INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in Navy

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by Neil, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    ‘What’s in a name?’ is perhaps not the question the Indian navy would like to be asked when it is grappling with the death and devastation on INS Sindhurakshak. But once the pain wears off and when the significance of the week gone by sinks in—when INS Arihant, an indigenously developed nuclear submarine, achieved ‘criticality’ and INS Vikrant, the indigenously developed aircraft carrier, was launched—a question well worth asking is: what kind of signal does this secular republic send when most of its naval vessels, whether they are developed in India or acquired from elsewhere, are given mostly Sanskrit names, often picked up from Hindu mythology?

    From 1948 onwards, India had formulated its own policy of naming new naval vessels. They were to be given Indian-origin names. Accordingly, the light fleet was named after mountains or their peaks, cruisers after national capitals and major Indian cities, destroyers in a manner so that each flotilla would have the same initials, aircraft frigates after rivers, anti-submarine frigates after Indian weapons, submarines after various species of fish and minesweepers after Indian states.

    Arihant, Vikrant and Sindhurakshak are names taken from Sanskrit and belong to a pattern the Indian navy has been following for some years now. Here are the names of some of its other vessels—Chakra, Vikramaditya, Sindhughosh, Sindhudhvaj, Shankul, Shalki, Shankush, Shivalik, Airavat, Trishul, Nirbhik, Vinash, Prabal and Pralaya—all are Sanskrit; quite a few are taken from Hindu mythology. The practice also extends to the other wings of the armed forces—the army and air force. Our missiles have names like Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Trishul and Nag; our main battle tank is called Arjun and our multi-role jet fighter is named Tejas.

    Do names with Indian origin mean only those with Sanskrit provenance, or those part of Hindu mythology? Or more importantly, while giving such names, what is the target audience we have in mind? Are they meant for people inside the country or are we trying to send out a strong signal to those across the border?

    Different countries have their own sets of guidelines for naming ships, naval vessels and crafts. At times they come from mythology, at other times, names of national heroes and historical places and events are celebrated through such names. But more often than not, a secular democracy is also aware of how such names will be perceived not only within but also outside the country.

    The US has had a system from 1819 by which naming of such vessels is left to its defence secretary, who in turn follows a protocol whereby cruisers are named after battles, attack submarines for US cities and destroyers after naval and marine heroes. The British naval fleet, depleted significantly over the years, even had ships and crafts with names like HMS Flirt, HMS Blonde and HMS Dapper, apart from carrying names of major cities, ports, battles and royalty. But if you are looking at diverse names, look at the French navy, which has even named one of its vessels Venus, after the Roman goddess of love.

    One of the countries where this pattern is not followed is Pakistan. It was a country formed on the basis of religion. In the past six decades Pakistan has hardly missed any opportunity to showcase its Islamic identity, particularly when it comes to naming armaments after Muslim invaders of India. But while doing so, it has often overlooked the fact that these invaders not only tormented and brutalised Hindus, but also large numbers of Muslims in India, often at times when the country was under Muslim rule.

    But is India trying to become a mirror image of Pakistan? Why is it not moving away from a narrow interpretation of looking at things Indian through the narrow prism of Sanskrit and Hindu mythology? India may well be a Hindu maj-ority country, but we proclaim in our Constitution that it is a secular nation. There is no denying that Sanskrit has been the parent language of many of the tongues that we speak. But that is half the story. Many of our languages originated and developed beyond the pale of Sanskrit. Many different cultures and religions made significant contributions to the making of modern, secular India. Let us consider why we should not celebrate the achievements of our scientists, sch-olars and entrepreneurs by using all the other influences that shaped us. Let us move away from this obsession that we have developed about Sanskrit. Perhaps, the time has come for the next indigenously developed Indian aircraft carrier or a naval vessel to be named from a pool that is much deeper and wider, and truly celebrates the diversity of secular India.


    INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in naming our defence assets | idrw.org

    @ Decklander @SajeevJeevo
     
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  3. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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    Re: INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in naming o

    If that happens, there will be a mad rush to have something named after this culture, that hero, this language, that state. If anyone is ignored, as is inevitable, it could actually cause more alienation. More fights.

    Sanskrit is not limited to any one region of India. It has shaped and influenced ALL Indian languages. Sanskrit names should dominate, but still include names from different cultures which contributed to India. Like we had INS Akbar.
     
  4. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Re: INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in naming o

    I ripped apart the article that appeared in outlook on this on twitter last night.
     
  5. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Re: INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in naming o

    Wow, did this article just compare India with Pakistan, because we give our ships Sanskrit names? :facepalm:

    Sanskrit is the iconic language of India. It is not restricted to any religion, but belongs to the country as a whole. It's surely better than naming ships after foreign conquerors who had nothing to do with the country except they invaded and destroyed it (PNS Babur anyone?).
     
