Jeffery Long dharmaprof108 at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 27 21:35:53 UTC 2019

Dear Colleagues,
Some time ago, I was asked to join the Board of AAIS by a friend and colleague whom I trust and regard highly. I let him know that I was too busy to do any actual work for the organization but was told that was not a problem, so I accepted the invitation. 
I clearly did not do due diligence, based on the emails of the last few days and Dr. Sauthoff's message of today, which narrates a truly horrifying experience to which no one should be subjected. A few days ago, I resigned from the Board and asked that my name be removed from the website. I see it has been removed from some places and is still present in others. I simply want it to be known that I do not support any of the political agendas described by Dr. Williams in his email and certainly not the behavior described by Dr.Sauthoff. Those of you who know me and are familiar with my work will know this to be the case. Those who do not will either need to take my word for it, or get to know me and my work, should you have the time and inclination. 
It's unfortunate that holding a positive view of traditional knowledge systems and philosophies and wishing to promote these can so easily get one embroiled in or associated with political agendas that one does not support. I know I am still learning this lesson. 
With sincere best wishes and regards,
Jeffery D. Long Professor of Religion and Asian StudiesElizabethtown College

Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

On Thursday, June 27, 2019, 4:42 PM, Patricia Sauthoff via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

Dear all,
Rather than continue this conversation with politically charged attacks like " self-styled SJWs" I would like to bring to your attention that one of the founding board members of AAIS has deep connections to the efforts to shut down academic freedom and integrity. 
One of the founding board members of AAIS is also on the board of Nalanda University in Bihar, India. I taught at Nalanda several years ago, helping to found the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy, and Comparative Religion. There I taught several courses -- Sanskrit, courses on Religious Studies theories and methods -- most importantly, The History and Politics of Yoga. After my contract was not renewed and I was given no reason, I had to argue with the university about my final pay (which I have never received). In the course of that fight I contacted every member of the Nalanda board. Only one ever responded. Several months after I was supposed to receive my final pay (for July 2017) I woke up to an email from a journalist asking me if I had any response to Ram Madhav's tweet about my course. (You can see the many awful things that were said about me below, what you cannot see are the private messages I received threatening rape and death if I ever returned to India). You can read more about this incident here and here.
In that second link you will see that I was ordered to apologize for speaking up for myself and issued a veiled threat of "appropriate action" if I continued to speak about this issue. I again wrote to many Nalanda board members, including one of the founding board members of AAIS. Again, I received no response. I have invited that same board member to my talks at several conferences, they have not come to my talks or responded in any way. 
I will also note that this board member joined the Nalanda board after an RSS-linked administration was put into place. That board member certainly did not speak up for academic integrity at that or any other point. I am offended that an organization would publish a conference listing on this list of international scholars when one of its own board members remained silent (and in my mind complicit) with these threats. 
Nalanda has now lost nearly all its foreign faculty (and students from my understanding). This is, of course, what the administration wanted. I am not surprised by their actions but I am disheartened that not a single member of their board, full of esteemed academics, did not at least speak out against the violent threats made toward me. I am angry that not one of them spoke up for academic freedom. 
There is your clear link between AAIS and Hindutva.Best,
Patricia Sauthoff
On Wed, Jun 26, 2019 at 5:28 AM Koenraad Elst via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

Dear listfolk,

Seems a just-begun draft made it to my outbox. Anyway, this will make
my analysis a lot shorter and more readable.

The many Sanskritists and other ivory-tower-dwellers on this list will
not like the irruption of politics into their lofty discipline. But
like it or not, Indology just happens to be far more politicized than
e.g. Sinology. So I for one don't mind accepting Tyler Williams'
apologies for troubling us with the politics of it all. And he in turn
shouldn't mind comments on his position, by Nagaraj and now by me,
especially since he chooses to burden this list with an in-your-face
allegation against a fellow list member.

