[INDOLOGY] The study of Sanskrit as the epitome of uselessness

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at uclouvain.be
Tue Mar 24 05:32:15 EDT 2020


The Classicist Nuccio Ordine has published a stimulating (useful) essay "De l'utilité de l'inutile" (English translation: The Usefulness of the Useless").
where Sanskrit studies, together with Classics, are given as an example of (useful) usefulness, cf. p. 95 of the Engl. Transl.:
https://books.google.com/books?id=NCArDgAAQBAJ <https://books.google.be/books?id=NCArDgAAQBAJ&pg=PA95&lpg=PA95&dq=nuccio+ordine+the+usefulness+of+the+useless+sanskrit&source=bl&ots=JmMiqWAORS&sig=ACfU3U0_SDl4ZpYaNsGhUnflgLpFvJYTDg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj-rMSM5bLoAhXEMewKHYVdDp4Q6AEwAXoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=nuccio ordine the usefulness of the useless sanskrit&f=false>
See also it in his oral presentations:
https://uclouvain.be/en/research-institutes/incal/conference-du-pr-nuccio-ordine.html <https://uclouvain.be/en/research-institutes/incal/conference-du-pr-nuccio-ordine.html>
Quel danger courons-nous actuellement ? Dans une université-entreprise, quand un professeur de sanskrit aura deux étudiants, le Conseil d’administration de l’Université pourra dire que celle-ci ne peut pas se permettre le luxe de payer un professeur de sanskrit pour deux étudiants. Demain, cela sera pour dix étudiants en grec, et après-demain pour quinze étudiants en latin.

> Le 24 mars 2020 à 09:49, Tieken, H.J.H. via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> a écrit :
> 
> Dear List members,
> Last night I started reading Ever After by Graham Swift. On p. 3 of the pocket edition (Vintage International) of 1993 we hear the protagonist think:
> 
> "Before they [academics] are sixty, they are emulating one of the many varieties: ... the wide-eyed, latter-day infant, helpless in all mundane matters but possessed of a profound understanding of Sanskrit."
> 
> A few months ago I was reading Nader tot U (1969) by Gerard van 't Reve gain. One of the characters has to fill in a profession on an official paper. In the end he decides to fill in "indoloog", which is considered to be better than "general in the Hungarian army" or "stratenmaker of zee" (general dogsbody) (p. 113). There is some confusion if indoloog refers to a civil servant in the Dutch Indies here (Indie verloren, rampspoed geboren) or to an indologist, which is later resolved by remarks about gurus and bhakti. I was amazed to see that I had bought the book in the summer of 1970, just a few months before I started with the study of Sanskrit.
> 
> Are there more accidental references of this type to sanskritists or indologists in literature?
> (Leaving aside Lee Siegel's novel about Professor Roth being killed by Monier-Williams Sanskrit dictionary.)
> 
> With kind regards Herman
> 
> Herman Tieken
> Stationsweg 58
> 2515 BP Den Haag
> The Netherlands
> 00 31 (0)70 2208127
> website: hermantieken.com <https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fhermantieken.com%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cchristophe.vielle%40uclouvain.be%7C2ebe73edfa3d487755a208d7cfd05574%7C7ab090d4fa2e4ecfbc7c4127b4d582ec%7C0%7C0%7C637206365997980559&sdata=knZj3KCyfVrhEl8UT1nRa97QamdqJ1dnMK8PR5N0U9A%3D&reserved=0>_______________________________________________
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–––––––––––––––––––
Christophe Vielle <https://uclouvain.be/en/directories/christophe.vielle>
Louvain-la-Neuve



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