lak for Ch. Lakshminarasimham)
Group 1. Personal pronouns
1. Vir: j’d Lak: ‘d,
2. Demonstrative Pronouns Vir : , Lak :
3. Interrogative pronouns Vir : ‘d, , Lak : QD, Dd,
4. Indefinite pronouns Vir : (o?) (g0) 2g10, ))OS. Lak : &, e, e4o,
5. Collective pronouns Vir : Lak:
6. Numeral Pronouns Vir : Lak : DJd, &
List of non-current literary forms used by typical prose writers of the Old School when there exist in the language literary forms which are either current or resemble current forms.
No. Non-current Sanskrit Derivatives. Current Sanskrit Derivatives. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 GTh 18 19
List of obsolete words.
V. Venkataraya K. Veeresa [Jngani Oh. Lakshni Vjnanachandrca Sastr Narasnihani seres 0g 0g A GJ C’, tcg oo ‘eo Dcic 1378 Minute of Dissent Page:Gurujadalu English.djvu/429 Page:Gurujadalu English.djvu/430 Page:Gurujadalu English.djvu/431 Page:Gurujadalu English.djvu/432
Non-current Literary forms Current non-literary forms
Ch. Lakshmi Narasimham
K. Veeresalingam Pantulu
From the Asiatic Quarterly Review for September, 1912.
THE ARABIC LANGUAGE QUESTION IN EGYPT
1. The following article deals with a question which, considering its importance has attracted too little attention on the part of the numerous writers who have dealt with the problems of Modern Egypt. The phenomenon of a nation possessing two different idioms, the one for conversation and the other for literary purpose, is one by no means confined to Egypt, and for that very reason possesses a more general interest, because this duality of language not improbably accounts for the intellectual unproductiveness which characterizes so many Oriental and some European nations. Those who have wondered at the sterile results of Vernacular education in those countries will, perhaps, not be surprised when they realize the handicap imposed by a traditional written idiom which is no longer the spoken language of the country.
2. In Egypt there are two languages, one the language of conversation (Arabi darig), the other that of literature and oratory (Arabifasih). The first is a Neo-Arabic language, bearing the same relation to classical Arabic that Italian bears to Latin, or Modern to Ancient Greek. The use of this vernacular is absolutely banned in literature, it being regarded as a base and vulgar idiom, incapable of literary expression, much as Italian was before Dante wrote his ‘Inferno’ and justified its use in his ‘Convito’. Every Egyptain who would be considered educated must acquire the written language, a semi-classical idiom which differs very considerably from the vernacular, both as regards grammar and vocabulary.
3. The practical disadvantages of thus having two languages are very great. Further, it is hard for us to understand 1385 Minute of Dissent how a people can come to have such a contempt for the tongue which they use in their daily intercourse, and which, in any other country, would have been endeared to them by a thousand associations. Least of all can we understand that the favoured and universally accepted substitute for this mother-tongue should be an artificial language which only lives in books and formal speeches - which is acquired not in the home, but in the school-room.
4. Before proceeding further, however, with the discussion of this question, it may be well to offer a few words of explanation - we would readily call it apology - to those Egyptians who may happen to read these pages. Nations are inclined to be sensitive about their language, and to resent the comments of a stranger. However qualified the critic may be on account of his literary and philological attainments, the question is considered as being outside his competence. No more qualified authority on the Arabic language could be found than Judge Willmore” yet his opinions on the Egyptian language question, so ably expressed in the preface to his Grammar, were received with scant courtesy by the native Press. It may therefore be as well to state that the writer of the present article gives his opinion with every deference, with full consciousness of his own limitations, and, above all, with no desire to offend the religious prejudices of those who might be inclined to construe any criticism of the written Arabic language into an attack on the Koran. We are studying Egyptian problems as a European writing for Europeans. The Egyptian language question is one of the most interesting, as it is one of the most vital of those problems, and cannot be ignored by any writer on Egypt. At the same time, the opinion expressed is purely platonic and Egyptians may rest assured that this, at any rate is a problem the solution of which will be left entirely to themselves.
