Apologise openly and honestly for the mistakes done – An Open letter to Portland State University

published on November 17, 2008

To

The President, Portland State University

 
My name is Yamuna Harshavardhana. I am a Hindu and Indian with a fair amount of knowledge of our ancient literature. In fact, I too am a writer for children on the same subject as Dr. Carr with my writings including stories from The Holy Bible. However, I should own that I have no qualification in this field but that of having read the scriptures and re-told them in the best light possible by me.

 
With this introduction, I request you to take time to look into what is happening to the image of your University’s history department.

 
You could see a series of messages between Dr. Karen Carr and several scholars and practising Hindus about the way Ramayana is presented on her website Kidipede here:

http://sites.google.com/site/hindunow/motivated-distortions

 
There are several fallouts of such writings:

 

For Hindus:

  1. False propaganda of our history and image. VERY FALSE in the light of recent scientific knowledge where the Aryan invasion has been proven utterly false. In fact, the very term ‘Aryan’ has no racial mention anywhere in the ancient Indian literature.

  2. Promotion of hatred between peoples. VERY BAD as history is meant to be a subject to learn about the negatives of the past and avoid them in the present for a better future. However, Dr. Carr is only continuing and perpetuating colonial ideas and attitudes.

For you:

 

  1. A projection showing how ignorant your Institute can be. Remember there are people who have assimilated the epics of India like no academic can:  they breathe these epics in everyday activities and it is not merely a matter of study alone. Dr. Carr, by her own admission, is not a scholar on the Ramayana. So, she has to follow standards. The Wikipedia, for example. Better not to allow for imaginative interpretation where there is none present previously. Safe for her and for you.

  2. That you are have a Christian Proselytist agenda. Certainly, there is a lot of ground to show that you are as the presentation of Jesus is VERY VERY DIFFERENT from the way Rama is presented.

  3. That you are racist. That you still see ‘other’ people in different light. Her sympathies with ‘bad monkeys’ show that she is unable to see people as people but only as those with different external — and purely cosmetic — appearances.

For the others:

 

  1. A poor exposure to the  rich and ancient epic of India, the oldest in the world and held in high esteem by the Hindus.

  2. A later dawning of the truth would again debase your University.
It is, therefore, clear that you stand to gain by learning quickly from what is presently happening. You can erase out all that by doing the following:

 

  1. Replace the pages with such objectionable content gleaned from not so well accepted sources with the accepted versions. It is seen that the earlier page has been replaced by another one — better but not totally correct, not yet.

  2. Get the ideas of what the practising Hindus have to say about their heritage and history before throwing in your views about an alien and completely different culture and people.

  3. Apologise openly and honestly for the mistakes done. That would matter a lot to a billion people on the globe and they would all applaud your honesty and be more than willing to suport your site/University in future.
Thanks. May truth prevail. May peace prevail. May we work toward a beautiful world.

 
Sincerely,
Yamuna

 

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