Iravatham Mahadevan’s Speech: Authorized Version, spoken version, tapped version and my version

published on July 14, 2009

Vedaprakash

[email protected]



Iravatham Mahadevan at last gathered courage to circulate his “authorized version” of his speech (on 08-7-2009) to selective friends with the following bracketed note of warning on 12-07-2009:

 

(This is the authorized version circulated by Iravatham Mahadevan from his notes which formed the basis for his lecture which was extempore. Hence, the actual sentences may be different between the notes and the talk which has been recorded on tape. But the contents are the same. The opening and closing invocations in Sanskrit have also been omitted.)

 

Authorised version of Iravatham Mahadevan’s speech[1]: Of course, his authorized version is as follows:

 

Atithi devo bhava

(A summary of the introductory talk by Iravatham Mahadevan

At The Department of Sanskrit, University of Madras

On July 8, 2009)

 

Respected Prof Witzel, Respected Prof Dash, ladies and gentlemen,

 

I am happy to welcome in our midst, Prof.Michael Witzel, Wales Prof. of Sanskrit, Dept. of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University, USA. It is hardly necessary for me to introduce him to this audience of Sanskrit scholars[2]. Dr.Witzel is an eminent scholar in Sanskrit and has specialized in studies relating to the Rig Veda. The subject of his talk this morning is “Origin and development of Language in South Asia: Phylogeny vs. Epigenetics”. I am not a scholar in Indo-Aryan linguistics; my field is Indian Epigraphy. What I understand from the title of the lecture is that the two key words there are related to the Sanskrit root jan `to be born, produced’. I shall leave the rest to Prof.Witzel to explain.

 

I shall however utilize this opportunity[3] to add a few words on the happenings at Prof.Witzel’s lecture in another forum in this city. Some misguided elements[4] had planned to disturb the meeting[5]. But, due to the security precautions[6], the meeting went on peacefully, though some people stood on the main road outside distributing hand bills. What was the problem? These people have differences of opinion on some academic matters. Is that a sufficient reason to show disrespect[7] to a distinguished scholar in Sanskrit visiting institutions of Sanskrit learning to deliver academic lectures? Our culture is Atithi devo bhava `respect the guest like god’.

 

The Indian culture is based on tolerance and equal respect for all religions. The Vedic saying is ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti , `truth is one[8], the learned describe it in many ways’.

 

It is well known that I have serious differences of view with Prof.Witzel relating to the Indus Script. He thinks that the Indus Script is not writing at all. I am convinced it is a system of writing encoding an early form of Dravidian. So, what do I do? Do I take a gun and shoot him down? No! I take my pen and write a refutation of what he has written. That is the only way for academic scholars to react[9].

 

I claim that the Hindu doctrine of sarva dharma sama bhava is superior to the western concept of secularism. In the West, there was conflict between the state and the church. The church was separated from the state. And thereafter the western democracies have accorded full freedom of speech and freedom of religion to all their citizens. In India, the development of equal respect for all religions is much older. The Buddha rejected the authority of the Vedas and preached agnosticism. The Mahavira denied the existence of God. The religions founded by both of them have flourished in our pluralistic society.

 

In South India, Sankara preached Advaita, Ramanuja preached a qualified form called Visishtadvaita, while Madhwa was for Dvaita. Each of these great acharyas wrote their own bashyas and went about the country freely propagating their philosophies. After Islam came to India, there have been prophets like Guru Nanak Deva and Kabir synthesizing the best of both religions.

 

As I mentioned, India is a pluralistic society with many languages and many religions. Our Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of religion and equal treatment for all before law. I proclaim from this dais that those who show disrespect to other religions, other points of view are un-Indian and un-Hindu. By their misguided action, these people do disservice to the tolerant, secular and pluralistic traditions of this great country. Let me assure our honoured guest[10] that such fanatic elements[11] constitute a small lunatic fringe of our society. The heart of India is sound.

 

Let me conclude this short talk with the words of wisdom uttered by Asoka, the greatest and noblest ruler in our long history. He engraved the following message. I call upon the Sanskrit scholars assembled here to read the edict in the original Prakrit[12], memorize it in your hearts and internalise the message and follow it in your lives.

 

Asoka’s  XII rock edict (Girnar version): Extracts

 

“Neither praising one’s own sect, nor blaming other sects should take place on improper occasions. But other sects ought to be duly honoured in every case. For, whosoever praises his own sect, or blames other sects, – all these out of devotion to one’s own sect, with a view of glorifying his own sect – if he is acting thus, he rather injures his own sect very severely. Therefore, CONCORD (sama vayo) alone is meritorious, that they should both hear and obey each others morals.”

 

I consider this rock edict of Asoka proclaimed 2300 years ago as the original Constitution of India which is still relevant. Let us follow it in word and spirit. Let us fight with all our might all forms of fanaticism, intolerance and bigotry by any section of the society, bringing disgrace to the hoary secular traditions of our country.

