A few observations.
- What is wrong with the picture of a professor at XYZ university, apparently well-read and even literate in Sanskrit albeit clueless in Samskrtam, Samskaram and Sanskriti, and his South Asia gang of Euro-Indologists, all using their pompously-titled positions to inter(fer/ven)e in Indian politics and society to Improve The Lot Of Women and Dalits, and Protect Them From the Domineering Hindu Right?
It is silly, for starters. The whole stereotype of Phineas Fogg (the Bilayati playboy of “Around the World in 80 Days” fame) rushing in with his walking stick to chase away dem savages and rescue the lovely Princess from the Hindoo evil of Sati, said Princess then becoming his Loyal Slave, no doubt appeals to Americans, Englanders, Pakistanis and Indians brought up on a diet of Mother India, Arundhati Roy, Jungle Book, Masterpiece Theater, Pankaj Mishra and ‘Gungi Dan’ complementing the weekly thunder of White-Shoes Preacher sermons on “AND HWHAI DOOO THE HEEEEAATHAIN RAGE ?”
It is also utterly uncalled-for. India is a free nation, with an elected government, and a free (but often bought-and-paid-for, incompetent and irresponsible these days) press that basically apes Western news outlets. India has a 50% Reservation (Affirmative Action) system for public-sector education and jobs, special privileges for minority educational institutions that are unimaginable anywhere else in the world, and tough laws with practically a presumption of guilt where the accuser is a woman or minority member and the accused is not. Indians do not need Sanskrit Professor PhineasFogg-ul-Manhattani & Co. to save them from India.
Thirdly, the picture provides strong grounds to suspect malicious intent. Let us subject this to the simple Solomon Test as well as the Hippocratic Oath Test. For the benefit of South Asia Furniture, the latter would be “Primum non nocere”. For mere mortals, “First of all, Do No Harm”. These tests are particularly necessary since the first reaction of these Authorities when exposed/critiqued is that of Colonel Rostov in War and Peace:
“What! They are shooting at ME! ME! Whom everyone loves!”
The second reaction, paraphrasing RM’s book, is along the lines of
“How can I, who have made a career in Sanskrit, be accused of doing something to harm a language that I LOVE?
Someone with the knowledge and power of such faculty, could easily choose to use their positions for good instead of evil. Were they honestly endowed with hallowed American Liberalism and true Christian Compassion, or even with real Marxist caring for the “Adhvanikkunna Thozilali” and wanted to Liberate the Huddled Masses From Oppression like the Statue of Liberty, they could easily quote from our Scriptures, and point out that the real intent there, deep down, has always been to treat everyone alike, ensure social justice and compassion. There is absolutely no shortage of verses in the Bhagavad Gita for instance, that demand all those from anyone who has any plans to ascend to Moksha. Argue that the abuses rationalized by reference to Scriptures were utter misinterpretations, as they are in all streams of Faith. Yeso Christo did not tell anyone to go murder 300,000 Muslims in one French City, nor did He command the Inquisition tortures in South America and Portuguese India, nor the slave trade from Africa. Yet all these were done In the Name of Our Lawd Gawd, and the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, hain?
Pointing to the strong message for compassion and social justice, with the authority of literacy and scholarship, is the obvious way to bring about real reform, driving away the charlatans, not by driving wedges and spreading hate. Surely these professors have enough intelligence to figure that out for themselves. That they choose the opposite approach, in my humble layman’s opinion, proves their true intent.
Sad, but Q.E.D.
2. Shouldn’t esteemed Professors steeped in literacy on Sanskrit, be allowed to come out with observations connecting to, say, events in Europe, and point to Indian influence? For instance, in ascribing Nazi genocidal tendencies to their sudden acquisition of Sanskrit grammar? Perhaps Sanskrit has a strange nonlinear effect on Bavarians, Manhattanians etc: whereas it makes us see the Sacred and the Infinite, it makes them want to go out and mug people in Central Park, or, in Germany, Poland and Ukraine, line their neighbors naked and freezing into poison gas chambers and machine-gun them into pits?
