the final part that was not published.
this may be a little dated now, given that the california board has given its verdict.
the hindu american foundation is going to sue them for not following procedure.
In which Snow-White Witzel and 45 ½ others sign a petition
Rajeev Srinivasan on what people should do to protest
The alert reader may wonder why certain academics are so caught up in the increasingly discredited 'Aryan' Invasion Dogma. First of all, for those who claim to be 'rational' and opposed to faith, it must be anathema to support something that is based on the Christian Bible. Second, since they extol the virtues of the 'scientific method', it must be jarring to support something that is inherently unfalsifiable, thus violating a fundamental tenet of a valid scientific theory.
As I have suggested above, Western academics may well be influenced by creationist and Christian-fundamentalist ideas. But why are Indian academics of Marxist bent so vigorous in its support? There are at least three reasons:
- Their allergy towards Hinduism leads them to denigrate anything Hindu or Indian or indigenous and the idea that everything came from outside appeals to them
- They have the conceit of explaining everything under the sun through 'class struggle'. For this, it is important for them to posit an exploiting high class and an exploited low class. The 'Aryan' Invasion Fallacy provides them with a convenient, ready-made class struggle
- They have demonstrated their eagerness to whitewash large-scale Muslim genocide and cultural destruction in India. One way of doing this is to suggest that Hindus (ie. the fictional 'Aryans') invaded India just the same way and conquered the natives (ie. the fictional 'Dravidians') the same way. The 'Dravidians' had invaded and conquered the native 'Mundas' even before. Big fish eating little fish. Therefore whatever conquering Muslims did should be accepted as normal and appropriate
As a result, Indian Marxists have been very keen on making mid-course corrections to the 'Aryan' Invasion Theory, which has metamorphosed into the 'Aryan' Migration Theory, and lately into the 'Aryan' Influx Theory. I hope that soon they will adopt my 'Aryan' Tourist Theory as well.
Thus, Indian Marxist support for Witzel and company is unabashedly political, and not based on academic expertise. That brings up the question of expertise. Witzel, on many occasions, has attacked the Hindus who differ with him for not being academics and scholars. This egotism, lauding academics, who are allegedly all 'experts' in everything, is seen in broadly Euro-supremacist newsgroups, such as Indo-European Research, Indology, and so on, where whites in charge prevent Indians from speaking up, suggesting that they have no business objecting to racism and slander masquerading as hallowed academic 'freedom of expression', because they do not have PhDs.
But this prejudice is not applied to the whites themselves. For instance, Witzel is only a Sanskrit scholar (and that too has been challenged by others) and not an archaeologist, but that doesn't prevent him from pontificating on archaeology. Similarly, his acolyte Steve Farmer does not know a single Indian language, and his PhD is in a completely unrelated field, so what business does he have meddling in ancient Indian religion and history?
This reminds me of the sad tale of Nobel Prize winner in Physics, William Shockley, who later became a laughing stock because of his absurd theories about race and intelligence. Similarly, a left-wing Nobel Prize winner in some other field pontificates about history, something that he is not qualified in.
In the California case, Witzel claimed his petition to oppose Hindu perspectives had the support of 47 "world experts on Ancient India, reflecting mainstream opinion". Unfortunately, a sample shows that Witzel, to put it charitably, exaggerates about the "ancient Indian history" part: many have no formal qualifications in ancient Indian history, but are accepted, well, because Witzel likes them. I am reminded of Snow-White and the seven dwarfs.
- S. Palaniappan is a PhD in Urban Transportation
- Rajesh Kocchar is a physicist
- Garret G Fagan teaches Roman history and ancient warfare
- Sudha Shenoy is an economist
- Alexander Vovin teaches Central Asian Linguistics, Japanese and Korean
- Homi Bhaba teaches post-colonial studies
- Don Ringe teaches Indo-European linguistics
- Win van Binsberge teaches African Studies and Philosophy
- David Stampe teaches linguistics
- Stefan Zimmer teaches linguistics
- Joanna Kirkpatrick is a retired professor of anthropology
- Agnes Korn is a PhD in Indo-Iranian linguistics
- Patricia Donegan teaches linguistics
- Raka Ray teaches sociology
- Romila Thapar is a Marxist historian, but she doesn't know Sanskrit or Tamil, the classical languages of India
- Kalpana Desai of the Mumbai Museum Indus Valley Heritage Center, who one would assume knows ancient Indian history, has retracted her signature from the Witzel petition
In fact, Witzel himself is no expert on ancient India, he's merely a Sanskritologist. Romila Thapar is an 'expert' on ancient India based on second-hand readings of Sanskrit texts translated into English by motivated people like Mueller, Dubois, and Witzel himself. Witzel and Thapar, if put together, would make one qualified scholar on ancient India, so Witzel should only count himself as ½ of a scholar. With Kalpana Desai demurring, that probably means 45 ½ scholars in often unrelated disciplines have been browbeaten into supporting Witzel, or have other, political vested interests unrelated to academic issues.
Given all the above, what is the average Hindu – incensed at the unfair attacks on his faith – to do? Well, you should act. So far, there have been statements in writing supporting the Hindu perspective in the textbook case from a large number of concerned persons and organizations including:
- 39 prominent archeologists from India
- 50+ professors of Indic Religious studies, primarily from the US and Canada
- 6000 signatures in an online petition started by Vedic Foundation and Supported by Hindu Education Foundation
- 1000 additional signatures from Hindu families in California collected in person
- Supporting letters from numerous California Public schools, school superintendents, teachers
- Several hundred faxes sent to the Board of Education by concerned parents in California
And what can you do at this time? Here is what you could do, and time is of the essence. This is no time to be shrinking violets, here's a clear call for action.
The issue has now been elevated from the CDE (California Dept of Education) to the SBE (State Board of Education). You could fax letters stating in your own words your concerns. I see that there is a series of points I have covered in my letter:
- I endorse changes proposed by the Hindu groups to correct the prejudiced statements and factual errors in proposed textbooks.
- I object to the discriminatory treatment of Hindus by the State Board of California in addressing community concerns
- I am distressed by the fact that these textbooks project Hinduism as an inferior religion compared to Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism
- I am concerned that these textbooks will have an unfairly negative impact on the minds of Hindu and other Californian students
All reasonable and concerned people should write to the Board, no matter whether you are Hindu or non-Hindu, Indian or non-Indian, California resident or not.
The letters should be faxed (emails are not advisable) to the following people:
Ms. Glee Johnson, President of the California State Board of Education
Fax: 916-319-0176 (no email available)
Dr. Ruth Green, Immediate Past President of the California State Board of Education
Fax: 916-319-0176 (no email available)
Mr. Alan Bersin, California Secretary of Education at email@example.com , fax 916-323-3753
Just think, the child whose self-image you rescue may well be your own. For, California is influential as the state with the largest market for textbooks; other American states often follow California's lead. And if Americans are no longer casually denigrating Hinduism, by the usual process of imitation, Indian textbooks may also cease and desist.
I urge you to take action before the early February hearings of the CBE.
Comments welcome at Rajeev.firstname.lastname@example.org
1357 words, January 22, 2006