Rahul Sankrityayan, Tsetan Phuntsog and Tibetan Textbooks for Ladakh in 1933

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  • John Bray, International Association for Ladakh Studies, United Kingdom
  • Martijn van Beek
  • Tsering Gonkatsang, University of Oxford
  • ,
  • Phuntsok Wangchuk, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong
In 1933 the Indian scholar and social activist Rahul Sankrityayan (1893-1963) compiled a set of four Tibetan-language readers and a grammar for use in Ladakhi schools, together with his Ladakhi colleague Tsetan Phuntsog. The readers contain a mix of material from Western, Indian, Ladakhi and Tibetan sources. This includes simple essays about ‘air’ and ‘water’, selections from Aesop’s fables, Indian folk stories, biographies of famous people in Ladakhi and Tibetan history, poems by Ladakhi authors, and extracts from the Treasury of Elegant Sayings by Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen (1182-1251). This essay begins with a review of earlier Tibetan-language schoolbooks published in British India, and then discusses the circumstances that led to Sankrityayan’s involvement in the Ladakh project. The second part of the essay examines the contents of the readers and the grammar, including—where possible—the authorship of particular sections. Finally, the essay briefly reviews linguistic developments in Ladakh since the publication of the textbooks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalHimalaya
Volume39
Issue2
Pages (from-to)74-91
ISSN1935-2212
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

    Research areas

  • Ladakh, Tibetan language, Education, linguistics, history, politics

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