: Re: "Science" in India

V.C.Vijayaraghavan vijay at VOSSNET.CO.UK
Mon Oct 23 12:47:53 UTC 2000

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dr Y. Vassilkov" <iiasguest10 at RULLET.LEIDENUNIV.NL>
Sent: Sunday, October 22, 2000 8:27 PM
Subject: : Re: "Science" in India

> Dear Mr. Vijayaraghavan,
> you quote my last posting
> > >     I think it is very important for us to understand WHY the majority
> of > > European Indologists and some Indian contributors response to one
> the > > same thing so differently.> >  From the point of view of European
> (and I hope, of many Indian) > > scholars, Steve Farmer did nothing wrong.
> He just expressed his opinion > > about the system of technical education
> another country.
> > >     But there appear now more and more people in India for whom such
> > > balanced and reasonable response to any kind of critical remarks is
> excluded.
> and then you answer:
> > Let us not counterpoint 'balanced and  reasonable" Western scholar vs >
> Indians (scholars or otherwise) for whom balance and reasonableness does
> > mean a thing.
>     Please, read my letter again. I hope you will notice this time
>     that I  speak only about "some Indian contributors", who see thing
> differently from the majority of European and Indian scholars,
>     I say that many Indian scholars will agree, I hope, that "Steve Farmer
> did nothing wrong" etc.,
>     and that just in the middle of your two quotations from my letter in
> original there is the following sentence:
>     "...Scholars from any European country and MANY INDIAN SCHOLARS TOO
> would response, I am sure, precisely in this [i.e. "balanced and
> reasonable"] way"...
>     So, my question is: on what particular grounds do you ascribe to me
> intention to <counterpoint 'balanced and  reasonable" Western scholar vs
> Indians (scholars or otherwise)">?

Dear Dr.Vassilikov

One gets the message from the  para quoted that western scholars are the
repository of balance and reasonableness while such is not the case with
Indians. The cultural ideal in India is 'stithapragnya' and Indians too have
to look at their own country in a balanced way and compare it with the views
given by others. After all more Indians have a long-term first hand
knowledge of educational and political situations both in India and the west
than the western scholars having a similar quantity of transnational
experience. I mean there are tens of thousands of Indians who have studied,
worked and being governed both in India and the  west compared to few
hundred western scholars at the most

Hece if the reactions of some Indians seem to be far out of sync than what
the western scholars had hoped for, it might as well show the depth of
misunderstanding of western scholars than any unreasonableness of Indians.
After all some  of the harder reactions of the Indians are political in
nature  and a reaction to having played into the hands of politcal elements
in India

>     When I say that SOME people in India do something wrong, in my
> opinion, - why do you understand it in such a way that I blame all
> (scholars or otherwise)"?

I did not say you meant all Indians;. When I said Indians , it does not mean
all Indians

>     I am afraid that in your initial reaction to my letter there was more
> emotions than logic.
>     Please believe me, there is no "Anti-Indianism" in my letter. There
> could not be, because I study India all my life,

Without accusing you of anything , I can point out that there is no direct
relationship between studying India all one's life and not hating it. There
have been christian missionaries in the last few centuries in India and
studying India all through their life , but who were prejudiced against
heathen beliefs , cultures and traditions till their last breath. Even many
colonial administrators were good students of India but who could never
bring themselves to shed their anti-Indianism. These gentlemen-Indologists
of yore are a good negative proof of what you are saying

 and, as every other
> "Indologist", I love the country and its people.
>     With my best regards,
> Yaroslav Vassilkov

I don't know about every other Indologist, but I take in what you are saying
about yourself and thank you for the same


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