Flashback to 1096. The First Crusades, led by none other than His Holiness the Pope. Quoting from Wikipedia, the Great Wiki-Puranas of modern America:
“According to David Nirenberg, the events of 1096 in the Rhineland “occupy a significant place in modern Jewish historiography and are often presented as the first instance of an antisemitism that would henceforth never be forgotten and whose climax was the Holocaust.”
Do you see above why I say that these Sanskrit== Violence theories are mischievous if not malicious? Q.E.D. again.
3. Isn’t it awesome that these South Asia Furniture have learned enough to converse in Samskrtam, and read so much of our ancient scriptures?
Smart people have been learning about Santana Dharma and indeed Samskrtam scriptures long before there were South Asia Chairs in the United States. Oppenheimer, the nuclear scientist, Jewish by birth and tradition, is said to have recited a verse from the Bhagavad Gita in awe when he saw the fireball rising from the first nuclear explosion at Alamogordo, New Mexico.Seventy years later, most Americans would not be able to tell Samskrtam from Arabic, and were Dr. Oppenheimer to mutter anything of the sort on an American airline flight, the friendly fair woman sitting in the next seat would whisper in the ear of the flight attendant, and Oppenheimer would find himself under three 300-lb Air Marshals before being dragged off the airplane in short order, for “muttering in one of dem terrorist languages” (as happened to a Malayalee film star). The South Asia Chairs have brought very little real understanding of South Asia to the American public or the world; they have succeeded in amplifying the ignorance and bigotry by several decibels, and since that appears to be their main occupation, one must commend them on their success.
4. But.. they have taken the trouble to become Panditas in Sanskrit! Surely that denotes love and dedication to Sanskrit?
Shri Malhotra quotes a very important sloka: to the effect that the true Pandita is seen through his/her actions.
If practical linguistic expertise is what Indians want to admire, the right place to admire is the CIA. Central Intelligence Agency, not these college furniture. They have people with outstanding credentials specializing in every imaginable language, and I am sure Samskrtam is way up on their list to decode. They have to grasp not only grammar and syntax, but some context as well – otherwise how does one figure out from all the intercepted messages that the National Reconnaissance Office provides, what someone is transmitting? So perhaps a lot of the funding and impetus for the translation work comes from the US taxpayer through such agencies 🙂 A comforting thought no doubt, for Marxist ‘Liberals’. If they are not funded by the CIA, well, the CIA is the prime beneficiary of their work, and probably one of the prime employers of their graduates. Of course, for ordinary (i.e., non-Marxist, non-SouthAsia Faculty) Americans, the CIA is a source of justifiable pride and an object of respect if not awe.
5. Won’t Hinduism / Sanatana Dharma survive a few obscure writings by hostile faculty, having survived for 1,732,000 years of natural and anthropogenic cataclysms and more gradual erosions? Hinduism today is stronger than ever before: well over a billion people spread out all over the world profess the faith, and it is being accepted. What yaar, even White House celebrates Diwali, no?
This is an utterly lazy and incompetent position. So did the Yazidis survive for thousands of years in Iraq before the ISIS came a-calling, like the “Gatlin Boys” in the inspirational American song: “Coward of the County”.
Perhaps Hinduism will survive, but a great many innocents may be tortured, humiliated, enslaved and die violent deaths, millions will be reduced to misery and tears, all because we did not act when it was our time and our Dharma to act. Those anthropogenic cataclysms were each stoppable/preventable with timely preparation. Our ancestors failed, and it set our people back thousands of years. Must we keep being (never mind)?
Have we ever faced so technologically advanced, sophisticated, utterly antipathic, well-funded and determined an assault? Watch the movie “Independence Day” to get an idea. Especially watch the segment where the President of the US asks the Alien Scholar”
“What do you want us to do?”
