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Pali shown the door in Buddha’s Land
2013-10-02 10:20:54
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The Un­ion Pub­lic Serv­ice Com­mis­sion (UPSC) of In­dia re­cent­ly re­moved the an­cient Pali lan­guage from the list of pre­scri­bed op­tion­al lan­guag­es of the main en­trance ex­ami­na­tion of the In­di­an Ad­min­is­tra­tive Serv­ice (IAS), al­so com­mon­ly known as the In­di­an Civ­il Serv­ice. This came as a shock­ing move to many, as Pali is con­sid­ered as the sec­ond pop­u­lar lan­guage amongst IAS can­di­dates.  How­ev­er dur­ing the tur­bu­lence which oc­cur­red fol­low­ing this in­ci­dent, pro­fes­sors and teach­ers spe­cial­is­ing in the Pali lan­guage in In­dia learnt that Pali which is in­dig­e­nous to the In­di­an sub­con­ti­nent and the lan­guage in which Bud­dha dis­closed the Dham­ma (which is al­so the lan­guage of the Bud­dhist Can­on) Pali has not been rec­og­nised as an In­di­an clas­si­cal and na­tion­al lan­guage. This promp­ted many Bud­dhists liv­ing around the world to sad­ly ac­cuse the In­di­an Gov­ern­ment of giv­ing step-moth­er­ly treat­ment to the Bud­dha’s lan­guage in his own coun­try.

 Pro­fes­sor and Head of the De­part­ment of Pali and Bud­dhist Stud­ies in Ba­nares Sid­dharth Singh ad­dress­ing a me­dia brief­ing on this mat­ter in Co­lom­bo last week said this ac­tion dis­cri­mi­na­ted Bud­dhists in In­dia on both re­li­gious and eth­nic grounds.


" Re­mov­al of Pali is a great dam­age to Bud­dhist stud­ies and the un­der­stand­ing of Bud­dhism in Bud­dha’s moth­er­land. Pali is the foun­da­tion to un­der­stand­ing Bud­dhism. So this move of the In­di­an gov­ern­ment should be op­posed "







 “The sen­ti­ments of the Bud­dhists in In­dia have been hurt through this act. We wrote to the In­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh, to the lead­er of the op­po­si­tion and to the mem­bers of the Ra­jya and Lok Sab­ha about this great in­jus­tice. But so far they have not giv­en any rea­son or a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the re­mov­al of Pali from the In­di­an civ­il serv­ice ex­ami­na­tion. Re­mov­al of Pali is a great dam­age to Bud­dhist stud­ies and the un­der­stand­ing of Bud­dhism in Bud­dha’s moth­er­land. Pali is the foun­da­tion to un­der­stand­ing Bud­dhism. So this move of the In­di­an gov­ern­ment should be op­posed,” Singh said.



"  I be­lieve this act is an ef­fort to take venge­ance from the Sched­uled Caste peo­ple and stop the spread­ing of Bud­dhism in In­dia. To­day In­dia is talk­ing about the hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions of Sri Lan­ka. But how can they criti­cise Sri Lan­ka, when they them­selves are vi­o­lat­ing the hu­man rights of the Bud­dhist com­mun­i­ty liv­ing in In­dia?  "




He fur­ther ex­plained that this move of the In­di­an gov­ern­ment could re­sult in In­dia los­ing in­ter­na­tion­al re­la­tions with the Bud­dhist na­tions around the world and that dur­ing his stay in Sri Lan­ka he plan­ned to hand a mem­o­ran­dum to the In­di­an High Com­mis­sion­er in Sri Lan­ka about this mat­ter who he ex­pects would com­mu­ni­cate the mes­sage to the In­di­an gov­ern­ment.


"  We wrote to the In­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh, to the lead­er of the op­po­si­tion and to the mem­bers of the Ra­jya and Lok Sab­ha about this great in­jus­tice. But so far they have not giv­en any rea­son or a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the re­mov­al of Pali from the In­di­an civ­il serv­ice ex­ami­na­tion  "



Com­ment­ing on the con­se­quen­ces of re­mov­ing Pali from the In­di­an civ­il serv­ice ex­ami­na­tion Singh said the de-list­ing of Pali may pre­vent can­di­dates con­ver­sant in Pali (who are Bud­dhists in In­dia) from sit­ting for the ex­am and join­ing the In­di­an civ­il serv­ice. He said this would al­so cause the In­di­an ad­min­is­tra­tion in­clud­ing its for­eign serv­ice to be man­ned by of­fi­cers ig­no­rant of Pali, while Bud­dhists liv­ing in In­dia would lose the state pa­tron­age they have had and the pres­er­va­tion of its few shrines and monu­ments would come to an end.

