Regarding indology

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 23 10:53:47 UTC 2000

>Reading tons of medical books does not make a doctor, so how can anyone
>without a proper education refer to himself as an indologist? For
>indologist, being an Indian or living in India could be considered as an
>additional qualification :)

Exactly who's an Indologist? Do mere college degrees or years
of study on the subject sufficient for one to earn this title?
But again, even as repeatedly pointed out in this list by
"Indologists" themselves, it is a dialectical process and there're
no absolutes in the subject - everything is relative. What passed
for truth fifty years back has now been shown the door. What
passes for truth today, might too suffer the same fate sometime
in the future with contrary evidence. When this is the condition
of the subject, on what base would one prove the credentials of
an Indologist? An Indologist say fifty years back, who supported
the AIT, when viewed with the evidence today - a totally mistaken
historian and hence no Indologist at all!

So let's not merely take refuge in degrees and papers published,
but rather on the strength of the arguments posed.

And let's also not forget the "native factor" in this whole
thing. An Indian born and raised in the culture in India,
naturally develops certain knowledge/instinct for the culture
and ideals of his people. When he studies the ancient Indian
literature he automatically relates what he studies with
certain ideas/facts which form an integral part of his
upbringing. For example in my house my father does the
sandhyAvandanam (a tradition in the family for God alone knows
how long) in the morning followed by the puja for the Gods. My
mother too helps him in the puja, by arranging the flowers,
preparing the naivEdhiyam (offering) etc. When a foreign
Indologist studies this subject theoretically - he can perhaps
give you all the details regarding the mantras chanted, their
meanings, the materials used for the puja etc - but still the
spirit in which the ritual is performed, the mood of the
performer, what it means to him - these are things which even
those, though Indian, but outside the tradition cannot comprehend,
let alone those who do not belong to the culture.

So an Indian, though he might not be academically trained, still
can grasp the meaning of texts with more intuition and meaning
than a foreign Indologist - because for the former it is just
an idea which itself is limited by his level of knowledge on the
subject which itself is conditioned by his own cultural background;
But for the latter it is an integral part of his life and hence
is more substantial and meaningful. Ofcourse, this might not apply
to purely technical subjects, but still when one talks about
humanities and its related fields, an Indian whatever be his
background, still has an edge over the foreign Indologist, because
of the simple fact that he belongs to the culture.
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