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This statement was made by Lord Macaulay in 1835.

Quote:
"I have no knowledge of either Sanskrit or Arabic. But I have done what I could to form a correct estimate of their value...I am quite ready to take the oriental learning at the valuation of the orientalists themselves. I have never found one amongst them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia."


Do you think that statement was a fair assessment of Indian/Arabian literature, and, if so, do you think it would also stand as a fair assessment of modern/contemporary Indian/Arabian literature?
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I have no knowledge of either Sanskrit or Arabic, but I doubt that Lord Macaulay's is a fair assessment.
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To be in a position to assess whether Lord M's statement was a fair assessment, we would first need to:

1. become familiar with the whole native literature of India;

2. become familiar with the whole native literature of Arabia;

3. establish the contents of the "single shelf of a good European library";

4. establish the criteria by which the estimate of "worth" in each case was to be made.

My suspicion however is that, having gone to so much trouble, we would be unlikely to wish to denigrate the native literatures in question.

If the subject interests you, by the way, Anon, you may wish to read Edward Said's Orientalism.

MrP