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Hindi, Sanskrit courses promote multiculturalism

The Chronicle's coverage of Hindi and Sanskrit issues is timely and captures a growing student concern for multiculturalism in the curriculum.

We do support the creation of the Hindi major, but feel the need to clarify parts editorial in the April 7 edition of The Chronicle, which does not draw a clear distinction between the Hindi major and the inclusion of Hinduism and Sanskrit in the curriculum.

The Chronicle stated that Graham Schweig, a visiting lecturer in the Department of Religion, will be retiring after this semester. Schweig, an esteemed and popular Sanskrit and Hinduism expert, is not retiring. His three-year lectureship at the University has not been renewed by the Department of Religion. Due to the University's lack of attention to promoting multi-culturalism, there will be no one here to teach Sanskrit, and there will be no Hinduism expert on the faculty.

The April 7 editorial might have noted that Sanskrit is the root of Hindu culture. It is essential to Hindu Studies, just as Hebrew is essential to Judaic Studies and Arabic is essential to Islamic Studies. Sanskrit is also the precursor of Hindi and Urdu, just as Yiddish is to Hebrew, and Latin is to English and other Romance languages. The University offers all of these classical languages, but it will not be offering Sanskrit.

We are alarmed by the Department of Religion's reluctance to retain Schweig. We lament the end of his brief stay, and on behalf of many Duke students, we thank him for his enthusiastic service.

Our university must be held accountable for the multicultural community it advertises. By hiring expert Hinduism faculty, continuing Sanskrit courses and establishing the Hindi major, Duke will begin to attain its vision of being a multicultural university.

Shruti Haldea

Trinity '01

Puneet Sapra

Trinity '99

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