[INDOLOGY] Against the petition against Prof. Pollock

Nityanand Misra nmisra at gmail.com
Sun Feb 28 11:41:05 UTC 2016

On 27 February 2016 at 21:22, Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com> wrote:

> I discovered yesterday that there exists a petition
> <https://www.change.org/p/mr-n-r-narayana-murthy-and-mr-rohan-narayan-murty-removal-of-prof-sheldon-pollock-as-mentor-and-chief-editor-of-murty-classical-library>
> launched by Prof. K. Ramasubramanian that asks for Prof. Sheldon Pollock to
> be removed from his editorial leadership role with the Murty Library.
Dear list members

It is the season of petitions and statements! Adding some more details
before my comments:

1) While the petition of change.org has been started by Prof. K
Ramasubramanian, as many as 131 Indian intellectuals apart from Prof. K
Ramasubramanian signed the original plea to Mr. Narayana Murthy and Mr.
Rohan Murthy. I do not know if it was covered in a mainstream media source,
the much less-known newsgram.com carried it:
I personally know and have met with many scholars on the list: and some of
them are very well respected in India, in addition to being well-known.
Prof.  Ramasubramanian himself is a recipient of the Badarayan Vyas Samman.

2) Apart from the aspects highlighted in Dr. Wujastyk's email, two other
aspects which are very relevant to this petition: the letter by the
academicians mentions Mr. Rajiv Malhotra's *Battle of Sanskrit* as well as
Prof. Pollock's recent signing of the solidarity statement with the
“students, faculty, and staff of JNU”: the petition against Prof. Pollock
may well be a reaction to this. On the first aspect: Recently, Mr. Rajiv
Malhotra's book has been widely discussed in Indian universities of late.
Mr. Malhotra has been hosted by several Indian universities and institutes
(e.g. Karnataka Sanskrit University and TISS) for talks where he has
received both support and opposition, but more support than opposition as
far as I can say. On the second aspect, there was a discussion on the
*mailing list (Mr. Rajiv Malhotra recently joined this mailing list). The
thread was started by me, and I remarked in my short initial post “Before
the Indian courts decide, 455 academicians have already reached a
decision.” The discussion can be read here:

My quick comments:
If it can be argued that the petition against Prof. Pollock is based on
‘misunderstanding’ or ‘wilful misconstrual’ (as members on this list have
described), then it can also be argued that the solidarity statement (to
which Prof. Pollock is a signatory) on the JNU issue is based on a ‘lack of
understanding’ of jurisprudence in India or ‘wilful misrepresentation’ of
facts. On jurisprudence: The Delhi Police has the documentary (video tapes)
and non-documentary (eye-witnesses) evidence, and the Indian courts will
examine the evidence and rule on the matter: then in what capacity does the
solidarity statement declare thrice that the police action on JNU was
‘illegal’. On misrepresentation, the solidarity statement misses that fact
that a large section of JNU students and teachers did support the police
action on JNU. This was also covered in the news:

As I see it, both petitions are rooted more in strong differences of
opinion/ideology than in misunderstanding or wilful

Thanks, Nityanand

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