5. First among the disadvantages arising out of this duality of language is the effect produced upon education. The child 1386 Minute of Dissent struggling to unlearn every familiar word and to remember its literary equivalent, learning out of text-books which it is a lesson in itself to understand has a large part of his mental energy diverted from the understanding of facts, which is, after all, the main object of his education, to the understanding of words. Just think how the difficulties of an English child would be increased, if in our text-books, words like ‘steed’, ‘hound’, ‘occiput’ were invariably substituted for ‘horse’, ‘dog’, ‘head’, etc. and all words were written in their Chaucerian instead of their modern form! Egyptians themselves often acknowledge that too many boys, on leaving schools, are unable to write a correct letter or essay, a charge which could hardly ever be brought against any decently educated school boy in Europe. It is clear, then, that ten years of school are not enough to master this dead language.
6. Secondly, there can be no greater check on the diffusion of knowledge among the masses than the existence of a separate written idiom. The difficulty of reading and understanding what is read is sufficiently great to deter the majority from opening a book at all. This must especially be the case with the lower classes, who mostly leave school after completing only an elementary course. The existence of popular text-books on practical subjects, one of the most effective means of spreading knowledge and of improving the well-being of the people in Europe is, of course, rendered impossible. The prejudice against employing the common terms for things would be too strong even for the writer of an agricultural primer. So ingrained is this prejudice in the minds of the educated classes that police officers taking down evidence from the mouth of a witness will convert the words actually spoken into their literary equivalents.
7. This strangely unpractical devotion to a dead language is found in many Asiatic countries, with its invariable 1387 Minute of Dissent accompaniments of mental and material stagnation. It can be paralleled, so far as we know, from only two countries in Europe- Turkey and Greece. As examples of how far practical usefulness can be sacrificed to a literary tradition the following cases may serve. In Turkey, a few years ago, handbooks for police constables were issued in literary Turkish, a language which is ‘Greek’ to the poor Turkish policeman. In Greece, an eminent doctor, commissioned by the Government to prepare a few simple instructions teaching peasants how to combat malaria, drafted them in a language which might have been understood by Hippocrates, but certainly was not by the peasants, for whom they were intended. So it is in Egypt and will be, as long as the present tradition lasts.
8. The effect on literature is hardly less deplorable. A highly classical style and an archaic diction, which remove the work from the comprehension of the vulgar, are regarded as merits in an Egyptian writer. The possession of a “fine style” is too often synonymous with being unintelligible to all except the most educated readers. Language and not matter becomes the all- important. Egyptian literature, in short, is intended for the few, and its use as a means for spreading knowledge among the people is ignored. Not a book, not a newspaper article is published which is not an effort for all, excepting an educated minority to understand.
The only remedy which can bring about a real improvement in the mental development of the Egyptian nation is the adoption of the spoken language as the language of writing, and the creation of a vernacular literature. Such a change would be unfavourably received by the learned, the sheikhs, lawyers, and professional letter-writers, to whom the existence of the present written language is, or rather appears to be, an advantage. The arguments advanced against any such innovation are of the most various kinds. Some plead the poverty of the spoken language, and its unsuitability for literary purposes. Others deny its title to 1388 Minute of Dissent be called a language and degrade it to the rank of a mere patois. All these arguments are usually based on a complete ignorance of the laws of philology and the history of other languages.
The retention of the written idiom is advocated on a variety of grounds - literary, political, religious. This elusive nature of the arguments brought forward will, perhaps, be best represented in an imaginary dialogue between a Sheikh and an English critic. The writer has had many such.
SHEIKH: Do you propose, sir, that we should write the common language, the Arabi darig? But that is impossible. It is not Arabic, it is not a language; it is a corruption of a language. It has no grammar, it is not fit to be used by educated people.
