Scholarship of Equine Posteriors – Har(vard)appa Style – Part-II

published on December 21, 2005

Courtesy: www.india-forum.com


 


Scholarship of Equine Posteriors– Har(vard)appa Style – Part -II



 


Narayanan Komerath


 


 


Scholars or  Scientists,  Frauds or Fatwas?


 


Cal Tech Professor Saffman remarked in the Preface to his book on Vortices that “one cannot be a Scholar and a Researcher at the same time” – but he was thinking of people who were actually one or the other. Come to think of it, no Scholar would claim to be a Scholar when s(he) is functionally illiterate in the language of  the field of Scholarship. Let me now imagine the possibility that Witzel, Farmer and the rest of their mob are Researchers.


 


Scientists understand a basic truth – that what we know is a tiny fraction of what remains to be understood. The reason why religions are called “Faiths” – and what makes any thinking worthwhile at all – is that believers have Faith in some things, beyond what is claimed to be understood by science. This is at the root of the saying “More things are wrought by Prayer than this world dreams of” – an utterly nonsensical proposition, per the faux-‘scientific’ arrogance of Witzel and Farmer.  Thus, per their logic it is perfectly OK to take a piece of scratched masonry and a fantasize a bull attached to it, but Indian believers are frauds if they imagine a horse there instead. Perhaps Witzel & Co. should consider looking in the intellectual equivalent of a mirror when they next toss accusations of fraud? Use a Harvard Bull Rear letterhead in lieu of the bloody shield with the silly Eyetalian words, as the fount of their scholarship?


 


Witzel and Farmer represent the standard theme of the Inquisition and the Taliban that those outside their own “faith” are frauds.  Where I was raised, one was supposed to outgrow this stage by age 5. For instance, it has not occurred to the IER to rant against those who hold Faith in their own legends of the Immaculate Conception, of the Holy Spirit Rising From the Grave and Promising to Return, of Moses coming down the Mountain with a story of being handed ten heavy stones by a Divine Hand from the clouds (early USB memory sticks? Satellite Phones?), or of Noah building a boat that could carry 2 of every living species on the planet – and then being silly enough to let it run aground on a mountaintop. Nor would they describe those who believe in these to be frauds, because most religions are unforgiving of loutish behavior against their Faith.  Not so Hinduism – none of us would approve of Fatwas against his ilk, their loutishness or slander notwithstanding. Hence, like the porn-peddling “psychoanalysts” of Emory and Chicago, the Harvard “Indology” bull-peddler tribe feels perfectly safe in their freedom to abuse Hindus. 


 


Vive L’Ignorance! N’est ce pas chic?


I was not trying to be disrespectful of Mr. Farmer by repeating his flaunting of illiteracy in Sanskrit. He is in excellent company. Witzel cites one of his co-signors as “India’s Most Famous Historian”. True. This person is articulate, and adept at ensuring coincidence of “research” conclusions with those of the “mainstream” money and power centers. The “fame” is mostly because of all the incredulity about this person’s state of literacy in Sanskrit or any other ancient Indian language.


 


Stanley Wolpert, another signatory, is author of the abysmal “Nine Hours to Rama” (which I have read as a child since it was banned, and still resent the time wasted) and “A New History of India” (where I did not repeat the error).  .” Excerpts from the review by James Mills, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom:


“… It would be a misjudgement for any undergraduate to submit an essay on such subjects without bothering to consult the authorities so it is a fundamental flaw for a book that seeks to be taken seriously as a history of these periods and topics to commit such neglect …  simply narrates the region as a succession of kings, viceroys, prime ministers, and policies on the assumption that the people were a ‘lumpen’ mass capable only of mule-like forbearance or unpredictable and sudden violence.


 


Thus the well-meaning but rather out-of-touch Mr. Wolpert is an ideal choice to perpetuate the “Caste Curry  Communal Riot Taj Mahal” school of “Indology” that Witzel and the RISA so desperately guard. Is it any surprise that the “Prominent Academics” have thrust Wolpert in as one of 3 “Super CRP” Dictators of the Curriculum?


 


The RISA and the IER wear their ignorance with all the pride of David Macaulay’s Archaeology Expert wearing the “Ceremonial Headdress and Neckwear” (a toilet bowl and toilet seat) in the classic “Motel of the Mysteries” (available at Amazon.com).  Their attitude reminds me of the story about the expensive Russian restaurant in a Southern U.S city. Someone asked the waiter why the menu had not a single Russian dish. “Ze Czar Nikolai he never eat ze Roossian feud! He always prefer le Cuisine Francais!”


 


Research Standards of the IER and RISA


 


Let me again test the hypothesis that Witzel and his cohorts might be Researchers. Examine their Letter for some tell-tale characteristics:


 




  1. Sweeping generalizations:  The Mob of Fifty sneers at all of us who support the careful revision of school textbooks, declaring that we “discriminate against non-Hindus”. It would be trivial to prove that they are lying, except that it would be a case of “attributing to malice that which is adequately explained as stupidity”.
  2. Failure to study prior work. The letter reveals a gross lack of care about what changes the community had in fact suggested – and the Ad Hoc Board had accepted.
  3. Baseless statements. Ah! A whole page full of those, supplemented by reams on their website.
  4. Failure to understand context of one’s field. The abusive rants by Witzel and Farmer against Indian scholars is clear proof of their own utterly low class.
  5. False pretences of competence as “world specialists”. Face it: someone who “understands Sanskrit literature only in translation”, does not. Understand, I mean. Ignorance may be cute in “Indology” and other “liberal studies” among likewise ignorant cohorts, but not in general human society. Imagine an ‘Engineering Scholar’ who understands differential equations in solved color picture form. Or a Doctor of Medicine who understands Anatomy only when explained in gutter slang. Boggles the imagination. Indian schoolchildren learn Sanskrit fro 10 years by age 15, apart from a deep education (anything is deep compared to the depth of the IER) on Indian culture and epics. 
  6. Conclusions sans Data: Witzel claims that the 50 signatories of his letter represent worldwide Hindu sentiment, without presenting the source to back that claim. Which Hindus exactly, approve of the abusive texts that Californians have been trying to correct? What is the basis for claiming that these constitute a majority of the estimated 800 million Hindus on Earth?
  7. False Analogies Witzel claims that the changes suggested by IndianAmericans to the CA School Board, are changes that have been rejected in Indian textbooks. Since when is the standard of California textbooks dictated to be below that of Indian textbooks? Many Indian textbook changes have occurred in States ruled by Maoist Communists. An example of “politically correct” Indian material, presumably approved by Witzel’s ‘global experts’ is the Mandatory Essay question in West Bengal: “Lal Kile Par Lal Nishaan, Maang Raha Hai Hindustan!” (sorry, Indologist, get someone else to translate that for you). Want California to teach its kids the equivalent, replacing ‘Lal Kila” with “Gora Makaan” and “Hindustan” with “Witzelstan”?


 


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