Re: Professor Koelver´s demise

jkirk jkirk at MICRON.NET
Fri Nov 30 17:21:13 UTC 2001

Bernhard has worked on many aspects of Indology, but when it comes to
Nepal, he certainly was the right man present at the right moment. When he
began with the very first phase of our decades long manuscript project
(NGMPP) in Jan. 1970,  Nepal was, and continued to be throughout the
Seventies if not the Eighties,  a "museum" of medieval  South Asia. This,
combined with the enchanting nature of the country and the genuine
friendliness and honesty of the Nepalese people, made it a pleasure to work
there. And so we all did, following his trail, - a whole generation of
(German) Indologists.
I just wish to thank  Prof Witzel for this account of German scholars'
efforts in Nepal, which  I hadn't known much about.  I first visited the
little towns of the valley including Bhaktapur in 1976.  At that time, the
valley had recently been visited by Qeen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, so
everywhere the temples and environs had  been repainted and cleaned up,
things sparkled.  Upon my return in 1978 things were still not bad. But
during another visit in 1987 I was appalled by the greatly inreased
population pressure, garbage everywhere, deterioration of temple facades and
premisses, deforestation and erosion on the hills, but happily astounded
that Bhaktapur seemed to have escaped all this.  It was only at this time
(not being a Nepal specialist) that I heard about the German scholarly
involvement with this little town. Witzel's account filled out the picture
for me.
Joanna Kirkpatrick

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