Your Letter from Embassy of India (March 27, 1997)

zydenbos at zydenbos at
Mon Apr 7 18:00:50 UTC 1997

This is a forwarded message, originally posted by Prof. Harman in RISA-L, which
he also tried to post here, apparently without success, as he informed me.

Robert Zydenbos


 * Original date: 05 Apr 97  17:21:40

Subject: Your Letter from Embassy of India (March 27, 1997)

Honorable Siv S. Mukherjee
Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone (202) 939-7041
Fax (202) 462-7276

I have received your letter describing the Indian Government's intention 
to bring out a Directory of Scholars of Hindi living abroad to 
commemorate India's 50th anniversary of independence. You describe your 
intentions to produce a directory with personal biographies, and 
photographs, as well as published works and awards and honors. You also 
indicate that if my interest is not in Hindi, you are not interested in 
including me in the directory. The message seems to me to be rather 
clear, and quite damaging to the notion that India is a nation concerned 
for the united cooperation of India's linguistic, cultural, and literary 

I am a scholar of Tamil, and I regret that you have decided that the Tamil
language, culture, and people are irrelevant or, at best, secondary to
India's national celebration of independence.  I would like to remind you
that Tamilnadu has a long and remarkable history in terms of literary and
religious contributions to national life in India. India is a great
nation, but I would hate to see it diminished by parochial notions such as
those claiming that any one linguistic, racial, geographic, or religious
group carries the banner for the entire nation. 

I send this letter to academics on several lists concerned with the study 
of India. I encourage them not to participate in the project unless 
the project is enlarged to include all languages of India.


                                        William P. Harman
                                        Associate Professor of Religion
                                        DePauw University

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