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Asko Parpola

Asko Heikki Siegfried Parpola
Born July 12, 1941, Forssa

Master of Arts 1963, Licentiate 1966, PhD 1968 (Sanskrit and comparative Indo-European linguistics), University of Helsinki

Emeritus professor and docent in Indology, University of Helsinki 2005–
Research Fellow 1968–72, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), Copenhagen
Acting professor of Sanskrit and comparative Indo-European linguistics 1972, University of Gothenburg
Research Fellow 1972–74, Humanities Research Council of the Academy of Finland
Senior Research Fellow 1974–1981, Humanities Research Council of the Academy of Finland
Acting professor of comparative religion 1977, University of Helsinki
Professor of Indology (personal chair), University of Helsinki 1982–2004
Visiting scholar 1987, Churchill College, University of Cambridge 1987
Visiting scholar 1999, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University 1999
Visiting scholar 2006, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto
Hermann Collitz Professor, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Linguistic Society of America/Stanford University 2007

Research themes
Vedic research (the Veda is India’s oldest known literature and religion)
The riddles of the Indus Civilization: writing, language and religion
The prehistory of Aryan languages in the light of archaeology and historical linguistics

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Awards and special achievements
University of Helsinki Master’s Thesis Prize 1963
First Class Knight of the White Rose of Finland 1990
Alfred Kordelin Foundation lifetime achievement award 2003
Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland
M. Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award 2009
Honorary member of the American Oriental Society
Indian Presidential Citation of Honour in Sanskrit Studies 2015

Photo: Juri Ahlfors
Written by Asko Parpola, (Olli Siitonen ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

In the service of science

I worked as the head of the Department of Asian and African Studies from 1994–98, the Vice President of the Finnish Oriental Society from 1981–93 and President 1994–96. I was invited to join the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters in 1990 and the Academia Europaea in 2000.

Photo: Asko Parpola.

The conferences I have arranged at the University of Helsinki have been made possible by the favourable support of my alma mater, the City of Helsinki and the Ministry of Education. The first Nordic conference on South Asian studies was held in 1980 (I published the presentations in 1981). Between 1970 and 2005 I was a board member of the European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art History. Its 12th international conference was held in Helsinki in 1993 (an 887-page publication was released in 1994). It was the turn of the 12th World Sanskrit Conference in 2003. As was the case in 1993, my right-hand-man and second editor was Petteri Koskikallio. The official organiser was the International Association for Sanskrit Studies, to whose advisory committee I belonged between 1971 and 1999. I organised an international symposium on the theme Early Contacts between Uralic and Indo-European: Linguistic and archaeological considerations together with Christian Carpelan and Petteri Koskikallio in Tvärminne in 1999, and the publication that we jointly edited appeared in 2001.

I am a consultant for four scientific journals Studia Orientalia (Helsinki), Acta Orientalia (Oslo), the Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies (Cambridge MA) and Scripta (Seoul).

For Finnish readers I edited, and contributed to, the book Intian kulttuuri an illustrated overview of Indian culture; the other contributors were Klaus Karttunen, Virpi Hämeen-Anttila and Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila Marjatta Parpola, Petteri Koskikallio and Henri Schildt.

Photo: Asko Parpola.


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