Tamil words in English

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Wed Feb 18 19:29:25 UTC 1998

At 10:46 18.02.98 -0600, you wrote:
>At 04:03 PM 2/18/98 +0100, you wrote:
>>If the linguistic argument is thought to be wrong, then the revisionist must
>>show that it is, not simply chant the mantra "linguistics is a fraud", or
>>something to that effect.
>I do not intend to debunk linguistics or chant that linguistics is a fraud.
>All that I did was question the way in which conclusions were drawn.
>The reason the argument started out was about Kuyil...
>some of the arguments that were put forth are listed below.

I don't think that I'll enter the discussion about Kuyil. I am not competent
do discuss the question.

>On a different matter:
>Some time ago, there was a vigorous defence of Alain Danielou when his
>credibility was questioned. Shouldnt the same apply to Rajaram too ?

>Since Rajaram is not here to defend himself we cannot make blanket statements
>about his qualifications. Personally, I think Rajaram has enough scientific
>training to atleast recognize irrational speculations.

There is a difference between publishing a book and participating in an
Internet discussion. If you publish a book, any reader may feel free to
critize your comptence. That kind of critique comes with the territory. The
author cannot expect that he will only be critized when he is there to
defend himself.

>If there is a problem with his hypothesis, please spell out what they are
>and why you do not agree with it.

This is a reasonable request, and I shall be happy to oblige, although in a
small way.

1. I claim that Rajaram does not have the educational background to discuss
the matters he is discussing, anymore than I have the background necessary
for constructing an aeroplane.

        This is plain from the errors made by Rajaram on a number of
occasions. Here are a couple of examples:

         a) E.g., R. claims that the book on horsemanship written by Kikkuli
is "written i pure Sanskrit". It is actually written in Hittite, but there
are a number of Sanskrit terms related to horses and horseracing in the book.

        b) R. claims that the name of Hercules comes from Hari-Krishna
because the Greeks and Romans (source: Pliny) identified Krishna with
Hercules. R. is unaware of the fact that the Greeks and Romans habitually
compared foreign gods with their own and then "identified" the foreign gods
with this or that Greek or Roman god. In a similar manner, the Germanic god
Odin (Wotan) was identified with Mercurius. The Romans called this the
Interpretatio Romana. Hari-Krishna has nothing to do with Hercules. The name
- in Greek Herakles - is a pure Greek name, meaning the "Fame of Hera" (Hera
being a goddess and the wife of Zeus).

        c) R. claims to be a linguist, but is on occasion unable to
translate Skt. correctly. I haven't checked all his translations, but have
noticed two quite elementary mistakes so far. His attacks on the idea that
Dravidian languages and Skt. belong to different families show no trace of
linguistic compentence.

To be short: R. doesn't get his facts right.

Furthermore, R. introduces into the discussion the idea that mathematics
spread from India to Babylonia and Egypt (basing himself on the Seidenberg
papers). This argument is a non-starter unless you can show in detail how it
happened. The reason is simple: Languages are arbitrary systems, which is
why similarities are potentially highly significant. Mathematical rules and
principles, on the other hand, are the same all over the universe, and if
they can be discovered in one place, they can certainly also be discovered
by an intelligence with similar capabilities elsewhere. (Compare the
discovery of differential mathematics by Leibniz and Newton. It happened
independently and at practically the same time). The representation of
numbers, on the other hand, is somewhat arbitrary, compare the Roman system,
the Indian system (with zero) and the Maya system, based on a 20-number
system instead of ten.

Furthermore, R.'s representation of Western Indology is highly uninformed.
He spends a lot of time lambasting Indologist that lived 100 years ago - no
doubt because they are well represented in Indian libraries - but shows very
little knowledge of modern Indologists and comparative linguists. His
reading is therefore slanted and arbitrary, and for these reasons he is not
competent to discuss the questions he is discussing. His quotations are
sloppy, with few references, so that it is difficult to check his
statements, which is a desecrable shortcoming in a book that claims to be

>Also, it is the invasion theorists who are revisionists, because the
>invasion theory started only in the mid 1800's. The indigenous theory has
>existed a lot longer and was accepted and still is in many parts of India,
>until the Church and the British decided to do something about it.

The "Church and the British" did not do away with the indigenous theory. If
that had been the case, the theory would not have survived. Or do you think
that the French, with their old rivalry with the Brits, would have accepted
such a theory if was based on decisions by the "Church and the British". And
would the Germans accept it for such reasons? You are making the mistake -
which verges on an insult - to suggest that Western scholars are
feebleminded admirers of old theories without the critical acumen to drop a
theory if it lacks foundations. Even R. has to admit that Max Mueller today
means nothing at all. He is an historical relic, important in his time, but
his theories have in most cases been rejected by modern scholars. The Aryan
invasion theory survives because the facts support it.

That will do for today. Now I must work, gentlemen!

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr.art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo

Tel: +47 22 32 12 19
Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at online.no
Mobile phone: 90 91 91 45

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