[INDOLOGY] Joydeep Bagchee's membership to INDOLOGY

Andrew Ollett andrew.ollett at gmail.com
Fri Apr 19 10:45:29 UTC 2019

Dear colleagues,

I am really perplexed as to why some members of this list found Dr.
Bagchee's post "much to the point" and "objective," while others (including
myself) just as clearly read it as violating the rules of the forum against
ad hominem attacks against scholars. We are supposed to make our livings by
reading texts. What is going on here?

The suggestion that we democratically discuss every instance where the
clearly-enunciated rules of the forum are violated will lead, inevitably,
to further instances of harrassment and defamation on the list, since those
who are inclined to conduct themselves in that way will only need an
opportunity and a halfway convincing justification for their remarks. Some
of us may think that there is not much to lose by allowing list members to
talk about the personal and professional lives of colleagues, who are not
members of the list and who can therefore not address the insinuations,
distortions, and name-calling in their remarks. Some may think that appeals
to "respect," "civility," and "professionalism" are simply ways of
silencing people with whom we have differences. I disagree. It is
unacceptable to tolerate ad hominem attacks on this forum.


On Fri, Apr 19, 2019 at 5:48 AM Birgit Kellner via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> I respectfully disagree as to the assessment of Joydeep Bagchee's posting.
> The posting contained several personal attacks on individual scholars, and
> it did in this respect clearly violate the list's guidelines (
> http://indology.info/email/email-const/). One can certainly criticize
> certain hiring practices at universities (though I fail to see how this
> would be a specifically Indological topic), as Joydeep Bagchee did, but
> this can surely be done in a constructive manner and without ad-hominem
> attacks.
> With best regards,
> Birgit Kellner
> Am 19.04.19 um 10:50 schrieb Shrinivasa Varakhedi via INDOLOGY:
> Governing Council,
> I second the opinion of Simon Brodbeck. The posting of Jaydeep was just a
> continuation of the thread on the gender issue. He just brought some issues
> objectively without any sort of personal objectionable comments/allegations
> on any one. The Governing council may disclose if anyone has raised any
> complaint on his posting. Even if such complaint exists, in a democratic
> set up, it is appropriate to give a notice and to provide with an
> opportunity to hear from the person whose posting is found objectionable.
> Without any such proceedings and justifications, taking action or decision
> may set a wrong precedence. Kindly revisit the decision.
> Warm regards,
> Shrinivasa Varakhedi
> On 17-Apr-2019, at 10:24 PM, Simon Brodbeck via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Dear Philipp,
> I object to this move. Bagchee’s post was interesting and very much to the
> point of our recent discussion, and I think the main way one could find it
> defamatory would be by confusing correlation with causation. To those who
> have witnessed this forum over a period of several years, the idea that the
> committee had “no choice but to remove Joydeep Bagchee permanently from
> the list” may seem far-fetched. Not only will progress in matters of
> gender equality not be made by the committee proceeding in this way, but the
> committee may be seen to be actively hindering the making of such progress.
> I may be wrong, but I cannot help but suspect that Bagchee’s previous
> contributions, which have been famously abominated by some on this list,
> may have prejudiced the committee against him and caused it to overreact in
> this instance. One might also wonder whether the committee’s decision is
> somehow connected to its current male to female ratio (4:1 following the
> unfortunate resignation of Dr Truschke).
> Yours collegially,
> Simon Brodbeck
> Cardiff University
> ----------------------------------
> *From:* INDOLOGY [mailto:indology-bounces at list.indology.info
> <indology-bounces at list.indology.info>] *On Behalf Of *Philipp Maas via
> *Sent:* 17 April 2019 08:46
> *To:* Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
> *Cc:* jbagchee at gmail.com; Indology Committee <
> indology-owner at list.indology.info>
> *Subject:* [INDOLOGY] Joydeep Bagchee's membership to INDOLOGY
> Dear Members of INDOLOGY,
> The post that Joydeep Bagchee sent to this list on 16 April under the
> header “Re: [INDOLOGY] Response to Shrinivasa Varakhedi” severely violates
> the rules for usage of the INDOLOGY list, which state that “In particular,
> personal attacks of an ad-hominem nature, rude language, and off-topic
> postings are violations of the list rules. The definition and understanding
> of what constitutes improper use of the forum shall be a matter for the
> Governing Committee. [...] The Governing Committee may penalize personal
> attacks or defamatory speech directed against other list members with a
> temporary or permanent removal from the list.“ (
> http://www.indology.info/email/email-const/
> <https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.indology.info%2Femail%2Femail-const%2F&data=01%7C01%7Cbrodbecksp%40cardiff.ac.uk%7C9a380a5158314ac3d7e108d6c308f0a3%7Cbdb74b3095684856bdbf06759778fcbc%7C1&sdata=Pl1zSNFXAUu0RYlXM7yHiKFE8UsfKjOcS5Yxw7WfgBw%3D&reserved=0>
> ).
> The above mentioned severe violation of the Guidelines left the INDOLOGY
> Governing Committee with no choice but to remove Joydeep Bagchee
> permanently from the list.
> With best regards,
> Philipp Maas
> Governing Committee Member on duty
> __________________________
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> --
> ----
> Prof. Dr. Birgit Kellner
> Director
> Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia
> Austrian Academy of Sciences
> Hollandstrasse 11-13/2
> A-1020 Vienna
> Austria
> Phone: +43-(0)1-51581-6420
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