Saturday, March 11, 2006

5th and final part on california textbooks

mar 11th

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.

 

  1. S. Palaniappan is a PhD in Urban Transportation
  2. Rajesh Kocchar is a physicist
  3. Garret G Fagan teaches Roman history and ancient warfare
  4. Sudha Shenoy is an economist
  5. Alexander Vovin teaches Central Asian Linguistics, Japanese and Korean
  6. Homi Bhaba teaches post-colonial studies
  7. Don Ringe teaches Indo-European linguistics
  8. Win van Binsberge teaches African Studies and Philosophy
  9. David Stampe teaches linguistics
  10. Stefan Zimmer teaches linguistics
  11. Joanna Kirkpatrick is a retired professor of anthropology
  12. Agnes Korn is a PhD in Indo-Iranian linguistics
  13. Patricia Donegan teaches linguistics
  14. Raka Ray teaches sociology
  15. Romila Thapar is a Marxist historian, but she doesn't know Sanskrit or Tamil, the classical languages of India
  16. 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:

 

  1. I endorse changes proposed by the Hindu groups to correct the prejudiced statements and factual errors in proposed textbooks.
  2. I object to the discriminatory treatment of Hindus by the State Board of California in addressing community concerns
  3. I am distressed by the fact that these textbooks project Hinduism as an inferior religion compared to Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism
  4. 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 kheinrich@ose.ca.gov , 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.srinivasan@gmail.com

 

1357 words, January 22, 2006


13 comments:

bodhi dharma said...

rajeev
is it ok , if I forward the parts to Kaumudi web edition? and will there be any copyright violation if they are publishing it?

san said...

Off-Topic, but still important that everybody see this:

Rajeev & Co,

Please read the full text of the Open Letter to Congress written and endorsed by a number of major voices in Washington:

http://www.indianembassy.org/newsite/press_release/2006/Mar/30.asp

Whether you like the N-Deal or not, they certainly make some bold and excellent points in standing up for India's position.

san said...

Rajeev, another Off-topic in the same vein, but please also read this piece by Robert Kagan(one of the dreaded 'Neo-cons'):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/10/AR2006031001865.html?sub=AR

Again, he makes some excellent arguments in our favour which we should not lose sight of.

Kalyani said...

Apropos the first link:-

".... the United States and India have a common strategic stake in combating Islamic extremism in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and Central Asia".

What is being implied? That there is no islamic extremism within India? Sedulously nurtured by successive *elected*(sic)governments?? And welcomed and celebrated as "democracy" by inebriated masses & vested interests alike???

If *this* "political stability" is under "threat" SO BE IT!!!

Kalyani said...

"....development of the strong relationship with India so important to achieving U.S. goals in Asia and beyond".

Hmmm...churchian evangelism forms an inseparable goal too:))

Kalyani said...

" Muslims have a particular responsibility
because these extremists are part of their community.
We do not mind where people come from, as long as they
become Australians. We went through a period in the
1980's and '90s of sort saying, we can build a
federation of cultures in this country. You can't.
You've got to have a dominant culture. Ours is
Anglo-Saxon our language, our literature, our
institutions. But you can be part of the mainstream
culture and still have a place in your life and your
heart for your home country"

Thus spake the Aussie
PM, John Howard, in an interview to Time magazine last
week.

Newsweek, in an article captioned, 'The End of
Tolerance' the same week, has this to say of recent
trends in Europe: Europe is everywhere on the
defensive ... But make no mistake, Europeans are no
longer willing to tolerate a European melting pot - a
broadly multicultural society - where different
cultures live by widely different cultural norms ...
past models of integration have failed ... this
see-no-evil attitude was wishful thinking.

But resourceful & capable Hindus deserve to live as long as they execute the *others*' dictates and aspirations.A sample:-

Build luxurious five star hotels and serve continental cuisine.

Relinquish lush cultivable lands to the multinationals.

Offer more such equally lush arable lands for golf and allied sports.

Fauna and flora can exist peacefully in virtual digitalized reels.

Of course tears and feelings can be manufactured & contrived!No dearth at all!!

Kalyani said...

The very fact that China said an emphatic *NO* to vatican BUT extended an earnest welcome to Sri.Kanchi Shankaracharya, made me feel,perhaps,POTENTially,there is *something* more to China than what is apparent now.

Also,corruption is not tolerated in China.A bullet to the head is the swift reward.

And the cost of the bullet is borne by the relatives of the dead!

Edifying and worthy of emulation!

virat0 said...

What was specific about these articles was being specific about the issue and importantly on the the proponents. In fact, My sympathies for witzel has increased after reading the articles, now I don't think of him as a devil and mad man, though it is dumb, idiot and hasn't leant to respect, understand and analyze as is required at his levell. So refiff should have worked to get these published.

The serious question however is, would they allow falsehoods like Aryan invasion, and a whole lot of useless ideas built around it, to be criticized the way they few others have done in defending these falsewhoods ? In this perspective rediff missed an oppurtinity. It was definitely more than about some lil tussle.

Thanks for posting the article in blog.

Kalyani said...

Dear Rajeev,

The 'smite thee' rantings of the nincompoops in rediff,lay bare their desperation and fear at having been exposed.

Seriously,people like me spent years simmering within,simply unable to express our pressure cooked agony.

You have been the catalyst;pen is indeed mightier.Right alone is might and right too!

In such an RK Narayanlike,readable
style,you have captured and expressed a lot.

I am ever grateful for the latitude you offer to people like me too, in your blog.Breathtakingly magnanimous of you indeed!


All the adverse responses are but compliments in disguise.I SMITE their EVIL tongues and minds!!

God Bless You!!!

san said...

Now learn about 1001 Muslim Inventions and discover how Muslims invented algebra, the zero, and damascene steel. ;P

Kalyani said...

The link above.....when will 'their' atrocious atrocities end....?

san said...

Speaking of textbooks, now here's some scare-mongering that makes even Witzel look tame:

Read this ABC report

Kalyani said...

Here is some burlesque.....goi is going to confront killeda zia with irrefutable( hahaha) evidence,and ask her about steps being taken to
control terrorism in beggardesh.