[INDOLOGY] Supporting each other in public

Patricia Sauthoff sauthoff at ualberta.ca
Sun Jun 30 01:18:06 UTC 2019

Dear Koenraad,

You seem like a very angry person. I am saddened by that. We should all be
able to live our lives without fear, anger, or hatred.

I think you misunderstand me. I am no victim. I was merely a target, and a
convenient one at that. It is unfortunate that you feel victimized. It is a
liberating feeling to shirk off the bonds of victimhood and live life with
an open and optimistic heart and mind.

I wish you the best, but I am sending all your emails to my spam folder


On Sat, Jun 29, 2019 at 6:27 PM Koenraad Elst <koenraad.elst at gmail.com>

> Dear listfolk,
> About Copernicus, I knew very well that he didn't live to see the
> reaction to his theory, and I had always learned that that was on
> purpose: he knew his theory was unorthodox and risked repression from
> his own employer, the Church. That doesn't make him a bad example of
> the only thing for which I used him as an example, viz. being a
> minority of one and still being right.
> Then Patricia's screaming political tirade. It didn't take long for us
> all to receive an example of the "kindness" and "fellow-feeling" that
> Dominik waxed so eloquent about. Those list members who are allergic
> to politics and waiting for an occasion to blame me for the dirtying
> of their list with politics: please note where this injection of
> politics has come from. The whole letter consists in a favourite
> debating tactic among people who don't know a given subject, viz. to
> divert attention away from it, here mainly with the SJW rhetorical
> tactic par excellence: guilt by association.
> Note first of all that none of the specifically Indological points I
> made has been addressed. Instead we are treated to a list of SJW
> jargon unrelated to India, much of which was unknown to me and
> certainly also to many other list members. Thus, "gaslighting" seems
> to mean, according to the article she refers to: "disingenuously
> redefining a concept beyond recognition". I have no idea which part of
> my message this could refer to, I certainly have never consciously
> done such a thing. And I know for sure that she has no way of knowing
> that my allegedly doing this was "disingenuous": you may see what
> someone does, but for his motive behind this action, you need either
> his own statement of motive, which in this case I have never given; or
> you have to have telepathic powers. I didn't know we had paranormally
> gifted people on this list (or superstitious people only believing
> that they can read others' minds). Then again, with a teacher of the
> History of Yoga, we should be ready for some siddhis. And come to
> think of it, maybe some other Yoga Sutra virtues too, like
> self-control and friendliness, not quite in evidence here.
> It is really rich to be accused of "victimization" by someone who has
> just volunteered a message almost entirely about her own victimization
> at Nalanda. By the way, it was unfair for her to be fired so unkindly,
> but it was first of all a great privilege for such a junior scholar to
> be nominated to this teaching post as a meant-to-be-prestigious
> international university; I know quite a few Indian whiz kids who have
> been totally excluded from careers in the Humanities because they were
> classified as "right-wing", in India merely a code for "non-suicidally
> Hindu". I don't indulge in victimhood talk, her own SJW crowd is so
> much better at it; but it is simply a verifiable fact that I have been
> excluded or disinvited numerous times. The exclusion that she bitterly
> complains about for having lived through it once, I have experienced
> many times. And that is not a "right-wing tactic", a figment of her
> own conspiratorial worldview, but a naked fact. Most of us here are
> scholars, for whom facts are sacred. Are you really one of us,
> Patricia?
> Yes, I have been quoted by Anders Breivik. Well actually, no, I
> haven't. His Manifesto reproduces many articles by other people, and
> in two of those, I am being quoted. This looks like a shrill drama for
> pedestrians who only read headlines, but scholars get to read the
> whole story. I am the only person with the honour of figuring in the
> Manifesto both in a positive and a negative role. Negatively, the
> quoted pseudonymous author Fjordman takes me to task for arguing that
> the Muslim demographic explosion in Europe need not be a cause for
> worry. (Disagree with me, Patricia?) Positively, Breivik builds his
> case against Islam by citing numerous testimonies about difficult
> episodes in Islamic history, and this includes my own paper about the
> Islamic renaming of the Hindu Koh (Hindu mountain) as Hindu Kush