Please take a moment to google the story of the California Textbook Atrocity, later called the California Donkey Trials after the State of California’s Board of Education ended up forking over millions in settlements and fees to their overpaid ambulance-chasers as a result of the violations of due process and civil rights caused by allowing a gang of ‘100 Leading Indologists’ led by Harvard Wales Professor of Sanskrit and Leading Linguist Michael Witzel and his able assistant Steve ‘I’ve started to learn Sanskrit a month ago’ Farmer. Or just see my initial summary of the issues there: The Scholarship of Equine Posteriors. This is what these people do – send out grand letters listing their even more grandiose titles such as ‘Masked Man-Eating Mauler’ of Georgia World Championship fame, under their blood-colored Harvard Crusader Shield letterhead – or the blue one with the Crown of England sporting the crosses. Direct lineage from Sir Richard The LionHeart, Lord of All Christendom, Slayer of Seven At One Blow. (Oops! 7@ 1 blo actually swatted mosquitos, as I recall) Wouldn’t you be scared if you got one of those?
The victims are little children in elementary school, made to feel like worms. Sixth graders asked why they don’t have tails. College students forced to watch Communal Riots for grades. Maybe yours, if you are located in the US, or if you plan to send them to the US. College students who go berserk from the continuous stress of such hate-propaganda (yes, I am speaking of an example). Others who may commit suicide. People attacked in the streets because their appearance reminds some nutcase of the propaganda booklet put out by the friendly neighborhood church. Scholars whose publications and grant applications are rejected because they don’t parrot the Leading Furniture in hating their own culture. Assistant Professors denied promotion and tenure for the same reason. Full professors who are reduced to penury because their clear logical arguments go against the Conclusions ordained by the Leading Furniture. Adults who read the Atlanta Journal, Constitution & Fishwrap by accident. So spare me the line that the South Asia Faculty’s hate propaganda is without adverse consequence. What these entities are doing is blatantly against the Constitution of the United States too.
6. Aren’t the South Asia Faculty ranks filled with dedicated Indian-named people who have been desperately seeking some external support to project the cause of their own Matrubhoomi? Isn’t this Furniture donation the result of long and arduous campaigning by them? Wouldn’t any Indian have reason to be happy that a Hindu organization endorses such fundraising?
Good question. To answer this, look at what happened recently when the Dharma Foundation sought to fund a Chair at the University of California (Irvine, if I recall correctly, but it does not matter). That is a public institution, subject to far more controls and Constitutional obligations than a private institution such as Emory, Harvard or Columbia. The same deal: the university would set up a committee, and they would select candidates. The donors would give the money and shut up. But there, the Committee could not be stacked against Hindus, for whatever reason (I haven’t read up on that). All I know is that a shrill campaign was launched by the SAME South Asia Scholar Gang, PROTESTING the donation and demanding that the university not accept it.
I happen to know a little bit about the recent history of this Dharma Foundation. When I was a second-year graduate student, I was searching the library in the usual panic induced by a fabulous Thesis Advisor (no Chair, just a fantastic Regents Professor, who taught me most of what is good and decent about America that I did not learn from my equally fabulous old landlady) who kindly suggested that I take on a problem for which there has still (decades later) been no other solution than what I developed in that panic. One of the best resources I found early on was a NASA Technical Report authored by a researcher called P. Uberoi. The name intrigued me, I thought it was some scion of the famous hotel chain, and wondered why someone like that would take on so arduous a line of work.
A few years ago, Professor Uberoi passed away. He had spent his career as a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado. He left a nice bequest to be administered by his loving nieces in India, his only living relatives, who kindly implemented his wishes: they linked up with people in America whom they entrusted to fund endeavors that would promote nonviolence, inter-faith understanding and amity. He did believe strongly that what he had learned of Sanatana Dharma was ultimately congruent with scientific thought and the advancement of civilization. A superb thinker, a brilliant researcher, a top-notch scientist and a quiet, affectionate teacher.If I can find it, I will post what I wrote at the time about him, but you can Google his whole life without my help. I at least could not find any trace of any political leanings on his part, either in the USA where he spent his life, or in India.
