thompson at thompson at
Thu Feb 27 02:10:21 UTC 1997

I'd like to thank Jacob Baltuch for putting this free-wheeling,
increasingly weird, "other-bashing" thread into some kind of historical
perspective.  In fact, Indology has had a *history*, a sometimes
not-to-be-proud-of history.  I have in my hands right now a [German]
translation of some Rgveda hymns by Herman Lommel, dedicated to his son who
died as a soldier in WW II, and quoting RV 10.154.3-4  It is a touching
dedication by a disconsolate father at the loss of his son.  But the quoted
passage refers to "the heroes who have sacrificed their bodies" [zUrAso ye
tanUtyajaH]... for what?  Well, the RV passage goes on at length about Rta,
and the Fathers, and the great poets and seers of the past....  I don't
know about this... I have mixed feelings about the implicit metaphor.

Then again, I also own a book by the Iranist [not quite an Indologist, I
suppose, but close enough] Franz Altheim. Graceful, "masculine" sword-hilts
grace the book's cover, its title page, and the series page. It has an
introductory quotation from Heinrich Himmler recommending the study of the
past for a better appreciation of the present and the future....

I am presently preparing myself for participation in an academic discussion
of the Aryan migration theory and the controversy over the "Indigenous
Aryan movement" that views the Punjab as "the cradle of civilization."
That is, an *Aryan* cradle.  Increasingly, I find that I do not like this
word "Aryan".

In my opinion, it is probably wisest to use terms like "Indogermanisch" and
"Aryan" with *extreme caution* and with a deeply historical perspective. It
is not enough to profess innocent, "purely scholarly" intentions....

Best wishes

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list