INDOLOGY (Was: Etymon: paTTaN)

Richard Salomon rsalomon at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Tue Nov 25 19:03:41 UTC 1997

Thanks for the breath of fresh air, Ashok.  

Richard Salomon

On Sun, 23 Nov 1997, Aklujkar wrote:

> I sympathize with the experiences of Professors Bh. Krishnamurti and
> Michael Witzel, but  I hope that they too will find the policy maintained
> by Dr. Dominik Wujastyk sensible.
> An awareness needs to be maintained that what is considered to be
> scientific or professional is relative to time and is determined to a
> considerable extent by the context in which most of the scientists or
> professionals of a particular generation are trained. A greater loss to a
> field of inquiry can result from dismissing the questions and comments of
> intelligent and interested non-professionals than from "wasting" a few
> seconds to delete the postings about the non-validity of which one is
> certain.
> In the case of Indology, it seems particularly important to me that the
> professionals should take a pragmatic, long-term view of their field and
> show not only greater patience but willingness to work with intelligent and
> interested non-professionals. The number of new students coming to the
> field is not large enough to ensure its survival as a *robust and
> respectable* tradition of inquiry in the academia. In India, where the
> number of Indology students should be large, politico-economic conditions
> and educational policies have developed that almost make it certain that
> very few intellectually gifted students would turn to disciplines that
> ultimately support Indology. 'If you cannot do science, commerce or social
> sciences such as economics and politics, then go for specialization in
> languages, history, philosophy etc.� is (understandably but regrettably)
> the general pattern. Generally on the Indology list, we at least get
> questions and inputs from some of the most intelligent students India has
> educated in the recent past. They may not be as well informed as the
> professionals and not entirely free of local biases (who indeed is?), but
> they are genuinely interested and have the potential to learn the skills
> the professionals may want them to learn. Should the professionals, *as far
> as they wish and as far as they can,* not have a dialogue with these and
> improve the chances for the survival of lines of intellectual inquiry?
> While our first obligation should be to scholarship, we at least must not
> take steps that would further erode the base that that scholarship has in
> the general public.
> Over the last few years, I have learned much from the communications of
> several members of the Indology list who, from all indications, do not seem
> to be Indologists. Sometimes this is because of the questions they asked;
> sometimes because of the mistakes they made; sometimes precisely because
> they expressed a non-professional, general, public impression of the
> matter; sometimes because they revealed local tensions; and sometimes
> because they provided a bibliographic lead I would not have come to know
> through  the professional sources. (I have particularly found the
> anthropological and linguistic information that only a native of the
> culture can easily provide most useful.)
> Having suggested that we should rejoice in the diversity of our
> preparations and consider it more of a strength than a drawback,  I would
> like to suggest further that hidden agendas and evaluations should not be
> seen in a post if there is no clear support for them in the expressions
> used by the poster.

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list