This was at least the seed funding, perhaps more than that, behind what rose in profile as the Dharma Foundation. Of course the Foundation is administered by competent people who also share Professor Uberoi’s respect for Sanatana Dharma.
Unfortunately, the above credentials are EXACTLY what the South Asia Faculty gangs fear, hate and despise. The man could read and write. Count. Solve differential equations. Use (indeed he built!) sophisticated probes and measuring instruments. Read Hinze’s book on Turbulence, horror of horrors, and mastered Schlichting’s Boundary Layer Theory. Real books, I mean. Use his brain too. Shocking!
They screamed out loud that this Chair was being funded by the people who (paraphrasing for brevity here) disembowel pregnant women, condemn Dalits to a life as scavengers, and toss gas cylinders into businesses and homes owned by Muslims. IOW, not insanely opposed to the present Prime Minister of India, whom they are used to tarring and feathering likewise with not a shred of evidence and despite complete failure through a decade and a half of specific putdowns by the Supreme Courts of India, let alone the voters.
They had very powerful backers. What is not recognized by most desis is the real reason why the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom got the State Department to deny a visa to the elected Chief Minister of Gujarat, had **NOTHING** to do with Muslims. It had everything to do with the fact that Gujarat led Indian states in bravery to enforce the law of the land against predatory Conversionist scams, the main business of the sponsors behind much of that now-widely-exposed Commission. Apparently the word has been slowly seeping even into the Indian Consulates around the US – no more are the blatant websites run by the Jubilee Baptist Missions instructing their recruits on how to lie on the visa form, and which Consulate to get a tourist visa for their conversionist business campaigns in the tribal areas of India, guarantees of success. Oppressive! Dare to enforce INDIAN laws in India? Read the U. Chicago Furniture’s latest whines at the Chronicles of Higher Education about Indian Courts daring to order her ‘scholarly’ works pulped as being nothing but low-class hate trash.
Being a public university (more on that below), the University of California’s leadership is subject to political pressures. The Letters and Petitions from the South Asia gang came with the usual long list of Furniture Titles to fill in for their total lack of evidence, logic or humanity.
I did suggest meekly to the Dharma Foundation that they should withdraw the endowment offer, hold the endowment in trust, and give out the proceeds each year to carefully selected people, none of this trusting to university committees etc, given how ungrateful they were even at the outset. See Part 1 where I advance this again in the present case. Of course they ignored my advice though one of their netas sent me a nice emailed “thx 4 ur input, v wl get bk 2 u” type form reply. IOW, ‘go away!’ Well, I did, but the noisemakers did not. The whole university system was bullied into REJECTING any donations from the Dharma Foundation!!! So much for the tolerance, much less acceptance or empathy, let alone sympathy, for Sanatana Dharma in the contemporary (I wouldn’t use the word ‘modern’) American South Asian Academy.
7. The South Asian furniture generally write books and publish their voluminous papers in esteemed Top Journals such as those of the American Institute of Religion. Books in the Oxford (England) Press. Penguin Publishers. Why don’t these unwashed Hindoo extremists get THEIR papers published in these Top Journals if they want?
Aha! Good question. I do have some small experience in that line of endeavor, as well as in the more modern option of the Internet, so let me comment. Look carefully at the two publications that I linked under Part 3. One was from a JNU Professor of English. But it was an Opinion Piece in the Business Standard, a newspaper, not a Peer-Reviewed Journal. It did have to get past an Editor, that’s it. The other was from a German professor, and it had a whole list of references, etc etc. Where was it published? It was an Open Access Journal, administered by Springer Inc, a reputed worldwide publisher, one of the very few still located outside the People’s Republic of China. Nothing bad or low-class about it, it is the modern option that is opening up worldwide.
