[INDOLOGY] Nalanda revival

Andrea Marion Pinkney, Prof. andrea.pinkney at mcgill.ca
Mon Jul 13 14:30:53 EDT 2015


Dear Colleagues,

With regard to the discussion of the Nalanda revival and Amartya Sen’s recent essay, I have tried to provide some background and reflections on the project here: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9455424&fileId=S0026749X13000310

With best wishes,
Andrea


Andrea Marion Pinkney
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Religious Studies
McGill University

Recent publications: https://mcgill.academia.edu/AndreaMarionPinkney




On Jul 13, 2015, at 12:00 PM, indology-request at list.indology.info<mailto:indology-request at list.indology.info> wrote:

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Today's Topics:

  1. Re: More uninformed discussion of ancient India (Dominik Wujastyk)
  2. Re: More uninformed discussion of ancient India (Birgit Kellner)
  3. Re: More uninformed discussion of ancient India
     (Ram-Prasad, Chakravarthi)
  4. Re: More uninformed discussion of ancient India (Andrew Ollett)
  5. More uninformed discussion of ancient India (Nagaraj Paturi)
  6. Re: More uninformed discussion of ancient India
     (dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk)
  7. Just published: Vienna Journal of South Asian Studies 55
     (Philipp Maas)
  8. Re: More uninformed discussion of ancient India (Jonathan Silk)
  9. Re: More uninformed discussion of ancient India
     (dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk)
 10. Mahabharata retold (Simon Brodbeck)
 11. Release of Sanskrit Heritage Engine software (G?rard Huet)
 12. Rajiv Malhotra plagiarism allegations (koenraad.elst at telenet.be)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 2015 19:23:30 +0200
From: Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com>
To: Jonathan Silk <kauzeya at gmail.com>, Indology
<indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India
Message-ID:
<CAKdt-CdLyQK7g4dMkO5h2ekiP-mNcb981qZRBeSh3+mopqfbrg at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

I agree with you about the limitations of Sen's piece.

Furthermore, I don't understand why there is now a second "Nalanda"
recreation, when the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, deemed university, that has a
developed program of teaching Buddhism and the languages of Buddhism, has
existed since 1951 at the presumed site of the ancient Nalanda.

Dominik Wujastyk


On 12 July 2015 at 17:00, Jonathan Silk <kauzeya at gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Friends,

In a somewhat different vein than the ongoing discussion of a certain
Hindutva partisan, you might want to take a look at Amartya Sen's piece:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/aug/13/india-stormy-revival-nalanda-university/

In my opinion, while his political position seems to be something close to
180 degrees the opposite, he is in some ways remarkably similar in his
almost studied ignorance of classical India. His portrayal of Nalanda is
nothing short of fantasy, and I confess that I am disappointed and
depressed to see such fictions repeated by someone who, until recently, was
actually significantly influential in this 'neo' Nalanda project. That it
might be advantageous to say certain rosy things in a political context is
one thing, but the result is, to my mind, an utter misrepresentation of the
historical truth. A final point is that by portraying Nalanda as an
international university, using in his description explicitly secular
categories, the anti-Hindutva Sen succeeds in virtually entirely subverting
the Buddhist nature of Nalanda.

I am curious if I am alone in my impressions of this piece.

Jonathan


--
J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
The Netherlands

copies of my publications may be found at
http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html

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Message: 2
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 2015 21:35:32 +0200
From: Birgit Kellner <kellner at asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de>
To: indology at list.indology.info
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India
Message-ID: <55A2C184.90500 at asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8

Jonathan,

like Dominik, I agree with you. Ignorance of history, perhaps, but
definitely a tendency to project certain ideals that Sen himself shares
-- especially that a society should be driven by reasoned debate in a
public arena -- back into Indian history.

This also comes to the fore e.g. in Sen's book "The Argumentative
Indian" and his 2014 article/essay "The Contemporary Relevance of
Buddha" (Ethics&International Affairs 28/1, 15-27). There is a
romanticized depiction of Buddhism as utterly rational and committed to
reason and public debate in the latter piece that is not only bizarre in
its one-sidedness, but also depressing in the way that it does not
engage the historicity of Buddhist thought. The possibility that "public
debate", for instance, might actually represent something very different
in ancient India and in modern democracies does not even seem to be
entertained. Is this ignorance, or some kind of argumentative strategy?
I'm wondering.

