The Bhagvad Gita, the treatise that encompasses the essential philosophy of
Hinduism, has now reached out to the Dutch-speaking people of the Netherlands
Dutch scholars Gerda Staes and Winand Callewaert have translated the holy
book into Modern Dutch, or Flemish as the language is called in Belgium.
Their work was released at a function in the Indian embassy in Belgium where
nearly 40 Belgian academicians and leading personalities of Brussels were in
In the first edition, 2,500 copies of the book -- which runs into 158 pages
and is priced at 17.20 euros ($15) -- have been printed.
The publisher, Davidsfonds/Leuven, says going by the fantastic response that
the book has evoked in the Belgian and Dutch media and among readers, a second
edition may soon follow.
Davidsfonds/Leuven has been in the publishing business for 125 years and
focuses largely on cultural and scientific works. It is one of the most
important publishing companies in the Flanders region of Belgium.
Translator Staes lived in India and Thailand for 14 years and learned
Sanskrit -- the language of ancient Indian texts -- at various institutions in
the two countries. She even worked for five months at Bombay University, where
she organised a seminar on Sanskrit in May this year.
Callewaert, a professor at the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium, earned
his bachelor's degree in Hindi, Sanskrit and history from Ranchi University (Jharkhand)
in 1968. He also studied at the Sanskrit University in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh,
and Pune University in Maharashtra. He holds the chair of Sanskrit and Hinduism
at the Catholic University.
Callewaert, who has visited India at least 50 times, has already published 32
books in Hindi, English and Dutch. He was among those Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee honoured during the Sixth World Hindi Conference held in London in