Rajaram Episode

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Mon Oct 2 16:00:14 UTC 2000

Nanda Chandran wrote,
wrong on two counts:

>It is also surprising that M Witzel who had earlier criticized none other
>than Romila Thapar herself for using Indian literary sources uncritically in
>her books, is now seeking her endorsement of his "investigative" work.

I did not seek R.Thapar's endorsement, FRONTLINE did, as clearly printed in
the inset.
Can my critic not read??

But, I agree with her assesment of the situation. See my (earlier) R&J
website (of August, 2000)

>So has the scholarship of Ms Thapar suddenly risen in the eyes of M Witzel or
>is the recent bonhomie is a marraige of convenience?

To quote Nietzsche:

"Die Schlange, welche sich nicht haeuten kann, geht zu Grunde.
Ebenso die Geister, welche man verhindert, ihre Meinungen zu wechseln; sie
hoeren auf, Geist zu sein."
                                        Fr. Nietzsche, Morgenroethe 5.573

Nanda Chandran imagines too much of politics in all of this. Typical:
conspiracies upon conspiracies.

He does not seem to understand the process of scholarship which is a
dialectic business. People actually *change*, unlike Acalanaatha Rajaram,
in their opinions and assessments when new materials and evidence come up.
So has she, so have I. Read her 1968 lecture at the IHC and her more recent
papers. And read my assessment of the whole 'REWRITING of History'
movement, to be out soon enough.

Why should I agree with *everything* R.Thapar or, for that matter, with
what R.Kochhar, have ever written  ((as I was recently 'accused' of,
chumming up to: why *should* I? I simply find his book much better than
almost all on the question, but I do not endorse each sentence )).

Ours is not party politics or party line writing (inspite of my recent
atiraatra anointment, into the PCIs) but it is concerned with evaluation of
facts and opinions based on them, as they appear in print and/or become
In the world of Nanda Chandran and many others who wrote here recently,
apparently only black/white, 'right/left' exist.

>Integrity??? Honesty??? Does they still exist???

Maybe Nanda Chandran, honestly and with integrity, agrees with everything
that has ever been written on this list? Since he makes use of it and posts
--many-- letters to it.

Compliment returned to sender!

                                *** *** ***

FINALLY, as for the dozens of other recent messages here and elsewhere:

* If memory serves well, I have not yet seen anybody who defended Rajaram's
"horse" or his 'decipherment', which was the core of our 10 pp. paper, save
the last page;
--- bull and "A great disgrace indeed" (R&J) remain.

* instead, people here and on other lists (& copied even to unrelated
ones!) get exited just about the use of the word 'fascist'. As far as I
(and an impartial word search) can see, S. Farmer and I have used it ONCE,
on the last page, and not even about the PRESENT situation:

" It is the responsibility of every researcher to oppose these tendencies
with the only sure weapon available - hard evidence. If reactionary trends
in Indian history find further political support, we risk seeing violent
repeats in the coming decades of the fascist extremes of the past. "

Again, can they not read?? We talk about the fascists of the past (who,
*not mentioned here* but known to historians and many educated people,
indeed used much of the same terminology and methods can see now), and we
simply *warn* about the future.

I suggest to our critics:   READ CLOSELY, and only then write the next

Michael Witzel
Department of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138, USA

ph. 1- 617-496 2990 (also messages)
home page:  http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm

Elect. Journ. of Vedic Studies:  http://www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs

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