CRITIC: I will take your points one by one. You say the spoken language is not Arabic? Let us be quite clear, about terms. If by Arabic you mean the classical idiom, then of course modern Egyptian is not Arabic. It is no more Arabic than Italian is Latin. But all the same it is an Arabic language, just as French or Italian are Latin languages. However, in order to avoid confusion, I will refer to it in the future as ‘Egyptian.’
Your next point is that it is a mere corruption of a language. I prefer the word ‘development’. Of course, it is all the same really, but corruption contains a suggestion of censure. Everything in the world is in a state of constant decomposition and renewal - if you have studied philosophy at the Azhar, you have probably heard of the old Greek theory of flux. Language is no exception to this rule. Take any word in any language to-day, and from the point of view of the same language a few centuries before, it is a barbarism which would have made the delicate in such matters shudder. Call Egyptian corrupt, if you like, but do not imagine that the epithet implies anything discreditable or exceptional among languages. 1389 Minute of Dissent You said that Egyptian has no grammar. I cannot allow that. Every language must have a grammar to be spoken at all. Do you mean to say that it is just the same whether I say 11 Sheik akal il samak’ (The Sheikh ate the fish), or 11 samak akal il Sheikh’ (The fish ate the Sheikh)? The grammar of a language which is hardly written or not at all, fluctuates more than that of a language which has a large literature. But no language can exist as a medium for communicating thought unless it has fixed rules which make it understandable-that is, a grammar.
No. Sheikh, not one of the charges you have brought against Egyptian but would condemn every other spoken language in the world, and brand as vulgar and corrupt words which have endeared themselves to several generations of Frenchmen and Italians. One of our professors has written a book called “The Science of Language”. Read it, and you will see how languages, your own included, are formed. SHEIKH: Well you may be right. I have not studied comparative philology. They do not teach these things at the Azhar, nor in the schools of the Government. But sir, I think that in any country people do not write as they speak. Surely in England educated men do not write like that? In speaking, one uses many vulgar expressions which are not to be written.
CRITIC: I do not deny that in our country there is a certain difference between the language of conversation and that of literature, but it is a difference of style rather than of language. A ‘horse’ is always a ‘horse,’ whether I am conversing with a friend or writing an article in the Times. With you it becomes a ‘steed’ as soon as you put pen to paper.
Of course one must distinguish between ordinary conversational language and slang. Unless an Englishman were consciously imitating the speech of the common people, he would 1390 Minute of Dissent never write such a common phrase as “He gave him a crack on the nut.” He would write that “He hit him on the head,” which is exactly the ordinary polite way of putting it in speech. Egyptian, doubtless, has its slang, like every other language; I do not suggest that you should write that. But surely you are not prepared to say that the language of ordinary intercourse in Egypt is no better than slang?
SHEIKH: But why should we not try to go back to the classical Arabic? It is more beautiful, and purer than the language we speak now. Egyptian is full of foreign words -Turkish, Italian, I know not what. In the Ministries, the clerks learn to translate French idioms into Arabic. We must teach our people to use only words of Arabic origin.
CRITIC: I cannot judge whether classical Arabic is more beautiful than Egyptian. Anyhow, that is probably a question of taste. But if purity of language is what you seek after, then know that you are pursuing a will-o’-the-wisp. Do you think that the old Arabic was pure? Do you imagine that the Arabs who traded with every part of the Orient, who fought with the Abyssinians, the Greeks and the Persians, had no foreign words in their language? For a language to contain many foreign words is evidence that the nation which speaks it has had an eventful history, that it has exchanged ideas and commodities with the other nations of the world. Purity of language on the contrary, is a sign that it is a nation without a history, that it has led a dull and exclusive existence - the existence of a tribe of Esquimaux or Central African Pygmies. Why wish to uproot from the Arabic language words which are the memorials of many vicissitudes, but also of many glories?
