German Indology

bpj at bpj at
Mon Feb 24 13:33:05 UTC 1997

Dominik Wujastyk wrote:

>Yes, please do drop "the English...".  Of course, like anyone, I would be
>proud of the assumption of Polish nationality, but actually my sense of
>national affinity is weak to the point of non-existence.  Most of my early
>life was spent in Madeira, Lisbon, Khartoum, Malakal, Entebbe, and finally
>Mgarr (a village in Malta).  I came to England for university, and I do
>hold a British passport, it is true.  But my wife was born in Dar es
>Salaam, her father in Shanghai, her mother in Sri Lanka, my sister-in-law
>in Aden, my father in Lublin, my step-brother in Germany, my mother in
>Kent, etc., etc.  Make of that what you will.  Although I like Britain
>very much as a place to live and work, I've also had extremely enjoyable
>sojurns in America, India, and Germany.
>Perhaps this background accounts for why I find this issue of "German"
>this, "French" that, and "English" the other so peculiar, and so
>profoundly irrelevant.

I agree with you, and now I see why: my grandparents were Swedish,
Swedish-Norwegian, German-Polish and Ukrainian respectively. Even if that
makes "Swedish" the largest component in me (3/8) I don't FEEL particularly
Swedish, because nationality was a non-issue in my background milieu. The
assumption that any the people of any nation would hold any non-acquired
traits in common is if not false at least unproven AFAIK. This need to
label people most certainly reflects at least an unconscious desire to
imply that they would be biased in some way. It may also be misleading: is
a "German scholar" could be either or both a German national and a person
who studies German. Calling me a "Buddhist scholar" might be correct as a
statement of my religious affiliation, but might easily lead to the wrong
assumption that Buddhism is my main field of interest (all the more so
since most people expect Buddhists to have Asian names -- maybe I do so
too, and maybe that's why you also find my Tibetan dharma-name Ngawang in
my sig :-/)

Much more important to me is actually to know if the person I'm writing to
or about is a male or a female. Alas it is not the custom in English to
include Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. if the person is entitled to an academic title.
I'm afraid noone wants to attach (m) or (f) or the equivalent (?) iconic <o
or o+ to their names, unless everybody everywhere would begin to do so all
at a time.

Best Regards

Philip Jonsson Ngawang Dzjiynba, an Earthling and a Man.

|_) |_  * | * __       __  ___   __ ___ __
|   | ) | | | |_)      (_ /_|| * (_ /_| (_ *
              |              |     \
B.Philip Jonsson <bpj at>
[I write in Swinglish, if nothing else is said.]
              _        _    .             _ _
|| Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha ||

"Peace is not simply the absence of war.
It is not a passive state of being.
We must wage peace, as vigilantly as we wage war."
(XIV Dalai Lama)

"A coincidence, as we say in Middle-Earth"

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