Grammar ... Culture ...


English Grammar:

  • ME: 1st Person
  • You: 2nd Person
  • Others: 3rd Person


Sanskrit Grammar:

  • Others: प्रथम पुरुष (Prathama Purush). Prathama is the Sanskrit word for First – i.e, Others are considered as 1st person
  • You: मध्यम पुरुष (Madhyam Purush). Madhyama stands for Middle – i.e, You are considered as middle person
  • Me: उत्तम पुरुष (Uttam Purush)- Although Uttam literally means superlative or ultimate, in this context, the word could be interpreted as final, or last person.


Is this difference in grammar reflective of the big gap in cultures (well, maybe not today – but say half a millennium back)?


And, on a slightly tangential thought, could this more-importance-on-others attitude have anything to do with our forefathers allowing ourselves to be colonised?


I think the answer to the first question is Yes; while the second one .. I'm not really sure.


What say?


5 comments to Grammar ... Culture ...

  • Well Kiran I can't really say as this is something which could well be debated.

    As far as the culture gap and our past is concerned, there are 2 possibilities as follows:

    1. Yes, the gap has been created due to the grammar. The reason being, good treatment to others before us (as per grammar), or even the way we talk to others (rubrics of language I mean).

    Another strong point is that every country, nation state, or state has its own language with different notations. These notations could mean anything. People who speak only in Hindi often make fun of the languages of other states, considering themselves superior. While, they are wrong as superiority does not belong in one's language, it belongs in one's actions. This belief of superiority might lead to the culture gap.

    2. As far as the colonial rule is concerned, this grammar point cannot be completely contributed to that, but yes, as I said in the first point, the colonial rule was supported by the fact that the Britishers in particular could have considered our language inferior, thus considering the Indians inferior.

    You have made my mind boggle... :P

    But yeah, I do no think that only Sanskrit and Hindi or English are a part of this language, there are many more languages.

    Nice topic.

  • Nice perspective!

  • VERY INTERESTING perspective...

    i donno if the gramma influenced the perspective..but it shows wat our forfather's attitude was...n wat ours is.

    So yes..they put "others" ahead of the "self"...which is good...but then they went n overdid it and so got beaten up badly and taken advantage of.

    Forggeting the grammar for a bit..i think the solution in this case is the middle path..like in all other cases!

  • @YouthKiAwaaz:I find myself agreeing with you as far as point 1 is considered. I especially liked your statement:
    "superiority does not belong in one's language, it belongs in one's actions"

    Regarding Point 2 - Yes the British might have considered their language as superior - but that was not the point I was trying to make. My question was - whether this "others-are-always-more-important" attitude (which is induced by grammar) played any role in allowing ourselves to be colonized.

    @Di: Thanks!

    @Pavi: Thanks. And I think you hit bulls-eye there. I think too, that our forefathers overdid the being-nice-to-others thing .. and colonizers only took advantage of this niceness.

    And you nicely summed it all up
    "the solution in this case is the middle path..like in all other cases"

    Agree - to the dot!

    P.S.: As an aside .. British are not the only "colonizers" I am referring to .. I was thinking way back to the 11th-12th centuries .. to Allaudin Khilji's invasion of parts of what is now Northern India.

  • Incognito

    >>>"our forefathers allowing ourselves to be colonised?"

    Supposing you have ever fallen ill in your life, was it a case of allowing yourself to be infected or taken unawares ?

    Btw, indian traditions rooted in samskritam and samskriti have always inspired upholding of dharma at all cost, even if it meant fighting your own guru and pitamaha, even if it meant giving up your kingdom, family life, your own body.

    While atidhi is respected, adharmi is to be shunned.

    It is deviation from dharmic path that caused the fall.

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