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The elephant in the room – problem with defenders of Hinduism

Posted by desicontrarian on July 3, 2013

As I went through Dr. Elst’s analysis of the Hindu defeat in the California Textbook controversy, I found myself welcoming the bitter medicine, while wondering if defenders of traditional Hindu POV can come out of the denial of reality.

The major problem is ignorance of own tradition, and unwillingness to correct this defect.  This problem is compounded by the sophistication of what is there to learn. It is akin to right away trying Quantum Physics, Chomskian Deep Structure Linguistics, and Genetics – without knowing basic building blocks of science, maths, theorems, proofs and so on. For example, most of us (English Medium Educated) do not know Sanskrit. Therefore we cannot read and understand sources, in the original. We depend on translations. The next wrinkle is the fact of Vedic Sanskrit, which is quite different from the Sanskrit that gets taught to normal students. So Vedic Sanskrit needs to be mastered! Already the mountain has become too big to trek.

An antipathy-filled Wendy Doniger, a Michael Witzel or their armies of followers work on mastering these things. And they occupy academic positions of power. Their interpretation of sources become the received truth where it matters. Their primary tool for this is philology and hostile or vulgar interpretation. Risa Lila is one such example of a battle lost, or at least not won. “Our side” does have a Srikanth Talageri, a Rajiv Malhotra, a Koenraad Elst, a Nicholas Kazanas, a Subhash Kak and so on, but they do not have comparable respect and influence where it matters. We also have plenty of self-goal scorers, who might be called amateurs in the game.

So when discussing AIT among ourselves, we almost always assume that it has been accepted universally as false. AIT continues to enjoy widespread acceptance in the ivory towers. We compound the problem by assuming that OIT has won! This is denial of reality. This denial syndrome has also manifested itself in the CAF case.

The primary philological problem is the deliberate ambiguity of sources. Look at the sophistication of semantic encodings in Sanskrit. We are looking at The Sun and The Moon! But we have cataract, and can’t really figure out their shapes. It is the multiple-semantics part that leads us astray and gives a handle to the hostile interpreters. Philology is the main weapon used by the Goliath called White Indology. In spite of contrary evidence from Genetics, Archaeology, Hydronomy, and satellite imagery of lost rivers, White Indology marches on with the same denigratory interpretations as before. The biggest problem is that the hostiles hold ideological and academic power, unlike in the case of Sinology, Jewish Studies, Christian or Islamic studies. This is what makes these repeated defeats likely.

A comprehensive  and brief argument against the AIT was given by Rajeev Chandran a long time ago, but it is not widely disseminated.

1. There is no archaeological attestation of aryan invasion/migration in spite of more than a hundred years of archaeological effort.
2. There is no traditional memory or mention of aryan invasion/migration/intrusion in any of all the diverse historical traditions of India.
3. There is no genetic trace of foreigners to attest to such a historical mixing. If at all Indian genotypes not only closer to each other but substantially more diverse and much older than European or middle eastern genotypes – therefore suggesting a reverse migration. After Africa the most ancient and diverse population happens to be that of India. In essence most other non-African people descended from prehistoric Indians.
4. Philology is a tool of uncertain provenance and its conclusions are highly debatable. Aryan invasion/migration are hypothesis emerging basically from philology – hence open to debate.
5. Development of historical theories on ancient India through more accurate means (archaeology & traditional history) rather than philology points to the indegenity and antiquity of Indians.
6. Self references in many ancient Indian texts points to indegenity of Indians in a time-scale far older than those proposed by Aryan Invasion theory.
7. In ancient Indian texts Arya means ‘noble of conduct and character’ rather than a race. If the oldest texts negate Aryan being a race – the idea of Aryan being a race of people can be traced to the rise of British imperialism and German nationalism – both historically discredited and defunct ideologies.
8. Geology (mapping of the old Saraswati), archeo-metallurgy (iron working in ancient india), archeo-agriculture (maize, rice farming) etc points to a far greater antiquity of ancient Indians (which does not agree with Aryan Invasion Theory).
9. Archeo-astronomy, archeo-mathematics, hydronomy (river names) seem to corraborate ancient indian texts on thier antiquity and claims of indigenity.
10. Study of ancient Indian history has been held hostage to various extraneous constraints notably – euro-centricism, communism, various kinds of religious and regional chauvinism, and hence must be discarded

Posted in Culture, History, Ideology | 1 Comment »