You dislike foreign idioms. In language, as in law, the best standard of legality is use. A foreign word which is in common use is no longer foreign, it has become part of the language. I will give you an example from Italian. The Germans have a word Gegend, meaning ‘country’, ‘region’, derived from gegen, ‘opposite’, because a country is that which lies opposite, which meets the eye. When the Germans invaded Italy and settled there, they found themselves surrounded by a Latin-speaking race, so they tried to speak Latin, and, like all people who speak a foreign language, they often translated idioms which were peculiar to their mother- tongue. Thus, when they wanted to speak of a country, they said contrate (from the Latin contra)-opposite, coining the word on the analogy of their own word Gegend. To-day you have the word contrada (our word country), which is as good Italian as the most aristocratically descended word of pure Latin origin.
SHEIKH: Sir, what you say is true. Perhaps for the reasons which you have stated, there would be no harm in writing the Egyptian language. But it cannot be. We cannot give up the written language because it is the language of the Koran, and if our children do not learn to write it, the study of the Koran will suffer.
CRITIC: Come, Sheikh, you will not maintain that the Arabic you write to-day-the Arabic of newspapers and books - is Koranic Arabic? The grammar may be mainly the same, but there is an enormous difference as regards style and vocabulary. The written Arabic of to-day is as different from that of classical times as the sorry language of a modern Athenian writer is from the Attic of Xenophon.
But, even if spoken Egyptian becomes the language of writing, what is to prevent your keeping up the Arabic of the Koran? In the village schools the children can still learn it by heart. In the other schools you can continue to teach it, as we teach classics in England. It has long been considered part of the accomplishments of an English gentleman to write verse and prose in correct Latin and Greek. You have much stronger reasons for making a sound knowledge of classical Arabic a necessary accomplishment of every educated Egyptian.
SHEIKH: There is another reason why we should maintain the use of the present written idiom. In Syria, in Morocco, in Egypt they speak different languages, different varieties of Arabic. Here in Egypt we say esh for ‘bread’: in Syria they say khubz. But in all these countries one language is written only. A book or newspaper published in Egypt is understood at Fez and at Beyrout. But, if we begin to write the spoken Egyptian, the Syrians and the Moors will find it hard to understand us, and little by little, as the differences become greater, they will not understand us at all. The Arabic language, as now written, unites the people of Islam. Remove it, and the union of Islam disappears.
CRITIC: I find it hard to believe that the unity of Islam depends on the maintenance of a single Arabic written idiom in all those countries where Arabic is spoken or studied. There was a time when everybody in Europe who wrote all wrote in Latin. Yet it did not have the effect of uniting at all the nations of Christendom, except, perhaps, superficially.
SHEIKH: I have no business to lecture you in these matters; but it seems to me that the unity of Islam depends not on Arabic language, but on the grand simplicity of its creed and the uniformity of its religious ceremonies - on the fact that five times a day, whether on the shores of the Bosphorus, the banks of the Nile, under the shadow of the Atlas or amid the rose gardens of Ispahan, the Muezzin proclaims the Unity of God from the minaret of the mosque: that the Moslem pilgrim who sets out from Moracco or Mongolia across vast distances on his journey to the Holy Cities of Islam, is hailed in each country which he traverses with the same form of mutual greeting between True Believers.12 These things, part of the daily life of all Moslems, learned and ignorant alike, are a far stronger bond than an artificial language which a few can read, still fewer can write, and the great majority cannot understand.
To my mind there is no reason why the dialects of Egypt, Syria or Morocco, should not be elevated to the rank of written languages with as good results as those produced by the substitution of the Romance languages for Latin. Reasoning by analogy, we may safely predict that the result would be an enormous spread of knowledge, among the people of those countries, and the rise of a more original and more permanent literature without in any way impairing the respect in which the Koran and the Arabic classics are at present held.
No one can maintain that the diffusion of knowledge in Europe has suffered since Latin has ceased to be the common language of the educated. The fact that an Englishman or a Frenchman to-day addresses himself intelligibly to millions of his countrymen where before he could only be understood by an elite of scholars, scattered over Europe more than compensates for any extra labour involved in translating works of science for the benefit of the foreign readers.
