Professor Colette Caillat [1921-2007]

Jean-Luc Chevillard jlc at CCR.JUSSIEU.FR
Mon Jan 22 16:42:53 UTC 2007

----- Original Message ----- From: "Ute Huesken" 
<ute.huesken at URZ.UNI-HEIDELBERG.DE>


Sent: Saturday, January 20, 2007 5:16 PM

Subject: [Fwd: A sad news]

Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen,
gerade erreicht mich die traurige Nachricht, dass 
Frau Professor Collette Caillat am letzten Montag in Paris verstorben ist.

-------- Original-Nachricht --------

Betreff: A sad news

Datum: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 11:57:49 +0100

Von: Nalini Balbir <nalini.balbir at>

Dear All,

It is my painful duty to inform you that Prof. Dr. Mrs *Colette CAILLAT*
passed away on Monday 15 January 2007 in Paris, after an illness against
which she tried to fight with great courage and dignity during six months.

Mme Caillat (born 1921) started with classical studies in Latin and
Greek, being particularly interested by grammatical and linguistic
aspects. She was then almost naturally led to the study of Sanskrit,
which she studied with Prof. Louis Renou (1896-1966), and Prof. Jules
Bloch (1880-1953) when he replaced Renou who was in India. Although the
main subject was Sanskrit, the tastes and special interests of Jules
Bloch led him to entertain the students about Pali, Prakrit,
Apabhramsha, modern Indo-Aryan languages, and about so many details of
Indian life (the presence of Indian students in the class encouraged him
to do so).

As was expected from those who passed the prestigious competitive
examination known in France as "Agrégation",  Mme Caillat was teaching
at the same time in various secondary schools, until she could find a
post at the National Centre of Scientific Research. She was then free to
devote full time to Indian studies, starting with a Mémoire on nominal
derivation in Middle Indian which led her to read Jain texts. Since
nobody in France was proficient in these texts, Renou addressed her to
Prof. Walther Schubring (1881-1969) in Hamburg. This was a decisive
meeting for the subsequent years: Schubring led her firmly on the path
of Jain studies and encouraged her to participate in the Critical Pali
Dictionary. In India, which she visited for the first time in 1963, she
had established close contacts with Prof. A.N. Upadhye, Pandit D.D.
Malvania, Prof. H.C. Bhayani, Pandit Sukhlalji and Muni Punyavijayaji.
She worked several times in Mysore and in Ahmedabad, at the L.D.
Institute of Indology, a place she continued to visit regularly over the

Mme Caillat first taught Sanskrit and Comparative grammar at the
University of Lyon (1960-1966). She was appointed at Sorbonne University
(then University of Paris-3) in 1967, as the successor of Louis Renou
who had died suddenly, and taught there until 1988, when she retired.
She was elected a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et
Belles-Lettres in 1987. She was a member of several academies and
scholarly associations.

Her contribution to the field of Jain studies and Middle Indo-Aryan
linguistics is manifold. Apart from a number of articles, her main books
are the following:

- 1965/ Les expiations dans le rituel ancien des religieux jaina/,
Paris, 1965 (D.Litt. thesis), translated into English as /Atonements in
the Ancient Ritual of the Jaina Monks/, Ahmedabad, 1975 (L.D. Series 49).

- 1966 /Drei Chedasûtras des Jaina-Kanons - Ayâradasâo, Vavahâra,
Nisîha./ Bearbeitet von Walther Schubring. Mit einem Beitrag von Colette
Caillat, Hamburg, 1966.

- 1971 /Candâvejjhaya, La Prunelle-cible/. Introduction, Edition
critique, Traduction, Commentaire, Paris, 1971.

- 1974-75 C. Caillat, A.N. Upadhye and Bal Patil, /Jainism/, Delhi,
1974-75. New edition, 2006.

- 1981 /La cosmologie jaina/. Présentation de Colette Caillat d'après
les documents recueillis par Ravi Kumar, Paris, 1981. /The Jain
Cosmology/. English rendering by K.R. Norman, New Delhi; revised  and
enlarged edition, New Delhi, 2004.

- 1985 Edition of /Recueil d'articles de Jules Bloch 1906-1955/, Paris,

- 1999 Yogîndu, /Lumière de l'Absolu/. Traduit de l'apabhramsha par
Nalini Balbir et Colette Caillat, Paris, Payot, Rivages, 1999.

(- 2007 co-edition, with Nalini Balbir, of the volume Jaina Studies,
Proceedings of the World Sanskrit Conference, Helsinki, 2003; in the press).

In 1981, Mme Caillat, who was the head of the research group "Equipe de
philologie bouddhique et jaina", organised in Strasbourg the first
International Jain Symposium  outside India. The Proceedings were
published in 1983 (/Indologica Taurinensia/ 11).

In 1988, a Felicitation volume was offered to her (published as
/Indologica Taurinensia/ 14).

With regards to all,
Yours sincerely,

Nalini Balbir.

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