New list / new rules (RE: Request for Info)

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Tue Jun 1 09:32:09 UTC 1999

> I would like to know if  *all*  the Indology scholars in this list find the
> input of the non-scholars an absolute waste. Has there been no benefit to
> your research?

I must say that I have seen a number of interesting mails from non-scholars. Not
necessarily because their views impress me as valid, although that is sometimes
the case, but often because they are representative of ways of thinking that I,
as a dabbler in Indology, ought to know about. The most problematic thing about
some of the contributors to the list is not their opinions, but their rhetoric.
Not to mention their sheer lack of elementary knowledge. Very few seem to take
up the challenge of actually learning about what Western Indologists do. I have
seen a couple of persons responding to that challenge, and I respect them for
that. It makes me much more tolerant of their views when they say things that I
disagree with. With some contributors, you have the feeling that an Indological
debate for them is nothing but a shouting match. And that creates the kind of
weariness in me that parents have at the end of the day when the kids have been
howling, kicking and screaming for the last 5 hours.

> I feel a healthy interaction between the scholars and the traditionalists
> would be beneficial to both, am I wrong?

No, you are NOT wrong. When I joined this list, I was very much in favour of
such a view. I have become somewhat disillusioned seeing the sort of rhetoric
that is being produced in some quarters. Like many professionals on this list, I
have begun to long for a quiet corner where it is possible to have an
intelligent discussion (and the occasional light relief) without a steady
downpour of vituperative drivel.

It takes about 10-12 years of hard work and little money to produce a good
Indologist or Indo-Europeanist. I think there is an element of idealism in this
which should command, if nothing else, normal politeness.

Best regards,

Lars Martin

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