 

(This is the authorized version circulated by Iravatham Mahadevan from his notes which formed the basis for his lecture which was extempore. Hence, the actual sentences may be different between the notes and the talk which has been recorded on tape. But the contents are the same. The opening and closing invocations in Sanskrit have also been omitted[13].)

 

Taped version available with Sanskrit department: Now, it is clear that the tape has been the main evidence for the entire proceedings[14]. Its copies should be made available to the researchers and others. Prof Dass should take immediate action to take copies and present or he can convert into an audio file and send to others by e-mail, so that it could be downloaded and used. I request the learned readers to read my note at the end of “The Second Conference of Michael Witzel at Madras University”. For convenience, it is reproduced as follows:

 

Note: This has been prepared based on the notes noted down during the meeting. There are some points to be clarified. And therefore, certain points may be added or amended accordingly later. Here, the entire proceedings have been taped and the tape would give more details. Therefore, anybody wants to check up the proceedings, they could verify from the tape available with the Sanskrit Department, Madras University. Unfortunately, the proceedings were not videographed [also in Sanskrit college], as otherwise, it could have been an evidence to prove the capabilities of Prof Witzel.

 

Thus, I have clearly mentioned that, “Here, the entire proceedings have been taped and the tape would give more details. Therefore, anybody wants to check up the proceedings, they could verify from the tape available with the Sanskrit Department, Madras University.”

 

Therefore, I do not know as to whether IM has read my version to present his version to register his stand to denigrate Indians /Hindus. But, the style, manner and the “edited version” prove so.

 

IM’s handwritten version and spoken version: It is not known as to why IM should make a great fuss about his speech, when we are actually concerned about the Witzel’s “conferences” and his inability to answer the questions raised by K. V. Ramakrishna Rao. Let us analyse his “warning” issued just like “statutory warnings appearing on liquor, cigarette etc”:

 

Ø     This is the authorized version circulated by Iravatham Mahadevan from his notes which formed the basis for his lecture which was extempore.

As IM claims it is not at all an extempore speech, as he was having a written speech and he read it and the 15 or so audience was witness.

 

Ø     Hence, the actual sentences may be different between the notes and the talk which has been recorded on tape.

If learned scholars have guts, they need not worry about what they speak as extempore, reading from notes, AV forming his own notes etc. Obviously and evidently IM is afraid of the tap, as it contains the proof that Witzel has been questioned fundamentally by K. V. Ramakrishna Rao and Witzel could not answer. In fact, he accepted confessing that there are no archaeological evidences for his hypothesis. Therefore, the University of Madras should bring out the contents of tape or give a copy to others – say Dr S. Kalyanaraman, as otherwise, I am afraid that the tape might be tampered oor even disappear or they can simply say, the recorder did not record.

 

Ø     But the contents are the same.

Having edited and circulated such “edited version”, there is no need to say that “this” is same as “that”!

 

Ø     The opening and closing invocations in Sanskrit have also been omitted

Obviously, he was afraid of the slokas or its meaning or he is afraid that Witzel’s friends Steve Farmer et al would dub him as “Hindutvawadi”, “Right-wing activist” etc.

 

Let the Madras University proceedings be published: The concerned scholars, pundits and others should take immediate action to publish the contents of the tap that contains the proceedings of Witzel’s “conference” held at the auditorium of Marina Campus, organized by Sanskrit department of Madras University on 08-07-2009 held from 11 am to 1.30 pm. It would a record for Indians to expose how the western scholars or vested Indian scholars aid and abet each other and subvert Indian ethos. As the police (plain-clothed one inside) and uniformed outside were also there, there is no meaning in withholding the facts and circulating the AVs.

 

The “Hindutwa group” should take action:
IM has recorded it clearly, as follows using such strong and impolite expressions against some “demonstrators” “misguided elements”, “fanatic elements”, Lunatic fringe of our society” etc. Really, I am surorised as to how In missed the second and third expressioins, though I was carefully noting down his speech.

 

Ø     “Some misguided elements had planned to disturb the meeting. But, due to the security precautions, the meeting went on peacefully, though some people stood on the main road outside distributing hand bills”.

 

Ø     By their misguided action, these people do disservice to the tolerant, secular and pluralistic traditions of this great country.

 

Ø     By their misguided action, these people do disservice to the tolerant, secular and pluralistic traditions of this great country. Let me assure our honoured guest that such fanatic elements constitute a small lunatic fringe of our society. The heart of India is sound.

 

This has been clearly directed on Ms Radharajan, Haran and Sadanjan and I have mentioned in my version also. In fact, the olice Officer at the gate was seen telling, “Did that IAS officer not know that would hurt the feelings of people?” (Obviously referring to Witzel’s assertion that the horned god depicted in IVC seal and the Gundestrup Cauldron were not Shiva, but some other deity). It is unfortunate that the so-called Hindus, still act and behave like this. When Iravatham Mahadevan like esteemed, elite and venerated scholars and Pundits act against Hindus like this, definitel Witzel like Wales Sanskrit of Professor at Harvar would go on blaspheme Hindu religion and Gods subtly, covertly here.

