In Part 1, we considered the overall problem: Is the usage of a language far from the shores of its origin, ‘stealing’? ‘Hijacking’? Is there something wrong in, say, Indians, the largest and most devoted population of English-speakers in the world today, virtually the only people on the planet who can spell English any more, celebrating the death of William Shakespeare? (sorry, that didn’t come out the way it was intended, but u know what I mean). So why are Rajiv Malhotra, and a host of others who are slowly waking up, so panicked at the prospect of someone with money to burn, funding an Adi Sankara Chair in Sanskrit Studies at New York’s Columbia University, in the name of the Sringeri Sharada Ashram? With a Selection Committee headed by the (note the name of his endowment) Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies. For those who may be unaware, Sringeri was the southern point of the 4 (always 4 when it is something in Sanatana Dharma!) centers of study established by Adi Sankara. Each is headed by a Sankaracharya, and each Sankaracharya is as close to being a recognized Authority on Sanatana Dharma as we SDs recognize. Should we not celebrate the virtual establishment of another Sankara Ashrama, this time far, far west of Dwaraka and well north of Badri? Shouldn’t we perhaps be clamoring instead to establish one in the Falkland Islands as a Southern outpost, one in Fiji and perhaps one on Bear Island? Perhaps endow one on the International Space Station? Mars? The Moon? Pluto? We work in 4s, remember?
From an Outsider’s point of view, this whole ‘debate’ appears rather trivial: Some desis got together to donate enough cash to endow a Chair at Columbia. They got approval from some of the big Ayatollahs of their cult to use the name of some dead wandering swami. Then these other desis all started jumping up and down to STOP this endeavor. Petty jealosy? Usual Desi Lobster Mentality? YAWN!!!! Back to munching my fat-burger!
I was curious about this. Well, for a second or two until the usual connotation of the term “South Asia Studies” resonated in the space between my ears, and the TubeLight came on.
For starters, one would be well served in these things by remembering the old saying, modified from its original by Joseph Heller, the creator of “Catch-22”, to the more fashionable quote from an American General:
JUST ‘COZ YORE PARANOID DON’T MEAN THEY AIN’T ALL OUT 2 GET YA!
Remember, while I have not done a hundredth of the deep research that RM has done on these folks, I HAVE spent a couple of thousand hours poring through the hilarious ‘scholarly discussions’ of the RISA (Religion in South Asia), FOIL (Forum of “Inquilabi” since they abhor the term “Indian” Leftists), the Harvard Witzel-Farmer Indo Eura(cist/sian) Research Yahoo! group, the Marxist-ISIS IndiaUnity Yahoo! group set up to do something TO, not FOR, Indian Unity, etc etc. And I have actually READ (Yes! Holding my nose, smelling a lemon, but READ) Professor Paul Courtright’s masterpiece, “Ganesa, Lord of Obstacles” and his “Limp Phaullus” psycho-analysis (last pulped by Motilal BanarasaiDas and Sons, in horror after realizing what their JNU/South Asia -graduated illiterate Editors had accepted). Most of their ‘scholarship’ brings to mind the old Malayalam proverb that starts out with
If you can’t translate that and don’t know the rest of it, well, take heart, you could be an Endowed Chair in South Asian Studies, a Linguist specializing in Malloostani. Basically, their thinking, if one can call it that, is entirely predictable in theme, though their particular tactics and strategies would put The Coyote in the Roadrunner Show to shame. So let’s get back to what Rajiv Malhotra writes, and related thoughts.
The entire book delicately balances an incisive debunking reminescent of the Russian Air Force’s precision bombing of the ISIS, with a super debater’s skill of expressing deep the personal respect, bordering on awe, for an adversary (and I use the term deliberately). The adversary, however, has shown no sign of any such civilization beyond a couple of emails inviting RM to chai-biscoot at the Columbia cafeteria or, honor of honors, the Faculty Lounge (see my prior post on Nikolai’s Roof). Likewise, he sets out with the deepest expressions of awe, of the Vedic Scholarship at the present-day Sringeri Sharada Ashram. No comment from me on that, thank you – though there have been quite a few informal ones regarding their discipline as exhibited by the “due diligence” before getting all set to sign contracts. My bridge-selling enterprise cited below perked up at this thought – could I not sell a couple to them, I wonder? But I come from one rail station away from where Adi Sankara was born, and I have prayed often before his emblem of the Shank and Chakra – ultimate symbol of Unity, Advaita. Sringeri was Adi Sankara’s ultimate worship of Sharada, the Avatara of Sarasvati. Knowledge, learning. No way would I do anything to disrespect his name, other than the obvious imperative of spending my evenings and weekends trying to undo the damage already done, and the imminent catastrophe of selling off His name, the deeply unifying philosophy of Advaita, and the worship of Sarasvati Devi to the Atheists and Marxists, acting as agents of the Temple Destroyers.
