Indian Embassy and B.P. Koirala India-Nepal Foundation organized 22nd edition of Voices on Friday, January 30, 2015 at Nepal Bharat Library in Nepal Airlines Building, New Road.
In this edition of Voices, Director of the Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS), Kathmandu, Dr. Nishchal Nath Pandey presented a talk on South Asian Studies in the Contemporary World: Getting International Recognition.
Highlight on the growing interest in South Asian studies globally, Dr. Pandey began, “With Indian growing rapidly as one of the biggest economy in the whole South Asian region, and with the urban Indian transforming into the second largest market in the world, the westerners are showing deeper concerns in the diversity of Indian’s culture, literature and language.”
He added, “In universities in the UK and in Germany, there are students studying Telegu, Tamil and German. This indicates how the west is now inclined towards the South Asian art and literature while our students are going abroad to study the history of medieval America or the Europe, which is in today’s context is not necessary.”
“In Germany, there are Germans who are doing their Ph.D in a subject like Negotiation of Sanskrit Literary Module in South Asia while we in South Asia, are losing interest in our own heritage, culture and language. There are many more such examples. In Princeton University, there are courses like Elementary Hindi or Urdu and Experiencing India through Bollywood. In Cambridge University over 50 students are doing their doctorate in subjects like Vedi Sanskrit, Pali Sanskrit, Prakrit Sanskrit and Hindi,” Dr Pandey elaborated.
Furthermore, he explained how there are South Asian department in many universities in the US and in Europe while we don’t have many of such in South Asia itself.
He shared, “In Heidelberg University, there is a separate department for South Asian studies and the department has a library of seven floors with various books on South Asia. They have books even from the 18th century. This explains how South Asia is emerging as a research centre and the world wants to study about us. Ironically, we on the other hand have lost touch on our own values, language, culture and ethos. We need a foreign teacher to teach us Bhagwad Gita and Upanishad. Even India has Indian chairs at many universities abroad, but sadly Nepal does not have significant places in the reputed universities abroad.”
Dr. Pandey concluded, “Nepal first needs to upgrade the standard of its universities. The politicization in the appointment at the universities should be discouraged. It is sad that the Department of History in Trubhuwan University has more faculty members than the students.”
Abhay Kumar, Secretary of B.P. Koirala India-Nepal Foundation shared, “In order to grow our networking, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu has made its library an e-library. Therefore, now people across the world can find which books are available in our library, online. In addition to this, the Government of India has proposed Nepal Government to promote e-library system across all districts of Nepal. Also, Network of Indian Libraries is trying to work hand in hand with the libraries of Nepal. This will help us connect our resources and knowledge further.”
The event concluded with an interaction between Dr. Pandey and the audience.