David Salmon

Satya Upadhya satya_upadhya at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 17 18:56:52 UTC 2001

Given the bizarre claims the Hindutva waadis have been making--claiming all
kinds of science and technology in ancient India--Dr Farmer's satire was
well within the limits of scholarship in my opinion.

I request David to stop getting into personalities and do some original
research or else write amusing satires (with or without Vishal Agarwal).


>My point precisely.  Dr. Farmer, and to a lesser extent, Prof. Witzel, have
>been engaging in politics, attacking what they see (with considerable
>justification) as fascist tendencies in some groups in India.  But along
>way, they went beyond what was necessary to defend academic theory and
>facts, especially Dr. Farmer with his "satire" in which he discovered
>satellite antennas in the IVC seals, and so on.
>I have supported them when they defended matters of liberty or
>defended their theories, and will continue to do so.  But when Dr. Farmer
>started to scornfully attack people and views, rather than defend theories
>or facts or liberty, he went beyond the needs of the case, engaged in
>politics, and needlessly and pointlessly offended others.  If he would
>to his lathe, he might do fine, I don't know.  But he -has- been engaging
>I'm not saying the political effort is not worthwhile, given the stakes
>and the danger.  I see no reason why we in the "West" should sit silently
>by (which is what closing the Indology list to that reality would mean).
>the contrary, we must defend our own interest--and theirs--in the freedom
>hold unpopular ideas.  I do so, after my fashion, as have you, and Dr.
>Farmer and Prof. Witzel and a great many others.  But Dr. Farmer has made
>the job harder than it needed to be.  (I distinguish him from Prof. Witzel
>because Prof. Witzel, in my view, has been somewhat more circumspect,
>particularly lately.)  The harassment Dr. Farmer faced when he first zeroed
>in on Dr. Rajaram was undeserved, an attack on the messenger for bringing
>an unpopular message, an attempt to shut him up.  The harassment Farmer
>faces these days is much more of his own making.  It ill behooves him to
>appeal to us for support against his attackers when he has been insulting
>them right and left, largely for his own amusement, so far as one can tell.
>One who appeals to reason must act reasonably.  If he would knock off the
>personalities and snappy but cutting remarks, he would be a lot more
>successful, and receive more a willing support from those like me, who
>admire his courage, if not his tactics.

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