SV: Vital Statistics

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Thu Jan 6 10:04:40 UTC 2000

Artur Karp [SMTP:hart at POLBOX.COM] skrev 05. januar 2000 23:26:

> P. S. I have always wondered why so much more attention  old-style Indology
> devoted to what divides people than, rather, to what makes them want to be
> together. Years ago my teachers spent quite a lot of time on hammering into
> my poor head the quaintest genetic/typological classifications of Indian
> languages and religions, but gave me nothing on the traditional institutions
> that make trans-linguistic, trans-caste and trans-religion exchange
> possible.

> It's perhaps no matter of chance that my high school teachers used a similar
> conceptual framework while describing the history of the Polish-German
> relations.

> Is it possible that some people responsible for the language policies in
> India (and in Pakistan) got their education in schools with a history
> program similar to the one taught in mine?....

Artur Karp points to a very interesting aspect of traditional history writing
and nationalism in Europe. However, there would seem to be changes on the way.
In my capacity as a translator, I have translated a fair number of European
Union Directives and Council of Europe recommendations, some of which deal
explicitly with regional/ethnic languages and identities. Here, the use of
regional languages and cultures is encouraged, and tolerance of other faiths
and lifestyles is preached. The European Union opts emphatically for Unity in
Diversity. In the case of some countries this may weaken the ties between
provinces that never lived happily together, but the assumption is that all
regions will be happily absorbed within the Grand Union. For the time being,
this policy seems to be working reasonably well. The European Union is growing
so quickly that its limbs are aching. This is also the way it has to be when
national states are supposed to join by an act of free will.

It is ironic that the Unity in Unity policy of modern India is a rerun of a
model tried and discarded in Europe. It reminds me of the relationship between
Norway and Sweden in the fifties and sixties. Everything that failed in Sweden
had to be tried in Norway, too. Where it also failed.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo
Phone/Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at

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