VHP and United Way (fwd)

pclaus at s1.csuhayward.edu pclaus at s1.csuhayward.edu
Fri Nov 4 16:53:22 UTC 1994

Indology List
indology at Liverpool.ac.uk
Dear Members,
I disagree with Vinod Nair and Aditya Mishra.
I think it is not inappropriate for scholars to be aware of
political issues and activities in the world around them. The
message posted by Lance Nelson didn't make it into most
newspapers and many news lists (such as India-L; I don't know
about India-D, where, indeed, it would be most appropriately
placed). To say that it was already posted in "pakistani and
muslim groups" has its own assumptions.
Indology is not just any LIST with "Indo" in its title.  It takes
the name of a discipline with considerable authority in the world
and which has, from its beginnings in the 19th C., been
associated with a rather narrowly conservative definition of what
"Indo" represents. Today it is a discipline which is responding
to criticism and trying (in many countries: Germany, America,
England ...) to broaden its perspective. 
While I agree that the LIST need not take up pro/con debate of
the activities of the VHP in America (or any other country) I
don't see why informational postings should be censored (edited,
maybe, but not censored).  
It seems to me that precisely in the context of this LIST & the
academic history of Indology, ignoring VHP (and other relevant
political groups') activities is potentially at least as strong a
statement as acknowledging them. Given the history of the
discipline, many members of the LIST, I suspect, are as concerned
with the collective damage silent association with conservative
groups can do to the discipline as hurt feelings are to Mr. Nair.
I would vote in favor of such postings; I even learned much about
the intellectual climate of Indians living abroad that I would
not have discovered otherwise through the correspondence
initiated by Mr. Karanth's words. A lot of good came out of that.
Peter J. Claus                        
fax: 510-727-2276
Phone: 510-704-9636     
pclaus at csuhayward.edu


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