Teaching and Learning Sanskrit through Tamil

Evidence from Manuscripts of the Amarakośa with Tamil Annotations (Studies in Late Manipravalam Literature 2)

Abstract

This paper investigates a specific aspect of Sanskrit education in 19thcentury Tamil Nadu. In particular, it makes use of manuscripts containing copies of the Sanskrit thesaurus entitled Nāmaliṅgānuśāsana (also known as Amarakośa) that are accompanied by intralinear annotations composed in a particular register of highly Sanskritised Tamil, which for convenience’s sake can be called Manipravalam. The fact that these manuscripts were used as educational tools by intermediate students of Sanskrit does not only emerge from the content of the work they contain, but also from the analysis of their paratexts. This study aims at reconsidering some of the common assumptions about the traditional Indic educational setting, which is often and most probably unfairly described as relying mostly upon memory to the detriment of the written medium.

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