[Y-Indology] Berlin Indology (2)

Harry Falk falk at ZEDAT.FU-BERLIN.DE
Fri Jan 5 15:52:53 UTC 2007

Dear list members,
since it is my post which is planned to be sacked when I leave office in 
2012 I would like to thank Michael for his enduring efforts, which 
outshine everything that has been done in this respect anywhere in Germany.
     May I recall the basic fact: it was planned that the dept. of 
Indian Philology moved to the Humboldt-University in town. This was not 
a bad idea, given the depts. of Indian history already there. The shift 
over there was planned to be accompanied by a shift of the Egyptian 
Archaeology from there to us, the Free University. This way no 
university would have been forced to augment its staff, just a swapping 
of depts. with no financial burden involved would take place. 
Unfortunately, the Egyptian Archaeology refused to move and the 
president of the Humboldt universtiy missed the occasion to kick them 
over par ordre du moufti.
    Our president had firmly planned for a future without Indian 
Philology. Now that I cannot go - because the Egyptian Archaeologists 
don't come - he still sticks to this plan. What is worse: he refuses to 
talk about our field with me or anyone else who could make him change 
his mind.
    He and his colleague at the Humboldt-University should be reminded 
that no higher authority, like the senator for education and sciences in 
town or the Wissenschaftsrat, has ever pleaded for a closure of Indian 
Philology, and that even with the missed swapping no additional personal 
is to be paid anywhere.
    All arguments regarding the importance of the field, its long 
history in town, Sanskrit, Indian history etc. will be accepted as 
important, but they will not be taken into account. At least at present. 
No one should expect an instant result; however, as long as complaints 
from all over the world keep pouring in these two presidents will be 
reminded of something they have to deal with. Just say that
- there never was a plan to erase Indian philology
- no additional money is needed since the swapping would not have 
changed the number of staff

Michael Witzel schrieb:
> Dear List members,
> Before Christmas, I have written to you about the planned closure of 
> the Berlin Indology department.
> Many of you have already written to the Berlin authorities then.
> However, a second push may not hurt, as the case is by *no means* 
> closed yet.
> So, please, those of you who have not yet written, do so now during the 
> New Year break!
> As you know, we have set up an email address to which you can send your 
> letters:
>        berlinindology at gmail.com
> If you want to write *directly* to the various authorities concerned, 
> please let me know, and I will then send you the proper addresses.
> [[ By the way, someone (the World Sanskrit Association?) should 
> organize such efforts worldwide, as cutbacks in all classical fields, 
> from Latin and Greek to Chinese, are and will be with us for a while. 
> Eventually, even administrators and  politicians will recognize that 
> you have to know a bit more about the world's civilizations than just 
> current elections and economics... ]]
> With many thanks
> and best wishes for 2007,
> Michael Witzel
> -----------------------
> Please select from the following or compose a letter yourself.
> Just a  few lines will do!
> =================================================
> To whom it may concern:
> A few days weeks we have learned, worldwide, that Indian Studies in 
> Berlin are to be abolished. I therefore write to you to request to 
> preserve the world famous Institute of Indology.
> This does not only concern modern South Asian Studies, that still are 
> well represented, but also „Classical Indology“ or „Indian Philology“.
> Classical Indian Philology has existed at Berlin since 1821, and the 
> discipline has been continued at Humboldt University even after 1945 by 
> Professors Ruben and Morgenroth, as well as at the new institute of the 
> Freie Universitaet (Prof.s Bruhn and Falk). Indology prominently deals 
> with the indigenous weltanschauung, religion and history of thought, as 
> they are represented in Sanskrit and other texts. Without this kind of 
> background modern India cannot be understood.
> The study of the Sanskrit language, that was one of the official 
> languages in India until 1835, is essential for any understanding of 
> the immense number of Indian texts, from c. 1500 BCE until today, for 
> example in fields such as traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) or 
> indigenous Indian linguistics (Panini), a field that has supplied 
> important stimuli to western linguistics.
> As is obvious even from this minimal discussion, modern India can only 
> be understood -- just as any other important civilization – if one 
> studies its foundational texts and their impact during the medieval and 
> modern periods.  (I have constantly experienced that myself during my 
> five years stay in South Asia.) Indian history, spanning some 5000 
> years, is becoming ever more important even in the political arena, for 
> example during the past elections of 2004, which had the effect that 
> even classical philologists were drawn into the fray, whether they 
> wanted or not.
> Consequently, both modern as well a classical Indology are essential.  
> We appeal to you to continue both branches of our discipline.
> Berlin Indology can look back, as mentioned, to a tradition spanning 
> some 200 years. Many internationally famous scholars have emerged from 
> Berlin. In the early 19th century, the study of India belonged to one 
> of the major points of Humboldt’s reform of the German Universities. 
> This should not be forgotten now that India receives great attention 
> worldwide, as it grows economically and politically.
> Finally, it may be added that German Indology has a very good name in 
> India, as Indologists have seriously endeavored to study Indian culture 
> without prejudice. This long-standing and continuing attitude of German 
> intellectuals towards Indian civilization has made Indology the best 
> ambassador in India. It will be met with disbelief both in India  and 
> worldwide if the German capital will have to do without an Indian 
> Institute.
> The preservation of the internationally highly regarded Indology of 
> Berlin therefore is important also for the reputation of Berlin as a 
> place of research.  The demolition of Indology would also  be 
> unreasonable in view of the large collections of manuscripts of the 
> Prussian State Library and the Academy, as well as the rich holdings of 
> the Museum of Indian Art. It would bring 200 years of a great tradition 
> to an end.
> We therefore sincerely appeal to you to preserve the discipline and its 
> BA., M.A., and PhD. courses. Anything but this would be a disaster, a 
> waste of material and human capital.
> Yours faithfully,
> X.Y.
> (official position)
> (address)
> (email)
> ==================================
> Michael Witzel
> Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University
> 1 Bow Street , 3rd floor, Cambridge MA 02138
> 1-617-495 3295           Fax: 496 8571
> direct line:       496 2990
> <http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm>
> <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/compmyth>
> <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/>
> < http://users.primushost.com/~india/ejvs/>
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