Help us ensure Prakrit continues to be a part of SOAS in 2020
This campaign is set up to cover the administrative costs of maintaining this unique SOAS tradition. By making a donation, you can help us ensure that teaching in Prakrit remains to be a part of SOAS and its research on Jainism. This research is spearheaded by the SOAS Centre of Jaina Studies (COJS). The aim of the centre is to promote the study of Jaina religion and culture by providing an interdisciplinary platform for academic research, teaching and publication in the field of Jaina Studies. Any donation made in surplus of our goal of £3500 will be used towards the COJS’ other activities, including the yearly Jaina Studies Workshop and the on-going publication of International Journal of Jaina Studies. Click here to read more about Jaina Studies at SOAS.
Who are we?
We are a group of SOAS Prakrit students and academics and we are crowdfunding to keep Prakrit lessons running at SOAS. There is no budget for Prakrit at SOAS and the SOAS Prakrit teacher is an unpaid volunteer Emeritus Professor. We are crowdfunding for his travel costs and the administration cost for continuing Prakrit lessons at SOAS for the academic year 2020/21.
Why is this important?
SOAS is the only university in the UK to offer classes in Prakrit. Jain Maharashtri, the form of Prakrit primarily taught at SOAS, is absolutely essential to understand Jain scriptures and to the study Jainism in general. In the current economic climate, small specialised courses such as Prakrit have been discontinued by universities everywhere; they can only survive with the help of external funding.
What is Prakrit?
Prakrit is an ancient Indian language, first recorded over 2,000 years ago. Throughout millennia, the Prakrit languages have been used for a range of purposes and literature, but are above all associated with the writings of the Jain religion. At SOAS, teaching in Prakrit was for several years only possible through the Paul Thieme Lectureship, donated by Dr. Renate Söhnen-Thieme, following the termination of the Prakrit courses in 2010 due to austerity measures.
Prakrit is an endangered language. It is no longer spoken, and is used only in ritual contexts as a liturgical language. A rich literary tradition also exists in the Jain sacred texts.
How can you join the course?
The course is divided into two units. The first, "Introduction to Prakrit", over the course of a full term gives students, even with no previous knowledge of Indian languages, a complete overview of Prakrit grammar. The second, "Readings in Prakrit", allows students to read selections of classic Jain literature in the original Prakrit.
For more information, visit the course pages at the SOAS web site: