German scholars revived Indian culture: Merck-Tagore awardee

Kolkata : German intellectuals revived Indian culture during the 20th century when English literature in the country became a tool of “domination and subjugation”, said Pramod Talgeri, vice-chancellor, India International Multiversity.

“German intellects rejuvenated our classical culture. New impulses of German appreciation also inspired the Indians,” said Talgeri, who was awarded the Merck-Tagore award Wednesday for the promotion of the vibrant Indo-German cultural relations.

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Referring to the early 20th century scenario, when India was under British rule, Talgeri said the country’s educationists and visionaries had then felt that the colonial rulers were using English literature as an instrument for dominating and subjugating the Indians.

“They (the visionaries) found the German language a perfect alternative as they (the Germans) had no colonial interest in India. They respected our culture and in reciprocation Indians admired their art and music, science and technology,” he said at the Max Mueller Bhavan here.

“In his book “On the Language and Wisdom of the Indians” Frederick Von Schlegel has shown great respect for the Indian culture. Scholars like Novalis and Schlegel showed full dedication in the rejuvenation of the Indian culture,” Talgeri said.

The award is given every two years to a person who has made a distinctive contribution in promoting cultural exchanges between India and Germany.

Commenting on the importance of the German language in India’s history, the educationist highlighted Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore’s role in Germany.

“Tagore’s works brought peace in the life of Germans. The importance of German language in India has a long history dating back to the year 1818. On the other hand, in 1914 Sanskrit was introduced in Bonn University, Germany,” he said.