In Chapters 3 and 4, Shri Malhotra has pulled out all the stops. He delves deep into his understanding of Sanatana Dharma, and the historical record of evolution in philosophy. He goes into the origin of Bhakti, and the branching out into the arts – and the sciences – as expressions of Bhakti. He points out how a certain professor ignores the contributions of the entire literature base on these aspects, and focuses on (predictable RISA/FOIL) Marxist philosophy of seeing all organized faith (except in the Politburo) as being Tools of Oppression Of The Masses.
Repeat: Schools of Divinity vs. Schools of South Asia/Religion Studies
The one aspect of the ‘scholarship’ of this entity that RM does not touch, perhaps intentionally, is whether said entity has any clue about Bhakti. For this you must perhaps read my blog (available on this site, titled “Protestant Pedagogues Peeved..” where I try to explain the difference between Schools of Divinity versus Schools of Religion Studies. The former are set up to teach about Western Religion, i.e., Christianity, typically Protestantism with some nod to Catholicism. Plus an obligatory sprinkling of courses on Judaism to keep the donations from Jewish businesses coming in, and ward off the lawsuits. These courses are generally respectful, and taught by deep Believers in those religions. Well worth a chunk of your $69K fees, I am sure.
The Others are covered with courses in the School of Religion Studies, usually tied in with Middle Eastern Studies and – drumroll! South Asia Studies. These courses have a very definite objective, that one must look carefully to discern in the case of courses on Islam and Buddhism, but is blatant in the case of Hinduism. Example: Professor Paul Courtright’s multimedia course at Emory University, Atlanta on Hinduism Viewed Through Cinema Scenes of Communal Riots. No kidding – that may not have been in the course title, but it sure was a big part of the content, per alumni. They are set up to to show the obvious (to Them) inferiority, violent nature (as opposed to the utter peacefulness of Abrahamic religious history) and general lack of civilization. Dehumanize. Demonize. Rationalize the genocides and tortures of the Inquisition. And point to Christianity as the only Salvation. Convert all the Sheep. Bring them into the Fold. Save their Souls! Mind you, these days, as opposed to not so long ago, this is done with great polish and refinement. Those doing these are experts at Objective Research. They even call it Scientific, though Scientologic is a better word. Being Marxist is an excellent alibi against the shallow charges of bigotry that might come from shocked adherents of these Faiths. What! We Bigots? We Are Objective Scholars! The most vicious attacks against Indian and Dharmic traditions come not from explicit bigots, (that’s for entities such as the ISIS or Professor Hafeez Saeed of the Lashkar-e-Toiba), but from dyed-in-the-wool Scholars. Rationalists. Linguists. Psycho-Analysts. Agnostics. Atheists. Marxists. Look at U. Chicago, or Harvard, for instance. So now you may begin to see what RM is up against.
There is another saying in my zones of awareness: “If u find urself using $200K missiles carried by $60M fighter planes 200 miles out from $6B aircraft carriers, all to hit a $2 hut, u r losing da war”.
I wonder how much of RM’s numerous pages of intricate debate based on his readings of the spewings of certain South Asia faculty, would even be read by said entities whom he respectfully tries to ‘debate’.
So this is my objection to this whole business. Generally speaking, and with no particular individuals in mind, this is what I see happening all too frequently. Some bigoted jerk or arrogant atheist makes a career out of writing communist/terrorist hate literature, trying to incite hate against law-abiding, decent folks going about minding their own business. Powerful organizations that have a business plan to make hundreds of billions of dollars, hire such people and put them in positions where they can do a lot of damage in their chosen profession of hate-inciting.
Losers everywhere, use this sewage to fill their own intra-cranial spaces and rationalize hate-crimes against innocents. The ultimate victims of this are the leprosy-afflicted patients at the Kushta Nivaran Sangh, the orphans and battered women at the Vatsalya Trust Orphanage, the 6th-grade kids in California where the textbook asks the teacher to recite: Turn around and look at your classmates. Does one sport a tail? That must be a Hindu. In the first two cases we stepped in and prevented the damage, in the 3rd, what we did is recently being undone by the next wave of organized attacks.
Other drunken losers go around beating up women who wear a red dot on the forehead, declaring themselves to be “Dotbusters”. Others lynch a Sikh commuter. One pushes a Hindu commuter onto the rails as a New York train approaches and says she did it because the Lawd Gawd commanded her to do that.
A German professor woman in Leipzig, Germany, home to some of the worst gangs of Neo-Nazis, and not far from the train stations where they recently had all those attacks on women, rejects an internship application from an Indian undergraduate kid, claiming that all Indian men must be rapists (her university, paragons of German honesty, of course ended up blaming the kid, yawn!)
And someone claims originality with volumes and volumes of sewage declaring that the Sanskrit (illiterate description of Samskrtam) language with its beautifully structured organization refined over millennia, was all set up to dominate, exclude, exploit and terrorize people, first all over south-east Asia where Sanatana Dharma spread with no sign of military conquest, and then, of all places, IN RACIST NAZI GERMANY!! Oh! The Germans from the time of the Huns’ ancestors swinging by their tails from one tree to another in the Black Forest, have been so inclusive, peaceful, gentle people! Until evil ‘Sans krit’ turned them into monsters that suddenly lined up and machine-gunned 30,000 people at Babi Yar, and herded 6 million of their own Jewish compatriots, Russian prisoners of war, Gypsies (i.e., Indian descendants in Europe), and pretty much everyone else into gas chambers to Purify Europe. Yup! All because of Indian (oh, they mean Indo-European) Sanskrit!
