Q: How did your association with Sanskrit begin? What is its place, according to you, in India's current cultural landscape?
Aatish Taseer: It began from a simple desire to go further into India's literary past than my education permitted me to. Elsewhere, this would seem a very natural thing. In India, it was full of a political and historical charge. Sanskrit had become more a symbol than a language and, on both sides of our cultural divide, it roused strong emotions that had very little to do with the language and its literature.
I felt that, like those books that people ban without reading, Sanskrit had been removed from the realm of thought, and made an object of politics and piety, of oppression, of reverence and contempt. It was my aim to avoid these things, and go straight to the language which, as an object for the mind, is among the most exquisite ever made.
(Good, now start Ghar Wapsi in Pakistan)