“সরলরেখায় ইন্ডিক ভাষা-ইতিহাস: সমস্যার ইতিহাস” (Linear History of Indic Language: Some Problems of Historiography).

Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

দেবপ্রসাদ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়

 Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata

January 9, 2009

2009. “Sorolrekhay Indic bhaSa itiHaS: SomoSSar itiHaS”.[Linear History of Indic Language: Some Problems of Historiography] Ed. Chakroborty, Barun. “Tomar sristrir pOth.” (Acarya Sukumar Sen Commemoration Volume). Kolkata: Aparna Book Distributors. (pp. 448-71) ISBN 81-86036-79-2

The author of this paper questioned the linear chronological overdetermined history of Indic language and its subsequent genealogical classification by deploying following methods :(a) David Hume’s Regulatory Theory; (b) pratyavijna (roughly ‘retrospection’) darsana ;(c) Althusser’s concept of historicism; (d) the Buddhist concept of jataka ( Buddha himself did not believe in rebirth. Proofs are cited in the paper), the semantics of which was like this: non-reified existence of human being (jataka) with continuous flux (ksnikatavada). (d) primary repression caused by the other-mirrors (language-police/-judge/-managers) in semiotic order (Julia Kristeva). The author compared, with the help of the concept of Foucauldian genealogy, this linear history with ‘fast forward-rewind’ phenomenon in magnetic tapes.
There were four case studies offered by the author to nullify institutionalized linear chronological history of Indic languages as proposed by Suniti Kumar Chatterji and Sukumar Sen: (a) the dating of the Rgveda: it is not the oldest Veda, but constructed in the 6th C. B.C. by marginalizing Samasongs by means of grammaticalization/codification of Rg-recitations (cf. SSRN Paper ID: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2021917, http://ssrn.com/abstract=2018055) ; (b) the Jataka- narratives were composed almost 500 to 600 years after the death of Buddha, though scholars had put it within the lifetime of Buddha; (c) In case of constructing the linguistic history of imagined Bangla, the author put a simple question: if anyone ask Luipada (one of the Carya- poets) or Candidasa (composer of Srikrsnakirtana) or the king Laksmanasena: are you a Bengali? Obviously they did not understand the connotation of Bangla/Bengali that was a 19th C. product/construct or historical apriori; (d) looking at the ontogeny of language acquisition, when a child is forming ”go-goed “ (Bangla examples are cited) type analogical formation, other-mirrors started to “rectify” it. The problematic question is: which one is earlier and which one is after?
According to author this institutionalized linear history of language, that, peculiarly enough, overlaps with history of literature, subscribes the nation statist genealogical fantasy and deals only with substantive arbitrary epi-phenomenal E-linguistic features—a leisure class’s conspicuous consumption. The problem of Comparative Philology or Historical linguistics is that this enterprise largely depends on the entailment theory of causality and frequent (?)One-after-another occurrences of arbitrary signifiers lead them to a dogmatic bad faith! If Chomskian UG is to be believed, how do we classify languages genealogically? And that is an inner contradiction of the linguistics. (cf. SSRN Paper ID: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2015064, http://ssrn.com/abstract=2029974). This type of History is not only ahistorical, but anti-historical non-epistemology.


Keywords: Regulatory Theory, pratyavijna, Historicism, grammaticalization, ksnikatavada, Foucauldian genealogy, language-police/-judge/-managers, semiotic order, ‘fast forward-rewind’ phenomenon in magnetic tapes


About Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Debaprasad Bandyopdhyay (b. 1965), through his 25 years journey in the realm of institutionalized academics did 27 different types of works, which are someway different from the earlier paradigms or, one might say that those works are not only mere reproductions of his inherited institutionalized cultural capital or a mimicry of a colonially imposed model that leads to intellectual anorexia or rather a type falsification of earlier paradigms. However, that might be not only a lofty claim but it also hid the fact that all our information and knowledge are socially accumulated knowledge that was, it is matter of regret, posed as private property through the sign © and the wisdom is rarely available. Bandyopadhyay’s works and projects are the products of his social milieu. Bandyopadhyay is a local sub-altern public sphere academician, who avoids the technical intelligentsia (followers of Sahib’s models and they are not committed to the persons who are accommodating surplus work-time to them by performing surplus labour) or inorganic intellectuals and thus fails to be a part of academic tribe and its subsequent socialization process. Of course, that socialization process does not lead to legendary Socratic dialogue. He is also a political activist though he has not affiliated to any political parties as he was always talking about the corporatization of political parties within the money-sign-based democratic system. He is a regular participant in TV and radio talk-shows and documentary films, street-corners’ talks and International seminars on socio-political, psychological, linguistic, environmental and economic issues. He also writes editorial columns in newspapers. He is also a part of parallel academics as it is found in West Bengal’s Little Magazine Movement, though that was not counted as the part his academic pursuit by his parent institute. His parent institute justifiably does not believe in the domain of parallel academics as this unorganized sector does not directly contribute in the transactions of formal/organized print capitalist eco-enemy paper-publication. Though the dissemination of knowledge is also observed in this space of these parallel academics as all these writings in public sphere simultaneously influence the classroom-discourse and some of them are translated into English, French and Italian. Not only that, Bandyopadhyay also sought engagement with the people, who, by supplying their surplus labour, are sustaining his livelihood. Bandyopadhyay, a linguist by training and a Ph.D.-holder (1996), a junior lecturer (1999-2011) in an autonomous central government institute in India, tries his best for those from he has received and is receiving the manifestation of surplus labour by executing some self-funded projects on economic issues in West Bengal, India. Recently he has got a consolation promotion to the post of Assistant Professor. He has done following 27 research works: 1. Crippled Creativity: An inquiry into language, psyche, society: 2. VALENCY OF BANGLA VERB AND PROBLEM OF COMPOUND VERBS: 3. Archaeology of Bangla Grammar : 4. CAN COMPUTER SPEAK? 5. FUZZY LOGICAL EXPRESSION IN BANGLA : 6. FOLKLORE AND FOLK-LANGUAGE: MYTH OR REALITY? 7. HISTORICISM IN THE DISCOURSE OF BANGLA LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 8. ABHABA, ECP, DELETION AND TRACE 9. SVATVA OR MY-NESS AND ECONOMIC ENTITLEMEMT 10. TRANSLATION STUDIES 11. MASCULINITY STUDIES 12. YAYATI & BABAR COMPLEX 13. SOCIO-ECONOMIC SURVEYS IN AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY IN WEST BENGAL 14. CONCEPT OF BODY IN INDIAN PHILOSOPHY AND ARCHITECTURE 15. THE CONCEPT OF ERROR (KHYATI) IN MAD-(WO)MEN’S LANGUAGE 16. THE CONCEPT OF PERCEPTUAL TIME AND GRAMMATICAL TIME IN BANGLA 17. BANGLA CALLIGRAPHY, LANGUAGE ART AND LINGUISTIC PEDAGOGY 18. WO(L)D SPACES: NON-EXISTENCE OF WORDS 19. ANEKANTA METHODS 20. SILENCEME: SILENT OTHER IN LINGUISTICS 21. IMAGINED BOUDARIES AND PRE-COLONIAL INDIAN IMAGI-NATION 22. MAKING OF THE INDIAN PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 23. SEGMENTING THE SUPRASEGMENTALS : MUSICKING IN SPEAKING 24. INTERPRETING GENETIC STRUCTURE BY DEPLOYING LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE 25. GLOTTOPOLITICS OF LINGUISTIC SUBALTERNITY OR AN AGENDA FOR PLANNING FROM BELOW 26. SEMIOTICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY 27. SOCIOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ACADEMICS
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