(Last Updated on : 02/01/2009)
Indology is a term used to denote educational study of Indian languages
, culture and tradition and historical development. Indology is a part of Asian studies. It is also called Indic studies or Indian studies. Some scholars and academicians also refer it as South Asian Studies. The term indology not only means the economy, political scenario and the contemporary social condition of South Asia , however, also includes the rich saga of Asian history.
Indology nicely incorporates various areas of academic disciplines and analyze in the context of South Asian countries. These include `cultural studies`, `cultural or social anthropology`, `historical linguistics`, `philology`, `textual criticism`, `literary history`, `history`, `philosophies` . The study of the religions of South Asian regions , namely the `Vedic religion`, `Hinduism`, `Jainism`, `Buddhism
`, `Shaivism`, `Vaishnavism`, `Sikhism`, etc. Moreover , the local forms of Judaism, Christianity
and Islam in South Asia also are an integral part of Indology. South Asian sciences, arts and architecture are studied in great enthusiasm.
The historical development of Indology is significant. In the beginning of eighteenth century Indology developed under the initiative of its propounders namely Henry Thomas Colebrooke or August Wilhelm Schlegel . Indology as an educational subject comes forth in the nineteenth century during British imperialism . Along with Asian studies , Indology too influenced by the idealistic `Orientalism` of the contemporary period. The Royal Asiatic Society is founded in 1824, and the American Oriental Society in 1842.
Systematic study and editorial activity of Sanskrit literature becomes possible with the St. Petersburg Sanskrit-Wörterbuch during the 1850s to 1870s. Publication of major Hindu texts in the Sacred Books of the East begins in 1879. Otto von Bohtlingk`s edition of Panini`s grammar appears in 1887. Max Müller`s edition of the Rigveda
appears in 1890-92. In 1897, Sergey Oldenburg launched a systematic edition of key Sanskrit texts, "Bibliotheca Buddhica".
The academicians who pursuit the study of Indology in diligence are called indologists. Time and again they consign an exceptional importance to gather a comprehensive understanding of the languages of Indian subcontinent
. Particularly, the classical languages of India such as Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, or classical Tamil, or Persian are being studied. They supplement their rigorous learning of one or more of these Indian languages along with an acquaintance of the various methodology of philology. These are considered to be a precondition for adding meanings to the indological research and also are an important attribute to indology as an academic study.
Indology is the academic quest of all things Indo-Aryan origin , with a due emphasis on the elucidation of the history. Some scholars demarcates between the trends of classical indology and the indology of the contemporary period. While the former focuses on the Sanskrit and other ancient language origins, the modern indology makes further study of existing language sources and `sociological` advances.
Indologists attend conferences such as the American Association of Asian Studies, the American Oriental Society annual conference, the World Sanskrit Conference, and national-level meetings in the UK, Germany, India, France and elsewhere.
They have taken membership in some proficient organizations like the American Oriental Society, the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Société asiatique, the Deutsche Morgenlaendische Gesellschaft and others.
They may regularly study and write in journals such as Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society , Journal of the American Oriental Society, Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens ,Journal asiatique , Bulletin de l`Ecole Français d`Extrême Orient, , Indo-Iranian Journal, Journal of Indian Philosophy , Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute and others.
Famous Indologists include Romila Thapar ,Pandurang Vaman Kane ,Nirad C. Chaudhuri and Satyabrata Rai Chowdhuri. Indology highlights the vast treasure of literary and cultural elements , thus throwing a glimpse of its enriched heritage and tradition.