Trilingual inscription from Sri Lanka

Alvappillai Veluppillai alvapillai.veluppillai at TEOL.UU.SE
Mon Apr 26 09:01:00 UTC 1999

I could say something about Paranavitana's scholarship.
1. I am aware that he has an honorary doctorate from Leiden, may be because
Vogel was his admirer for some reason. Vogel could not have been his
supervisor as Paranavitana did not work for his Ph.D. Without an
undergraduate degree, good universities do not register candidates for
Ph.D. Honorary doctorate can be conferred even without a basic degree.
2. There is now almost unanimous agreement among serious scholars that some
of his writings during the last phase of his career are not worthy of
serious consideration. I can cite one recent publication which deals with
this aspect. Ananda W .P. Guruge, " Senerat Paranavitana as a Writer of
Historical Fiction in Sanskrit", Vidyodaya. J. Soc. Sc. vol. 7, 1&2, 1996,
pp. 157- 179.
3. Even during the early phase of his career, he was a Sinhala chauvinist.
One can read one of his contributions and rejoinders to it to understand
the depth to which he can go to twist and misinterpret matters.
S. Paranavitana, "Vallipuram Gold Plate of the Reign of Vasabha",
Epigraphia Zeylanica, vol iv, Colombo, 1940, pp. 229- 237; "Vallipuram Gold
Sheet Inscription", Inscriptions of Ceylon, vol. ii, part i, Late Brahmi
A. Veluppillai, "Tamils in Ancient Jaffna and Vallipuram Gold Plate",
Journal of Tamil Studies, vol. 19, Madras, 1981, pp. 1- 14;
"Religions in YAzhppANam upto the Thirteenth Century AD", Lanka 5, ed.
Peter Schalk, Uppsala, Sweden, 1990, pp. 10-42.


>At 04:50 PM 04/24/1999 +0000, you wrote:
>>Date sent:                Fri, 23 Apr 1999 12:44:47 +0200
>>Subject:               Re: Trilingual inscription from Sri Lanka
>>To:                         INDOLOGY at LISTSERV.LIV.AC.UK
>>> The "epigraphist" S. Paranavitana is totally untrustworthy. The least you
>can say is that
>>> he had a lot of fantasy, but he might be better called a scientific fraud.
>>Adding to the several objections to the above statement, I would like
>>to point out, that to call S. Paranavitana a scientific fraud is not
>>only an insult to him and to Sri Lankan archaeology, but also to
>>Paranavitana's supervisor at Leiden University, the eminent
>>Sanskritist, epigraphist and art historian Prof. J. Ph. Vogel.
>>Ellen Raven
>>Kern Institute of Indology, Leiden
>Sorry for my 0000002 cent worthy point.
>Paranavitana might have been a *trained archaeologist.*
>However only training does NOT make a geniue professional, I believe.
>Sri Lankan archaeology is a shame in most of the time.
>And, for my layman reading, I blame Dr. Paranavitana for some extent.
>As another poster mentioned earlier, Paranavitana might have done good
>works in the beginning, but in later times rather than celebral disease, he
>was motivated with Sinhala myth induced chuvanism.... I understand.
>'Cultural triangles' and diggings in traditional tamil lands by 100%
>Sinhala professionals consisting archaeological dept of Sri Lanka
>is, and SHOULD BE, an insult (if not a crime) to  Sri Lankan archaeology.
>And, I understand, like *old* Paranavitana, Sri Lankan Archaelogical Dept also
>wants to see what WANT in their diggings in the traditional tamil lands,
>rather than what actually there are.
>Archaeological Dept of University of Jaffna was refused to do their diggings
>in the traditional (buddhist) tamil villages, kan-tharOdai and vallipuram.
>I assume the restrictions are same even at this moment.
>May ex-professors of University of Jaffna tell more than what I said.
>In early 80's, ThriyAi, a traditional tamil land, was projected (and "proved")
>as a buddhist sinhala place in ancient time.
>And, very recently (not even two months back), Trincomalee (known as
>was claimed as a earliest buddhist place (with its kOkarNa vihara) that was
>captured by the
>Hindu tamils. This particular news was in a Sri lankan newspaper.
>What a wonderful and geniue archaeological work done by Sri Lankan state
>sponsered professionals!
>It does not matter how genious he was, Paranavitana is not a genuine
>professonal, at least when he was old.
>He was motivated with his ethnic feelings rather than a professional
>interest, at least for a layman like me.
>And, I do not find the logic behind how saying Paranavitana a fraud becomes
>an offence to his supervisor.
>{I wonder if calling Hilter a racist makes his mother a jew-biter :-(}
>Ramanitharan, K.
>Tulane University,
>New Orleans LA.
>99'04/24 Sat.

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