Name of Tibet

Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at UCHICAGO.EDU
Wed Aug 9 08:23:54 UTC 2006

I regret if this seems cynical, but the
notion that Trivi.s.tapa = Tibet smells
to me like another revisionist effort
to rationalize India's mythological past
in pseudo-historical terms.

Recently a nephew, visiting Paris, wanted to
see the film "Mystic India" showing in the Geode
(Imax) film center here, and I innocently obliged. I was astounded to
find a public, scientific venue, showing what
turned out to be a (generally mild and inoffensive) Hindu sectarian film
(produced by the Gujerat-based NGO BAPS Care International) 
that included such claims as "archaeology shows
Indian civilization beginning more that 8000 years
ago, prior to either Mesopotamia or Egypt" and, of course,
the now standard praises of the "democratic" civilization
of the Veda. (I hasten to add that I know very little
of BAPS and what I have so far discovered suggests that
it is a fairly liberal service organization, devoted to
good works in education and health-care. My reservations
about aspects of the film are in no intended as a global judgement on
BAPS or its projects.)

Although this has no direct connection with
Dan and Jonathan's query about Tibet, 
the sad fact appears to be that revision of Indian
history is being pursued aggressively on all possible
fronts, and that even apparently trivial matters now
require vigilant assessment.

Happy fact checking!

Matthew Kapstein

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list