To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing this letter as I believe it is the most I can do, in the face of what is happening.
Attached is the 2022 calendar for IIT Kharagpur. Kindly take a look at it.
am not a historian, merely an amateur, and hence I cannot
satisfactorily provide a rebuttal to the 'reinterpretations' of Indian
What shocks me
is how a premier scientific institution of India can allow for such a
selective reading of history, which absolutely flies in the face of
scientific rigour, and present a racially/nationally self-flattering
hypothesis . In these days, racial pride and national pride have become
one and the same (India 'is an ancient race', after all).
all means, dispel eurocentric readings of history. I am all for presenting a view of history where the indigenous knowledge systems of different civilizations are studied on their own merits and not as appendices to western thought.
But do we need to
supplant western supremacist bias with Indian supremacist bias? This
calendar seems to assume that the current consensus amongst historians
is that Aryans plundered their way into the country by hacking away at
Dravidians. That all current historians, barring those associated to
Vidya Bharati / Sewa Bharati (which are absolutely NOT, IN ANY WAY,
associated to RSS or BJP), have a view of Indian history steeped in
cultural inferiority, actively crafted by jealous westerners to chip
away our collective pride.
What a convenient strawman to attack current
historians, who subscribe to nothing of the sort.
tells me that the majority of historians in India will not respond to
this calendar either. Pardon me for saying this, but I have seen a
tendency in 'career experts' - experts and authorities in different
subjects, be it history or science - to pass off an opportunity to rise
to an occasion which needed them to act, by pretending that they are
holding back because of some virtue like 'staying focused' or 'being
patient' - unless, of course, it is institutional, can be mentioned on
the CV and faculty page, and pushes them up the career ladder. Then they
do it because 'they love/care about the subject'.
This calendar assumes three things -
there exists a dominant, presumptive hypothesis called the 'Aryan Invasion
Theory' - no historian in this day and age, be it a 'communist' historian or as they say, a 'colonial mindset'
historian, or a 'patriotic' historian, or a 'funded by Catholic Church
foreigner' historian, or a 'whitewashing Mohammedan carnage' muslim historian, or any other stereotyped historian of any kind, believes in Aryan invasion. The current consensus, which is itself constantly evolving in light of new archaeological evidence and more rigorous interpretations,
is that a migration took place, gradually, in successive waves, and
there was no large-scale violence during this period, and Aryan and
Pre-Aryan (which was more than just 'Dravidian' culture) cultures fused
and intermixed as cultures often do. But of course, this view of reality
is inconvenient to those who want to throw 'unpatriotic, spiritually
parasitic' historians out of India's learning institutions.
Vedas were composed by people who had no biases, no political
inclinations, no caste/class prejudices, no conflicts of interest, and
were supreme in all matters of spirituality. And their exegesis in the
Upanishads were also written by equally transcendental figures.
Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda are historians. If we are to read
Indian history by what they have to say, then perhaps we should read
Roman history by what the Pope has to say about it. Of course, they will
be very unbiased in their views, won't they?
the same kind of logic used in that calendar, I can also provide very
convincing interpretations, weaving together real archaeological evidence, of the
literal existence of a 'now extinct' creature Hydra that the Greek hero Hercules
fought. In fact, I can even prove that Hercules is just the Greek name
for Krishna, and Hydra was just Kaliya Nag whom Krishna defeated ! Or that an Egyptian god of
the dead called Anubis does greet you
after you die - and is none other than Yamdev, who also tested Yudhisthira ! Or a half-man-half-bull monster created using 'ancient
gene therapy' which is remembered as the Minotaur of Crete (using
technology invented by Shiva to transplant Ganesha's head). I
could also, very easily, using selective evidence, prove that the Earth
is actually only 6000 years old as the Bible says, and humans and
dinosaurs lived together - indeed there are entire schools runs by
people who believe this Biblical nonsense in the US, just as we believe Brahminical rationalizations.
as European scholars selectively used Greek and Roman history to prove a
view of Western superiority centuries ago, today we are selectively
using Indian history to prove a view of Eastern superiority. We are
fighting racial supremacy with racial supremacy.
seem to believe that India has had a patent on philosophical and
spiritual thought since time immemorial - why stop at 7000 BCE? Perhaps we were the Vishwa-Guru since Treta Yuga (2 million years ago) when even
homo sapiens did not exist. Perhaps Ayodhya palace was built by Homo
Erectus. Or is that too offensive to suggest? Or maybe homo sapiens did
indeed exist 2 million years ago, but the west conspired to hide the
fact, so that India never realized how it invented palace-building and
governance. After all, even the Allahabad High Court had once proclaimed
that 'Ayodhya temple was probably built by Lord Rama 9 million years
we start revisiting human evolution to accommodate the fact that the
Treta-Yuga ended millions of years ago? After all, this calendar seems
to treat the Vedas as an infallible source composed by rishis who had
transcended all fallibilities in human judgement.
