Ananya Vajpeyi vajpeyi at csds.in
Wed Mar 6 16:52:27 UTC 2024

Dear Professor Silk,

The Wire is currently the most credible independent media outlet in India.
Respectfully, I dare say I would not dismiss their reportage as unreliable.
(*Full disclosure*: I write for them sometimes, and have written over many
years for all their founding editors and current editors, who were earlier
associated with major mainstream newspapers and media houses like the
Hindu, the Indian Express, the Economic Times, the BBC and so on).

Ranjit Hoskote is a well-known and well-regarded poet, translator, art
critic, curator and cultural theorist. He took a principled stand against
canceling Palestinian artists and intellectuals in Germany, and was labeled
"anti-semitic" for this, following which he resigned his position from the
'finding committee' for Documenta. His colleagues followed him:

Without getting into the polarised politics in Germany at the moment, which
has affected many academics and writers of all nationalities who have tried
to speak out on Gaza, both Ranjit Hoskote and Mini Krishnan are perfectly
qualified members of an editorial board for a series like the MCLI.

The issue is only that they are concerned with literature, translation and
humanistic scholarship in a much broader sense, while the actual editing
work requires philogical training and historical competence of a very
different order. You will agree that the two types of board members can
complement one another, but they cannot do the same things interchangeably.

Professor Pollock had invited eminent writers and intellectuals from the
Indian languages like Girish Karnad and U.R. Ananthamurthy to write short
prefaces to some of the Clay Sanskrit Library translations, with an eye to
broadening the readership beyond specialists. But the technical aspects of
editing and translation were still the job of others like him and the team
of scholars who worked on the Clay series. I imagine the same holds true
for the MCLI.

We still don't have an explanation for why the 5 members who put out the
statement (Cox, Venkatesan et al) were dismissed, nor have we heard who
they will be replaced by, or when.

