Indo-Aryan migration vs Indigenous origin - scholarly debate

Vaidix Vaidix at AOL.COM
Wed Mar 18 11:26:38 UTC 1998

Dear Robert J. Zydenbos

> (a) do you respect such a mentality / person?
> (b) do you seriously expect me to respect such a mentality / person?
> (c) should scholars respect such a mentality / person?
> (A simple 'yes' or 'no' will do for an answer.)

I can not respect such persons, except when such arguments are used for
political purposes to counter opponents who talk or imply slander other way.
To say such things with cold blood is evil.  I do discount emotional speeches
provoked by a sense of desperation generated as a result of oppression,
counter propaganda etc (it is only human to react).  On the same lines the
proposal to write off a vast chunk of ancient Indian history without
presenting a clear proof is equally cold blooded.

> > I believe "Indology" is a
> > generic term meant to study ancient and medieval India.

> Also modern India.

I agree that Indology includes modern India, but please read the front page of
this listserv homepage.  It does not mention modern India.  If you want to
include modern India please write to the administrator to get it included and
we will be happy to discuss Madonnas, elections etc.

> > It must not be meant
> > "literary or linguistic" only.

> I have never said so; on the contrary, I have earlier denied it
> (admittedly in a different thread).

Thanks for clarification.  My remark was not meant for you.  I used it to
include my arguments about Vivekananda's reform efforts.  I did not say he was
as great as zaGkara, but his impact equalled zaGkara.  He became a household
figure in India (in his days) something that only compares Adi zaGkara.
People for the first time became interested in upanisats after his talks, but
no body started hating Europeans despite his writings or speeches; because
everyone knew it was a figure of speech.  If it offends you I apologize to you
on behalf of V.  On the contrary the first thing people remember about him is
his quote "Brothers and sisters of America' and so on.  Believe me, his impact
was never negative.

If you still think he had a negative racist impact on Indian public, let us
finance a statistical survey by a recognized agency in India about V, and
publish the results.  I am sure you will believe that the opinion polls are
quite accurate and modern tools used on daily basis in modern world
(definitely better than home cooked opinions of yourself or myself).  If
results are positive, then I would myself call Vivekandanda a racist.

> > Vivekananda's linguistic works may
> > be third rate but he had a great social impact equalling Adi
> > zaGkara.

> (1) I said nothing about V.'s linguistics.
> (2) To compare V. to ;Sa:nkara looks rather absurd (something like
> comparing Jerry Falwell to John Calvin).

Already answered.  I suspect poor english if any might have been edited before

> > Terming him
> > racist shows that you did not really read his works.

> Wrong:
> So here again:
> (a) do you respect such a mentality / person?
> (b) do you seriously expect me to respect such a mentality / person?

I can not repect such writings, except as part of an emotionally arousing
speech meant to counter anti-Hindu propaganda carried out by other
missionaries.  You need not dig up more about V's writings, you made your
point.  If you insist, then I have to order for all that junk literature
circulating in those days which does no good for current discussion.

> > The words like
> > right/left/revisionists/colonialism being themselves narrow and
> > stereotypic, and of recent origin (coined at best a century or two
> > ago), can not be used to describe ancient and medieval societies
> > when these phrases were not in use.  I hope such phrases will be
> > dropped in future.

> The English language did not exist in those early times either. I
> will gladly switch over to Sanskrit, if there is a popular will to
> do so on this list.

Those words can be used to describe contemporary India.  I think I take back
that argument if you were referring to modern India.

In ancient/medieval India religion was not a "right" to be countered by a
"left".  Religion was always on top of everything and accepted as the highest
virtue.  If a monk comes to king's court the kings used to vacate their seat
for them. There are stories like Visvamitra that tell us some conflict between
kings and priesthood, but the stories themselves are treated as divine.

Bhadraiah Mallampalli

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