Language, culture, and society can be studied from various points of view. Classical Indology and Indian anthropology have different points of departure, but deal sometimes with the same material; the difference in background has generally prevented close collaboration. Classical Indologists tend to look upon Indian anthropologists as mainly interested in almost inaccessible hill tribes, in village superstition, and sometimes in contemporary affairs; moreover a synchronistic bias in methodology has often limited the potential richness of their studies. Anthropologists who study India, on the other hand, are often inclined to view classical Indologists as busy with case endings and etymological derivations, or as discussing obscure and long-forgotten doctrines. Yet neither field has been able to dispense with concepts traditionally handled by the other; for instance, anthropologists talk about language, and classical Indologists about culture. A recent example is the concept of Sanskritization, introduced by anthropologists with obvious reference to Sanskrit, the language to which the main attention of classical Indologists has always been directed. As a student of Sanskrit and classical Indology, I offer some reflections on Sanskritization with the hope that I am not altogether blind to the problems occupying anthropologists.

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