[INDOLOGY] Open letter in support of Indology at the University of Halle

Philipp Maas philipp.a.maas at gmail.com
Wed Mar 30 13:59:35 UTC 2022

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Please support an international community of scholars in their struggle to
prevent the University of Halle-Wittenberg from cutting one of the few
remaining chairs for Indology in Germany and sign an open letter to the
minister of science of the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, Prof. Dr.

You may sign the letter, which I quote in full below, by entering your name
and academic affiliation in an online document here

Cordial thanks to all of you who spare a minute to support this crucial

Philipp Maas

PD Dr. Philipp A. Maas
Locum Professor of Indology
Institute for South Asian Studies and Indology
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg


An open letter supporting the maintenance of Indology at the Martin-Luther
University of Halle-Wittenberg and an early replacement of the chair

The Minister of Science,

Prof. Dr. Armin Willingmann
Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Energie, Klimaschutz und Umwelt des Landes
Leipziger Straße 58
D-39112 Magdeburg (Germany)
Email: VzMin at mwu.sachsen-anhalt.de

Respected Minister, dear Prof. Willingmann,

To mitigate severe budgetary difficulties, the senate of the Martin-Luther
University (MLU) of Halle-Wittenberg will decide on April 6, 2022, to
implement a budget and development plan that involves the cutting of the
chair of Indology, and thus a de facto shut down of Indological research
and education at the MLU Halle. If carried out, this ill-founded decision
will eliminate the subject of Indology in the state of Saxony-Anhalt and
severely damage teaching and research of this crucial academic subject in
Germany, Europe and worldwide.

The Republic of India and its neighbouring countries form the politically,
economically and culturally powerful greater area of South Asia, comparable
to Greater Europe in its cultural diversity, historical depth, and
political and economic relevance. Pre-modern South Asia is home to the
great religions of Hinduism and Buddhism and multiple cultural, literary
and scientific traditions that contributed to the shaping of large parts of
Asia from Tibet to China and from Thailand to Indonesia for many hundreds
of years up to the present day. A fifth of the world’s population lives in
South Asia today.

Religions and worldviews originating from South Asia also gain influence in
the western and globalized world. In the coming decades, the Republic of
India is rising to a significant regional political and economic power.
Against the background, Indological research and teaching, are evidently of
central academic and social relevance.

This fact is contrasted with an insufficient representation of Indology at
German universities. Indology, whose topic is the entire cultural area of
South Asia in all its dimensions for around 3500 years based on original
language sources in Old and Middle Indic languages, is only represented at
five universities in Germany with one professorship each. Further cuts are
an existential danger for the subject of Indology in Germany.

The decision to abolish Indology at the MLU Halle does not only leave
Indology’s social and academic relevance out of consideration. It also
entirely disregards the achievements of Indology at the MLU over the last
fifteen years, such as the database of research articles SARDS 3 (
https://sards.uni-halle.de/?do=about), the most comprehensive up-to-date
online dictionary of Sanskrit (http://nws.uzi.uni-halle.de/?lang=en), and
the interactive palaeographic atlas of South Asia “Indoskript” (
http://www.indoskript.org/). The former chair of Indology at the MLU Halle
has raised more than 6,000,000 € in research funds from the German Research
Foundation. Moreover, the Indological books series Veröffentlichungen der
Indologischen Kommission and Studia Indologica Universitatis Halensis has
published 60 monograph volumes in the same period (

One may safely assume that the successor of the chair of Indology will
continue to write this academic story of success. If the MLU Halle
implements the current budget and development plan as decided, it will,
however, violate its fundamental interest.

To prevent this damage from the MLU Halle and the academia in
Saxony-Anhalt, Germany and Europe, we thus urgently request you to deny
your approval to the abolition of Indology at the MLU Halle and to arrange
the replacement of the vacant chair of Indology in due course.
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