The Asiatic Society consists of conservatives who are keen to maintain their societal culture and norms. They work hard to conceal any information about their culture from foreigners. A visitor in this society is treated as an intruder and secluded from the societal proceedings. In the same regard, these mistreatments have bred social and legal injustices leading to increased efforts that are aimed at achieving justice through oriental studies.
We will write a custom Essay on The Asiatic Society of Calcutta specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Warren Hastings stands out as the best orient of his time and there is also the case with William Jones who has made numerous linguistic discoveries. It is recorded that desire to administer justice in Calcutta was the underlying factor behind his numerous research undertakings (Macfie 2000).
Hastings is considered as a despotic, discredited and disputed scholar whose linguistic prowess at the English parliament helped propagate both judicial and political injustice. Hastings’s oratory contributions were faulted by Colebrook after he secretly learned English and made his own translations. More so, Colebrook contemplated resigning from the colony citing bad reputation.
Thomas Babington McCauley, another linguist, and Persian orator, recalls that the pundits of Bengal were always jealous at any attempts by a foreigner to pry into those mysteries that were locked up in their secret dialect (Lowe 2011). Thus, oriental studies reveal that native languages were used as a tool to propagate injustices in society. Hence, whoever did not have the ability to translate Persian or Indic into English and vice versa had a higher chance of unfair treatment and denial of justice.
Another outstanding characteristic of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta is extensively dealt with in the article as outlined by the many efforts by various researchers in the orient. It is evident that the establishment of the British colony in India changed the whole judicial system of the country.
McCauley also recalls that gradually analyzing some judicial verdicts by Hastings became rather complex and therefore people served sentences they never understood due to their limited knowledge of the language. Everyone was supposed to know English or at least have some basic knowledge of it. Hence, this led to researchers embarking on serious language study (Kabbani 2008).
Hastings is judged in London for defiance of his masters since he talked of the ingratitude of colonial conquerors. Other researchers, like Wilkins, changed the whole course of linguistic history by advocating for direct Sanskrit to reveal the structure of secondary languages, unlike the reverse approach, which was used. This made it easy to understand and translate English.
Jones, a sixteen-year-old son of a mathematics professor, made a remarkable breakthrough by translating the Hafiz into English verse. A fellow orient Pauthier affirms that no other orient ever had a broader range of knowledge at his disposal than Jones did. Thus, Jones is considered to have largely contributed to the language studies to save the linguistic from the oppression of the conquerors. Apart from this, Jones is also said to have uncovered and compiled important information about almost everything (Ankerl 2010).
The establishment of the British colony in Bengal was characterized by a change in the language structure. English became almost a necessity for survival in society. The extensive researches established were all channeled at two core objectives of eradicating social injustice as well as fighting back against the British oppression (Steiner 2012). Therefore, many scholars took up the task of saving the society through their intellectual prowess in oriental studies.
Ankerl, Guy. Coexisting Contemporary Civilizations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. Geneva: INU Press, 2010. Print.
Kabbani, Rana. Imperial Fictions: Europe’s Myths of Orient. London: Pandora Press, 2008. Print.
Lowe, Lisa. Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalisms. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011. Print.
Macfie, Alexander. Orientalism: A Reader. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2000. Print.
Steiner, Evgeny. Orientalism/Occidentalism: Languages of Cultures vs. Languages of Description. Moscow: Sovpadenie, 2012. Print.