Indology constraints (contd.)

George Cronk george9252 at MSN.COM
Wed Jul 7 12:21:29 UTC 1999

I have mixed feelings about this.  I am a "non-professional" from the United
States (New Jersey), of European and Native-American ("Indian") heritage(s),
although I do have a Ph.D. degree in Philosophy, teach Philosophy and
Religion, and have edited two anthologies of English renditions of Eastern
philosophical classics (Confucius, Nagarjuna, Nishida, Shamkara,
Radhakrishnan, etc.).  I do read and translate Greek, Latin, French, and
German -- but not Sanskrit or other Indian languages, which is mainly why I
say I am a "non-professional."

I have been a member of the list for more than two years.  I follow the list
on a daily basis, but I participate (put my 2 cents in) only very
occasionally.  That's because I do feel that I am a "non-professional" here,
and I think that, as such, I should mainly "hear" what the experts are
saying on the subjects addressed on the list.

I do find it a pain that some members of the list enter message after
message after message, often of rather significant length, and very often in
order to (apparently) grind political, religious, and ethnic-cultural axes.
Some of this axe-grinding, ideological (not "indological") stuff is
interesting; some of it is fascinating (to an "outsider"); but a lot of it
is really insufferable and boring.

I guess I would like to offer myself as an example for other
"non-professionals":  Be a list-member; follow the discussions that interest
you (deleting those that don't); "hear" regularly, but "speak" only once in
a while.

Dr. George Cronk
Chair, Dept. of Philosophy & Religion
Bergen Community College (NJ)

----- Original Message -----
From: Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan <Palaniappa at AOL.COM>
Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 1999 7:44 PM
Subject: Indology constraints (contd.)

> Seeing the archives of Indology-related but closed lists like RISA, one
> that many scholars are withdrawing behind exclusive lists that keep out
> non-degreed in Indology-related areas. This could result in Indological
> conclusions as in the case of each of the four (or five?)  blind men
> the nature of an elephant by touching a different part of the elephant's
> body. For example, recently in the RISA list, there was a query regarding
> rituals related to aborted fetuses and/or  miscarried babies. The thread
> closed without anybody mentioning an important ritual related to the
> mentioned in CT. That is not surprising. Many scholars of Indian religion
> today do not have the knowledge of literature which earlier traditional
> scholars had. If that query had been posted in Indology, the originator
> have gained some valuable information from the "non-professionals". That
> why an open list like Indology is very valuable for pursuit of Indological
> knowledge.
> Recently, an European Indologist wrote to me the following regarding the
> posting of too many messages by some.
> "Another point you should note is that Indology is a very difficult field
> that the feeling of one's ignorance is much more overwhelming for one who
> not of Indian origin. This is why the number of queries by people from
> European countries has decreased drastically (compare with what it was at
> beginning, 10 years back). They are probably afraid to say anything. In
> end, it might become
> purely Indian (if the same trend goes on)"
> I do not know if this was based on his inference or views expressed to him
> other European Indologists. Is this the general view of non-Indian
> Prof. Aklujkar wrote on Nov 23, 1997 the following: "An awareness needs to
> maintained that what is considered to be scientific or professional is
> relative to time and is determined to a considerable extent by the context
> which most of the scientists or professionals of a particular generation
> trained. A greater loss to a field of inquiry can result from dismissing
> questions and comments of intelligent and interested non-professionals
> from "wasting" a few seconds to delete the postings about the non-validity
> which one is certain."
> In light of the above and the digest option available, do we really need
> constraints at all? What do others think?
> Regards
> S. Palaniappan

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