Maybe Dashavatar are nothing but a mapping of the different evolutionary stages of humans ! Think about it ! Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortoise), Varaha (warthog), Vamana (Homo Erectus ???), Narasimha (Neanderthal ???) - it is evident how this perspective has been suppressed by bolshevik-leaning apparatchiks of Nehru, Indira and the current roster of urban naxals to keep Indian pride from realizing itself !!!
not go one step further and say that Mount Meru really is the center of
the world as the Vedas say, and Mt. Everest is a colonial myth? Or
better yet, say that Meru was the ancient name of Everest?
we ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of genetic studies point to the
fact that there was indeed several waves of migration of Aryan tribes
into the Indian subcontinent - a MIGRATION which these neo-racialists
posit as a hypothesis of 'INVASION' in order to discredit it - and the
fact that the Indus Valley used no language remotely similar to
Sanskrit? Or dismiss the majority of the archaeological evidence,
amongst which a few pieces suggest an alternate hypothesis which these
neo-racialists so desperately cling to? Or should we believe that the
first language to have developed on Earth was Sanskrit, and all other
languages are but inferior copies of it?
new school of 'Indian Knowledge Systems' seems to be hell bent on
ignoring all evidence that presents a more sober picture of history, and
crafting a self-glorifying picture of eternal nationhood based on the
idea that all good on Earth came from India, from kindness to animals to
brushing one's teeth to philanthropy.
is sad, because I really am an enthusiast of Indian philosophy - actual ancient Indian philosophy, not the neo-vedantist reinterpretations of wishful thinkers, conveniently used to bolster the idea of an ancient enlightened civilization as the bedrock of Indian nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries, to counter a supremacist, patronizing British imperialism. There really was a need to do away with Eurocentric
readings of history.
If only we had a school who studied Indian scholarly traditions with rigour and humanist sentiments, and not the humanist posings of Vedic platitudes of 'vasudhaiva kutumbakam' and 'tat tvam asi' - every religion has scores of proverbs attesting to their humanistic, universalistic and inclusivistic credentials. These are often written by the very people least likely to be inclusive in their behaviour - like my Gandhian, Arya Samaji grandfather who threw a fit when he realized that his daughter's boyfriend was not a Brahman, or my bleeding heart left-leaning IAS officer uncle who mutters 'bloody sepoy' when his uniformed valet fails to bring him his cup of coffee on time.
To use rapturous, generous proverbs, adages and mantras to blind one to reasonable skepticism is insulting to one's intelligence, especially if the person hails from IIT.
Unfortunately, we seem to have responded to Western
supremacist history of the world (which has been in decline for decades
now, and modern historians are quite aware of eurocentric bias) with
the Indian supremacist history of the world.
letter is what I could do to respond to this troubling development in
Indian academia. What will you do? Probably nothing. After all, it takes
the ability to prioritize things which are s̶e̶l̶f̶i̶s̶h̶ practical to
defeat thousands of other more foolishly idealistic people to get into
an IIT, either as a professor or a student. You've got tenure, grants
and PhD students. Thats all that matters.
Some Guy Whose Insolence Will Probably Vex You More Than The Subject of this Letter
Thanks for sharing this. It’s truly dismaying to see the world’s “two greatest democracies “ — India and the US — submerged by floods of sheer idiocy.
[FYI: this is related to these other recent developments from the same institute on the same topic:
- The unicorn as a symbol of a Vedic rishi is among the four “decisive evidences” the sages of IIT Kharagpur have presented in a 2022 calendar, whose stated purpose is to rebut the “Aryan invasion myth”.
- The calendar has been produced under the auspices of the newly inaugurated Centre of Excellence for Indian Knowledge Systems at IIT Kharagpur, headed by Prof. Joy Sen.
- Even though this calendar has thrust IIT Kharagpur into the news, the so-called “Indian Knowledge Systems” already have a home in IIT Gandhinagar, and IIT Kanpur may be next in line.