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Dr. Naveen Chandra's letter to Ananya Vajpeyi in response to her comments on TBFS

 Dr. Naveen Chandras letter to Ananya Vajpeyi in response to her comments on TBFS

Dear Ananya Vajpeyi  Ph.D. 

I looked at your letter making three points. 

  1. You request support to JNU in its present predicament.
  2. You allude to Rajiv Malhotra’s plagiarism.
  3. You praise Sheldon Pollock’s scholarship. 

While I expected a more profound analysis of The Battle For Sanskrit from a Ph. D. degree holder  like you or at least a rebuttal  of the statements attributed to Sheldon Pollock on Sanskrit and Brahmins,  especially considering that you are his student, I will settle down for the mediocre emission, and  I take it then that TBFS represents your guru’s stance on the crucial subjects of Sanskrit and Brahmins, let me proceed  with my own, a physicist’s,  consideration of what lurches in the minds of the hate mongers. I also include a Sanskrit poem at the end which your guru can get translated into English by one of the Indian slaves he employs. Stop stereotyping people, a despicable exercise of the West, and be original true to your sampradaya. 

  1. 56 Professors of Madras IIT said "We support intellectual freedom, and alternative views are a must for democracy and creativity. However, there is a deep distortion of the meaning of academic freedom.” They have requested the President to take steps for saving educational institutions from the "scholarship of abuse, hate and discord" and restoring the atmosphere of sobriety, reflection and harmony necessary for genuine scholarship, Shreepad Karmalkar, a professor and one of the signatories, said in a statement.  In view of this statement I can’t support JNU as requested by you.

  2. I have thoroughly examined the evidence on Rajiv Malhotra’s alleged plagiarism, and have written three articles on the subject.  Please read them.

  3. Sheldon Pollock’s Scholarship:  All scholars make evidence based statements. Contrarily, if any person makes statements and does not provide evidence, that person cannot claim to be a scholar. 

  • Pollock says a king patronized Valmiki. Can he provide the name of that king? Does Valmiki say in Ramayana anything about a patron king? How was the first Hindu poem written? One morning on the banks of Ganga Valmiki saw a couple of cranes mating, but the very next instant the male bird died, hit by an arrow.  He became angry and was overcome with grief.  He looked around to find out who had shot the bird. He saw a hunter with a bow and arrows, nearby. Valmiki became very angry.  His lips opened and he cried out, 

मां निषाद प्रतिष्ठां त्वमगमः शाश्वतीः समाः। 

यत्क्रौंचमिथुनादेकम् अवधीः काममोहितम्॥'  

 

mā niṣāda pratiṣṭhāṁ tvamagamaḥśāśvatīḥ samāḥ 

yat krauñcamithunādekam avadhīḥ kāmamohitam 

 

You will find no rest for the long years of Eternity 

For you killed a bird in love and unsuspecting. 

 

This was the first Hindu verse, and the first Sanskrit verse. The natural chandassu was Anustup which he used for Ramayana rachana inspired by Brahma and getting the story from Narada. Do you see a king here? Why is Sheldon Pollock distorting history saying there was one, without providing a name?

  • Mauryan Emperor Ashoka sent his daughter Sangamitra and son  Mahendra to Sri Lanka to propagate Budhdhism.  Muslim hordes invaded India to propagate their religion and culture. Christians from Europe came and occupied India.  Name one Hindu king who sent Armies or led an invasion on a foreign country to spread Sanskrit and Hinduism.
  • Muslims killed 18 million Hindus, majority of them Brahmins and the Christians killed 7 million in Bengal famine alone under Winston Churchill in 1943 in a manmade Holocaust. Can you name a Hindu king who did anything closely resembling these massacres of Hindus by Muslims and Christians?
  • Sheldon Pollock says all Hindu art and literature developed under kings. Let me mention three great poets in Telugu language who refused any patronage from kings - Potana, Tyagayya and Shyam Sastri.  Potana (1450-1510) wrote Mahabhagavata inspired by Rama and dedicated it to Rama even though he was a Shaivite. He wrote: 

ఇమ్మనుజేశ్వరాధములకిచ్చి పురంబులు వాహనంబులున్ 

సొమ్ములు కొన్ని పుచ్చుకుని సొక్కి శరీరము  వాసి కాలుచే 

సమ్మెట వేటులంబడక సన్మతి శ్రీహరి కిచ్చిచెప్పె ఈ 

బమ్మెర పోతరాజొకండు భాగవతంబు జగధ్ధితంబుగన్. 

