Hence, I agree with many parts of the following statements (although not necessarily with their conclusions):
Early Western Indological studies were largely driven by the desire, typical of the Romantic Age, to learn about the 'beginnings' of things: the beginnings of religion, of philosophy, Sanskrit as one of the most ancient languages of the Indo-European family, etc. There is of course nothing wrong with such historical interests; but it is a bit odd that the classically oriented philologists rarely take an interest in the relevance of their studies for the present, and that many researchers who study contemporary culture are largely ignorant of the details of the historical roots of the culture (Robert Zydenbos, review of Mesquita's The concept of liberation while still alive in the Philosophy of Madhva, MIZ 1, pp.260-1).
This is the reason, maintains Zydenbos, why in "numerous Western universities" one finds a "very strong concentration" on
Buddhist studies or Advaita studies, which are of limited relevance for an understanding of Indian culture, if one considers that Buddhism virtually disappeared from India approximately a thousand years ago and Advaita never seems to have been popular with the masses (p.260).
This might be true, and I agree about the fact that it is a pity that scholars working on contemporary India often ignore its past. Nonetheless, personally I do not study Indian philosophy in order to better understand today's India.
And Buddhism is a sort of magnet that attracts students (and scholars), probably because it addresses them directly. Is not this also a way of being relevant?
What do you think? Why do you study what you study?
If you share my suspicions about the concept of "beginning", you might be interested in reading this post and this one (on IE reconstruction).