nAraNa_n, the tamil word for nArAyaNa (was: Vishnu)

Wed Dec 13 22:27:45 UTC 2000

<It is time that we quit all these nonsense and work upon eradicating some
major issues that still hinder our growth.>

1. A commendable thought, but such practical matters are discussed/acted upon
elsewhere and by other people, mostly.

2. As I have been taught here, this group is for high-powered scholars debating
about the subtle meanings of ancient words, for the purpose of discovering
truths about <ancient> Hindu culture and history, purely out of
scientific/scholarly curiosity (in plain English, to have fun).

3. The pandits do not appreciate discussing current issues, not because they
think they are unimportant, but because they feel that is not their <sphere of

4. Unfortunately, those who have no commitment and/or emotional affiliation to
the subject matter can perhaps have an objective understanding/interest in all
this, but it is very difficult for anybody with even a modicum of cultural
belongingness to keep cool and unperturbed when certain matters come to the
fore. Black and white, caste hierarchy and untouchability, Aryan/Dravidian
dichotomy, whether Sanskrit originated in India or merely evolved there: these
are among the topics that can become pretty explosive.

5. What to do about this? Only Indians in India can answer this, and I am sure
there are people of goodwill, scholars and journalists, lay leaders and
religious, thinkers and writers, who are right there in the thick of things,
who know the situation and its complexities much better: who are trying to
resolve these issues. Outsiders can help if called upon, but they cannot advice
on what needs to be done.

6. Who would have thought a hundred years ago that ancient history would
provoke so many controversies, so much bitterness and name-calling! But I fear
this is only the beginning.

6. It surprises me that many professional Indologists do not seem to care much
about this  very unhappy and potentially dangerous situation. It seems to me
that it may not be wise on the part of exo-Indologists to be altogether
indifferent to this state of affairs, but I already said this once and was
rebuked for it, because, as noted above, such practical matters are
discussed/acted upon elsewhere and by other people, mostly. Therefore, it is
very likely that someone will say, or at least think: "If you don't care for
etymologies, extincts grammars, cryptology,  and related esoterica, you are in
a wrong place, buddy!"

V. V. Raman
December 13, 2000

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