 “By the re­mov­al of Pali from the list of ‘ap­proved sub­jects’, the UPSC has open­ly vio­la­ted the pro­vi­sions of the Con­sti­tu­tion of In­dia (which they had sworn to up­hold); re­mov­al of Pali con­sti­tutes vi­o­la­tion of fun­da­men­tal rights of mi­nor­i­ties (Bud­dhists less than 0.79% in In­dia) and the less priv­i­leged ‘sched­uled castes and sched­uled tribes’ pro­tec­ted by the con­sti­tu­tion of In­dia. The UPSC has vio­la­ted In­di­an citi­zens’ fun­da­men­tal rights on the ‘right to equal­i­ty’ that con­sti­tute ‘dis­crim­i­na­tion on grounds of re­li­gion’ vi­o­lat­ing Ar­ti­cle-16, ‘equal­i­ty of op­por­tu­ni­ty in mat­ters of pub­lic em­ploy­ment’ un­der the In­di­an Con­sti­tu­tion. De-list­ing of Pali has in­fringed the In­di­an Con­sti­tu­tion un­der ‘di­rec­tive prin­ci­ples of state pol­i­cy (ar­ti­cle 46) which states that ‘pro­mo­tion of ed­u­ca­tion­al and eco­nom­ic in­ter­ests of sched­uled castes, sched­uled tribes and oth­er weak­er sec­tions in the so­ci­ety would be pro­tec­ted from so­cial in­jus­tice and all forms of ex­ploi­ta­tion. Ar­ti­cle-335 claims of Sched­uled Castes and Sched­uled Tribes to serv­ices posts. There is al­so pro­vi­sion for mak­ing claims against the UPSC to the “Na­tion­al Com­mis­sion for the Sched­uled Castes and Sched­uled Tribes” un­der the spe­cial pro­vi­sions re­lat­ing to cer­tain classes,” Singh said.

 Ja­thi­ka He­la Ur­u­maya (JHU) Par­lia­men­tar­i­an Ven. Athur­a­liye Ra­tha­na Thera who was al­so pres­ent at this press con­fer­ence said that this move of the In­di­an gov­ern­ment was a vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights against the Sched­uled Caste peo­ple liv­ing in In­dia.

“I be­lieve this act is an ef­fort to take venge­ance from the Sched­uled Caste peo­ple and stop the spread­ing of Bud­dhism in In­dia. To­day In­dia is talk­ing about the hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions of Sri Lan­ka. But how can they criti­cise Sri Lan­ka, when they them­selves are vi­o­lat­ing the hu­man rights of the Bud­dhist com­mun­i­ty liv­ing in In­dia? This is a Brah­mic Caste act based on the re­gres­sive Brah­mic ideol­o­gy of In­dia,” Ra­tha­na Thera said.

Mean­while when the Dai­ly Mir­ror con­tac­ted the Sri Lan­kan For­eign Min­is­try about this is­sue, sour­ces said they were yet to re­ceive com­pre­hen­sive in­for­ma­tion on this mat­ter.   It is sad that many peo­ple to­day con­sid­er Pali a ‘dead lan­guage’ when the ear­li­est ex­tant Bud­dhist scrip­tures are writ­ten in Pali. It was the lan­guage the Bud­dha used to dis­sem­i­nate the Dham­ma on which the whole of the Bud­dhist civ­i­li­za­tion is foun­ded. Our coun­try to­day re­mains a na­tion where sev­er­al mil­lions of Bud­dhists re­side.

To­day Bud­dhism is not on­ly a re­li­gion, but it has turned in­to a way of life. To­day the Bud­dha’s Dham­ma (which is in Pali) is not on­ly chan­ted in a rit­ual con­text by Bud­dhists all over the world, but it is al­so prac­ticed and lived in their day-to-day lives. So if Pali is a ‘dead lan­guage’ and ‘out­da­ted’ in to­day’s so­ci­ety as many con­sid­er it to be, then how come so many peo­ple around the world to­day live by this lan­guage?

Pix by War­u­na Wan­niar­ach­chi
Comments - 1
RAJENDRA.P Wednesday, 27 November 2013 09:03
Pali is the primitive Indian language, & it is a simple learnable language, Lord Buddha him self teaches by this native language. so that please don't remove the language from any field. better to improve the language for the we
lfare of every one.
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