rajaram on witzel's saga. the honorable witzel is hardly a shining
example of academic integrity. he is the new william shockley, whose
theories about the inferiority of blacks was laughed out of academia.
(in fairness to shockley, he was a pretty good physicist, in fact a
nobel prize winner, and so it is grossly unfair to compare him to
witzel, whose sole claim to fame is that n. ram plucked him out of total
obscurity and made him a star.)
of course, anybody who disses blacks will be in trouble. but if you diss
hindus, you will have plenty of people supporting you because hindus are
the flavor of the month (year, decade, century) target for semites. a
lot of the windfall money mohammedans are making out of outrageous oil
prices is going to anti-hindu propagandists, no wonder witzel is sucking
up to pakistanis.
both witzel and farmer, just based on their racist taunting of hindus,
have forfeited any claims to 'academic objectiveness'. they are simply
racist bigots with an agenda.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Witzel takes his Aryan invasion to Pakistan: NS Rajaram
Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2006 10:43:22 -0400
From: S. Kalyanaraman
To: S. Kalyanaraman
April 30, 2006
*Witzel takes his Aryan Invasion to Pakistan
California textbook controversy*
/By N.S. Rajaram/
A few months ago, California education authorities accepted
recommendations to make changes to the depiction of Hinduism and India
in textbooks to be used in the state. Uninvited, Harvard Sanskrit
Professor Michael Witzel went on a lobbying spree to stop the proposed
changes. But here is a curious fact: while he seemed to be campaigning
against what he called 'Hindutva-inspired changes' his real agenda was
to save his pet Aryan invasion theory from being axed.
Michael Witzel and a small group of his followers, mainly Europeans and
the usual Indian hangers-on like Romila Thapar, are almost the last
holdouts for the foreign origin theory of the Vedas and Sanskrit as
products of the Aryan invasion. Their academic reputation, what is left
of it, rests on the survival of their Aryan theories.
Though largely ignored by the Indian media, two major developments have
sounded the death knell of the Aryan invasion theory. These are: (1)
genetic evidence showing that the Indian population is almost entirely
indigenous with negligible input from outsiders going back to the last
Ice Age (more than 10,000 years); and (2) British admission that the
Aryan invasion theory was concocted to serve imperial interests,
because, "it gave a historical precedent to justify the role and status
of the British Raj, who could argue that they were transforming India
for the better in the same way that the Aryans had done thousands of
In 1929, the British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin stated in the House
of Commons: "Now, after ages, …the two branches of the great Aryan
ancestry have again been brought together by Providence… By establishing
British rule in India, God said to the British, I have brought you and
the Indians together after a long separation, …it is your duty to raise
them to their own level as quickly as possible …brothers as you are…"
Need we say more?
*Disgraced at Harvard*
It is obvious that these revelations are devastating to Witzel's
academic reputation. This goes to explain his desperate lobbying in
California schools, begging education authorities to keep his Aryan
theories in the books. He made several trips, spending hours waiting in
the outer offices of California bureaucrats and arguing with his
opponents. This is not the kind of undignified behavior that one expects
from an elderly professor at a prestigious university like Harvard.
Even before the California scandal, Witzel's reputation had taken a
severe beating at Harvard. Recently, he had started an Internet e-group
called Indo-Eurasian Research that was little more than a hate group
that repeatedly attacked those who disagreed with him in violent and
abusive language. This was brought to the notice of Harvard authorities.
Ten years ago, Witzel had to step down as chairman of the Sanskrit
Department because of professional irregularities and personal
misconduct. He was charged with misusing his position to bring
unqualified people to Harvard and also threatening one of his students
(possibly more) with a lawsuit for disagreeing with him.
One of his favorites, Enrica Garzelli, was expelled by Harvard and sued
the university. His latest favorite is one Steve Farmer who claims that
DNA research discrediting Witzel's theories is an international
conspiracy! So far Witzel's troubles had been confined to Harvard.
Thanks to his political meddling, what was Harvard's embarrassment is
now an international scandal.
*Looking for money in Pakistan*
There also seems to be a mercenary angle to his campaign. Even before
the California controversy could be resolved, Witzel, along with Romila
Thapar, Emeritus Professor at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University,
announced the formation of The Academic Indology Advisory Council, and
Indian American Public Education Council.
According to Witzel and Thapar, their goal in forming these is "to
counteract this threat to the integrity of the material taught to our
children," to which end their group "will offer its expertise to any
school boards and publishers who may call on it, as a service to the
field of Indian Studies." ("Our children" sounds a bit strained since
neither Thapar nor Witzel is an American, much less parents of
school-going children in California.)
In other words, it is a consulting outfit that hopes to benefit from the
unprecedented media coverage that the controversy received. Given his
record, it is not surprising that Witzel's newfound business venture has
failed to takeoff. Publishers are avoiding him like the plague, having
incurred delay and losses due to his meddling in California school
curriculum. Some are facing lawsuits, as is the California State Board
of Education, for violating the civil rights of Hindu children.
His failure to attract money in America is what seems to have sent
Witzel to Pakistan looking for business as an anti-Hindu lobbyist. In
the March 12 issue of the Karachi newspaper Dawn (Internet edition),
Witzel proudly proclaimed Defeat for Hindutva revisionists, thanks to
his lobbying efforts in California.
The interesting thing about this advertisement masquerading as an
article on education is Witzel's identification of himself as "Professor
of South Asia Studies at Harvard." This conceals his real position as
Professor of Sanskrit. He no doubt sensed that Sanskrit is closely
associated with Hindu religion and culture. "South Asia Studies" may
sell better than Sanskrit in Pakistan.
While it is too early to say what all drove Witzel's plunge into
California school politics and form his business venture, it is hard to
take at face value his claim that it was to help school boards and
publishers maintain integrity in the field of Indian studies. Saving his
reputation and making some money to cover his growing legal and other
costs seems a more likely explanation.
All this places Witzel and his colleagues in their true place—not as
heroic fighters or larger than life demons, but pathetic figures trying
desperately to save themselves and their discredited discipline from
(The writer is a former U.S. academic and historian of science. His book
Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization: History, Science and
Politics will be released this year.)