“We’ve been—and we remain—extremely proud of and gratified by our work with Rohan Murty, Sheldon Pollock…”
GN Bureau | March 12, 2016
Sheldon Pollock, a preeminent Indologist who has been facing criticism from Hindutva hardliners and right-leaning academics after he expressed solidarity with the JNU students and teachers facing allegation of antinational activities, has found support from the venerable publisher Harvard University Press (HUP).
Pollock, professor of Sanskrit and South Asian studies at Columbia University, is the general editor of the Murty Classical Library of India, founded by Rohan Narayan Murty, and published by HUP.
HUP, in a blog posting on March 11 titled ‘Cultures of All the Lands’, has noted:
“We’ve been—and we remain—extremely proud of and gratified by our work with Rohan Murty, Sheldon Pollock, and scholars the world over both to invigorate the study of Indic classics in their own right and to facilitate a more capacious understanding of our collective classical tradition. Indeed, none involved see any limit to its potential growth in time.”
Pollock joined scholars and institutions around the world in expressing support to the beleaguered students, faculty and staff of JNU, New Delhi, “who’ve seen their political expression cast as anti-national sedition”. The HUP blog notes that, “Pollock’s action in doing so has been received by some as a political intervention unbefitting his post with the Murty Library, and put forth as evidence that such a project could be properly guided only by Indian scholars themselves. This past weekend Rohan Murty addressed those concerns, reiterating his intention to aggressively counter the crisis he and Pollock saw, and his willingness to work alongside any honest scholars who shared that goal.”
Further, the blog post also recalls Pollock’s famous essay, Crisis in the Classics, and quotes at length from it:
“India is confronting a calamitous endangerment of its classic knowledge, and India today may have reached the point the rest of the world will reach tomorrow. This form of knowledge, under the sign of a critical classicism, must be recovered and strengthened not for the mere satisfaction of those outside of India who cultivate the study of its past but for the good of the people of India themselves. I may not have ready to hand an institutional solution to the crisis in the classics, but I remain hopeful that one can be found. Achieving this solution will require a collective public conversation on the problem—and the conversation must be insistent and loud.”
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