Indian scholars, political gains, honesty, truth...

Partha Banerjee partha at CAPITAL.NET
Fri Dec 4 00:34:29 UTC 1998


I am tempted to make a quick comment or two on the following. It is *not*
meant to hurt anyone who is objective and reasonable. But I understand
objectivity and reasonability are terms that could be used vaguely and/or

-Partha Banerjee

>Do you think that the Indian scholars will gain anything
>financially or politically ?  They are honest people
>as well - why is it ok to accuse them of politics.
>They are as interested in knowing the truth about
>India's past as anyone else.

Financial gain -- I am not sure, likely not. But politically -- yes,
specially if those "scholars" are preoccupied or prejudiced. And there are
many such "scholars."  Some of them at present are in the throne of power
thereby empowering themselves to be "neutral", "moderate", and
"reasonable." I don't want to name names unless I am forced to.

Honest people -- okay, what kind of honesty? Honest to a political belief?
See, (if I may say this now without much risk of inviting personal emails
-- a recurring event), from that point of view, Hitler and Stalin were
honest too, were they not?

So, why is it okay to accuse them of politics? Because political beliefs
shape us all -- and beliefs/ideologies are supposed to be different from
biases. We don't "accuse" anyone unless we have enough reasons to accuse.
If we don't "accuse", Hitlers and Stalins get by doing things *they* want
to do and things that *we* don't want them to do. And there are and have
been so many Hitlers and Stalins (of course their degrees of atrocity have
been different, and atrocity has often been represented by the hegemony as
political prudence) -- I heard that Einstein wrote Truman urging him not to
drop the N-bomb on Hiroshima. Was Truman "honest"? I bet he was, to his own
agenda that is. Was Einstein "accusing" him? He was, in his own civilized

We are all interested to know the truth, but we must be careful as to when
"knowing the truth" crosses the border of objectivity and enters the realm
of manufacturing history (or the future for that matter).

Are scholars supposed to be political? They'd be better off if they were.


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