> (Hindu Slaughter). I have since then not been given any reason by
> anyone to change anything in my paper
> (https://koenraadelst.blogspot.com/2010/10/meaning-of-hindu-kush.html).
> I stand by that paper, which restates verifiable facts, and these do
> not change just because Breivik joins the many others who accept them.
> Indeed, many unquestioned authorities in the field are quoted by him.
> Briefly, Breivik had enough brains to figure out an issue and select
> the best sources about it (such as Winston Churchill, the crucial
> anti-Nazi), but he was a misguided fanatic, an illuminatus who thought
> he knew it all better than even the political parties that shared his
> concerns, and which he had given up on since for him, only armed
> struggle was the answer. We may compare him to Abimael Guzman, the
> Peruvian philosophy professor who founded the terrorist group Sendero
> Luminoso and killed many more people. My general view on Breivik can
> be read here:
> https://koenraadelst.blogspot.com/2011/07/if-only-anders-beirvik-had-read.html
> .
> About Patricia Geller I don't know much, but I know Robert Spencer
> personally, and he is an impeccable scholar who has beaten his critics
> in debate many times. If any of you thinks you know his subject better
> than he himself, I trust he is ready for an open debate. But what he
> says and how good he says it, is not the point here. Freedom of speech
> is universal, it is not limited to only those you agree with. Well,
> for their free expression, they have been targeted by terrorists.
> Fortunately, they had hired security (which the FBI wasn't ready to
> provide), who succeeded in eliminating the attackers, though one guard
> got "victimized" himself. That was of course done by the terrorists,
> not by Geller & Spencer, who get the blame here. The terrorists, by
> contrast, are shielded here by remaining unmentioned. There was talk
> here about the neologism "Urban Naxal", which connects Left-wing
> intellectuals with the terrorists they defend or make a common
> political cause with. Well, here you get a ready-made example: the
> terrorists try to kill scholars for their criticism of a religion
> (which Karl Marx considered the beginning of all criticism), and a
> Leftist professor seconds them with slander of and a false insinuation
> against the victims. Reread your own words, Patricia: you are so eager
> to rage against anyone you can associate with me that you actually
> attack the victims of a terrorist attack.
> No, I do not reduce everything to free speech issues. I have written
> on numerous other topics, and fortunately for me, I don't normally
> busy myself with answering SJW polemics. But here we happen to be
> dealing with real free speech issues, including one that Patricia
> brought up. When scholars, whether we like them or not, are attacked
> by terrorists, it is our duty to stand with the targeted scholars, not
> with the terrorists. And free speech is important: far from being a
> "Right-wing tactic", it is indispensable for liberty and democracy. I
> hope you all care about those.
> Conclusion. Just after the listmaster tried to settle this commotion
> peacefully but in a pro-Patricia sense, she herself badly blew it.
> Though visibly lacking in the maturity needed for teaching on an
> august subject like yoga (which need not be a big deal at her age),
> Patricia Sauthoff has the capacity to learn, like most of us. She has
> just been caught in the act of slander against a fellow list member,
> but she can take it as a learning moment and move on. I believe in
> learning, e.g. in believers outgrowing a silly religious doctrine, and
> I will not make an exception for the deluded followers of the SJW
> doctrine. I just received a crash course in how morbid and hateful it
> can be, and am now eager to set my mind on more positive things.
> Apologies for talking so much about myself, but I was attacked on so
> many points, and since no one here is going to speak up for me, I had
> to do it myself.
> Best regards,
> Dr. Koenraad Elst
> On Sat, Jun 29, 2019 at 9:44 PM Patricia Sauthoff via INDOLOGY
> <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> >
> > For those who are unaware of the tactics adopted by the far-right, you
> may enjoy reading this short article
> http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/praxis1313/jeff-stein-strategic-speech-and-alt-right-metapolitics/,
> You'll see that Dr. Elst utilizes them all, from trolling and gaslighting,
> to victimization, to turning everything into a free speech issue.
> >
> > Make no mistake, there is nothing unintentional about this and it is a
> performance for those lurkers who silently agree. It is meant to bait those