Really? DID anyone peddle such garbage? Don’t look at me, I watch the comics on TV when I need a laugh. But there are people who do read these things. Professor Makarand R. Paranjpe, Professor of English at the Jawaharlal Nehru University apparently does make it his job to read. He cites the original quotes, and goes on to cite the debunking of those by the German professor Reinhold Grünendahl.
In any serious field of endeavor, such nutcase theories would be laughed off. In South Asia Studies in America, it is considered to be the height of Scholarship. It is because of those examples of crimes against those least able to defend themselves, that people like Rajiv Malhotra drive themselves beyond human abilities to fight what was at the start a lone battle. And why they are not fooled by the next antics from the South Asia cartel and their powerful sponsors.
Completely unrelated to my rant above, let us take a moment to look at the logo of Columbia University. I learned that it is not located in Colombia, which managed to spell the name of geographically-sign-challenged Cristoforo Colombo a bit better. What’s that gizmo? It looks like the CROWN OF ENGLAND! A symbol that should be greatly admired all over India, and particularly in the Sringeri Ashrama.
Apparently Columbia University was originally KING’s College, established by Royal Charter of King George II, (using loot from India of course – you can almost see the Kohinoor Diamond in the hatband!) in 1754. In 1776, being the King’s anything became a bit unfashionable in the United States of America, so they renamed it to Columbia. To be precise in my deep knowledge of Latin, “Universitas Columbiae Neo Eboracensis” (per WikiPedia, of course). Their motto is: In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen, meaning, again per WP, “In Thy light shall we see light (Psalms 36:9)”. When they write about OUR religion, we should accept that they are being completely objective, not at all related to any faith or belief. And I have these 7 bridges over the Chattahoochee river to sell you, One Owner, Cheap-Cheap, Won’t Last At These Prices. The name Columbia is the female personification of America, per the same source. Sort of like Bharat Mata in connotation. Oops! I mean Mohterma South Asia, of course. To be fair, Columbia University’s religious connections are quite universal: they are affiliated with the Union Theological Seminary, with joint undergraduate programs available through the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. There u go! They treat all REAL RELIGIONS AND FAITHS equally. Why do the Heathen rage, what-what?
This is something that has bothered me a lot. Why do institutions such as Methodist Emory University, Theologically established Harvard and Princeton, etc. hire and foster Marxist types whose primary skill is hate-mongering? Its a plain “Duh!” once one delves a bit deeper. In one stroke it gives them an aura of Tolerance, and allows these types to do their attacks from the sheltered ivory towers behind the moats and power of a $9B endowment. Like the ISIS raping people, protected under sheets strung across the roads of Al Raqqa to hide from the Russian cameras flying overhead, and Stinger Surface To Air missiles supplied from our tax dollars courtesy of Al Obama to shoot at the Russians. Academic Freedom, as the Dean of the Emory College rather arrogantly informed us petty peasants, protecting his university’s peddling of child-p*rnography in the guise of “Psycho Analysis Scholarship” until, ahem, “we” sort-of educated them right back on the subject.
So back to the issue here: These guys get paid $300,000 a year salaries plus a $100K/yr Endowment proceeds, to chew the cud and put out these hate writings, and host conferences and (South Asian) Visiting Researchers whom they can buy with their pocket change. People like Rajiv Malhotra scramble to spend 24, 36, 48 hours a day trying to educate people on what is wrong with the hate propaganda that they put out. And for every one step he climbs, other desis, who supposedly grew up eating rice and hence should have some brains, pull him down 10 steps by rushing to give another $3M to add to that $9.368943 B endowment so they can get invited to football games and pretend to be important.
Spending so much time fighting this is simply not sustainable. Until more desis learn to read and THINK. No danger of their reading this far of course, it wouldn’t show up on their AMOLED Smart Phones with the diamond-studded pouches.
Makarand R. Paranjpe, “The Deepest Orientalist”. The Business Standard, April 29, 2016. http://wap.business-standard.com/article/opinion/makarand-r-paranjape-the-deepest-orientalist-116042901513_1.html
Reinhold Grünendahl, History in the Making: On Sheldon Pollock’s “NS Indology” and Vishwa Adluri’s “Pride and Prejudice”DOI 10.1007/s11407-012-9115-1, International Journal of Hindu Studies, 16, 2: 189–257, 2012.
Note: My serious views, and the very limited scope of my understanding on Religion are explained in my role as co-author of “Sanatana Dharma: Introduction to Hinduism”. Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Sanatana-Dharma-Introduction-Narayanan-Komerath-ebook/dp/B00XDN83V4