The editing in this case refers not
only to collecting and arranging of the 117 pieces written
in English but also to correction and some revision where
are arranged very roughly into 9 groups. Within each group
the arrangement is roughly from general to specific subject-matter.
(Specific studies are treated as general if their main
thrust is general, the specific element being illustrative
in intention.) Some effort has been made, not wholly successful,
at a certain uniformity in format, terminology, romanization,
referencing, and notes. In a single-author collection
spread over 50 years, a certain amount of duplication
has crept in, but no attempt has been made to avoid or
even reduce it. There are a couple of reasons for this
policy. Readers have often complained of the author’s
presentations being extremely concise. The editorial revision
has occasionally made this concision a little less extreme
but not nearly enough. Actually, differing formulations
of the same content may serve to reduce the reader’s discomfort.
The duplication may also help the curious reader some
glimpse into the author’s intellectual life-history. Then
there is the possibility of the reader’s missing the treatment
of certain topics. This collection does not represent
the author’s total intellectual effort. There are his
book-length presentations, of course. He has also widely
published in Marathi and Hindi. There have been efforts
to translate across these languages in different directions.
(Thus, item 96 was first written in Hindi and then in
Marathi and English.) But this has not happened consistently.
If a reader senses a gap and if a Marathi/Hindi piece
fills it, the author will be happy to arrange for a translation.
There are probably going to be two other
sources of puzzlement for the reader. First, I have made
no distinction between the relatively more esoteric (more
specialized or sophisticated or theoretic) and the relatively
more exoteric (less specialized or less sophisticated
or more practical). How does one tell apart essays and
studies? I find such distinction of limited use but largely
otiose, even as some artists find the distinction between
art with a capital A and art for the ordinary people needless
if not unacceptable. The other source of puzzlement would
be the apparently rambling outreach of the subject matter.
Let me assure the reader that the outreach is only apparent.
The author’s formal training and professional competence
happens to be in the fields of language and literature.
He has also taught himself semiotics and some philosophy,
and gained a foothold in the scientific and historical
study of culture and society. This is not wholly a biographical
accident; there was also a felt intellectual need. Perhaps
language and literature occupy such a strategic position
in human and humane studies, and perhaps a modern Indian
occupies such a strategic historical and geographical
position. What is it then that holds this collection together?
There is no unifying theme or question; rather there is
a single point of view (in the 18th-Century
European idiom) or a single diṭṭhi (in the Buddhist idiom)
or a single naya (in the Jain idiom). Hence the
title ‘From a semiotic-humanistic point of view’. (Pieces
that will help the understanding of my point of view are
marked with an asterisk * in the table of contents;
pieces that notably exemplify the resulting views of the
landscapes/scenarios are marked with a dagger † in
the table of contents.)
If only the reader does not worry about
the level (popular/sophisticated) or the rubric (linguistics,
literary theory or the like)! If only he or she trusts
himself/herself and trusts me! What Antoine Meillet used
to say of language, namely, Tout se tient
holds) may turn out to be true of this collection of essays
Here are the nine groups:
In the table of contents each title is followed
by the year of the first publication of the piece even
if the piece has reappeared later. Where there has a substantial
gap between writing and first publication, both the years
are recorded. Where the paper has remained unpublished
so far, the letter ‘u’ shows this.