Samar Abbas abbas at IOPB.RES.IN
Sun Oct 1 09:02:54 UTC 2000

On Fri, 29 Sep 2000, Anand M. Sharan wrote:
> I think we are wasting a lot of time here going after Rajaram and not
> making efforts in deciphering the Indus script .

 It is not just one person - it is the whole Vedic Harappa theory that is
at stake here. The entire Vedic Indus hypothesis is now in severe danger
of going down with Rajaram.

 As Rajaram's model is the only Sanskritic model to date, and is now part
of Indian school curriculum, it is only natural that so much attention
should be focussed on it. Also, Rajaram said that he only cared about the
Indian press where "millions" read his work, and did not bother about
Western academic publications which "rot away in dusty library shelves".
It was essentially an open challenge to Indologists - which has now at
last been taken up in the only forum which Rajaram bothers about: the
Indian mass media. Demolishing his claims in Western journals would have
had no effect and would have been too kind.

> I posted on my web about the Migration of Indus People where the
> decipherment by Pathak and Verma was mentioned .

That work is definitely interesting and indeed, perfectly viable. However,
obvious false hypotheses like Rajaram's theory must first be excluded from
the domain of viable ones - just like in `multiple choice' exams. Once
that is done, it is certain that the decipherment of Pathak and Verma will
receive impetus.

N.Ganesan wrote: " The political propaganda ... must be countered in India
> by Indologists like Witzel & others."

 The importance of Witzel and Farmer's work - esp. the press reports -
cannot be overemphasised. In India, the appearance of an article in
newspapers is viewed as a `publication', perhaps even more important than
that. Such articles are even cited in `scholarly' books. It has taken some
time for western Indologists to realise this.

  And of course, for non-specialists it becomes the sole source of
information. Many educated persons - even historians - were actually
convinced by Rajaram et al that OIT was correct, mainly because there was
no opposition to his continuous flow of press articles.

 The Rajaram affair is having a good impact on Indology though. For
the first time in decades, Indologists are now occupying front-page news
space. And more money is being spent on Indology. The common man is
suddenly interested in archaeology. Once again, in direct contrast with
the West.


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