[INDOLOGY] More uninformed discussion of ancient India

Jonathan Silk kauzeya at gmail.com
Sun Jul 12 11:00:28 EDT 2015


Dear Friends,

In a somewhat different vein than the ongoing discussion of a certain
Hindutva partisan, you might want to take a look at Amartya Sen's piece:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/aug/13/india-stormy-revival-nalanda-university/

In my opinion, while his political position seems to be something close to
180 degrees the opposite, he is in some ways remarkably similar in his
almost studied ignorance of classical India. His portrayal of Nalanda is
nothing short of fantasy, and I confess that I am disappointed and
depressed to see such fictions repeated by someone who, until recently, was
actually significantly influential in this 'neo' Nalanda project. That it
might be advantageous to say certain rosy things in a political context is
one thing, but the result is, to my mind, an utter misrepresentation of the
historical truth. A final point is that by portraying Nalanda as an
international university, using in his description explicitly secular
categories, the anti-Hindutva Sen succeeds in virtually entirely subverting
the Buddhist nature of Nalanda.

I am curious if I am alone in my impressions of this piece.

Jonathan


-- 
J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
The Netherlands

copies of my publications may be found at
http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html
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