A Sanskrit grammatical conundrum that has perplexed experts since the fifth century BC has finally been resolved by an Indian Ph.D. student at the University of Cambridge. According to a BBC article, Rishi Atul Rajpopat, 27, apparently decoded a book written by the master of the ancient Sanskrit language Panini, who lived approximately two and a half thousand years ago.
Notably, Rajpopat is a PhD candidate at St. John’s College, Cambridge’s faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.
The rule that follows later in the serial sequence of the language wins in a contest between two rules of equal power, according to the Independent’s interpretation of a “metarule” that Panini taught.
This traditional interpretation of the metarule was rejected by Rajpopat with the argument that Panini meant that between rules applicable to the left and right sides of a word respectively, Panini wanted us to choose the rule applicable to the right side. He concluded that Panini’s “language machine” produced grammatically correct words with almost no exceptions.
“I had a eureka moment in Cambridge. After nine months of trying to crack this problem, I was almost ready to quit, I was getting nowhere. So I closed the books for a month and just enjoyed the summer, swimming, cycling, cooking, praying, and meditating. Then, begrudgingly I went back to work, and, within minutes, as I turned the pages, these patterns started emerging, and it all started to make sense,” he told the Independent. It took him another two years to solve the problem.
Elated at the news, Prof Vergiani said, “My student Rishi has cracked it – he has found an extraordinarily elegant solution to a problem which has perplexed scholars for centuries. This discovery will revolutionise the study of Sanskrit at a time when interest in the language is on the rise.”
Post a commentSanskrit is only spoken in India by an estimated 25,000 people out of a population of more than one billion, Cambridge University said