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The ‘Classics’ in India: Unseen Presence, Cloaked Authority

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Harish Trivedi
Harish Trivedi


The classics were taught not only in the West but also all over the colonised world –except in India, probably because India was acknowledged to have foundational classics of its own written in a language which was proclaimed by Western scholars to be fully a match of Greek and Latin. However, an earlier connection between Greece and India that began in 326 BCE with the aborted attempt by Alexander the Great to conquer India left enduring cultural traces which have been explored by creative writers and scholars alike. In the hey-day of British rule in India, the British governors and civil servants, who were themselves steeped in classical education, often fashioned themselves on the model of Pax Romana, so that the absence in India of a direct classical education was still not exempt from a pervasive classical penumbra.


classics; india; British rule of India; postcolonial literature; sanskrit; murty classical library of India; Indian academic institutions; cultural nationalism;

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