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Reading between the Lines: The Language of the Polity and its Politics in Ancient India

28 Apr '17 6.30 pm

It has been a universally accepted fact that the earliest evidence of language in the Indian sub-continent is in the form of Vedic Sanskrit. Sanskrit always existed as the dominant linguistic discourse in Ancient India. The orthodox religion utilised this language as an important tool to propagate and dominate the region and its people.

The evidence of the earliest writings by a political authority is in the form of edicts engraved on the behest of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka. Subsequent to him, many kings got their decrees/eulogies engraved at various vantage locations. These early inscriptions, however, use Prakrit as the language of their political propaganda. It is only in the early centuries of the Common Era that we see the entry of Sanskrit as the language of the political supreme.

This lecture focuses on this choice of languages and also tries to delve into probable reasons for the shift from Prakrit to Sanskrit as the language of political propaganda.

Please note that registrations via email are required for this free lecture. Kindly email us at info@jp-india.org.


Abhijit Dandekar

Abhijit Dandekar is Assistant Professor of Epigraphy and Numismatics at the Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute, Pune. He received his doctorate in 2001 for his studies on Early Historic Ceramics of Mewar, Rajasthan. He specialises in Epigraphy, Numismatics, Ceramic Studies, Field Archaeology, Early Historic and Medieval Archaeology. He has edited volumes, research articles in national and international journals, as well as popular articles to his credit. Dr. Dandekar has directed the excavations and surveys at Chaul in 2008.



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Queens Mansion, 3rd Floor, G. Talwatkar Marg,
Fort, Mumbai - 400001. India.
Tel: +91-22-2207 2974 / 2207 2975.
Fax: +91-22-2207 2976.
Email: to.jnanapravaha@gmail.com,

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