Refusing to give in to the lowly king, this Bammera Potaraaju dedicated his Bhaagavatam to Sreehari.  Look at the word Potana (Potaraju) uses to describe the kings “LOWLY”. He went on to become one of the greatest Telugu Poets.

  • Tikkana the greatest Telugu poet dedicated his magnum opus Mahabharatam to Hariharanatha a deity he created from the words Hari (Vishnu) and Hara (Siva) to promote harmony among the followers of these two.
  • Thyagaraaju, another great Telugu poet refused patronage of any king, singing his songs in the temples of Rama and likewise another great Telugu poet, Shyama Sastri, sang in the Kanchi temple. Both of them joined Muttuswami Dikshitaar to become Carnatic Music Trinity.
  • Thus there are many Telugu poets who dedicated their works to their favourite deity and not to a king. How can Sheldon Pollock say that all Hindu literature was patronized by Kings and get away with a blatant lie?
  • Three great Telugu poets Nanne Choda, Vemana and Ramaraja Bhushana were non-Brahmins.
  • Sheldon Pollock says Sanskrit was a reserved area of Brahmins. The greatest Sanskrit poets Valmiki, Vyasa and Kalidasa were not Brahmins. Valmiki was a hunter, Vyasa  was the son a fisherwoman Satyavati and Kalidasa was not a Brahmin. Even if Valmiki mentioned he belonged to Bharadwaja clan, does it preclude him being the son of a hunter woman?
  • Marriages between Brahmins and non -Brahmins were common. Vashista the Brahmarishi par excellence married Arundhati, a Dalit Kanya.
  • Sheldon Pollock says the subject material of all kavyas was kings. Here again he fails to produce fool proof evidence. Mrichchakatika one of the best Sanskrit plays and definitely the best known in Europe, had a poor Brahmin, Charudatta, as hero and Vasantika, a courtesan as heroine. The other roles were from lower classes who spoke all languages like Prakrit in addition to Sanskrit in the play.  A disregard to Natya Sastra that frowned upon.  Krishna Karnamritam, another kavya did not choose a king for hero.
  • Even Ramayana’s Aranyakanda, Kishkindhakanda, Sundarakanda and Yuddhakanda deal with rakshasas, vanaras and birds, and have no mention of a single Brahmin. The Guru Vishwamitra was not a Brahmin.
  • The other great playwright of Sanskrit Bhasa chose themes involving common people, against the stipulations of Natya Sastra. Not always  were sastras  obeyed as Pollock would have us believe. In Telugu,  Palkurki Somanatha wrote in Dwipada Chandassu, a disrespect to Lakshanika Sastra.
  • A strange statement is attributed to Pollock that Muslims and British tried to rejuvenate Sanskrit and Brahmins refused. I lived in Telangana under Nizam for 21 years before I left for Canada. Nizam did not give a cent for the development of Telugu, the local language let alone Sanskrit. Everyone had to learn Urdu.  In Pakistan Sindhi, Punjabi, Pustu and Balochi are not spoken today because of the domination of Urdu, according to Tarek Fatah. That is how Muslims treated other Muslims in a Muslim country.  Imagine the atrocities Nizam committed in Telangana against Hindus - rapes, murders and looting. Telugu language is full of poems describing the Nizam’s atrocities.  Not only Telugu, but there are similar poems in Marathi and Kannada languages also, as they were under the Nizam’s rule as well. No Marx, or no Pollock can say those atrocities did not happen.
  • In one of his papers Pollock complains the prayoga (experiment) was not developed in India as much as sastra (theory).  He should know better.  Hindus were best in three areas - metallurgy, textiles and shipbuilding. Did they get to be the best without prayogas?
  • Madhva based his Dwaita sidhdhanta on Pratyaksha (प्रत्यक्ष – perception), Anumāna (अनुमान inference) and Śabda  (शब्द - relying on word), a rationalistic approach unheard of in the Abrahamic religions or even in dogmatic Marxism.
