[INDOLOGY] On śabdacaurya (plagiarism) and Being Different (from the way one really is) [2]

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at gmail.com
Fri Jul 24 22:26:43 UTC 2015

On śabdacaurya (plagiarism) and Being Different (from the way one really
is) [2]

Companies and corporations in trouble occasionally appoint (expensive)
external advisors: their purpose is to facilitate sometimes difficult
decisions in order to make the enterprise as a whole again "healthy" and
The external advisor's personal strategy is usually to keep the top
management happy and convinced. Whether the measures proposed by the advisor
were helpful or counterproductive (or even fake) will usually become
clear after they have received their remuneration and when it is too late
to turn back.
>From recently published statements as in the "firstpost" referred to
earlier, one may infer that RM aspires to such position as "external
advisor" to
"Indological India Inc." by giving encouraging verbal advise (basically ok)
AND by
adding counterproductive de facto advise: (a) a little plagiarism does no
harm (can
be washed away if discovered) and (b) stop interacting with scholars from
(I propose to label this latter move the NAVEL U-TURN). The best
universities in
the world in all other domains of science and scholarship have the exact
(a) eradicate even seemingly innocent forms of plagiarism; (b) exchange
knowledge, discussions, scholars with top universities elsewhere in the
It is not difficult to predict the long-term consequences if such
advise -- as if advising to a car factory to neglect basic mechanical laws
and technology --
presented as the way to corporate success, is really put into practice.
The conglomerate of issues presented by RM is definitely original and
suitable to his proposed projects.
One of these, the relative neglect of serious and reliable Indian scholars,
been recognized by authors such as Laury Patton and, earlier, by Jan Gonda
who in his contributions to the History of Indian Literature always made
extensive effort to refer to all relevant modern indological authors on an
issue, western, eastern, indian.
To parade the washing away of plagiarism as a "decolonization" is an insult
to these, and all current, serious scholars of India.

Quotation from a well-known text of the Sanskrit tradition
(Kāvyamīmāṁsā of Rājaśekhara, ed. by C.D. Dalal and R.A. Sastry, Baroda
1934, p. 57):
पुंसः कालातिपातेन  चौर्यमन्यद्विशीर्यते ।
अपि पुत्रेषु पौत्रेषु  वाक्चौर्यं च न शीर्यते ॥
My English translation:
Any other case of stealing committed by a man fades with the passage of
but the stealing of language (plagiarism) never fades away, not even in
one's sons
and grandsons.


Directeur d’Études

Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite

*École Pratique des Hautes Études*

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

54, rue Saint-Jacques

CS 20525 – 75005 Paris

johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr



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