SV: SV: Rajaram's bull

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 7 05:51:32 UTC 2000

>interest must be sought elsewhere. In the case of your army, it has so far
>been unable to project power credibly beyond South Asia. But if India

Well, we must be thankful that the Indian army is not structured so as to
project much power internally too. Look at the history of our Islamic twin
nation and its children born in 1971.

>reaches a point where it - like the former Soviet Union - can design and
>  productionalise advanced and reliable long-range military equipment, the
>interest in India should logically increase.

But in an adverse manner. Unless of course, India becomes so important for
trade that talk of "containment" replaces that of "extermination".
All this is the stuff of international politics, so I'll stop here.

>rather that the OIT is part of a larger ideological package, parts of which
>are not innocent.

Sure, but what irks many south Asians is that Indologists never seem to take
a stand about the ideological package that came with the old AIT theory,
even when they review it as simply past history. For example, it does not
seem to be very well known that part of the Tamil vs. Sinhala problem in Sri
Lanka is that the Sinhalese elite think of themselves as Aryans, and
therefore superior to the Dravidians who speak Tamil. The remnants of the
old ideologies that came with AIT continue to wreak havoc in south Asian
societies, but hardly anyone from the West seems to want to acknowledge
this. And of course, we should not even talk of the zarmaNya-deza in this
context, or else the debate will only degenerate into pazavaH vs. tRNavaH
name calling (see - thanks to
Tim Cahill for the apt analogy).

Personally, I don't think Indologists hate the India that exists, nor do I
think they unconditionally love the India that is no more. I am just
conveying the feeling that sits at the back of the minds of many people. But
I do think that Indologists often fail to understand what is happening in
Indian society today. Not too many years ago, there was a hilarious
discussion on this list. The issue was whether playing a drum with a leather
head compromised the brAhmaNa-by-birth status of a contemporary Indian
musician. Too much attention is paid to the long outdated manusmRti, and the
contemporary overtones of varNa and jAti in Indian society and politics are

Re: the Indological work done within the last four or five decades - Lakshmi
Srinivas's post should make clear that this hasn't penetrated the minds of
textbook authors even in the USA. I would imagine the situation in Europe is
very much the same. If you notice, much of the heat in the AIT vs. OIT
debates arises from the fact that AIT is still the paradigm that children in
India have to learn to pass their examinations, that in turn, have a big say
in their lives. This is as far as the general Indian spectator of this
debate is concerned. Among those involved in education policy in India, the
question is that of who gets political control. And if you notice, instead
of approaching the problem constructively, any debate on updating the
pedagogy ends up in accusations of being either a "communalist" or a
"Marxist". Between the two labels, there is no room for an honest
intellectual look at the problem.

Best wishes,
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