Best regards,

Birgit Kellner

Am 12.07.2015 um 17:00 schrieb Jonathan Silk:
Dear Friends,

In a somewhat different vein than the ongoing discussion of a certain
Hindutva partisan, you might want to take a look at Amartya Sen's
piece: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/aug/13/india-stormy-revival-nalanda-university/

In my opinion, while his political position seems to be something close
to 180 degrees the opposite, he is in some ways remarkably similar in
his almost studied ignorance of classical India. His portrayal of
Nalanda is nothing short of fantasy, and I confess that I am
disappointed and depressed to see such fictions repeated by someone who,
until recently, was actually significantly influential in this 'neo'
Nalanda project. That it might be advantageous to say certain rosy
things in a political context is one thing, but the result is, to my
mind, an utter misrepresentation of the historical truth. A final point
is that by portraying Nalanda as an international university, using in
his description explicitly secular categories, the anti-Hindutva Sen
succeeds in virtually entirely subverting the Buddhist nature of Nalanda.

I am curious if I am alone in my impressions of this piece.

Jonathan


--
J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
The Netherlands

copies of my publications may be found at
http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html


_______________________________________________
INDOLOGY mailing list
INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing committee)
http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)



--
----------
Prof. Dr. Birgit Kellner
Chair of Buddhist Studies
Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context - The
Dynamics of Transculturality"
University of Heidelberg
Karl Jaspers Centre
Vo?stra?e 2, Building 4400
D-69115 Heidelberg
Phone: +49(0)6221 - 54 4301 (Office Ina Chebbi: 4363)
Fax: +49(0)6221 - 54 4012



------------------------------

Message: 3
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 2015 20:24:13 +0000
From: "Ram-Prasad, Chakravarthi" <c.ram-prasad at lancaster.ac.uk>
To: "indology at list.indology.info" <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India
Message-ID:
<5622B5FA1B14F3439A3ABC85C5A09EA823B5A7EE at EX-0-MB2.lancs.local>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1252"

While I too have often worried about Sen?s views along the lines mentioned in this thread, Birgit?s concluding question is a thought-provoking one. Not ignorance, for a man educated at Santiniketan, grandson of Kshtimohan Sen (see the intriguing foreword he provides in the 2002 re-issue of his grandfather?s Penguin book, Hinduism), who had many years of discussion of Indian thought with Matilal and Mohanty.
So, argumentative strategy. I think we can see him as affected by different cultural vectors. First, of course, is the ?secular Indian? public intellectual?s resistant response to Hindu nationalism, which makes him feel that drawing substantially on ?Hindu? thought for contemporary discussion is dangerous. Second is his version of the Tagorean notion of Asia, which makes Buddhism attractive as the historical-ideological vehicle for pan-Asian values; something that plays a large role, I hazard, in his involvement with the Nalanda initiative. Third is his reluctance to concede to a completely modernist rejection of the Indian past that characterizes both classic Indian Marxists and many liberals (see Ramachandra Guha?s excoriation of The Argumentative Indian in a review somewhere, from just such a perspective); and possibly, there is a Bengali intellectual strain that includes Ashis Nandy, which worries about the rootlessness of contemporary Indian liberalism but does not think
 through the historical and philosophical complexity of reading the past for the present.
So what we have is a clumsy redaction of the Buddhist past. It is neither robustly philosophical in identifying the structure of arguments and then clearly demonstrating their disembedding from context for the purposes of conceptual analysis; nor carefully text-historical in locating the ideas in their context and their temporal trajectory. We do not even have a historical philosophy that acknowledges the complexity of context and engages in close reading of text, while also seeking to develop ideas for contemporary relevance. Instead, we have a radically simplified pseudohistory of ideas. (I blame Charles Taylor...)

Best wishes,
Ram-Prasad
________________________________________
From: INDOLOGY [indology-bounces at list.indology.info] on behalf of Birgit Kellner [kellner at asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de]
Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2015 8:35 PM
To: indology at list.indology.info
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India

Jonathan,

like Dominik, I agree with you. Ignorance of history, perhaps, but
definitely a tendency to project certain ideals that Sen himself shares
-- especially that a society should be driven by reasoned debate in a
public arena -- back into Indian history.