  • Calculus was developed in India 250 years before Leibnitz and Newton by the Kerala school as reported by a Manchester-Exeter universities team. The Kerala school developed the Pi series and used it to calculate Pi correct to 9, 10 and later 17 decimal places. It goes on to say “….. there is strong circumstantial evidence that Indians passed on their discoveries to mathematically savvy Jesuit missionaries who visited India during the 15th century. That knowledge, the researchers argue, may have been passed on to Newton.
  • So called Pythagoras theorem, Pascal’s Triangle and Diophantine equations were known to Vedic people long before they were to Europeans. Zero, infinity, negative numbers , age of the earth, age of the universe , shape of the earth as being round as opposed to Biblical version of a flat earth, and plastic surgery are some of the achievements of Hindus so pre-occupied with power,  prashasti according to Pollock.
  • The plastic surgery developed by Susruta was practiced by potters, not Brahmins.
  • Soldiers were non Brahmins who spoke Sanskrit, Prakrit and Pali.
  • Thus Hindu intellectual achievements spanned a spectrum of areas from arts, science, mathematics, technology, medicine, surgery, governance, metaphysics, philosophy, literature and others where non Brahmins made significant contributions.
  • Certainly we didn’t have kings like Henry VIII or other syphilitic monarchs of Europe.  Europe introduced syphilis into every country they travelled.  A major genocide of First Nations people in North America happened from other diseases carried in blankets brought from Europe. Let Pollock deny this!
  • It seems Pollock has Hindu phobia and Sanskrit phobia. One wonders why?  Hindus opened their arms to all refugees including Jews, Syrian Christians, Parsis, Buddhists and even Muslims.  India, a Hindu country had one time in the recent past, a Muslim President (APJ Abdul Kalam), Sikh Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and Christian Congress Party President (Sonia Gandhi) - all minorities.  Can Pollock show a religion like Hinduism that showed so much tolerance to minorities?  We know what Christians did in Canada, in America, in Mexico, in Chile, in Australia –  genocide of unbelievable proportions. Even today in Canada the rapes and killings of First Nations women, children and men continue unabated, sometimes at the hands of the police.  In the USA,  police and Euro-Americans kill African Americans routinely.  Did Hindus do anything like it? Why oh, why, does Pollock hate Sanskrit and Brahmins so much? I think I know the answer.  He is directing his anger toward Hitler onto Brahmins and Sanskrit. Hitler admired Sanskrit, he took Swastika as his symbol, he admired Aryans and then he killed so many Jews. So Pollock hates Hitler who liked Sanskrit – ergo in his little mind Pollock has to hate Brahmins and Sanskrit. However unreasonable it may sound.  I just want to remind Pollock that Leningrad is no more Leningrad - it is St. Petersburg once again.  USSR failed, communism failed. Will Frankfurt school be any better?  No. It won’t be.  Al l Western philosophies share one thing common with Monotheism, even the communists and Marxists - the belief that <MY WAY IS BETTER THAN YOURS.  I WILL GO TO ANY LENGTH TO DEFEND IT - EVEN KILLINGS ON MASS SCALE> Now let me tell you why Hinduism survived - it accepted everyone with love, patience and tolerance, qualities absent in the West and in the middle east and in the Abrahamic Religions. Let Pollock consider this awhile.

I will stop here and let you apply the theorem to Sheldon Pollock of not furnishing evidence for his statements.

Author: Dr. Naveen Chandra

Published: March 03, 2016

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