my background

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 23 07:47:19 UTC 2000

Steve Farmer <saf at SAFARMER.COM> wrote:

>Valerie Roebuck expresses my motives perfectly:

Then you certainly have a very curious way of expressing
yourself. And you make rather unwarranted generalizations.
As I said earlier, you are losing the esteem of potential

>ones, I can safely reject the "amateur" label the way that
>Sundaresan intends it. Of his training, I know nothing.

Thanks for the update re: your background, and also for opening
the door to inform you and other list members of mine.

You can find my published scientific papers in the Journal of
Chromatography, Chemistry of Materials and Nature Biotechnology.
I am the inventor of a US patent assigned to Caltech. So when I
talk of science and education, believe me, I know what I am
talking about.

As an "amateur" Indologist, I believe my rather prolific
presence on this list may be a bit tiresome to some members.
However, it lacks for nothing in terms of quality, if I may
say so myself. You can find a published paper of mine in The
Adyar Library Bulletin, V. 62, 1998. Another is due to appear
in the July 2001 issue of Philosophy East and West. I have done
the most exhaustive comparative study of the hagiographies of
Sankara to date. That paper should have been published a year
ago, but is waiting for the journal to resume publication.
Thanks to Dominik Wujastyk, you can find an online publication
at the Indology website itself, under the link on "Important
position or review papers on Indological topics," where I
share company with a rather distinguished set of people. Over
the coming weekend, I will be presenting a paper on Yoga and
Advaita, as part of a seminar in the University of California,
Los Angeles, organized by Chris Chapple of Loyola Marymount
University (perhaps not mainstream enough?), and sponsored by
the Doshi chair of Early Indian history at UCLA.

So you see, when I talk of things Indian, again, I do know
something of what I am talking about. I may not have as many
years under my belt as you, but then, when you were doing your
PhD, I was a child, going through an abysmal high school in
India. Pardon me, some things become very personal. I don't
particularly relish ill-formed opinions on contemporary India
being bandied about by people who have just stepped into a
study of ancient India, whether or not they have experience
in other kinds of comparative studies. And oh, by the way,
in case there is some doubt, that an Indian scientist-engineer
-cum-amateur-Indologist happens to disagree with some of your
opinions, or your methodology of making invalid general
inferences, does not imply that he is a fascist, or even that
he buys into other ill-formed theories about the date of the
Rgveda. There are people like that, you know.

Note - Invalid general inference :- Between 1912 and 1953,
almost all British archaeologists, palaentologists, biologists
and anthropologists (many distinguished names, from various
Royal Societies) believed that the "Pildown man" was the missing
link. They were all very happy to think that man had originally
evolved on the British Isles. How am I supposed to "understand"
this? What explains this attraction of British scientists to
pop-nationalistic fervor? Why didn't highly educated individuals
spot the hoax sooner? Why did they keep referring to the Piltdown
"missing link", in order to deny the significance of the hominid
fossil evidence from Africa?

OBVIOUSLY - what passed for scientific education in the UK was
abysmally poor. The narrow emphasis on producing defense related
research, for sustaining Britain's presence in its colonies, and
then for WW I and WW II, meant that they didn't get any proper
humanistic training. As for the ethics of the thing, forget it.
Clearly, I am entitled in making this argument, for the quality
of education is a legitimate academic concern.

Surely, the American, European (and I hope Indian) members of this
list see the above as a bunch of baloney. So is Farmer's inference.
I harp upon this, because I find it amazing that people feel the
need to explain it away on his behalf.

Nothing further,

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