> who do not agree into "debate" in order to try to turn their words around
> against them, as Elst attempted to do in his response to me.
> >
> > In his earlier email, Elst presents Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer as
> subjects who have had their free speech trampled. This is a dog whistle.
> Geller and Spencer are opportunistic far-right anti-Muslim activists.
> Spencer was banned from the UK in 2013 due to his extremism. A security
> guard was shot at a stunt in Texas in which they offered a $10K prize to
> the person who drew the "best" cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed.
> >
> > These writers, Elst, and many other far-right writers were cited for
> their anti-Islamic views in the manifesto written by the Norwegian
> terrorist Anders Brevik. If that name isn't familiar, perhaps you'll
> remember the 2011 Oslo bombing and subsequent mass shooting of teenagers on
> an island by a "lone wolf" who killed 77 people in total. Brevik's
> manifesto is now canon among the violent far-right as it lays out tactics
> and strategies for online harassment and real-world terrorism. The
> Austrailian-born Christchurch shooter made reference to it as inspiration
> in his own manifesto.
> >
> > To me, the most worrying tactic of the online far-right is its penchant
> for making lists of "leftists" in order to target them. Recently an online
> publication ran an article with a list of journalists they believed to be
> connected to the anti-fascist movement. The article "was circulated
> approvingly on white supremacist forum Stormfront the day after its
> publication; a day later, a YouTube user uploaded a video of imagery of
> mass shooters intercut with images of the reporters mentioned by Lenihan
> under the heading “Sunset the Media.”"
> >
> > Scary stuff. Turns out words on the internet aren't just words afterall.
> I worry that lurkers on this email listserv may build their own list of
> targets, i.e., some of us.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sat, Jun 29, 2019 at 10:17 AM Koenraad Elst via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> >>
> >> Dear Dominik,
> >>
> >> Thanks for being so openly partisan and yet not even threatening to
> >> exclude me, let alone simply censor me. In a better world this ought
> >> to be a matter of course rather than a reason for thanks, but is has
> >> become so rare that it deserves special mention.
> >>
> >> Your point is well taken: make expressions of kindness, human
> >> fellow-feeling etc. public. Only, I have received several messages of
> >> support off-list from members who insist on keeping them off-list.
> >> They claim to have reasons to believe that their social standing and
> >> career chances would suffer otherwise. No use telling them that Good
> >> Guys would never countenance such an intolerant scenario. Public
> >> expressions of support must be an SJW privilege.
> >>
> >> As for your notion of "majority", in India so problematic but on this
> >> list a source of warm feelings of kindness etc., I dare say from
> >> experience that it is not very consequential. In 1990 when I was
> >> hatefully attacked by big experts at the Ramayana Conference in my
> >> hometown Leuven, only for my politely formulated viewpoint that there
> >> had indeed been a temple at the contentious site in Ayodhya, those who
> >> expressed sympathy with me (in private) were in a minority. Yet, the
> >> big experts were resoundingly wrong while I went on to being proven
> >> right: as the 2003 excavations superfluously proved once more, of
> >> course there had been a temple there. And when the UP High Court
> >> acknowledged as much in autumn 2010, at the next AAA annual conference
> >> I was actually congratulated by two American professors. That felt
> >> quite good. The price for staying within the safe and warm majority is
> >> that you'll never get to feel this.
> >>
> >> When Copernicus launched the heliocentric worldview, he was in a
> >> minority of one. Overnight, his theory made all the works containing
> >> references to the geocentric framework obsolete, and their authors
> >> resented him. The support he enjoyed was sparse, the opposition
> >> abundant; but none of that mattered to the next generation, that found
> >> he had been right. And today, the "majority" opinion of those days is
> >> only a historical curiosity. So, enjoy your majority while it lasts.
> >>
> >> Now I don't want to compare myself to Copernicus, if only because his
> >> insight was highly original whereas I only restated what had been a
> >> matter of consensus until a few years earlier. As was clear in a trial
> >> ca. 1885, all parties concerned agreed that a temple had forcibly been