Why Indians were colonized

Posted by desicontrarian on July 13, 2010

We would not have been so impotent if our country had understood Krishna rightly. But we have covered our ugliness with beautiful words. Our cowardice is hiding behind our talk of non-violence; our fear of death is disguised by our opposition to war. But war is not going to end because we refuse to go to war. Our refusal becomes an invitation to others to wage war on us. War will not disappear because we refuse to fight; our refusal will only result in our slavery. And this is what has actually happened.
It is so ironic that, despite our opposition to war, we have been dragged into war again and again. First we refused to fight, then some external power attacked and occupied our country and made us into slaves, and then we were made to join our masters’ armies and fight in our masters’ wars. Wars were continuously waged, and we were continuously dragged into them. Sometimes we fought as soldiers of the Huns, then as soldiers to the Turks and Moghals and finally as soldiers for the British. Instead of fighting for for our own life and liberty we fought for the sake of our alien rulers and oppressors. We really fought for the sake of our slavery; we fought to prolong our enslavement. We spilled our blood and gave our lives only to defend our bondage, to continue to live in servitude. This has been the painful consequence of all our opposition to violence and war.
Osho Rajneesh In “Krishna”
I have been enchanted by Osho’s writings for a long time. His lectures on Zen Buddhism attracted me first. No one explained the unexplainable as well as he did. The quality of freshness was there in his words, like morning dew on a newly blooming flower.

The way he weaves in stories, parables, jokes (vulgar or sophisticated) into his themes are absorbing. There is never a dull moment in the passages. The lectures are actually answers to questions asked by various people in gatherings. They have been recorded and transcribed later.

The inspired insight in passages like these,  feels like a great truth. It cannot be empirically validated, and proved. Nevertheless, I remembered this passage when reading this remarkable study by Anuraag Sanghi.

I used to believe that our Anglophilia and slavish mentality was a result of the Macaulayite Education System. It is true enough, but what caused us to succumb to it in such a wholesale manner – slavishness above and beyond the call of Macaulay 😦  ? What is the force that continues in our collective mind?

Many people have gone deeper into it and found causes in the recesses of our collective mind. The Saraswathi-like insights of   Ms. Bachelet comes to mind.  I do not find any one to compare in depth of root cause analysis on this question.

Yet I am undecided. As a fan of Bhagwan Buddha, I am uncomfortable with a rather strident and negative view of Him as the cause of this decline. Sometimes he is described as a Ruse of the Supreme in the line of 10 Avatars of Vishnu. Sometimes even as a Deluder – which actually describes  Maara in traditional Buddhism! These words are unfortunate, to say the least.  It seems to me that the idea of The Buddha as an opponent of Vedic Hinduism is at work here. I don’t agree with that view. I think that He  found that the Vedas were being ritualized, and Knowledge was becoming  fossilized  under the priesthood.  So any mention of the Vedic truths would have  been trapped in the same mind set.  Thus it was wise to refrain from commenting on the Vedas. He was never against the Higher Hinduism and the Doctrine of Atman. Shoonya Vaada and the Doctrine of Non-Self was an invention of the later Buddhists. This cannot be held against Him.

Posted in History, Ideology, Philosophy | 2 Comments »

Erudite but misled – Part III

Posted by desicontrarian on July 12, 2009

  1. In a Michael Danino paper (PDF),  Sanghamitra Sahoo constructs an eloquent table of genetic distances between several populations, based on Y-haplogroups . The caste populations of ‘north’ and ‘south’ India are not particularly more closely related to each other (average Fst value = 0.07) than they are to the tribal groups (average Fst value = 0.06). In particular, Southern castes and tribals are very similar to each other in their Y-chromosomal haplogroup compositions.” As a result, it was not possible to confirm any of the purported differentiations between the caste and tribal pools, a momentous conclusion that directly clashes with the Aryan paradigm, which imagined Indian tribes as adivasis and the caste Hindus as descendants of Indo-Aryans invaders or immigrants. In reality, we have no way, today, to determine who in India is an “adi”-vasi, but enough data to reject this label as misleading and unnecessarily divisive.
  2. B.N. Narahari Achar has dated the Mahabharatha war to 3067 B.C.. It is based on the following facts: there was an equinox near jyeshTHa; a solar eclipse occurred at jyeshTHa in an eclipse season with two lunar eclipses on either side; the final lunar eclipse occurred in less than fourteen days after the solar eclipse. It is demonstrated conclusively by the simulations that the proposed date, which is identical to the one proposed earlier by Raghavan, provides the best agreement with the events described in the epic.
  3. GeneticDistanceTable

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Erudite but misled – Part II

Posted by desicontrarian on July 12, 2009

Prominect Indologist Koenraad Elst. Here,  here and here.

