World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Indology is the academic study of the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent (most specifically the modern-day states of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal and the eastern parts of Afghanistan), and as such is a subset of Asian studies.

The term Indology or (in German) Indologie is often associated with German scholarship, and is used more commonly in departmental titles in German and continental European universities than in the anglophone academy. In the Netherlands the term Indologie was used to designate the study of Indonesian history and culture in preparation for colonial service in the Dutch East Indies.

Specifically, Indology includes the study of Sanskrit literature and Hinduism along with the other Indian religions, Jainism, Buddhism and Pāli literature, and Sikhism. Dravidology is the separate branch dedicated to the Dravidian languages of South India.

Some scholars distinguish Classical Indology from Modern Indology, the former more focussed on Sanskrit and other ancient language sources, the latter on contemporary India, its politics and sociology.


  • History 1
    • Beginnings 1.1
    • Academic discipline 1.2
    • Indology and the modern world 1.3
  • Professional literature and associations 2
  • List of Indologists 3
    • Contemporary Indologists with university posts in Indian Studies 3.1
  • Other contributors to Indology 4
  • Indology organisations 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9
    • Library guides 9.1



The beginnings of the study of India by outsiders date back at least to Megasthenes (ca. 350–290 BC), a Greek ambassador of the Seleucids to the court of Chandragupta (ruled 322-298 BC), founder of the Mauryan Empire.[1] Based on his life in India Megasthenes composed a four-volume Indica, fragments of which still exist, and which influenced the classical geographers Arrian, Diodor and Strabo.[1] Megasthenes reported that the caste system dominated an essentially illiterate India.[2][3]

Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī (973–1048) (Researches on India) recorded the political and military history of India and covered India's cultural, scientific, social and religious history in detail.[4] He studied the anthropology of India, engaging in extensive participant observation with various Indian groups, learning their languages and studying their primary texts, and presenting his findings with objectivity and neutrality using cross-cultural comparisons.[5]

Academic discipline

In the wake of 18th century pioneers like

  • South/Southeast Asia Library. "South Asia Resources". USA: University of California, Berkeley. 
  • "South Asian Studies". Research Guides. Los Angeles: University of California. 
  • "South & Southeast Asian Studies Research Guides". New York, USA: Columbia University Libraries. 
  • Library. "India Studies". Topic Guides. UK:  
  • "South Asia". Subject Guides.  
  • "South Asia". Oxford LibGuides. Oxford, UK: University of Oxford, Bodleian Libraries. 
  • "South/Southeast Asia". Research Guides. USA: University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries. 

Library guides

  • Vienna
  • Heidelberg
  • Halle
  • Mainz
  • French Institute of Pondicherry
  • Tübingen
  • Zürich
  • Oxford


  • Omilos Meleton
  • – since 1995, with associated discussion forum since 1990
  • – defunct. Domain name on sale to high bidders.
  • Italian blog with many links to indological websites
  • SARDS 2: Database containing bibliographic references to South Asia research articles
  • Books related to Indology
  • The Veda as Studied by European Scholars (Gifford Lectures Online)