> >> replaced with a mosque, though the local Muslims and the British judge
> >> in his verdict thought that no remedy for that should be tried at this
> >> late hour.  That could have remained the position of the anti-temple
> >> camp. Alas, the "eminent historians" in the late 1980s started
> >> pleading that the temple had never existed and was only a "Hindutva
> >> concoction". They never gave evidence for this break with the
> >> consensus, but the Congress politicians felt intimidated enough to
> >> abandon their earlier attempts for a peaceful settlement giving the
> >> site to the Hindus, leaving the issue to the BJP. More important for
> >> this forum, and far stranger, is that most Western experts started
> >> speaking out against the existence of the temple at the mere say-so of
> >> their "eminent" colleagues. A Dutch scholar who had in tempore non
> >> suspecto adduced more indications for the temple in his own research,
> >> and got retro-actively attacked for this (what had suddenly become a)
> >> deviation from the party-line, even hurried to fall in line and
> >> condemn the temple tradition. But years later, when called to the
> >> witness stand at the UP High Court to present the fabled evidence that
> >> had somehow swayed politicians and Indologists alike, the eminent
> >> historians imploded one after another, an embarrassing coda on which
> >> the lid has carefully been kept (except in
> >> http://indiafacts.org/definitive-ayodhya-chronicle/).
> >>
> >> Even more strangely, many supposedly dispassionate scholars got quite
> >> emotionally involved in this borrowed anti-temple position. This
> >> partly followed from their prior assumption that the pro-temple party
> >> (though containing Congress politicians like Gulzarilal Nanda, Buta
> >> Singh and PM Rajiv Gandhi, who merely wanted a reasonable solution,
> >> see https://www.academia.edu/14614579/The_Three_Ayodhya_Debates) were
> >> the bad guys, and how could these ever be right? There is nothing
> >> wrong with hate if it is against the bad guys, right? So, many of the
> >> attacks I underwent in those days had a particularly self-righteous
> >> and mean quality. Better to be wrong with the eminences than to be
> >> right with the allegedly Hindutva crowd.
> >>
> >> But that was then and this is now. I trust we have learned from
> >> episodes like that one. Hence, no doubt, the practice of real
> >> toleration in free speech on this forum.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Kind regards,
> >>
> >>
> >> Koenraad Elst
> >>
> >> On Sat, Jun 29, 2019 at 4:58 AM Dominik Wujastyk via INDOLOGY
> >> <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> >> >
> >> > Dear colleagues,
> >> >
> >> > When these discussions arise that have a political dimension, and you
> feel moved to write to one of the good guys with a message of support,
> please think about sending it publicly.  Messages of support are a very
> good thing, public or private.  Anything is better than nothing.  But
> sending such a message publicly can greatly magnify the effectiveness of
> the support for the individual.  It also sends a message to everyone, on
> this list and beyond, that there is a ground-swell of kindness, of human
> fellow-feeling, positivity and watchfulness amongst the majority of our
> community.  We care about each other and will support each other when
> attacked.
> >> >
> >> > Best wishes,
> >> > Dominik
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > --
> >> > Professor Dominik Wujastyk,
> >> > Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity,
> >> > Department of History and Classics,
> >> > University of Alberta, Canada.
> >> > South Asia at the U of A: sas.ualberta.ca
> >> >
> >> > _______________________________________________
> >> > INDOLOGY mailing list
> >> > INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
> >> > indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing
> committee)
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> options or unsubscribe)
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
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> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Patricia Sauthoff
> > Postdoctoral Fellow
> > AyurYog.org
> > Department of History and Classics
> > University of Alberta
> > Edmonton, Canada
> > _______________________________________________
> > INDOLOGY mailing list
> > INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
> > indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing
> committee)
> > http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options
> or unsubscribe)

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

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