This also comes to the fore e.g. in Sen's book "The Argumentative
Indian" and his 2014 article/essay "The Contemporary Relevance of
Buddha" (Ethics&International Affairs 28/1, 15-27). There is a
romanticized depiction of Buddhism as utterly rational and committed to
reason and public debate in the latter piece that is not only bizarre in
its one-sidedness, but also depressing in the way that it does not
engage the historicity of Buddhist thought. The possibility that "public
debate", for instance, might actually represent something very different
in ancient India and in modern democracies does not even seem to be
entertained. Is this ignorance, or some kind of argumentative strategy?
I'm wondering.

Best regards,

Birgit Kellner

Am 12.07.2015 um 17:00 schrieb Jonathan Silk:
Dear Friends,

In a somewhat different vein than the ongoing discussion of a certain
Hindutva partisan, you might want to take a look at Amartya Sen's
piece: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/aug/13/india-stormy-revival-nalanda-university/

In my opinion, while his political position seems to be something close
to 180 degrees the opposite, he is in some ways remarkably similar in
his almost studied ignorance of classical India. His portrayal of
Nalanda is nothing short of fantasy, and I confess that I am
disappointed and depressed to see such fictions repeated by someone who,
until recently, was actually significantly influential in this 'neo'
Nalanda project. That it might be advantageous to say certain rosy
things in a political context is one thing, but the result is, to my
mind, an utter misrepresentation of the historical truth. A final point
is that by portraying Nalanda as an international university, using in
his description explicitly secular categories, the anti-Hindutva Sen
succeeds in virtually entirely subverting the Buddhist nature of Nalanda.

I am curious if I am alone in my impressions of this piece.

Jonathan


--
J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
The Netherlands

copies of my publications may be found at
http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html


_______________________________________________
INDOLOGY mailing list
INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing committee)
http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)



--
----------
Prof. Dr. Birgit Kellner
Chair of Buddhist Studies
Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context - The
Dynamics of Transculturality"
University of Heidelberg
Karl Jaspers Centre
Vo?stra?e 2, Building 4400
D-69115 Heidelberg
Phone: +49(0)6221 - 54 4301 (Office Ina Chebbi: 4363)
Fax: +49(0)6221 - 54 4012

_______________________________________________
INDOLOGY mailing list
INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing committee)
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------------------------------

Message: 4
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 02:40:36 +0530
From: Andrew Ollett <andrew.ollett at gmail.com>
To: "indology at list.indology.info" <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India
Message-ID:
<CAANHO14OTLoshvrjXBbb3Jgg1BERwuWBaBhdgp-rZ5X+k7KzvA at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Just two thoughts:

(a) Sen's contention is not that "public debate" was substantially the same
in ancient India and in the modern normative vision of deliberative
democracy, but just that concepts and practices that Sen's readers might
typically associate with Europe, the Enlightenment, and classical
liberalism (such as realism, skepticism, debate, higher education, etc.)
have analogues in precolonial India. These analogues lack historical
context in his treatment, and they're fuzzy and inexact, but the point is
just that they are there to be found.

(b) The implication of this, and what I understand to be the primary
argumentative goal, is that these concepts and practices can enter into the
"idea of India" without being rejected out of hand as imposed from without
by colonial powers. Sen explicitly positions this vision, which it's fair
to call left-nationalist for the reasons Ram-Prasad mentioned, against the
right-nationalist vision of India (which is fideist rather than
critical-skeptical and leans strongly towards Hinduism) and implicitly
against the still-too-popular idea that liberal values could only have
originated in Europe and were subsequently "gifted" to the rest of the
world through colonialism.

I don't think Sen's goal was ever to provide a complete account of Nalanda,
Buddhism, the Buddha, "the Buddhist past," Indian intellectual history, or
even a detailed reading of any particular arguments. But didn't we know
that already? Sen was not pretending to be an Indologist. Maybe Jonathan
can tell us what struck him as false, fantastic, ignorant, etc., as opposed
to hyperselective.