With kind regards,


On Wed, Mar 6, 2024 at 8:13 PM Jonathan Silk via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> With thanks to Patrick for the link, I fear that what it presents is--at
> least as far as I can quickly tell--not in some respects reliable, which
> cannot help but cast doubt on the whole.
> I confess my unfamiliarity with the two newly appointed members of the
> editorial board, and I don't --for this and other reasons--have any
> intention of commenting on this. I want to say only this:
> I quote from the article directly:
> Hoskote is an internationally renowned art curator and poet from Mumbai.
> He was in the news a few months ago
> <https://m.thewire.in/article/the/curator-ranjit-hoskote-resigns-from-documentas-finding-committee-over-anti-semitism-allegations/amp>
> when his criticism of Hindutva and Zionism and an earlier call for the
> boycott of Israel prompted the German government to threaten withdrawal of
> financial support from the ‘Documenta’ art event unless it ended its
> association with him.
> If one goes to the linked article and reads it fully (and did the reporter
> who cited it not do this?), one learns that the portrayal in the sentence
> here of Mr Hoskote's position is entirely erroneous. I repeat that I am
> unfamiliar with him, and intend to express no views about him or about the
> Murty affair. I only want to question the reporting here which as far as I
> can see has little relation to the reality of what apparently took place
> between him and the Greman organization with which he was earlier connected.
> If this sets or indicates the tone of what we can further expect for
> reporting on this affair, we are in trouble.
> Jonathan
> On Wed, Mar 6, 2024 at 3:26 PM Patrick Olivelle via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>> Here is a Wire report on the issue:
>> [image: Untitled-design-6-800x400.jpg]
>> Exits Rock Murty Classical Library, Once Feted for New Translations of
>> Rare Manuscripts
>> <https://thewire.in/books/murty-classical-library-five-resignations>
>> thewire.in
>> <https://thewire.in/books/murty-classical-library-five-resignations>
>> <https://thewire.in/books/murty-classical-library-five-resignations>
>> Patrick
>> On Mar 5, 2024, at 11:08 PM, Ananya Vajpeyi via INDOLOGY <
>> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>> Thank you for your excellent letter, Professor Goldman.
>> Given the discussion here on Indology, this much seems clear: It is in
>> everyone's interest that a project as stellar as the MCLI continue to
>> produce editions and translations of the Indian classics across languages,
>> as it has done for a decade under the General Editorship of Sheldon
>> Pollock, together with different sets of section editors looking after
>> different languages, and with the exceptional publication capacities and
>> standards of HUP (to which I can testify from my own experience as an
>> author, albeit not in this series).
>> Since pretty much everyone with the requisite linguistic, philological,
>> textual and literary expertise (in various classical languages) anywhere in
>> the world is already involved and invested in the MCLI; since we are all in
>> this together as translators, editors, readers, and teachers, we do want
>> the series to continue, and for it to maintain its high quality into the
>> foreseeable future.
>> Like with any group endeavour, some housekeeping and some moving around
>> of personnel is inevitable and wouldn't surprise any of us in academia,
>> with our committees and departments routinely going through these sorts of
>> cycles, and not always smoothly.
>> In this case, given what Archana and her co-editors have brought to our
>> attention, it seems entirely fair to ask for a review or audit of the MCLI,
>> i.e., more transparency with regard to who is in charge of editing, for how
>> long, and with what sort of remit over a specified term of appointment. In
>> all events, on-going work should not be thrown into jeopardy while
>> seemingly arbitrary changes are made in the leadership, without
>> consultation or consensus.
>> We can and must hope that as a very small community (in the larger scheme
>> of things), between us we will be able to overcome this dispute in such a
>> way as to preserve the mission and vision of the MCLI, best presented in
>> Professor Pollock's essay "What should a Classical Library of India be?"
>> (written for *The Loeb Classical Library and Its Progeny. Proceedings of
>> the First James Loeb Biennial Conference*, edited by Jeffrey Henderson
>> and Richard Thomas, 63–84. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard U. Press, 2020.
>> Available at: https://sheldonpollock.org/archive/pollock_loeb_2020.pdf).
>> His essay shows that every part of this project is integral to its
>> conception, including scholarship, philology, pedagogy, translation,
>> publication, design, printing and dissemination. Right down to the
>> typefaces, everything is part of a plan, with an eye to the future.
>> Since all parties involved are superb at what they do, and since we have
>> so many luminous volumes already in our hands to prove it, let us focus our
>> collective energies on helping resolve the current contretemps speedily
>> and gracefully. It can be done. Especially as educators, we cannot allow
>> pessimism to get the better of us.
>> Texts that have survived and brightened the admittedly often
>> disheartening human condition for centuries can surely make it through and
>> past this transient misunderstanding among our learned colleagues and
>> friends.
>> With all good wishes,
>> Ananya.
>> *Ananya Vajpeyi, Ph.D.*
>> *Fellow, **Centre for the Study of Developing Societies*
>> *29 Rajpur Rd., Civil Lines*
>> *New Delhi 110054, INDIA*
>> *EMAIL: vajpeyi at csds.in <vajpeyi at csds.in>*
>> *CSDS BIO: http://www.csds.in/faculty_ananya_vajpeyi.htm
>> <http://www.csds.in/faculty_ananya_vajpeyi.htm>*
>> *RESEARCH PROJECT: https://www.nilgiri.ugent.be/team/
>> <https://www.nilgiri.ugent.be/team/>*
>> On Wed, Mar 6, 2024 at 1:46 AM Robert P. GOLDMAN via INDOLOGY <
>> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>>> Dear Colleagues,
>>> Attached please find my letter to the Provost at Harvard.
>>> Bob
>>> Dr. R.P. Goldman
>>> William and Catherine Magistretti Professor of Sanskrit Emeritus
>>> and
>>> Professor in the Graduate School
>>> Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies
>>> Berkeley, CA 94720-2540
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> INDOLOGY mailing list
>>> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
>>> https://list.indology.info/mailman/listinfo/indology
>> --
>> *Ananya Vajpeyi*
>> https://www.csds.in/ananya_vajpeyi
>> _______________________________________________
>> INDOLOGY mailing list
>> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
>> https://list.indology.info/mailman/listinfo/indology
>> _______________________________________________
>> INDOLOGY mailing list
>> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
>> https://list.indology.info/mailman/listinfo/indology
> --
> Prof. dr. J.A. Silk
> Leiden University
> Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
> Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
> 2311 BZ Leiden
> website: www.OpenPhilology.eu
> copies of my publications may be found at
> https://leidenuniv.academia.edu/JASilk
> _______________________________________________
> INDOLOGY mailing list
> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
> https://list.indology.info/mailman/listinfo/indology

*Ananya Vajpeyi*
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