  6. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    Re: INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in naming o

    Somehow people have got into the habit of making issues out of non issues.
    ships in IN have been named after cities. rivers, islands, Forts, Martyrs of 1857, Kings & queens of ancient India and even on Zodiac signs. There is no such tradition of naming IN ships only in Sanskrit. Even if we assume that it is the norm, than what wud you want us to do when Sanskrit is the mother of all Indian languages except Tamil. Sanskrit seems to have evolved from tamil. Do you want us to name our ships in persian, german, English or Arabic?
     
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  7. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Re: INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in naming o

    Idiotic article.

    sanskrit >>> politicians name
     
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  8. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sanskrit seems to have evolved from tamil. Is it true?
    I think journo suggesting a "quota" scheme!
     
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  9. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    Re: INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in naming o

    Tamil script has been found even in Harrappa, Mohanjo Daro, ancient Sumeria, egypt etc. even in India both sanskrit and Tamil has co existed for over 10k yrs and Rishi Agatshya had codified these two languages. It is for this reason that these two languages are very close to eachother and it is difficult to make out which originated from whom. But the fact is that while sanskrit was a language which was spoken by only the upper class of society like more of a court language, Tamil was the language of commoners.
     
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  10. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    Re: INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in naming o

    The quota system reminds me of a joke which is true about us Indians also.
    if you have one German-he will be a very efficient person, if you have two of them-they will start arguing and three Germans will start a war.
    Similarly, If you have one India-he will be very efficient, If you have two-they will start class system and if you have three Indians-They will start Quota wars.
     
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  11. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Re: INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in naming o

    Well the we will name our next Aircraft carrier as INS Mayawati and the New tanker as INS Jayalalitha. I think people will be happy then.

    Terrifying names indeed.
     
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  12. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    @Decklander Sanskrit having evolved from Tamil, that's not a conclusive fact.
     
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  13. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    I would like to the author in his balls, [email protected] a$$hole.

    These buggers would be glad if the INS Vikrant is rename HMS Queen Elisabeth or better rename it PNS Tipu Sultan might be useful to get some votes.
     
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  14. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    I had used the phrase,"seems to have evolved". You are right in your opinion. However we have conclusive proof that both these languages have been present in India concurrently and both these languages have sub groups of languages. I have theory based on my own interpretation of History of India starting from about 200k YBP. Indian plate drifted away from Africa which created the Horn of Africa and struck the asian plate. This caused the formation of Hindukush ranges and also Indus valley river system. The fact that even Harrappans have been using this language suggests that the people who lived on this island which drifted away from Africa, had their own language and culture which was probably Tamil and they developed in isolation till the plate struck the asian plate or came close to it. It was than that they came in contact with second wave of humen emmigration from africa who came over to this part from egyptian route. India has always been referred to as Jambudweep in our ancient texts. Even hindus on this forum may recall that in all vedic rituals, the brahmin conducting the ritual refers to this name while speaking the name and Gotra of the person who is getting the ritual conducted.
    It appears that Sanskrit and Tamil came in contact with other languages at that time and that is how other languages of the world got enriched by these two languages. The people of this part then migrated to central asia and Europe giving rise to Indo-european group of languages.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  15. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    What an Idiot?. Outlook is totally losing it by publishing such idiotic articles. People are taking this 'secularism' too far. No wonder rightwing sentiments are on the rise.
     
  16. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    This is heights of Secularism. now we find even languages as seculer and non seculer. Soon, people who stop on green light will be called Seculer, those who stop on red will be called commies and those who stop on yellow-non seculer Hindu fanatics.
     
  17. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Don't remember the source but read in a book that Sanskrit is derived from Tamil and Pali... Isn't it so?

     
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  18. WMD

    WMD Regular Member

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    The author seems like a complete moron or the article is politically motivated, after all even a pretentious secularist can rise the ranks in our crony capitalist media much sooner.
    But of course this article might represent the author's sole opinion, but then Outlook or IDRW needn't endorse it.
     
  19. mikhail

    mikhail Senior Member Senior Member

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    Re: INS Cheraman : A case for ending the overt Sanskritism in naming o

    i would rather name our ship in Sanskrit than naming them after some foreign barbaric invaders who just came here for nothing and pillaged and raped our women and massacred hundreds of thousands of people like taimur or babur or for that ahmed shah abdali!Sanskrit is just not a language it's THE language which has shaped up the culture and the civilization of the entire Indian sub-continent.most of the Indic languages have Sankrit as origin,heck even today we use thousands of Sanskrit words in our day to day activites.Sanskrit isn't just a language to us,it is the synonym of the Indian culture.
    this author is nothing but one of those so called "pseudo secular" persons who just keep on whining on everything which has an Indic origin.i am glad i didn't grow up to be like one of these jokers!
     
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  20. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    These are not religious names, so what if they are derived from Sanskrit ?
     
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  21. drkrn

    drkrn Senior Member Senior Member

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    historically world wide navies hold more importance than armies for big coastal countries.a navy is a countries pride even for today.look at the navy of usa,the naval tonnage of us is more than combined navy of next 10 countries combined.so nothing wrong in keeping names for navy from country of origin.

    @Neil even if many communities contributed to the country for centuries they can not replace our mother language Sanskrit and our history entangled with it,do they?
    Sanskrit is a not a language alone,its India's pride
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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