Andrew Ollett

On Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 1:54 AM, Ram-Prasad, Chakravarthi <
c.ram-prasad at lancaster.ac.uk> wrote:

While I too have often worried about Sen?s views along the lines mentioned
in this thread, Birgit?s concluding question is a thought-provoking one.
Not ignorance, for a man educated at Santiniketan, grandson of Kshtimohan
Sen (see the intriguing foreword he provides in the 2002 re-issue of his
grandfather?s Penguin book, Hinduism), who had many years of discussion of
Indian thought with Matilal and Mohanty.
So, argumentative strategy. I think we can see him as affected by
different cultural vectors. First, of course, is the ?secular Indian?
public intellectual?s resistant response to Hindu nationalism, which makes
him feel that drawing substantially on ?Hindu? thought for contemporary
discussion is dangerous. Second is his version of the Tagorean notion of
Asia, which makes Buddhism attractive as the historical-ideological vehicle
for pan-Asian values; something that plays a large role, I hazard, in his
involvement with the Nalanda initiative. Third is his reluctance to concede
to a completely modernist rejection of the Indian past that characterizes
both classic Indian Marxists and many liberals (see Ramachandra Guha?s
excoriation of The Argumentative Indian in a review somewhere, from just
such a perspective); and possibly, there is a Bengali intellectual strain
that includes Ashis Nandy, which worries about the rootlessness of
contemporary Indian liberalism but does not think through the historical
and philosophical complexity of reading the past for the present.
So what we have is a clumsy redaction of the Buddhist past. It is neither
robustly philosophical in identifying the structure of arguments and then
clearly demonstrating their disembedding from context for the purposes of
conceptual analysis; nor carefully text-historical in locating the ideas in
their context and their temporal trajectory. We do not even have a
historical philosophy that acknowledges the complexity of context and
engages in close reading of text, while also seeking to develop ideas for
contemporary relevance. Instead, we have a radically simplified
pseudohistory of ideas. (I blame Charles Taylor...)

Best wishes,
Ram-Prasad
________________________________________
From: INDOLOGY [indology-bounces at list.indology.info] on behalf of Birgit
Kellner [kellner at asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de]
Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2015 8:35 PM
To: indology at list.indology.info
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India

Jonathan,

like Dominik, I agree with you. Ignorance of history, perhaps, but
definitely a tendency to project certain ideals that Sen himself shares
-- especially that a society should be driven by reasoned debate in a
public arena -- back into Indian history.

This also comes to the fore e.g. in Sen's book "The Argumentative
Indian" and his 2014 article/essay "The Contemporary Relevance of
Buddha" (Ethics&International Affairs 28/1, 15-27). There is a
romanticized depiction of Buddhism as utterly rational and committed to
reason and public debate in the latter piece that is not only bizarre in
its one-sidedness, but also depressing in the way that it does not
engage the historicity of Buddhist thought. The possibility that "public
debate", for instance, might actually represent something very different
in ancient India and in modern democracies does not even seem to be
entertained. Is this ignorance, or some kind of argumentative strategy?
I'm wondering.

Best regards,

Birgit Kellner

Am 12.07.2015 um 17:00 schrieb Jonathan Silk:
Dear Friends,

In a somewhat different vein than the ongoing discussion of a certain
Hindutva partisan, you might want to take a look at Amartya Sen's
piece:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/aug/13/india-stormy-revival-nalanda-university/

In my opinion, while his political position seems to be something close
to 180 degrees the opposite, he is in some ways remarkably similar in
his almost studied ignorance of classical India. His portrayal of
Nalanda is nothing short of fantasy, and I confess that I am
disappointed and depressed to see such fictions repeated by someone who,
until recently, was actually significantly influential in this 'neo'
Nalanda project. That it might be advantageous to say certain rosy
things in a political context is one thing, but the result is, to my
mind, an utter misrepresentation of the historical truth. A final point
is that by portraying Nalanda as an international university, using in
his description explicitly secular categories, the anti-Hindutva Sen
succeeds in virtually entirely subverting the Buddhist nature of Nalanda.

I am curious if I am alone in my impressions of this piece.

Jonathan


--
J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
The Netherlands

copies of my publications may be found at
http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html


_______________________________________________
INDOLOGY mailing list
INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing
committee)
http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options
or unsubscribe)



--
----------
Prof. Dr. Birgit Kellner
Chair of Buddhist Studies
Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context - The
Dynamics of Transculturality"
University of Heidelberg
Karl Jaspers Centre
Vo?stra?e 2, Building 4400
D-69115 Heidelberg
Phone: +49(0)6221 - 54 4301 (Office Ina Chebbi: 4363)
Fax: +49(0)6221 - 54 4012

_______________________________________________
INDOLOGY mailing list
INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing
committee)
http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or
unsubscribe)

_______________________________________________
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Message: 5
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 14:54:26 +0530
From: Nagaraj Paturi <nagarajpaturi at gmail.com>
To: indology at list.indology.info
Subject: [INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India
Message-ID:
<CAJGj9ebirvG3TD8CXhBpWscHneZr82AmZQj0jBAOzR=J_OaHrQ at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Total size of the article is 3976 words, 47 paras, 320 lines.

