Indology and "the disastrous ideology of the 'pure Aryan race'"

gruenendahl gruenen at MAIL.SUB.UNI-GOETTINGEN.DE
Fri Jan 5 08:10:04 UTC 2007

On 4 Jan 2007 at 6:40, Jan E.M. Houben wrote:

> In view of the turn the discussion of the
> explosively sensitive topic of the history of
> Indology is taking it is probably indeed better
> to face this problem in a trans-national context
> and keep it for a separate thread (and a section
> in the planned Indology FAQ). 

I fully agree with Professor Houben's proposition to decouple the two issues. It  will 
be remembered, I hope, that it was not my idea to insinuate a connection between 

Then why not start the separate thread now?

Before the discussion (if any)  turns to more complex issues, I should like to assess the current state 
of affairs by asking a few simple questions:

Does Professor Houben or any other member of this list maintain any of the  following positions
(all quoted from his paper:

1) That there was a "positive relations which some indologists at least maintained with the German government
 and its disastrous ideology of the 'pure Aryan race' before and during the period of the Second World War period",
 and if so, where do these relations surface in indological writings of that period?

2) that "selected articles and notices of the volumes 92-98 (1938-44) and 99 (1945-49) of
 the Zeitschrift [der] Deutsche[n] Morgenländische[n] Gesellschaft" would yield any evidence 
 in support of position #1, and if so, which;

3) that "S. Pollock's provocative "Deep Orientalism: Notes on Sanskrit and Power Beyond the Raj"
 (in Van der Veer and Beckenridge, The Postcolonial Predicament, Philadelphia, 1993)", make 
 "essential reading for a well-informed discussion" in so far as [my addition:] it contains an intellectually
 sound argument in support of his claims or position #1, and if so, which.

Please correct me if I should have misinterpreted Professor Houben's positions in any way.
By settling these simple questions in his favour, I think, Professor Houben could rally more support for 
his case than by any other means.

As indicated, two criteria would be very helpful: 1) that the evidence is concrete and verifiable by book, 
chapter and verse; 2) that it is relevant to the context.

As for the prospected FAQ section, a section for FRF (frequently repeated fabrications) may also 
be a good idea.

Reinhold Grünendahl


Dr. Reinhold Gruenendahl
Niedersaechsische Staats- und Universitaetsbibliothek
Fachreferat sued- und suedostasiatische Philologien
(Dept. of Indology)

37070 Goettingen, Germany
Tel (+49) (0)5 51 / 39 52 83
Fax (+49) (0)5 51 / 39 23 61
gruenen at

In English:

GRETIL - Goettingen Register of Electronic Texts in Indian Languages

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