  1. There are, broadly speaking, three political movements which have taken an interest in the Aryan invasion debate. The first consists of European colonialists and racists, very active before 1945, as in the Nazi schoolbooks where the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) was used as the perfect illustration of white dynamism and military superiority (whites entered the dark-skinned people’s country, not the reverse), white racism (Aryan invaders devised and imposed the caste system to prevent miscegenation), the perennial threat of racial mixing (the upper castes are visibly non-white, proving that their ancestors succumbed to the seduction of dark-skinned beauties), and the destructive results of such racial mixing (Indians have not contributed to scientific progress for centuries, unlike their whiter ancestors, and they were no match for a small number of white British invaders). Likewise, in 1935 Winston Churchill declared that the British had as much right to be in India as anyone else there, except perhaps “the Depressed Classes, who are the native stock”, meaning that most Indians were the progeny of invaders equally foreign in origin as the British.The second group is the anti-Hindu front in India, including Christian missionaries, so-called Ambedkarites, Dravidian separatists, Marxists and, just now joining the AIT bandwagon, militant Muslims. All of these proclaim to be concerned with — or just to be — the natives of India, dispossessed by the Aryan invaders who brought Hinduism from outside. While the political animus of this group entirely stems from Indian conditions, viz. the anti-Hindu struggle, their intellectual source of inspiration, mainly through Christianity and Marxism, is largely Western.The third group is lined up against the first two, in that it opposes the AIT: the Hindu nationalists. Seeing the disruptive and separatist uses to which the AIT has been and is being put, they feel they need to support the refutation of the AIT.
  2. Shrikant Talageri’s survey of the relative chronology of all Ŗgvedic kings and poets, recently made public in several lectures, has been based exclusively on the internal textual evidence (see Talageri: The Ŗgveda, a Historical Analysis, Delhi, forthcoming), and yields a completely consistent chronology. Its main finding is that the geographical gradient of Vedic Aryan culture in its Ŗgvedic stage is from east to west, with the eastern river Ganga appearing a few times in the older passages (written by the oldest poets mentioning the oldest kings), and the western river Indus appearing in later parts of the book (written by descendents of the oldest poets mentioning descendents of the oldest kings).
  3. the Vedic corpus provides no reference to an immigration of the so-called Vedic Aryans from Central Asia.
  4. B.B. Lal (1998:111) mentions finds of true horse in Surkotada, Rupnagar, Kalibangan, Lothal, Mohenjo-Daro, and terracotta images of the horse from Mohenjo-Daro and Nausharo. Many bones of the related onager or half-ass have also been found, and one should not discount the possibility that in some contexts, the term ashva could refer to either species.
  5. One of the earliest estimates of the date of the Vedas was at once among the most scientific. In 1790, the Scottish mathematician John Playfair demonstrated that the starting-date of the astronomical observations recorded in the tables still in use among Hindu astrologers (of which three copies had reached Europe between 1687 and 1787) had to be 4300 BC.3 His proposal was dismissed as absurd by some, but it was not refuted by any scientist.

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Erudite but misled – Part I

Posted by desicontrarian on July 12, 2009

The rants & raves pages of  Outlook magazine are usually trashy. It is a tribute to the liberal (free for all) editorial policy of the great man, Vinod Mehta. He has been a true liberal ever since he started with Debonair and The Sunday Observer.

Not always worth reading, but some times interesting discussions take place.  A recent set of  readers’  letters talk about Hinduism, Rig Veda and the Indus valley/Vedic civilization connection.

The assertions made are:

  1. Rig Veda(RV) was  completed in about 1500 B.C. Hinduism and its basic tenets introduced to Indian culture in 1500 B.C.
  2. Doctrine of Maya creates fatalism & passivity
  3. Indus valley Yogi seal shows indigenous element being absorbed into Vedic culture
  4. Vedic religion is different from Hindu religion. They are connected, but different.
  5. RV is exclusively religious. Does not care about temporal, geographical, historical, zoological, topographical information.
  6. RV geographically limited to Punjab. Does not yet know of iron but hard metal of copper & bronze. Iron found only in later Vedic texts, since in makes its appearance in Asia only 1200 to 1000 BC. Therefore RV earlier than that.
  7. RV does not know of large cities like the Indus civilization, but only ruins and small forts. So, it must be later than the disintegration of IVC, around 1900 B.C.
  8. Mitanni documents of N.Syria 1400 BC mention RV gods and some other old IE words.
  9. Mantra language whose geography is from  Bactria to Alga (NW Bengal) mention iron for the first time.
  10. Yajur veda geography is Haryana region, UP and Chambal. Conteporaneus with archeologocally attested painted greyware culture (upto 800 BC)
  11. Upanishads pre-date Buddha – 400 BC, cities around 450 BC.
  12. So  the Vedic period is between 1500-500 BC.

