[INDOLOGY] Yves Ramseier - a short obituary

Eltschinger, Vincent Vincent.Eltschinger at oeaw.ac.at
Mon May 27 07:32:19 EDT 2013


Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am sad to announce the passing of Yves Ramseier in the early hours last Saturday (19 May 2013). Yves Ramseier was born on 26 July 1956 in Lausanne, Switzerland. After studying Greek and Latin at the Gymnase de la Cité (Lausanne), he became a student at the University of Lausanne, where he studied Oriental languages (mainly Sanskrit) and civilizations under the guidance of Professors Jacques May and Heinz Zimmermann, who exerted a decisive influence on Ramseier’s intellectual development by arousing his interest in Buddhism and Madhyamaka on the one hand, and in the Sanskrit Grammarians on the other hand. These two areas of interest coalesced around 1985 as the recently graduated Ramseier moved to Kyoto, Japan, in order to study Vyaakara.na under Professor Yutaka Ojihara. Besides working on Patañjali and especially Bhart.rhari, Ramseier enjoyed life in Japan – and life tout court, as those who knew him can attest. With his friend Hitomi and his first daughter Kyoko, Ramseier left Japan for Lausanne in 1990, where he became the assistant of Professor Johannes Bronkhorst, who had been appointed Heinz Zimmermann’s successor in 1987. Ramseier started working on a PhD thesis on the Jaatisamudde’sa of Bhart.hari’s Vaakyapadiiya, which unfortunately he never completed. As a young doctoral student he also had to teach classes of elementary Sanskrit for undergraduate students (more precisely “Travaux pratiques de Sanskrit”), which took place on Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m., after which he and his students enjoyed frequenting the restaurants and bars of Lausanne, which he knew  intimately. Ramseier’s five years as an assistant of Professor Bronkhorst are marked by his first (and last) publications as an indologist: “Bhart.rhari et la nescience” (Asiatische Studien/Etudes Asiatiques 48/4 [1994], pp. 1363-1368), a bibliography, “Bibliography on Bhart.rhari” (pp. 235-268 in Saroja Bhate and Johannes Bronkhorst [ed]: Bhart.rhari, Philosopher and Grammarian. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Bhart.rhari. Delhi 1994 [Bern 1993]: Motilal Banarsidass), and an index (Johannes Bronkhorst and Yves Ramseier: Word index to the Pra’sastapaadabhaa.sya: A complete word index to the printed editions of the Pra’sastapaadabhaa.sya. Delhi 1994: Motilal Banarsidass). After leaving his position as an assistant, Ramseier embarked on Johannes Bronkhorst’s ambitious project (Swiss National Science Foundation) of a critical edition of the Kaa’sikaav.rtti. In spite of the significant number of Sanskrit manuscripts of this text that he helped to discover in India, the project was aborted around 1997. From that time on, Yves Ramseier was no longer active in the Indological field but continued to attend international conferences, to update the online version of his “Bibliography on Bhart.rhari,” and to maintain the innumerable friendships he had made in the field. All those who have had the privilege of being his friends will remember his sharp and provocative intelligence and his deep and empathetic love of people. Yves Ramseier leaves two daughters, Kyoko and Aska, to whom I offer my most sincere condolances – which I also extend to his friend Carole, who remained close to him until he died. Dors bien, Capitaine!
Vincent Eltschinger



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