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I did read the grammar section of xmodmap but still couldn't figure out how I could do it.

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May be there is a way to map Ctrl-p/Ctrl-n to behave as up/down keys directly from gnome. Anyone? – VitoshKa Aug 14 '11 at 12:21

This isn't easily possible.

As the xmodmap man page states:

The first keysym is used when no modifier key is pressed in conjunction with
this key, the second with Shift, the third when the Mode_switch key is used
with this key and the fourth when both the Mode_switch and Shift keys are used.

By default, AltGr is the Mode_switch key.

It is possible to map a different or additional (to AltGr) as the Mode_switch key, e.g. the right Ctrl key:

xmodmap -e "keycode 105 = Mode_switch Mode_switch"

The problem however is that the key then won't work as normal Ctrl key anymore.

Btw: There is a question, which asks for precisely, how to use the Ctrl key as a modifier key: How to use Control as modifier with xmodmap?

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xmodmap -e "keycode 33 = p P Up"

and let me know if it's the result you're looking for.

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As nidi said, that isn't easily possible with xmodmap.
However it's super easy with AutoKey.
See the following answer as an example:

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