 

Swami Vivekananda exposed Gutav Oppert[15]: Gustav Solomon Oppert[16] (1836-1908) was a German teaching Sanskrit and Comparative linguistics at the Presidency College for 21 years.  He was born in Hamburg, Germany operating with the missionaries. Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) was to attend the Paris Conference[17] in 1900. First day, Swamiji could not attend, as he was not feeling well, but on the second day, when he entered the Conference Hall, Gustav Oppert was presenting his paper on the origin of Salagrama worship relating to Phallic worship. After his presentation, Swamiji stood up and asked volley of questions and then clarified reciting slokas from Athava Veda and the scholars there dumfounded. Now similar type of situation has been happening.

 

Witzel has also been a German, a “Wales Sanskrit Professor” at “Harvard University”, conducting “conferences” in India, lecturing on Rigveda and IVC, origin of languages, telling that Sanskri is not so old as compared to the Dravidian and Munda languages. In fact, the language families are related to “phylum”.  Here, I draw attention of the scholars to the origin of “phylum” as pointed out earlier[18]:


From
the different connotation of Phul / pul, and its combination,
it is known that phylum is the race, class, division, family originating from
a particular phallic or phullon or combination thereof[19].



Phuletes

= tribes-man



Phullon

= leaf, female sexual organ



Phulon

, = race,



phule


  = tribe




pule


= gate




puloros


= gate keeper



phusallis

= bladder



phallic

= male sexual organ



 


Are
the words phul / pul or its equivalents are available in Sanskrit?



 


I
request scholars to clarify.



 


Vedaprakash

14-07-2009












[1]




IM
has not sent any copy to me. However, as it is available in the internet and it
is circulated to others, I also got a copy and I am using this, as received.







[2]





However, his sojourns were kept secretive and even such “conferences” were
conducted with security as confessed by the hon’ble speaker!


Vedaprakash,
The
Third Conference of Michael Witzel at Pondicherrry, for details
,
see at:



http://ontogenyphylogenyepigenetcs.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/the-third-conference-of-michael-witzel-at-pondicherry/








[3]




It
is unfortunate to understand that he has utilized every opportunity to deceive
Indians / Hindus completely misusing his status and instigating others of
Sanskrit College, Sanskrit Department, Madras University, Indus Research
Centre, Roja Muthaish Library, International Institute for the Ancient
Civilizations, and others for his Hindu-baiting and colluding and collaborating
with Witzel & Co.







[4]





See his audacity of talking about others, when he himself in a disgrace status
of colluding with Witzel for non-academic activities. They should come out and
challenge. In fact, when Hindus get such opportunity, it is right time to use
and expose such anti-Hindu forces.







[5]





See these gullible, meek, mild, innocent and incapable Hindus could plan only
with “handbills”, whereas, the organizers could use such infra-structure of Sri
Chanbdrasekhara Auditoruim of Sanskrit College, full AC auditorium to host just
15 with mufti police, cars plying for Witzel & Co., here and there, giving
hefty “TA and DA in lalhs” in covers and above the anti-Hindu to talk about
Rigveda to the Sanskrit Pundits.







[6]




It
is disgrace for IM, as with such brutal influence as an ex-IAS officer to use
police force to contain academic proceedings. In fact, you tried to control the
inside proceedings also preventing audience ask questions and later allowing
one person, but evading Witzel not to answer. The same thing happened in front
of IM.


Vedaprakash,
The
First Conference of Michael Witzel of Havard University
, for
details, see at:



http://ontogenyphylogenyepigenetcs.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/the-first-conference-of-micheal-witzel-of-harvard-university/








[7]




IM
: You have only disrespected the real Sanskrit Pundits of India and Madras,
Tamilnadu by allowing Wizel and not allowing him to answer has been the highest
disrespect shown to the decorum of research, conference and debate.







[8]





But what Witzel is propounding is untruth, and your are supporting such untrue
elements calling our people as “misguided elements”, “fanatic elements”,
“lunatic fringe of our society” etc.







[9]





But you have not cared for any academic type of proceedings. You have not given
the full-text of the speaker, you controlled the proceedings and prevented not
to respond to the questions raised. Therefore, still, it is your duty to get
the papers and circulate, as your are circulating your authorized version of
your speech.







[10]





But you have not responded reciprocally to the Indian audience.







[11]





These expressions have been very strong in deed.







[12]





Here, I am surprised to note this urge, as to point out that the Sanskriit
Pundits should learn Pali lanuage or they do not read and understand Pali
language or the Pali language has been totally different from  Sanskrit or the Sanskrit knowing Pundits  could read and understand?………..







[13]




This
also secularism, MR IM? Wjhen MW was explaining “Father Heaven”, “African Eve”
etc., was it secularism or communalism?

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