Bijoy Misra bmisra at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Sun Oct 1 01:19:38 UTC 2000

I would say my two cents on people and the Rajaram episode.
Social fanatics exist and Dr. Rajaram is perhaps one of them.
Why are we politicizing this medium?  There is a whole "creationist"
lobby in the US and elsewhere.  They publish their literature,
some people subscribe them, buy them.  How does that bother me
as a scholar?  All I say that I don't agree with their conclusions
and they are obviously wrong.  The same thing can be said of
astrology columns in the newspapers. You can challenge any advertisement
of any kind for that matter. Social reform is a political
process and people spending their time and others' time on the topic
seems useless to me.  There was a talk of what passes on as scholarly work
in this forum and the constant badger as to who are scholars.
The present discussion does not present any facet of scholarship
by the individuals concerned.

Dr Rajaram probably has some social standing and the critics are
concerned if he would increase his standing by tampering with the facts.
There is a tacit assumption that others in India would close their eyes
unless people from Indology group tell them.  You reject his paper
if he it comes to publication, but why denigrate him in a medium
where he is not a member.

Sorry if I sound rude.  But this is my candid opinion.  I have
no idea of the critics' agenda.  Looks reactionary to me.  The
proper course would be to publish what you think is right and not
get to political journalism.


Bijoy Misra

On Sat, 30 Sep 2000, Lars Martin Fosse wrote:

> nanda chandran [SMTP:vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM] skrev 30. september 2000 11:02:
> > Yep, it is indeed very sad. But how can I help having such an attitude
> > when professional historians whom one would expect to discuss issues
> > objectively with courtesy, get down to gutter level polemic, personal
> > slanging and vindictive abuse? Even common courtesy demands one to
> > refrain from kicking somebody who's down.
> I assume you are talking about Rajaram, and I take exception to this
> attempt to present him as an underdog. I have followed Rajaram's polemics
> in the Organiser for a year, and he is a ruthless propagandist and vicious
> hatemonger who deserves firm and determined opposition. He is also
> representative of a set of attitudes that cries at you from every page of
> the Organiser, so attacking Rajaram's views is not simply a matter of
> attacking him, it is also an attack on a whole set of political thinking.
> Discrediting these views is every decent person's duty. Rajaram and his
> fellow travellers are trying to take India and Indians everywhere down a
> road that can only lead to social catastrophe and disgrace. It has happened
> before in Europe, and it should not be allowed to happen in India.
> > Outside academic circles many Hindus indeed view it that way. That
> there's
> > no resentment by the Hindus of the iconoclastic fanaticism of Islam is
> > leftist propoganda.
> I don't know who said this, but Muslim iconoclasm is well known. What
> happened in India during the medieval period is also well known, noone has
> tried to hide or deny it, at least not in the West. What Rajaram and his
> ilk are trying to do, is to revive ancient conflicts and instrumentalize
> them for their own political purposes, which essentially is a matter of
> retaining a revamped version of the old society with the upper castes in
> firm control. Unfortunately, the way to Hell is clogged with people trying
> to profit politically from ancient conflicts. In Europe, the former
> Yugoslavia is only the most recent example of this. Is this what you want
> for India? A society tearing itself to shreds in order to take revenge on
> past injustices and preserve the privileges of the privileged? I would
> suggest that you drop the hints about your opponents being "communists" and
> "leftists". There is a vast political space between communism and fascism,
> and most of belong there, not at the fringes.
> > The days of the Mughal empire are over. India is now a democratic
> country.
> > Let the truth about Islamic iconoclasm be known. Let the Hindus get back
> > what is rightfully theirs. Even here the Hindus do not even want all the
> > temples back, the thousands which were demolished to make way for the
> > mosques - only the really important ones - only 3 or 4 - the temples at
> > Mathura and Ayodhya, the Kashi Vishwanath etc - which are so integral a
> part
> > of the Hindu psyche - like the Vatican is to the Catholics. Surely this
> is a
> > reasonable demand! For this why should there be any violence at all?
> And why should you reopen old wounds and pour salt in them? Surely, peace
> and prosperity for the majority of Indians is more important than centuries
> old conflicts and "putting right" ancient injustices. 300 years ago,
> substantial Norwegian territories were ceded to Sweden after a war. We do
> not try to take them back. It wouldn't be worth the trouble. Peace,
> prosperity and good neighbourlyness are more important values that  a few
> thousand square kilometers. What India needs is a new tolerance, which
> means that leaders, both Hindu and Muslim, must work for mutual
> understanding and peaceful solutions, not drag each other down into the
> morrass of infighting and mutual terror through discrimination and
> provocation.
> Best regards,
> Lars Martin Fosse
> Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
> Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
> 0674 Oslo
> Norway
> Phone: +47 22 32 12 19
> Mobile phone: +47 90 91 91 45
> Fax 1:  +47 22 32 12 19
> Fax 2:  +47 85 02 12 50 (InFax)
> Email: lmfosse at

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