[Y-Indology] Berlin Indology (2)

Harry Falk falk at ZEDAT.FU-BERLIN.DE
Fri Jan 5 17:14:41 UTC 2007

Thank you! The addressees are named in the full text which should reach 
you soon.
Best regards,
Harry Falk

Ithamar Theodor schrieb:
> I, for one, would like to write a letter and send it through e-mail. 
> Kindly supply the name and position of the person or persons to be 
> addressed, and my letter will shortly follow.
>  With best regards,
>                                 Ithamar Theodor
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Harry Falk" <falk at ZEDAT.FU-BERLIN.DE>
> To: <INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk>
> Sent: Friday, January 05, 2007 5:52 PM
> Subject: Re: [Y-Indology] Berlin Indology (2)
>> 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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