"Science" in India

Robert Zydenbos zydenbos at GMX.LI
Tue Oct 24 13:57:26 UTC 2000

Am 21 Oct schrieb Venkatraman Iyer:

> <<<
> The question should not be why are Farmer and Witzel pursuing this
> matter, but why are Indian scientists so silent in their support?
> Have they been intimidated?
> >>>
> Not just Indian Scientists. Even the Western Indologists.
> I have seen none crusading other than Dr. Witzel, a lone exception

If I may be so immodest: according to the bizarre Dr. Elst (who, in the
by now well-known twisted style of Hindutva propagandists, in a pamphlet
of his dubs me a "defender[s] of the AIT"): "Dr. Zydenbos can claim the
merit of being one of the first (to my knowledge, the very first) among
the defenders of the AIT to actually respond to the rising tide of
anti-AIT argumentation" when I wrote my short rejoinder to N. Rajaram in
the Indian Express in 1996. Although my piece was a triviality in
comparison with what Witzel and Farmer have done, certain characters
have never forgiven me for it, as the mailings of agents provocateurs to
this list (all of us know their names by now) have abundantly testified.

Why do so few Indologists participate in these 'debates'? Apart from the
reason Dominik has mentioned (non-issues), another reason should be
clear by now: our interlocutors are not reasonable people in search of
academic truth.

For the sake of the 'lurkers' on the list who have not yet understood:
we so-called 'Eurocentric Indologists' are considered a threat to a
certain ideological and political program in contemporary Indian
politics which we all know, and hence we are spoken of like that other
supposed grand conspiracy, the 'evil international Jewry' (which was
also depicted as associated with 'leftists' and 'communists' and
'anti-national' elements) of another ugly period not so long ago. Hence,
also, the concerted efforts to denigrate the scholarliness of mainstream
scholarship. (I enjoyed that 'Europeanist theology' in Subrahmanya's
recent message: it comes very close to 'international Jewry'.)

Few people like to stomach the verbal violence which these interlocutors
throw at us, and as long as the really ugly political madness goes on
far away on the other side of the world, well, scholars return to their
ivory tower and look the other way - which is obviously the main aim of
these interlocutors.

(In view of mailing quotas, I will write a few lines in response to S.
Paruchuri's request later.)

Prof. Robert J. Zydenbos
Institut für Indologie und Iranistik, Universität München

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