Monday, June 29, 2015


Significance: (draft)

P. K. sasidharan:

It may be for the first time that a training programme in Pali language is being conducted in Kerala (perhaps in south India itself). Pali and Prakrit were some of the ancient languages spoken widely by the people of Indian subcontinent. Kosala and Magadha (present-day Nepal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar regions) are considered to be the heartland of Pali. However, it has been observed that larger presence of Pali words still remain to exist in the south Indian languages, especially in Tamil and Malayalam. That means it is in south India that Pali continues to remain, at least, as a partial living language. At the same time, grammatically the Pali and Prakrit are more akin to the Sanskrit. Such a unique linguistic phenomenon seems to open up wider scope for research in different areas. The historical and cultural conditions in which Pali is found to be a constitutive factor of the south Indian languages are yet to be explored.
For the study of Buddhism and Jainism, Pali texts are considered as more ancient and authentic sources. Ancient inscriptions, which are found to be in Brahmi scripts bear the legacy of Pali. Many Sanskrit literatures are also found carrying portions conveyed the Pali within the devanagari script.

As far as the derivation or meaning of the word ‘Pali’ is concerned, scholars hold different opinions. Preaching of Buddha (Buddhavachana), Tripitaka canons, the language of Buddhist canons, doctrine of dharma, etc. are some of the meanings attribute to it. There are different views regarding its derivation. For some, it is derived from the word ‘palli’ (village), which signifies that Pali was the language of village people. For some others, it is derivation of the Sanskrit ‘padd’ (text). It is also related to the word ‘padaliputra’.
The above matters would suggest that a study programme of the Pali language could not be confined simply to its grammatical aspects. It has to be accomplished a through familiarization of different aspects enshrined in the language. Therefore, the present workshop proposes to include, besides the training in grammatical and scriptural aspects, some scholarly lectures on subject matters that are enshrined in the Pali language.

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