How likely is it that lines of argument favorably inclined to Sanatana Dharma would be published in the Journal of the American Institute of Religion? I hear that it does snow in Kolkatta, with much greater likelihood. You see, this is all about Controlling the Narratives. Suppressing Free Speech, and indeed all Free Thinking.
Other cultures would not allow their most treasured traditions to be so tarred. Try this against, ah, Judaism and you will be out of a job in short order. Try it against Islam and you will be minus a head, or perhaps experience the Peace that comes after an encounter with detonation or an AK-47. Try it against Protestantism and you will have a cross burned on your lawn and be further warmed by a firebomb through your children’s bedroom window.
Do it against Sanatana Dharma and a hundred thousand Hindu avatars of Einstein will come to hear your sermons next time you visit India. Arre, Amrika mein Endavad Kursi hain! Wah Wah! How he is talking in Sanskrit onlee yaaar! Wall street billionaires will rush to fund you with their cash.
Reminds me of Padma’s story about all the village matrons rushing out to the Girija Theatre to see “Lanka Dahanam”, in their best temple-going attire. Seeing this episode from the Ramayana would give them beaucoup points towards Moksha. She says what they were saying on their return trip was as loud a Movie Review as it was unprintable – the South Asian director had used this catchy title for a piece of utter garbage on some contemporary Kerala romance-gone-bad / domestic squabble theme with the usual show of hi-cholesterol flesh far beyond the tolerance of the respectable village matrons.
8. Why devote a whole book to critique the guy who is merely the head of the Search Committee for a faculty position at some university? People are generally appointed Head of the Search Committee to make sure they don’t try to grab the post for themselves, after all. The eventual appointee who warms this furniture may be a nice gal/guy, hain? A True Scholar? Why not be optimistic? Don’t worry, be happy!!
See above re: Snowstorms in Kolkatta. You already saw what happened with the Dharma Foundation – apparently a non-partisan Selection Committee in a public university would be entirely unacceptable to the South Asian Academy. Why would you think a Committee headed by one of them in a private university would be objective or fair?
9. What do people of other cultures/ethnicities do?
If you followed the recent tamasha at U. Ilinois you might get a better feel for this, away from South Asia. The Head of the Search Committee is usually a front/flunky for much more extreme agendas in the background. If allowed to do so, (and at Illinois there WERE powerful entities in the background – see e.g. POTUS) – they are going to make ABSOLUTELY sure that the committee is stacked with enough entities who will do whatever they are told (or already know what they are not told). There will be usual token this or that to provide entertainment and be ignored.
In Illinois, the Search Committee dug far and wide and deep like the Search For a Real Princess – and came up with someone whom ‘they’ wanted. He is a famous Palestinian-American. His theme was to relate the history and plight of Palestinians to that of Native Americans. You can think through the rest of that – who the targets were, etc etc.
Well, in that case the targets did not sit around muttering:
“Bhavitavyam Bhaved Eva! All is Maya! It is after all Kali Yuga, the Khadgi will come by and make things all right!”
They ran what might gently be called a loud, persistent, vicious, rabid and rapidly expanding campaign. Major donors who weren’t stupid enough to have given ALL their money away yet, started pulling out. The university was forced into the untenable position of having to withdraw the offer made to the candidate, AFTER he had resigned his prior position. Predictably, this led to a lawsuit, with the American Association of University Professors weighing in on the side of the dissed candidate. University royalty were forced to resign. I saw all this in the course of other entertainment at the AAUP site provided by the South Asia Faculty in yet another ill-advised Wile E. Coyote /Roadrunner Show episode, but that is for another time. I don’t know what came out of that case.
So why did those people raise such a ruckus? Because they have learned from their history, not to sit around in la-la land and rationalize and procrastinate as those who are out to destroy them, organize and prepare. And if you read Rajiv Malhotra’s book, the evidence is crystal clear, and you will be left in no doubt that the South Asia Faculty in US Academia are out to destroy Hinduism and Hindus. Maybe not destroy. After all, we work hard and deliver much better value per kilogram of oxygen consumed than most others. Enslave us again?