This is the Romila Thapar/Irfan Habib version of Ancient Indian history. It is important to know the intellectual tradition of this school, before one accepts their version. Yes, this is the version drilled into India’s collective mind by these historians. They have controlled school texts through their dominance on the ICHR over the last 50 years.

A reader opines thus:

There is some evidence at Harappa/Mohenjadaro with its sophisticated civilization of at most 35,000 people that had “servants’ quarters” outside the protective walls. But the ideology of Varna (and its caste progeny) came with the Vedic immigrants and their sacred literature. Specifically, Rig Veda that was mostly likely completed in its oral form around 1500 B.C.

Let us wind back to this excerpt from Macaulay’s Minute on Education.

We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern,  –a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.

I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia. The intrinsic superiority of the Western literature is indeed fully admitted by those members of the committee who support the oriental plan of education.

Let us now add the Karl Marx view to complement it.

The Asiatic community supplies the key to the riddle of the unchangeability of Asiatic societies, which is in such striking contrast with the constant dissolution and refounding of Asiatic states, and the never-ceasing changes of dynasty.

There existed some forms of state, which were ruled by tribute-collecting despots based on the system of production-property relations, described as “Asiatic mode of production

Oriental despotism is, thus, the political superstructure that was developed in succession. It was explained to have prevented states from progressing, or,, “Asia fell asleep in history“. Dynasties might have changed, but overall the structure of the state remained the same – until an outside force (i.e. Western powers) artificially enforces “progressive” reforms.

Now stir it with the  witches brew called Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT).

You get a consistent ideological edifice that is remarkable for a nation that reportedly won freedom from colonialism 62 years ago. The ideological sepoys of the erstwhile British Raj tell us what to think about Ancient Indian History.

Yet, all is not lost. There is a large body of research and literature that convincingly demontrates the falsehood called official Indian history.

  1. The Rig Veda  predates Sindhu-Sarawathi civilization. According to Nicolas Kazanas – There are misconceptions about rigvedic purratha and samudra based on the Aryan Invasion/Immigration myth. Then, there are some 10 characteristic features of the Sarasvati-Sindhu Culture which are not found in the Rig Veda. Moreover palaeoastronomical evidence (mainly N. Achar’s work) places some BrAhmaNa texts c 3000 and the oldest layers of the MahAbhArata 3067. All this (and more) suggests that the (bulk of the) Rig Veda should be assigned to well before 3200 BCE – however unpalatable to mainstream thought this may be.
  2. There’s a ton of evidence that Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) is a false hypothesis.
  3. Romila Thapar, the prominent AIT proponent, has discarded it and moved to an Aryan Migration Hypothesis (AMT).
  4. David Frawley has written extensively about it, here and here.
  1. The situation regarding the primary sources of ancient India may be summarised as follows: no satisfactory explanation has been found to account for the separate existence of Harappan archaeology and the Vedic literature, both of which flourished in the same geographical region. On the one hand, there is Harappan archaeology, the most extensive anywhere in the world, but no Harappan literature. On the other, there is the Vedic literature, which exceeds in volume all other ancient literature in the world combined several times over, but no Vedic archaeological remains. So we have archaeology without literature for the Harappans and literature without archaeology for the Vedic Aryans. This is all the more puzzling considering that the Harappans were a literate people while we are told that the Vedic Aryans knew no writing but used memory for preserving their immense literature. This means only the literature of the illiterates has survived.
  2. As Seidenberg observed: ” … the elements of ancient geometry found in Egypt (before 2100 BC) and Babylonia (c. 1900 — 1750 BC) stem from a ritual system of the kind observed in the in the Sulbasutras.” This means that the mathematics of the Sulbasutras, which are Vedic texts, must have existed long before 2000 BC, i.e., during the Harappan period.
  3. The fall of the Indus or Harappan culture, just as was the case for many in the ancient world, was owing to ecological factors, something that nineteenth and early twentieth century migrationist views of history completely missed. It occurred not because of the destruction wrought by the proposed Aryan invaders but by ecological changes brought about by the drying up of the Sarasvati River around 1900 BCE. This didn’t end civilization in the region but caused its relocation mainly to the more certain waters of the Ganga to the east. Such a movement is reflected in the shift from Vedic literature that is centered on the Sarasvati to the Puranic literature that is centered on the Ganges.
  4. THE RECENT find of a submerged city in the Gulf of Cambay, perhaps as old as 7500 BC, serves to highlight the existence of southern sources for the civilisation of ancient India. The Gulf of Cambay find is only the latest in a series that includes Lothal (S.R. Rao), Dholavira (R.S. Bisht) and others in Gujarat. These discoveries have been pushing the seats of ancient Indian civilisation deeper into the southern peninsula.
  5. The Harappan-Sarasvati urban civilisation of India was by far the largest of its time (3100-1900 BCE) in the ancient world spreading from Punjab to Kachchh. We can no longer separate this great literature and this great civilisation, particularly given that both were based on the Sarasvati River, whose authenticity as a historical river before 1900 BCE has been confirmed by numerous geological studies.
  6. This is largely because of the oceanic character of Vedic symbolism in which all the main Rig Vedic Gods as well as many of the Vedic rishis have close connections with samudra or the sea. In fact, the image of the ocean pervades the whole of the Rig Veda. Unfortunately many scholars who put forth opinions on ancient India seldom bother to study the Vedas in the original Sanskrit and few know the language well enough to do so. The result is that their interpretation of Vedic literature is often erroneous, trusting out of date and inaccurate interpretations from the Nineteenth century like the idea that the Vedic people never knew the sea!

