Truth and method in Indology, III

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun May 31 23:28:49 UTC 1998

>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. And I daresay he is much better than many of the
phoren-returned scientists working under him put together. Making bombs
that WORK is fairly easy for scientists who know the physics involved,
irrespective of their nationalities or the countries where they got
educated. It is this very ease that makes the complicated treaties
necessary, to deny some nations the materials to actually produce what
is theoretically possible. And perhaps this is where the really
explosive material lies - the assumption that if somebody has not been
trained in the West, he/she is not worth being listened to. It
necessitates that much bigger a blast then, to be heard as a legitimate
voice in the discourse.

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.


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