Last Updated : 25-07-2014 17:50

 
 

Pali shown the door in Buddha’s Land

E-mail Print
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

 
 

Views : 2323
 
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Add comment


Security code
Refresh

ads
Another train derailment
Mahela notches up 150
A master class inning
Video: Call to abolish Executive Presidency
Another train derailment
Mahela notches up 150
A master class inning
Video: Call to abolish Executive Presidency