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Ambedkar’s interest in Sanskrit

Posted by desicontrarian on June 5, 2009

A friend writes:

“Ambedkar studied Sanskrit practically by himself and sometimes with the help of pandits and himself became a pandit. In his opinion , Persian stands no comparion with Sanskirt as the latter , observes he, is the golden treasure of epics , the cradle of grammar, politics and philosophy and the home of logic , dramas and criticism”

(Ref: Hudlikar Prof , Satyabodh, The Navayug, Ambedkar Special Number, 13 April, 1947).  The para abstracted from BR Ambedkar , His Life and mission by Dhanankay Keer. This book has run into several editions.

Take a look at this as well.

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Indian intellectuals – colonized borrowers of ideas

Posted by desicontrarian on June 5, 2009

About 20 years ago, I was reading John Keay’s ‘India discovered’, while living abroad. A beautiful coffee table book, with great illustrations of the Stupa at Sanchi, the discovery of Ajanta and Ellora, and the euphoric panygerics for various kings. Prof. William Jones had started the Asiatic Society of Bengal, enchanted by the classical languages of Sanskrit, Prakrit and Pali. He was wonder-struck that Sanskrit, ‘more mellifluous than the greek, more perfect than the latin’ was a living language! He said that this was like living in Greece during its civilaizational peak. The man who took over from him, James Prinsepp, had a great eye for detail. He painstakingly deciphered the Brahmi script, learnt the language from pandits at kashi, and nearly lost his eyes and his mind due to his efforts. He came across an inscription by one Piyadassi in 1837. It was utterly unlike the overflowing eulogies that other kings’ inscriptions had. It simply said

“The Beloved of the Gods, Piyadassi the king, has had this inscription on Dhamma engraved. Here, no living thing having been killed, is to be sacrificed; nor is the holding of a festival permitted. For the Beloved of the Gods, the king Piyadassi, sees much evil in festivals, though there are some of which the Beloved of the Gods, the king Piyadassi, approves.”

It was not known who this Piyadassi was. It took many years for the veil to lift slowly, and for India to reidscover Ashoka, the greatest of her emperors.

The book is filled with details of the various ways to depict The Buddha – the taxila style, the gandhara style, the varanasi style and so on. After drinking in all this, I read this.

In his infamous minute of 1835, Lord Macaulay wrote that he had “never found one among them (speaking of Orientalists, an opposing political faction) who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia”.

He articulated the goals of British colonial imperialism most succinctly: “We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect.”

His blueprint abolished the teaching of Sanskrit in Gurukulas, and Arabic & Persian in Madrasas. The plan to cut the roots of Indian civilization from the future generations succeeded beyond his wildest expectations.

This class of people took the reins of power also in 1947. Their leader was Jawaharlal Nehru. In the debate on the national language in the constituent assembly, his was the decisive vote for English, against Sanskrit (advocated by Ambedkar).

Thus, ever since 1863, the loss of our cultural roots has been a fact. The surprising thing is the low level of awareness of this loss, and how the leading intellects of the nation have been the agents of this destruction. They continue to be the intellectual sepoys of the Raj which has supposedly dissappeared.

The principle reason for the rennaisance in Europe was that their intellectuals abandoned christianity and went back to the Greek and Latin roots. India has not had a life-changing rennaissance precisely because we are not well-aware of our own conditioning by Macaulayism. Thats why we cannot study humanities the way Europeans study theirs. There is no emotional link. Thats why we have more science and technology studies than classical studies. Thats why we have a mediocre, borrowed, ape-like  intellectual culture, with no original contributions in any field of knowledge, for the last 200 years.

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