A dead language, like Latin, though not without its practical value as a common medium of coffespondence could never give rise to a great literature. The historian and the novelist who wish to excite the interest of their readers - still more the poet, the dramatist and the orator, who appeal to the feelings - can only succeed in their object if they speak in the tongue which is familiar to all from childhood, the language of the home and of daily intercourse - if they use the common words in which everyone is accustomed to express joy, soffow, and all the other emotions of life. What would the world not have lost if the Romance languages had never been deemed worthy of becoming vehicles of literary expression? Men of letters would doubtless, have continued to attain a certain celebrity, according to the purity of their Latin, their mastery of Ciceronian eloquence, or their happiness of Horatian wit. Men like Scaliger and Salmasius would have set the standard of literary excellence. But no Dante would have inspired the Italian people, Spain would not have laughed and wept alternately over the adventures of Don Quixote, Portugal would not have sighed over the epic of Camoens, nor France been delighted by the plays of Moliere.
Apparently the writers of Egypt do not aspire to the fame and influence of a Dante or a Cervantes. They prefer the satisfaction of knowing that their works can be read by a narrow circle of the educated at Cairo, Beyrout, Algiers or Bagdad. They do not, it seems, covet the position of national writers, addressing their own people in the living language of their country. The task of edifying and amusing the masses is still to be left undisputed to the unknown authors of Antar of Abu Zeid, and of El Zahir Beibars.13
How long the present contempt for the spoken language will continue. We cannot tell. Of one thing we may be certain - that the day on which the common sense of the nations rebels against this attitude will see a great Renaissance, a great development of knowledge and literature among the Egyptian people. 1395 Minute of Dissent Notes:
- 1. Vide Resolution 4 of the Telugu Composition Committee.
- 2. I use standard speech in the sense in which Drs. Grierson and Sten Konow use it in Vol. 4 of the Linguistic Survey of India. I take Rajahmundry, the capital of the later Chalukyas, as its centre. When I speak of standard Telugu, I mean Rajahmundry Telugu.
- 3. “The language of Telugu Poetry differs considerably from that of every day life, but it is not regarded as a different dialect or designated by any special name” (Vide: Caldwell’s Grammar p.82)
- 4. A satirical work by Carlyle, written in 1833-34 Eds.
- 5. These five entries are not found in the inscription No.40, Kandukur. Eds.
- 6. John Franklin Genung, Outlines of Rhetoric, pp. 33 and 34.
- 7. Ibid., pp. 40-41.
- 8. John Franklin Genung, The working Principles of Rhetoric, PP 109-110.
- 9. Ibid, page 119.
- 10. vide Genung,working principles of Rhetoric, page 113.
- 11. Mr. Willmore formerly Judge of the Native Court of Appeal in Egypt, is the author of “The spoken Arabic of Egypt, grammar, exercises, vocabularies (1905)”, which is by far the most valuable non-political work that any Anglo-Egyptian official has contributed to the literature concerning that country.
- 12. Is-salam ulekum
- 13. These are very old epics, partly in prose and partly in verse, which are recited by professional minstrels, like the Homeric rhapsodies. Eager throngs of the common people may be seen any day listening to those truly national epics in the cafes of the native quarter, or on the Kara Meidan, in Cairo.
It may here be noted that a vernacular Arabic literature had begun to spring up in Andalusia, but had no time to develop. In Egypt an attempt was made at the end of last century by a certain Osman Gallal, who published some first-rate adaptations of Moliere’s plays in spoken Egyptian Arabic. He was right to begin with the drama. One must begin by amusing people before one attempts to instruct them. And yet any attempt to have Osman Gallal read in the schools would probably raise a howl of protest.
Egyptians who find difficulty in believing that their vernacular can ever become a literary language should read Dante’s Convito, in which he explains why he wrote his poems in Italian instead of Latin.