It will facilitate programmes in ancient Tamil literature, culture

In a sign of growing interest in the study of Indian culture in European universities, the Jagiellonian University at Krakow in Poland will soon establish a Tamil Chair.

This was announced by First Secretary in the Indian Embassy in Warsaw Vikrant Rattan at the third Middle European Student Indology Conference (MESIC 3) here from May 19 to 21.

Mr. Rattan said the decision follows a memorandum of understanding with the Institute of Oriental Studies in the university. The Chair would facilitate programmes in ancient Tamil literature, culture and civilization. It would be held by an associate professor.

More European students were taking up studies in oriental languages and other languages of South India. The Indian Council of Cultural Relations had awarded 11 scholarships to students from various Polish universities, he noted. The MESIC-3 was unique in that it was organised by Indology students. It had provided a platform to students and scholars of Indian culture to discuss a broad range of topics such as Indian literature and linguistics and political, religious and social issues.

The conference was organised by students of the University of Zagreb (Croatia), Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, and the University of Wroclow.

The first MESIC conference took place in May 2009 at the University of Zagreb and the second at Poznan in 2010. The fourth one will be held at the University of Zagreb next May.

The themes elaborated at MESIC 3were interesting. Maria Jawlowska of the University of Warsaw focused on ‘Tinai,' explained as a correlation between a specific landscape and specific emotion and experience. Using a set of slides, she explained the ways in which landscape and nature were utilised by poets.

Some topics were controversial too. Agnieszka Ibupoto of Poznan caused a stir, saying India had become a “baby factory,” as the number of surrogate babies was going up. She addressed the problem of surrogate motherhood and looked at the economic and social factors that forced mothers to give birth to babies, to be taken away.

Jayaraj Manepalli, a Ph.D. scholar from the University of Vienna, sought to examine the origin of left-wing extremism in India.

He said though the governments at the Centre and the States were countering it through various strategies, Maoism, as an ideology, was not countered politically. Perhaps, that was why Maoism still existed in India, despite the country's rapid growth.

The conference was coordinated by the Department of Indology of the University of Wroclow, headed by Professor Joanne Sachse.

The department offers courses in Sanskrit and Pali and Ancient Indian History for students of all faculties. Since the beginning of 21st century, it has broadened its scope by introducing studies in modern India as well.