Portion of it dealing with the past:  941 words 12.25 paras 81 lines.

Percentage of portion dealing with past is 23.66.

All the remaining part of the essay deals with contemporary aspects,
continuing the anti-Indian-right-wing stance of the author.

Buddha was and is many things for many.

During Gandhian era of freedom struggle he was embodiment of Ahimsa for the
pro-Gandhians.

He has been a materialist for the materialists.

Anti-Brahmin for the anti-Brahmins.

Prof. Sen is able to see his ideas in him.



--
Prof.Nagaraj Paturi
Hyderabad-500044
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Message: 6
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 11:10:41 +0100
From: dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk
To: Jonathan Silk <kauzeya at gmail.com>, <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India
Message-ID: <55A38EA1.9959.8245E7 at dermot.grevatt.force9.co.uk>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Dear Jonathan,

Yes, Amartya Sen does seem to project modern ideas of what a university is on to what must
have been a very different sort of institution, and it spoils the case he is defending.

It's not the first time that he has claimed a specious continuity with ancient Indian culture. In a
book whose title I forget, he makes great play with the terms nyaya and niti, as if they were
etymologically related, but without indicating how they are used in Sanskrit literature, or
anchoring his use of them in any earlier use. I was impressed by his arguments on
economics and ethics, but thought they were let down by his apparent assumption that
because he is Indian his ideas ought to have Indian roots, or be made to look as if they have.
I was reminded of the remark of another argumentative Bengali, the historian Romesh
Chandra Majumdar: "In a democratic age, everyone seems to assume that a knowledge of
Indian history is a birthright of every Indian, and requires no patient study or research" (in
Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon, ed. C. H. Philips, p. 426).

Dermot Killingley

On 12 Jul 2015 at 17:00, Jonathan Silk wrote:

Dear Friends,

In a somewhat different vein than the ongoing discussion of a certain Hindutva partisan, you
might want to take a look at Amartya Sen's piece:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/aug/13/india-stormy-revival-nalanda-university/

In my opinion, while his political position seems to be something close to 180 degrees the
opposite, he is in some ways remarkably similar in his almost studied ignorance of classical
India. His portrayal of Nalanda is nothing short of fantasy, and I confess that I am
disappointed and depressed to see such fictions repeated by someone who, until recently,
was actually significantly influential in this 'neo' Nalanda project. That it might be
advantageous to say certain rosy things in a political context is one thing, but the result is, to
my mind, an utter misrepresentation of the historical truth. A final point is that by portraying
Nalanda as an international university, using in his description explicitly secular categories,
the anti-Hindutva Sen succeeds in virtually entirely subverting the Buddhist nature of
Nalanda.

I am curious if I am alone in my impressions of this piece.

Jonathan


--
J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
The Netherlands

copies of my publications may be found at
http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html

--
Dermot Killingley
9, Rectory Drive,
Gosforth,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1XT
Phone (0191) 285 8053

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Message: 7
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 12:16:22 +0200
From: Philipp Maas <philipp.a.maas at gmail.com>
To: Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Just published: Vienna Journal of South Asian
Studies 55
Message-ID:
<CAOuG4CbL1EObRHOtNFq++EcmyeBj-a_NKgNtcujQu1Tx78PKag at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to call to your attention that the latest issue (Vol. 55,
2013-2014) of the *Vienna Journal of South Asian Studies* appeared today in
print. The online edition, which in its public domain section contains the
table of contents and extracts of the individual articles, will soon be
available here <http://hw.oeaw.ac.at/WZKS_collection?frames=yes>.



With best wishes,



Philipp Maas

--
Dr. Philipp A. Maas
Universit?tsassistent
Institut f?r S?dasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Universit?t Wien
Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 2, Eingang 2.1
A-1090 Wien
?sterreich
univie.academia.edu/PhilippMaas
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Message: 8
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 13:28:21 +0200
From: Jonathan Silk <kauzeya at gmail.com>
To: dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk
Cc: Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India
Message-ID:
<CAMGmO4KUwi-aMaT7vTY+mCzFUeWF_J=rat8VoCPtVcEL0ACkWA at mail.gmail.com>
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The book is "The Idea of Justice" and it is indeed filled with ignorance
about India, or at least Classical India, let us say. I have to confess I
could not even finish the book, so fed up was I. It is perhaps a bit like
the phenomenon one encounters, e.g., with Richard Dawkins. Were I to start
talking about biology, I expect he would dismiss me in a few words, and
rightly so,  just as Sen should do were I to spout off about economics. Why
is the reverse humility rarely in evidence, I wonder.

