SV: Vicious Debate

Robert J. Zydenbos zydenbos at BLR.VSNL.NET.IN
Fri Dec 4 07:24:26 UTC 1998

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

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


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