Speed reading

A signatory of a petition last week that called for Sanskrit scholar Sheldon Pollock to be removed from his post as general editor of the Murty Classical Library of India is now preparing to set up a library to rival that publishing endeavour.

Dr Sampadananda Mishra, director of the Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture at the Sri Aurobindo Society in Puducherry, has announced that he will start the Vande Mataram Library as an open source, volunteer-driven project to translate what the editorial board deems to be important Sanskrit scriptures in India.

Oh good. Instead of asking people to shut up, a much better plan is to counter with your own versions, as this group says it plans to do. (And believe me, I write that with a very straight face. Pinky promise.)

The bit that shook me? (Emphasis mine)

Have you read the Murty Classical Library of India publications?

I have. Recently when I was coming from Delhi airport, I had some time, so I went through the nine that have come. The thing is that the work is very qualitative, if you look at the printing quality, the presentation and everything. Some of the things which I read are not that bad. It’s good, it gives a good read.

*sigh* I am constantly struggling to keep pace with all the books I buy, with all the reading I intend to do. I only have one of the Murty books, and I haven’t gotten down to cracking it open yet (I agree the “presentation and everything” is very good, btw). Totally envious of Dr Mishra, who managed to go through all nine of these during downtime at an airport.

The full interview with Dr Mishra, via Mridula Chari of Scroll, is here.

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4 thoughts on “Speed reading

  1. This is criticising for the sake of it. “Went through a book” or checking out a book in no way means that you read it from cover to cover.

    When you want to form a quick opinion about the quality of a non fiction book in a library or a book store, what you would normally do is to look up the section about something that you know very well and see how well the author has handled it. From the reply, this appears to be what Dr. Mishra has done. There is nothing to be sarcastic about. it.

    • That’s your point of view. Mine differs. Dr Mishra is one of the leading movers of a petition that demands that this effort in its current form, under its current leadership, be shut down. That Sheldon Pollock be dismissed. That it be handed over to others. The least you can do, if you wish to make such demands, is to read the books and critique based on actual misrepresentations or whatever it is that gets your goat. Instead, you circulate a petition saying something is bad and it turns out you’ve merely had time to look at the binding and the typeface — if that doesn’t invite sarcasm, what does?

      • Hmmm, looking from a higher point of view, guess you are right.

        PS : Sorry about the first line. I had no business to make such a judgment.

        • No need for apologies, that’s ok — you said it as you saw it and I don’t have any issues with that. The only thing I bar on this blog is name-calling. 🙂 And just to be clear, there is enough to be sarcastic about anyway, I wasn’t looking for things to poke fun at. I brought this up only because it is part of a trend that has been with us for decades — someone or other takes offense, outrages, petitions fly back and forth, bans are imposed, sometimes there is violence… you know all the examples as well as I do. It appalls me that those outraging about something or other don’t do the basic due diligence, first. If you find things that are wrong, absolutely worth calling out — no disagreement there. But for heaven’s sake, check. Verify. Then condemn.

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