Truth and method in Indology, III

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Mon Jun 1 11:34:53 UTC 1998

At 16:28 31.05.98 PDT, you wrote:
>>If Indian universities and institutions make serious efforts to get the
>>information and get trained in the best methods in medical and
>>disciplines and establish international exchanges etc. in order to
>acquire the
>>ability to make reliable decisions in these fields
>>(and to make atom bombs that WORK . . . ),
>>why should much lower standards be accepted if someone claims to make
>>statements about the cultural and linguistic past of South Asia ?
>May I point out that getting trained in Munchen or Paris or Cambridge
>(near Boston) is not at all a necessary prerequisite for making reliable
>decisions in any field? Do note that Dr. Abdul Kalam, the father of the
>Indian bomb and the Indian long-range missiles, is completely
>*Indi*genous - he does not have a single scientific degree from outside
>the country.

Nice pun. Also: India produces a certain amount of professional people every
year that are certainly up to world standards - in fact, the Americans
routinely try to capture some of them for work in the US. A few years ago,
when I did statistics, I noticed that a surprising amount of books on the
subject were written or co-written by Indians. In statistics, India
apparently is a leading nation.

But this is again a function of investments. India wants to be an economic
and military power, and consequently is willing to pay the price. Which is
why India can make nukes go bang, but has been unable to nearly teach half
its population how to read and write.

>This is not an argument for Indian isolationism, nor is it meant to
>legitimate the shoddy work that some Indian paNDitam-manyAH produce. I
>just want to point out that maybe international scholarship (in all
>fields) will stand to gain by giving a fair hearing to those not from
>the West, instead of dismissing their opinions as arising simply out of
>chauvinism or jingoism, or holding a lack of Western training against
>them. Being from a post-colonial nation, Indians are especially
>sensitive to this issue.

Granted. Scientific American some time ago ran an article on the plight of
scientists working in "third-world" countries. Some of them had returned
from the West, where they had had not problem publishing their work, only to
discover that when their address changed, so did their opportunities for

On the other hand, certain standards have to be kept up. And a look at some
Indian research journals in our field makes one wonder where the editors
were when the edition was prepared.

Best regards,

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

Tel: +47 22 32 12 19
Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at
Mobile phone: 90 91 91 45

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