Jonathan

On Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 12:10 PM, <dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk> wrote:

Dear Jonathan,

Yes, Amartya Sen does seem to project modern ideas of what a university
is on to what must have been a very different sort of institution, and it
spoils the case he is defending.

It's not the first time that he has claimed a specious continuity with
ancient Indian culture. In a book whose title I forget, he makes great play
with the terms nyaya and niti, as if they were etymologically related, but
without indicating how they are used in Sanskrit literature, or anchoring
his use of them in any earlier use. I was impressed by his arguments on
economics and ethics, but thought they were let down by his apparent
assumption that because he is Indian his ideas ought to have Indian roots,
or be made to look as if they have. I was reminded of the remark of another
argumentative Bengali, the historian Romesh Chandra Majumdar: "In a
democratic age, everyone seems to assume that a knowledge of Indian history
is a birthright of every Indian, and requires no patient study or research"
(in *Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon*, ed. C. H. Philips, p.
426).

Dermot Killingley

On 12 Jul 2015 at 17:00, Jonathan Silk wrote:

Dear Friends,

In a somewhat different vein than the ongoing discussion of a certain
Hindutva partisan, you might want to take a look at Amartya Sen's piece:
*http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/aug/13/india-stormy-revival-nalanda-university/*
<http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/aug/13/india-stormy-revival-nalanda-university/>

In my opinion, while his political position seems to be something close
to 180 degrees the opposite, he is in some ways remarkably similar in his
almost studied ignorance of classical India. His portrayal of Nalanda is
nothing short of fantasy, and I confess that I am disappointed and
depressed to see such fictions repeated by someone who, until recently, was
actually significantly influential in this 'neo' Nalanda project. That it
might be advantageous to say certain rosy things in a political context is
one thing, but the result is, to my mind, an utter misrepresentation of the
historical truth. A final point is that by portraying Nalanda as an
international university, using in his description explicitly secular
categories, the anti-Hindutva Sen succeeds in virtually entirely subverting
the Buddhist nature of Nalanda.

I am curious if I am alone in my impressions of this piece.

Jonathan


--
J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
The Netherlands

copies of my publications may be found at
*http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html*
<http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html>

--
Dermot Killingley
9, Rectory Drive,
Gosforth,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1XT
Phone (0191) 285 8053





--
J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
The Netherlands

copies of my publications may be found at
http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html
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Message: 9
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 13:30:58 +0100
From: dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk
To: Jonathan Silk <kauzeya at gmail.com>
Cc: Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India
Message-ID: <55A3AF82.5141.102B5BC at dermot.grevatt.force9.co.uk>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

Dear Jonathan,

Thanks for reminding me of the title. I did read the whole book, thinking that his ideas stood
up despite the pseudo-indology.

With best wishes,

Dermot



On 13 Jul 2015 at 13:28, Jonathan Silk wrote:

The book is "The Idea of Justice" and it is indeed filled with ignorance about India, or at least
Classical India, let us say. I have to confess I could not even finish the book, so fed up was I.
It is perhaps a bit like the phenomenon one encounters, e.g., with Richard Dawkins. Were I
to start talking about biology, I expect he would dismiss me in a few words, and rightly so,
just as Sen should do were I to spout off about economics. Why is the reverse humility rarely
in evidence, I wonder.

Jonathan

On Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 12:10 PM, <dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk> wrote:
   Dear Jonathan,

   Yes, Amartya Sen does seem to project modern ideas of what a university is on to what
   must have been a very different sort of institution, and it spoils the case he is
   defending.

   It's not the first time that he has claimed a specious continuity with ancient Indian
   culture. In a book whose title I forget, he makes great play with the terms nyaya and
   niti, as if they were etymologically related, but without indicating how they are used in
   Sanskrit literature, or anchoring his use of them in any earlier use. I was impressed by
   his arguments on economics and ethics, but thought they were let down by his
   apparent assumption that because he is Indian his ideas ought to have Indian roots, or
   be made to look as if they have. I was reminded of the remark of another
   argumentative Bengali, the historian Romesh Chandra Majumdar: "In a democratic
   age, everyone seems to assume that a knowledge of Indian history is a birthright of
   every Indian, and requires no patient study or research" (in Historians of India, Pakistan
   and Ceylon, ed. C. H. Philips, p. 426).

