[creative atomic scientist's translations]

Rahul Oka rahul.oka at USA.NET
Fri Mar 17 14:01:12 UTC 2000

My dear detractors,
        I do heartily congratulate you on independently confirming my
hypothesis. Your views are as informed by your politics and exclusionist
principles as well as a completely half-baked idea of the epistemology of
science. I did not find in your responses a single opposition to my queries
regarding the application of Occam's razor, just "Oh he is not an Indologist,
he does not read the Journals." Trust me, India is my land, the sub-continent
is where I find my home. If Indology is the study of ancient India through
linguistics alone, then .... I hardly need to point that this field is indeed
exclusionist and doomed to even attain science-envy, let alone science. Your
research emerges from the hallowed halls of the great Western Civilization,
without having a clue that what you are studying is still in a synchronic
state of change today as it was three thousand years ago, and more. I doubt
that you have done any field work. Those particular Journals of which Mr.
(Dr.) Cahill so patronisingly spoke about are familiar but they are to me just
literary theory, laden with statistics, hardly a combination which can lead to
science. I did not say that Indologist linguists should not do ancient Indian
history, but that they should realize that convergent verification from other
(more falsifiable) areas will only serve to strengthen the field itself. Isn't
that more important, not endorsement of a personal agenda but a closer look at
verifiable facts. Maybe a few die hards will have to give up pet theories,
but, hey, that happens all the time, in science at least. 
        In our own work, we have alliances with archaeologists, anthropologists,
ecologists, linguists (yes), geologists, physicists, etc. I think we welcome
their perspective, usually guided by different agendas which stops us from
falling into Locke's trap. Don't forget St. Libby (hallowed be his name), a
physicist. Were it not for him, archaeology of Mesoamerica would be in the
same state as Indological studies of the Indus. No languages there to study,
just jingoistic speculation which is essentially bupkus. We would still be
stuck in the Victorian Christian pelvis.  The natural sciences freed the
social sciences from the strict grasp of the humanities by providing detached
verification of chronologies and other factors. 
           "Scientists" of the Rigveda indeed. I could probably read any
journal flung at me by linguists, because (a) I know how to read and I
probably know mathematics (statistics and computer math) better than most of
the linguists (theory rather than just application). I challenge the same
linguists to understand and make sense of scientific journals. 
By the way, among those journals that were rather flung at me, I did not see a
significant number published in South Asia (whose peoples speak the results of
the multi-chronic changes in the area itself). I would have expected a group
as flexible as this one to be more PC, as it were. Is it because research done
here in the west is superior to the ones produced by those "stupid
presumptuous natives," or are some of these same "pandies" producing work
which is challenging dominance of the Western ideas? 

BTW. DR. Witzel, you are wondering why there are evidences of IE groups in
such varied areas of the work, if it were not for ....
If I tell you that archaeological evidence speaks for the ability of ancient
peoples to travel distances which are incomprehensible to (especially) Western
people used to cars and other locomotive luxuries, would you believe me? The
idea that ancient people regarded distances in the same way that we do, given
respective modes of transport and communication, is a phenomenon which I call
chrono-spatial bias.  The work done by Hally in Georgia is an evidence of the
same thought. He placed parameters of 20 km between dominant and allied
chiefdoms in the American Southeast, which facilitated trade and cultural
exchange. When we got those figures, they were quite laughable. Even today
peoples in the Third world, who do not have access to cars and such, travel 20
km ++ a day (on foot) for basis subsistence. Trade "usually" (maybe not for an
Indologist) is established over much larger areas (distribution of sources).
Hally took the 20th century idea that 20 km is a large distance to walk and
then said that this will work for the peoples of SE. For anthropological
archaeologists, the presence of IE in "those" parts of the world is not an
indication that the "Aryans" came from abroad, but that people moved
themselves and goods over vast distances to trade. 
I think that if the linguists actually indulged in a proper study of history
(all histories) and the social and natural sciences, it would teach us more
about ancient Indian society, than just quibbling over when and if  "i"
changed to an "e" in some text, interpreted 2000 years after its time, when we
have no access to its author(s). 

Rahul Oka

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