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

Jan E.M. Houben j_e_m_houben at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jan 5 18:13:01 UTC 2007

Dear Reinhold,
I still insist you first have a look at the
articles, to which I drew your kind attention not
only yesterday but also in our extended email
exchange more than two years ago. I am very happy
with my 1995 conference report -- that is why I
pasted it again in a previous message -- but it
is a conference report and not a research paper.
By the way, did you notice that it has become
quite silent on the list since you tried to open
the discussion on the "Indology and the
disastrous ideology of pure Aryan race" topic (on
which see also Halbfass 1988: 139-140)? Let
others read your well-documented and cleverly
argued article liberating each and every German
indologist of the 1900-1945 period from any
possible association with the German government
and its disastrous ideology of the pure Aryan
race, not only the heroic Heinrich Lüders but
also Wüst, Schubring, Sieg, Frauwallner (but he
was Austrian? but didn't he study and publish in
Germany?);  I for my part I am now more and more
looking forward to seeing the announced book. 

--- gruenendahl
<gruenen at MAIL.SUB.UNI-GOETTINGEN.DE> wrote:

> Dear Jan,
> I have no idea which fate had a hand in this
> failed delivery, but anyway, I've
> been able to open your mail dated  Thu, 4 Jan
> 2007 04:31:24 -
> 0800 from home, and I came back to send you at
> least these comments:
> In whatever mind I read your report before, and
> I have read it quite a few
> times, I assure you, I now learn that it cannot
> have been a "detached
> scholarly" one. If this remark is already part
> of your argument, I really don't
> know what to reply.
> Now, a "detached scholarly mind" (like yours, I
> suppose) would have seen
> that you
> "refer to 'selected articles and notices of the
> volumes 92-98 (1938-44) and
> 99 (1945-49) of the Zeitschrift für die
> Deutsche Morgenländische
> Gesellschaft' NOT to support the claims made in
> any article (...), but to
> illustrate the promising continuity with a
> discontinuous past which was one
> of the topics of that memorable meeting in
> Leipzig".
> This almost sounds as if you referred to the
> ZDMG for no particular purpose
> at all. Now, the paragraph from which you take
> this quote is headed
> "Vergangenheit Bewaltigung" and deals
> specifically and exclusively with
> "some of the more problematic aspects of the
> history" of "German
> indology", not with general aspects of
> continuity and discontinuity, as you
> now try to assert. And it is in this context,
> particularly with regard to "the
> disastrous ideology of the 'pure Aryan race'"
> that you refer to Pollock and
> "selected articles and notices" of the ZDMG.
> Doesn't it come as a natural
> conclusion to the reader that those ominous
> articles of the  ZDMG (of
> course, you don't name one) support that
> ideology in one way or another?
> But let's say you didn't refer to these
> articles as evidence for "positive
> relations which some indologists at least
> maintained with the German
> government and its disastrous ideology of the
> 'pure Aryan race'", what other
> evidence can you name in support of these
> "positive relations", if not the
> ZDMG - which say nothing of the kind, I may
> remind you with reference to
> my article?
> I have no intention to discuss any particulars
> of Pollock's article before we
> are through with your report, but  the stance
> that it has "proven its healthy
> provocative character ever since" is just the
> all-purpose post-orientalist
> 'argument' along the lines of "Said's
> 'Orientalism' (or you name it ...) may be
> bogus, but it did so much good just the same!"
> I beg to differ on that!
> As for the various writings you adduce post
> festum, is this to be taken as an
> indication that your report cannot stand on its
> own feet in this regard? And
> now you want to see my book first, and a thesis
> from Aix-Marseille ...
> anything else I can help out with, perhaps? I
> feel like I'm taken on a Cook's
> tour, if you don't mind me saying this.
> One last thing I have time for today: I didn't
> know that your publications
> have a kind of sell-by date attached to them.
> So please enlighten my: is
> your 1995 report now obsolete, although it is
> still riding the waves on the
> web, or has it become some kind of classic that
> is beyond the nit-picking of
> ordinary mortals?
> In view of the evidence so far (your articles
> haven't arive yet)I should like to
> reassert my 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.
> That's all I have time for due to reduced
> opening hours.
> Greetings
> Reinhold
> 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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