SV: Vicious Debate

Bijoy Misra bmisra at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Fri Dec 4 12:58:11 UTC 1998


Some of the postings in this track are getting personal
and that's unfortunate.  Can people think twice
before letting out any emotional outbursts?
Debate is good, "vicious debate" is no good.
Let's try more sanity..

Happy holidays..

- Bijoy Misra

On Fri, 4 Dec 1998, Robert J. Zydenbos wrote:

> Since my name appeared in Subrahmania's mail and I have a free moment, I
> think I will contribute a few lines:
> > Remember the time when Swamiji was writing, the late 19th century, a
> > time when "race sciences" were the in thing. Swamiji was far ahead of
> > his time and does not have to be defended.
> First Subrahmania defends Vivekananda by saying he was a child of his
> time. In the next sentence he says V. was ahead of his time... Great.
> What makes V. relevant is that he is still seen as a cultural
> figurehead today; 19th-century Western 'race scientists' have no such
> status in the West. V.'s admirers and defenders are clearly lagging
> behind.
> Elsewhere, he wrote:
> > Do you think that the Indian scholars will gain anything
> > financially or politically?
> Again, "the Indian scholars"... Please tell us, Subrahmania, why do you
> not write more precisely 'indigenous Aryanists', or something like that?
> It is *not* a matter of "India vs. the rest of the world".
> Yes, they do gain. _The Hindu_ has run several articles over the past
> few months about how the present Indian government has been
> restructuring the Indian Council for Historical Research and has
> attempted to do the same with the Centre for Advanced Study in Simla, by
> appointing people with such ideas in those bodies. Members of the Simla
> institute have written their protest in the Indian press.
> > I find it amazing that people are so eager and willing to attribute
> > political motives against Indian scholars, but do not have the
> > courage to look at their own motives and prejudices.
> Not "Indian scholars"... Subrahmania, PLEASE STOP THIS VICIOUS DEMAGOGY.
> The identity of a scholar as "Indian" does *not* depend on whether one
> supports the indigenous Aryan theory or not. At the Ann Arbor / Lausanne
> conference, with participants from different countries, an _Indian
> scholar, from India_ requested that the conference issue a statement
> condemning the political pressure put to bear on historians in India.
> Understandably, nobody wanted the conference to become politicised,
> hence nothing of the sort happened. The scholar at the end expressed
> relief that the results vindicated those in India who do not toe the
> present 'politically correct' line.
> Lars Fosse has already invited you to analyse the motives and prejudices
> of persons like himself, Witzel and myself. *Please* do that. Don't be
> shy or cowardly. Tell me what _my_ "motives and prejudices" are. (But
> please do it quickly. I will be out of town next week and will
> temporarily unsubscribe, and then I cannot see you teach me about
> myself. :-) )
> On the other hand, if you continue to pretend to be certain that
> persons like Fosse, Witzel and I write out of pernicious motives and
> prejudices, and yet if you cannot do better than pollute this list with
> demagogy and further silly insults, then please do your
> > more important things
> RZ

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