[INDOLOGY] First use of 'Indology'

Will Sweetman will.sweetman at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 17:09:35 EST 2013


Dear Suresh

In his Zend-Avesta (1771), Anquetil commented on the inadequate methods used to study Indian religions. He invites his reader to consider how imperfect a knowledge of the Christian religion a ‘Tartar’ would gain if, ‘travelling in the less instructed Christian kingdoms, he should content himself with entering churches, and questioning the sexton or porter of a Portuguese convent. And yet this is the limit of the researches of the majority of travellers in India. They are happy if they take nothing but the simple testimony of a Dobachi, of a Pion, who... explains to them, in bad Portuguese, the mysteries which he hardly knows, and which his priests would not be able to render without difficulty in the language of the country.’ He proposed instead a "travelling academy" of professional scholars, which is perhaps a precursor to what Mill suggests, although it owes more to the model of the royal academies in early modern France, or Solomon's House in Bacon's New Atlantis.  

I discuss his proposal briefly in Mapping Hinduism (pp. 142-47). 

Best

Will

On 19/02/2013, at 6:31 AM, Suresh Kolichala wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 4:19 AM, Christophe Vielle
> <christophe.vielle at uclouvain.be> wrote:
>> 
>> It is to be noted that without using the term itself, John Stuart Mill in 1858 had his own idea
>> about what might be called 'Indology':
>> 
>> " (…) India is a peculiar country; the state of society and civilization, the character and habits
>> of the people, and the private and public rights established among them, are totally different
>> from those which are known or recognised in this country; in fact the study of India must be
>> as much a profession in itself as law or medecine"
>> 
>> (see John M. Robson, Martin Moir & Zawahir Moir eds, Collected Works of John Stuart Mill,
>> vol. 30: Writings on India, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990, p. 49 ; comment by
>> Jennifer Pitts, A Turn to Empire: the rise of imperial liberalism in Britain and France,
>> Princeton University Press, 2005, pp. 149-150).
> 
> Thanks, everyone, for the pointers. The quotation from John Stuart
> Mill is interesting. Were there any other similar quotations about
> India from the early Indologists such as Anquetil Duperon (1723–1805,
> first translator of the Upanishads), August Schlegel (1767–1845,
> produced a Latin translation of the Gita) and Charles Wilkins
> (1749–1836, first English translator of the Gita) et al.?
> 
> Incidentally, in a recent interview with my friend, Sudheer Kolachina,
> Noam Chomsky quoted Stuart Mill on India and "humanitarian
> intervention" to show how individuals of the highest intelligence and
> integrity also succumbed to toeing the official line (referring to
> John Stuart Mill's "A Few Words on Non-Intervention, 1859"). The
> interview is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2isewvsPiA
> 
> Regards,
> Suresh.
> 
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