Towards Understanding orientalism
46th session of All India Oriental Conference at KU
The Department of Sanskrit, University of Kashmir is hosting 46th session of All India Oriental Conference” (AIOC) for three days beginning from 1stOctober at the campus.
Around 3000 delegates from different parts of the country and from other nations are participating in the 3-day event during which 21 parallel sessions would be held at various auditoriums of the University with the inaugural event to be held at the convocation complex of the varsity.
The technical sessions which would be held during the 3-day conference would discuss Iranian, classical Sanskrit, Islamic studies, Arabic and Persian, Pali and Buddhism, Prakrit and Jainism, History, Archaeology, Indian linguistics, Philosophy, Religion, Dravidic studies, Technical Sciences and Fine Arts, South East Asian Studies, West Asian Studies, Modern Sanskrit, Manuscriptology, Epic and Puranas, Sanskrit and Computers, Indian aesthetics and Poetic disciplines.
According to the head of the Department of Sanskrit KU , and organising local secretary of the conference Prof S. Razdan the department has so far received 2300 abstracts on various subjects related to the Oriental Studies. “The objective of the seminar is to bring fragmented studies in various oriental learning on the same platform," said Prof Razdan.“The All India Oriental Conference has served as the national forum of scholars interested in orient logy over the last nine decades since its inception in year 1919. The University of Kashmir is honored to host this mega event for second time, after a gap of 48 years,” added Prof Razdan.
Dr.J. B. Patnaik, Governor of Assam who is also the General President of the Conference, will deliver the Presidential address and AG Malik , Minister for higher education will inaugurate the function.. A renowned Orientalist, Prof Finn Thesien, Oslo University, Norway will deliver the key note address on the occasion. Prof SatyavrataShastriJnanpitha Awardee, Prof Hamidi Kashmiri, Urdu scholar and distinguished Sanskrit scholar Prof. VedKumariGhai will be the guests of Honor during the inaugural event whereas Dr SarojaBhate of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute will be the General Secretary.Vice Chancellor, KU, Prof. Talat Ahmad will preside over the function.
European study of the region, formerly knownas "the Orient", had primarily religious origins, which has remainedan important motivation until recent times. Learning from Arabicmedicine and philosophy, and the Arabic translations from Greek, wasan important factor in the Middle Ages. Linguistic knowledge preceded
a wider study of cultures and history, and as Europe began to encroachupon the region, political and economic factors encouraged growth inacademic study. From the late 18th century archaeology became a link
from the discipline to a wide European public, as treasures broughtback filled new European museums. “The modern study was influenced bothby Imperialist attitudes and interests, and also the sometimes naive
fascination of the exotic East for Mediterranean and European writersand thinkers, captured in images by artists, that is embodied in arepeatedly-surfacing theme in the history of ideas in the West, called "Orientalism" said Prof Razdan. The Western world's original distinction between the "West" and the
"East" was crystallized in the Greco-Persian Wars of the 5th century BC, when Athenian historians made a distinction between their"Athenian democracy" and that of the Persian monarchy. Aninstitutional distinction between East and West did not exist as adefined polarity before the Oriens- and Occidens-divided administration of the Emperor Diocletian's Roman Empire at the end ofthe 3rd century AD, and the division of the Empire into Latin and Greek-speaking portions, she added.
Observers of orientalism believe that during the 18th century Western scholars reached a reasonable basiclevel of understanding of the geography and most of the history of theregion, though knowledge of the areas least accessible to Western travelers, like Japan and Tibet, and their languages, remainedlimited. However, says Prof Razdan ,the end of the century saw the beginnings in the great increase instudy of the archaeology of the period, which was to be an ever-moreimportant aspect of the field through the next century. Prof Razdan adds that in most North American universities, Oriental Studies has now beenreplaced by Asian Studies localized to specific regions, such as,Middle Eastern or Near Eastern Studies, South Asian studies, and EastAsian Studies. “This reflects the fact that the Orient is not a single,monolithic region but rather a broad area encompassing multiplecivilizations. The generic concept of Oriental Studies, to itsopponents, has lost any use it may have once had and is perceived asobstructing changes in departmental structures to reflect actual patterns of modern scholarship opines Prof Razdan. In many universities, like Chicago, the faculties and institutions have divided; the Biblical languagesmay be linked with theological institutes, and the study of ancientcivilizations in the region may come under a different faculty tostudies of modern periods, she added.
With a great increase in knowledge of Asia among Western specialists,increasing political and economic involvement in the region, and inparticular the realization of the existence of close relations betweenIndian and European languages, by William Jones, there emerged morecomplex intellectual connections between the early history of Easternand Western cultures. Some of these developments occurred in thecontext of Franco–British rivalry for control of India. Orientaldespotism was generally regarded in Europe as a major factor in therelative failure of progress of Eastern societies.
In the course of the century Western archaeology spread across theMiddle East and Asia, with spectacular results. Yet, while scholastic study expanded, so did racist attitudes andstereotypes. Scholarship often wasintertwined with prejudicial racist presumptions, towhich the new biological sciences tended to contribute until the middle of the following century. In this context the understanding orientalism assumes significance and is broadly the present scenario in which the crucual 46th session of all India Conference will be held.
The KU conference is expected to bring to fore many hidden aspects of the theme for the better understanding of the scholars. One of the important features of the 46th session at KU will be that during the conference twenty awards will be presented to the best papers presented by young scholars in different sections including Vedic studies, Vedanta-Philosophy and Religion, religion, classical Sanskrit, Prakrit and Jainism, Modern Sanskrit, Pandit Parishad , Alamkarashastra, History , Technical Science and Fine Arts, Pali and Budisim, Epic and Puranas and Indian linguistics.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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