   Dermot Killingley

   On 12 Jul 2015 at 17:00, Jonathan Silk wrote:

   Dear Friends,

   In a somewhat different vein than the ongoing discussion of a certain Hindutva
   partisan, you might want to take a look at Amartya Sen's piece:
   http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/aug/13/india-stormy-revival-nalanda-university/

   In my opinion, while his political position seems to be something close to 180 degrees
   the opposite, he is in some ways remarkably similar in his almost studied ignorance of
   classical India. His portrayal of Nalanda is nothing short of fantasy, and I confess that I
   am disappointed and depressed to see such fictions repeated by someone who, until
   recently, was actually significantly influential in this 'neo' Nalanda project. That it might
   be advantageous to say certain rosy things in a political context is one thing, but the
   result is, to my mind, an utter misrepresentation of the historical truth. A final point is
   that by portraying Nalanda as an international university, using in his description
   explicitly secular categories, the anti-Hindutva Sen succeeds in virtually entirely
   subverting the Buddhist nature of Nalanda.

   I am curious if I am alone in my impressions of this piece.

   Jonathan


   --
   J. Silk
   Leiden University
   Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
   Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
   2311 BZ Leiden
   The Netherlands

   copies of my publications may be found at
   http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html

   --
   Dermot Killingley
   9, Rectory Drive,
   Gosforth,
   Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1XT
   Phone (0191) 285 8053


--
J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
The Netherlands

copies of my publications may be found at
http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html

--
Dermot Killingley
9, Rectory Drive,
Gosforth,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1XT
Phone (0191) 285 8053




------------------------------

Message: 10
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 14:19:34 +0000
From: Simon Brodbeck <BrodbeckSP at cardiff.ac.uk>
To: Indology List <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Mahabharata retold
Message-ID:
<DB3PR02MB0539755D91BA8164DDBFF0D58C9C0 at DB3PR02MB0539.eurprd02.prod.outlook.com>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Dear colleagues,

Some of you may be interested in Carole Satyamurti?s ?The Mahabharata: a Modern Retelling?, which appeared a few months ago, published by Norton and Co. The publisher?s webpage for this book is: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/Mahabharata/

The author is an acclaimed poet, and a few weeks ago the book was announced as co-winner of the inaugural Roehampton Poetry Prize (see http://www.roehampton.ac.uk/News/2015/June/Inaugural-Roehampton-Poetry-Prize-announcement-celebrates--marvels--of-modern-poetry/ ). A paperback edition is expected early next year.

In the same month as Satyamurti?s version, another retelling of the Mahabharata, by David Slavitt, was published by Northwestern University Press: http://nupress.northwestern.edu/content/mahabharata

If anyone has seen (or can provide) a review of Slavitt?s version, I would be grateful to hear of it.

Simon Brodbeck
Cardiff University


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Message: 11
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 16:50:49 +0200
From: G?rard Huet <Gerard.Huet at inria.fr>
To: Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Release of Sanskrit Heritage Engine software
Message-ID: <D8DEFDE4-2B58-4237-8C9A-D124761B7D0D at inria.fr>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

At the occasion of the World Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok, a public distribution of the Sanskrit Heritage Engine software has been released,
together with a user's reference manual for the various tools.
This version allows using the tools as Web services on your own workstation, provided it runs some version of Unix, such as Linux or Mac OSX.
The user manual tells how to download the software and install it. Please report any difficulty or anomaly.
Best regards,
G?rard Huet

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Message: 12
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 17:49:11 +0200 (CEST)
From: koenraad.elst at telenet.be
To: indology at list.indology.info
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Rajiv Malhotra plagiarism allegations
Message-ID:
<1131876546.241065982.1436802551967.JavaMail.root at telenet.be>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"


Dear listfolk,
?
Given your remarkable interest in the Rajiv Malhotra controversy, you might care to see the reply by his supporters:
?
https://traditionresponds.wordpress.com/
?
Kind regards,
?
Koenraad Elst
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End of INDOLOGY Digest, Vol 30, Issue 13
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Andrea Marion Pinkney
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Religious Studies
McGill University

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