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The European scholars who had curiosity, admiration and respect for the civilisations and countries of the East are known as ‘Orientalists’.
- They focused on Vedic tradition and Sanskrit literature and also studied the similarities between Sanskrit and some of the European languages. These studies formulated a notion about an ancient language that could be the origin of all Indo-European languages.
- The Asiatic society founded by Sir William Jones in 1784 in Kolkata, opened the doors for research in ancient Indian literature and history.
- According to the Orientalist scholar, Friedrich Max Muller, Sanskrit was the most ancient language of the Indo-European languages. He was deeply interested in Sanskrit literature and translated the Sanskrit text of Hitopadesh in German and was the editor of 50 volumes of ‘The Sacred Books of the East’. Muller compiled and published Rigveda in six volumes as well as translated it in German.
- However, a scholar named Edward Said re-evaluated the orientalist writings and highlighted the imperialistic interests of orientalist scholars.
Concept: Tradition of Indian Historiography
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