American Indologist Sheldon Pollock will remain in his post as the editor of the Murty Classical Library of India despite a petition to oust him, said Rohan Murty, who funds the library. Rohan Murty is the son of Infosys founder Narayan Murthy, and the petition against Pollock was addressed to both of them. The petition's 132 signatories had raked up the trendy national identity issue, saying Pollock was not qualified to do the job as he is not "deeply rooted and steeped in the intellectual traditions of India", though he is actually a well-known academic in the field.
In his first public statement on the controversy, Murty took a strong stand against the petitioners, saying: "It is quite rich to sit in the peanut gallery, pass comments and throw empty shells at those who are actually rolling their sleeves up and working on the ground". He added, "Pollock has been critical to the success of the library, and Harvard and I look forward to having him on board for many years to come." Murty is also a junior fellow at Society of Fellows at Harvard University.
The signatories include professors from several Indian Institutes of Technology and government officials. Among them is N Gopalaswami, a former chief election commissioner who is now head of a new Human Resource Development Ministry committee on the promotion of Sanskrit. The petition misinterprets Pollock's past lectures as being anti-India, and then goes on to criticise him for signing public letters that spoke against the Indian government in the ongoing Jawaharlal Nehru University row.
The classical library was set up in 2010 and aims to produce high-quality translations of ancient Indian classics. It has published nine translations so far, and four more are expected to be out next year.