>With all due respect to the colleague who posted this announcement, I must express serious misgivings about the nature of the proposed "conference," so serious that I am uncomfortable with the Indology listserve being used to promote this event.<

He surely hasn't missed his entrée. Right away, he leaves us in no
doubt about where he stands. It is customary for a certain ideological
school, the self-styled SJWs, to deny its adversaries legitimacy for
not only the contents but even for the definitional status of their
"publications". As a marked "scholar" with a "PhD" who writes "books"
and "papers", I recognize from afar the political implications of the
expression "conference". As if it were anything else than a
conference. And I don't get disappointed, for the next part of the
opening sentence already is a request for deplatforming his chosen
adversary, -- deplatforming being the absolute favourite in very that
school's armoury. That just begs to be "problematized".

>There is no delicate way to put it: the AAIS is a Hindutva ideological project with specious intellectual foundations that is not only hostile to the disciplines and work of many of the scholars on this list but that also aligns itself with a politics that encourages harassment and even violence against our colleagues in India.<

"Even violence"? My oh my, what have we got here on this list?
Lavanya, is that you?

But I do know of a target of Leftist violence, viz. Vivek Agnihotri,
the coiner of the term "Urban Naxal", to which Williams objects. It is
a verifiable fact that several Leftist public figures, from Sanjay
Dutt on down, have physically made common cause with terrorists; and
that hundreds have verbally supported terrorists. Personally I think
that that is allowed, you could e.g. give reasoned arguments for
Kashmiri separatism all while this cause is equally defended with
terror by others. But to oppose it is equally permitted, and it seems
Hindus are no longer taking it lying down and have joined the battle
of discourse. As an ex-Marxist, I think the adoption of such colourful
fighting terms tends to be a crucial moment in the history of an
emancipation movement.

And "Hindutva" project? The story of this recent "Indic" movement is
precisely a concern to distance themselves from the legitimate
"Hindutva" crowd, meaning the HMS and Sangh Parivar, who swear by
"nationalism". The more successful the Parivar has become politically,
the hazier and clumsier it has become ideologically, so it is facing
several budding alternatives within Hindu politics. A first paper of
mine about this is already 8 years old
but has never made any dent in the standard narrative.

Most "experts" on the subject make a very loose, pamphlet-like use of
the term Hindutva. Yet, it has a precise definition, given by the
founder himself. A fast criterion for objectivity in reporting, and a
fortiori in scholarship, is using the terms which the people
themselves use for themselves, with any qualifiers being separate and
made recognizable as such. The context in which VD Savarkar started
the political use of this term for "Hinduness" (coined in 19th-century
Bengal in the same sense) in 1923, was nationalism, and hence the only
permissible extension of its meaning is as "Hindu nationalism",
identified with the Hindu Mahasabha and the Sangh Parivar. However,
the story of this recent "Indic" mouvance is precisely to keep a
distance from it.

I entirely agree that even with this "Indic" critique of "Western
Indology", a few things are seriously deficient. But a serious
Indologist will recognize this as one voice in an array of criticism
of Indology per se (see e.g.
In particular, the great interest Western India-watchers take in class
conflict within Hindu society, certainly comes in for a suspicion of
neo-colonialism. Exploiting inter-native conflicts was a prime
stratagem in colonization, e.g. Hernan Cortes conquered Mexico from
the Aztecs by allying with disgruntled other tribes. And indeed, the
"Breaking India" forces (such as the Christian Missionaries) extol
this conflict beyond all proportion, thus making their own project of
conquest ("rich harvest of souls" -- Pope JP II) invisible, at least
to naïve or wilfully blind observers.

Indeed, "colonialism (and its epistemological violence) were carried
out by European together with members of elite South Asian
communities",--and, if the colonialist so chose, also with other
agents, such as members of the Depressed Classes, e.g. Dr. Ambedkar
serving on the Viceroy's council. The power struggle is indeed more
complex than the native/foreign binary of the Indics, but also more
complex than the "good subalterns plus their Western sympathizers vs.
the ugly evil Brahmins" of the Indian Left and its Western sponsors
(examples on request).

Finally, I note the over-confident condemnation of the reference to
"more than 5000 years of a continuous civilization" as an
"anti-historical assertion". To the extent that this hints at the
Aryan Invasion Theory, so dear to the hearts of the Breaking India
forces, I will comply right away with the desire of most list members
not to re-open te debate on this old saw.

Kind regards,

Dr. Koenraad Elst, neither Hindu nor nationalist

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Patricia Sauthoff
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of History and Classics
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Canada_______________________________________________
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