We recently had the great pleasure of Senior Indian scholars visit OCHS entertaining the High Commissioner of India,Mr Kamlesh Sharma,accompanied by his wife Mrs Babli Sharma and Special Assistant Mrs Kulkarna,for lunch in Oxford on our OCHS premises.On 17 February, scholars,students,staff and the Oxford Hindu Student Society gathered to meet the High Commissioner,who took the time to discuss Hindu Studies with those present.
Prof.Richard Gombrich,Boden Professor of Sanskrit in Oxford for almost 30 years, presented the latest translation of a major Sanskrit text to the High Commissioner as a token of our shared commitment to the unique treasures of Indian culture.The gift was received with thanks and the High Commissioner recognised that there is a pressing need to make the ancient heritage more accessible to modern Indians at large.
Over lunch the High Commissioner chatted with the Chairs of the Theology and Oriental Studies Faculty Boards about exploring ways of attracting more Indian Students to Oxford.The High Commissioner noted that there was a need for intensified exchanges with Oxford both at the levels of students and faculty,and all means should be explored towards this end.He
also said that subjects such as the study of modern Indian languages in Oxford should be strengthened,in addition to the technological fields.
Shaunaka Rishi Das,Director of OCHS, agreed:"If we can use Oxford as a model to develop a first class South Asian Studies programme it will be of great benefit internationally,and it will greatly help in developing understanding of India in the global context."
When the last cup of tea had been drunk and the last word said,the High Commissioner left with the OCHS Director to make a very particular pilgrimage:to the grave of Prof.Max Muller,one of the West 's first great Sanskritists.