External links

  • Vishwa Adluri, Joydeep Bagchee: The Nay Science: A History of German Indology. Oxford University Press, New York 2014, ISBN 978-0199931361 (Introduction, p. 1–29).
  • Joydeep Bagchee, Vishwa Adluri: "The passion of Paul Hacker: Indology, orientalism, and evangelism." In: Joanne Miyang Cho, Eric Kurlander, Douglas T McGetchin (Eds.), Transcultural Encounters Between Germany and India: Kindred Spirits in the Nineteenth Century. Routledge, New York 2013, p. 215–229.
  • Joydeep Bagchee: "German Indology." In: Alf Hiltebeitel (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online: Hinduism. Oxford University Press, New York 2014.
  • Heinz Bechert, Georg von Simson – Einführung in die Indologie. Stand, Methoden, Aufgaben – ISBN 3-534-05466-0.
  • Jean Filliozat and Louis Renou – L'inde classique – ISBN B0000DLB66.
  • Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde, Berlin und Leipzig, Vereinigung wissenschaftlicher verleger, 1920
  • Bryant, Edwin. The Quest for the origins of Vedic culture. (2001) Oxford University Press
  • Chakrabarti, Dilip: Colonial Indology, 1997, Munshiram Manoharlal: New Delhi.
  • Halbfass, W. India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding. SUNY Press, Albany: 1988
  • Edmund Leach. "Aryan Invasions Over Four Millennia". In Culture Through Time (edited by Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, Stanford University Press, 1990)
  • Gauri Viswanathan, 1989, Masks of Conquest
  • Pollock, Sheldon. Deep Orientalism?: Notes on Sanskrit and Power Beyond the Raj. In: Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament: Perspectives on South Asia, eds. Carol A. Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993.
  • Servan-Schreiber, Catherine & Vuddamalay, Vasoodeven (éd.). Diasporas indiennes dans la ville. In hommes et migrations n° 1268–1269 (2007)
  • Trautmann, Thomas. 1997. Aryans and British India, University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • Balagangadhara, S. N. (2012). Reconceptualizing India studies. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Windisch, Ernst. Geschichte der Sanskrit-Philologie und Indischen Altertumskunde. 2 vols. Strasbourg. Trübner, K.J., 1917–1920
  • Zachariae, Theodor. Opera minora zur indischen Wortforschung, zur Geschichte der indischen Literatur und Kultur, zur Geschichte der Sanskritphilologie. Ed. Claus Vogel. Wiesbaden 1977, ISBN 3-515-02216-3.

Further reading

  1. ^ a b Bosworth, A. B. (1996). "The Historical Setting of Megasthenes' Indica".  
  2. ^ Panthapalli A. Augustine: Social equality in Indian society: the elusive goal, Concept Publishing Company, 1991, ISBN 9788170223030, p. 40
  3. ^ John Duncan Martin Derrett: Essays in Classical and Modern Hindu Law: Consequences of the intellectual exchange with the foreign powers, Brill 1976, ISBN 9789004048089, p. 1
  4. ^ Khan, M. S. (1976). "al-Biruni and the Political History of India". Oriens 25: 86–115.  
  5. ^ Ahmed, Akbar S. (1984). "Al-Beruni: The First Anthropologist". RAIN 60: 9–10.  
  6. ^ English Summary. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  7. ^ Bronkhorst, Johannes. (2011). "Indology, what is it good for?" Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 161.1: 115-122. Available online:
  8. ^ International Publisher Science, Technology, Medicine. Springer. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  9. ^ R A S – Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  10. ^ JAOS Front Matter. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  11. ^ (Dutch) Journal Asiatique. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  12. ^ "Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft (ZDMG)". Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft (DMG). 
  13. ^ Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens (WZKS) Vienna Journal for South Asian Studies. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  14. ^ Journal of Indian Philosophy. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.
  15. ^ Bulletin de l'EFEO. Retrieved on 20 November 2011.


See also

Indology organisations

Other contributors to Indology

Contemporary Indologists with university posts in Indian Studies

The following is a list of prominent academically qualified Indologists.

List of Indologists

They may be members of such professional bodies as the American Oriental Society, the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Société Asiatique, the Deutsche Morgenlāndische Gesellschaft and others.

They may routinely read and write in journals such as Indo-Iranian Journal,[8] Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society,[9] Journal of the American Oriental Society,[10] Journal asiatique,[11] the Journal of the German Oriental Society (ZDMG),[12] Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens,[13] Journal of Indian Philosophy,[14] Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies (Indogaku Bukkyogaku Kenkyu), Bulletin de l'Ecole française d'Extrême Orient,[15] and others.

Indologists typically 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, Japan, France and elsewhere.

Professional literature and associations

As with many academic subjects which seem to have no direct bearing on modern concerns, Indology has come in for criticism. This has prompted a vigorous response from a number of eminent scholars, among them J. Bronkhorst.[7]

Indology and the modern world

Systematic study and editorial activity of Sanskrit literature became possible with the St. Petersburg Sanskrit-Wörterbuch during the 1850s to 1870s. Translations of major Hindu texts in the Sacred Books of the East began in 1879. Otto von Bohtlingk's edition of Pāṇini's grammar appeared in 1887. Max Müller's edition of the Rigveda appeared in 1849–75. In 1897, Sergey Oldenburg launched a systematic edition of key Sanskrit texts, "Bibliotheca Buddhica".

in 1949. [6]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.