Bijoy Misra bmisra at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Tue Apr 17 01:10:54 UTC 2001

Dear Dominik,
I can't claim myself as an Indologist, but do keep
an interest in it through Sanskrit, translations
and Indian scriptures.  The list ceratinly gave me
an exposure to topics that I would not have received
otherwise.  I am thankful to you and many who
took time to research and post.  I could have followed up
words with the translators, but never found any discussion.

The list was soewhat hotch-potch and occasionally
political.  India has various groups now with varying
degrees of scholarship and these groups do have a
tendency to challenge earlier perceptions of India.
My personal feeling has been that most of India's
classical history taught in schools is most likely
wrong, since they "force" to connect stories.  New
research in archaeology and anthropology is lacking
leading only to speculative theories.  Various
"established" scholars are not convincing enough
in their arguments.  The list seemed to have
a tendency to create arguments.

In the science of knowledge, controversies and
arguments are healthy.  Even though we have theories
for many observations, we understand the
universe or the human life only very partially.
So to feel that "book" must be closed on theories
is a wrong proposition that Indology suffers.
The argumentation could be much less severe if
the "novice" observations were not looked down
as "nuisance".  People who lurk and share thoughts
are expected to have training and they are
probably equal or brighter than most of us in the list.
The empirical cultural observation must play as
much of a role as focused study on a topic for a few years.
I do observe that my knowledge in sanskrit can be
superior to some of the trained sanskritists simply because
of my interest in Indian literature.

I fail to see why you think the list lost its purpose.
People who use abusive language must not be in any public list.
But listening to empirical observations from the
people of the soil would certainly enhance the knowledge base
in the profession.  The reason most of the Indology
theories are shallow because of their test through
observations have not been followed through.  I also
find various western "scholars" get more agitated and
political than the "novices" on the other side.

Naturally you are the best judge of the situation.
There is no labor involved to maintain the list.
Do make a rule that no abusive language would be
tolerated.  Apply the rule objectively.  I think
eventually Indology would gain.  By closing the
list, Indology would go back in time.  And finally,
do screen the members with a form to filter pure noise.

Best regards,

Bijoy Misra

On Tue, 17 Apr 2001, Raveen Satkurunathan wrote:

> On Tue, 17 Apr 2001 01:04:51 +0200, Ferenc Ruzsa <f_ruzsa at LUDENS.ELTE.HU>
> wrote:
> >I agree that a radical step was unavoidable.
> >But why not a thorough reform instead? E. g. a closed list for serious
> >scholars, but open for everyone to read? Please, reconsider.
> >
> Yahoo groups will allow you to do that. As a 'moderator' of a group which
> has now over 1,700 members and another at 405 I can say that by allowing
> only members to post and keeping the archive open to public viewing
> decreases the noise to signal ratio considerably. There were days of over
> 10,000 hits in one my email groups due to a link appearing in a prominent
> news paper.
> The only hard work is in approving the 'right kind of members'. Once it is
> done the group will function on its own. No need to moderate mails on a
> daily basis.  Further if valuable articles of this soon to be closed email
> list are to be archived then there are many free websites, which will
> archive them for you.  The following egroup is a good source for anyone
> needing information on anything to do with email groups :-)
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mediamentor

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