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Sheldon Pollock, the commie should be ignored. Implement 10 year roadmap for Samskritam

Sheldon Pollock the commie should be ignored. Implement 10 year roadmap for Samskritam

This is a followup blogpost in the context a petition asking for Sheldon Pollock to be removed from Editorship of RohamMurty Classical Library. 

Peanut gallery, Murty is studded with Infosys empty shells. Shame on your wealth. The Pollock petition: What Rohan Murty missed -- R Jagannathan. Peanut gallery, Murty is studded with Infosys empty shells. Shame on your wealth. 

In the heat of petitioning, an underlying reality was rarely noticed: the reality is that by his own admission, Sheldon Pollock is a Marxist.

 The question is: should academics and concerned citizens waste their time about the views of a Marxist, since Marxism is dead exemplified by the dissolution of the Soviet Union and privatisation of China. 

Yes, there are some Marxists still floating around in many parts of the world, including USA. 

Why not ignore Sheldon Pollock as a Marxist loony (i.e. mad or silly person)?

One argument is: loony, he may be, but he attracts donors like RohanMurty who contemptuously refers to the petitioners as 'Peanut gallery'. So, should the focus be on RohanMurty and NOt on Sheldon Pollock, the Marxist loony? 

Now, comes another argument. Should such loonies be studied as a serious academic exercise? 

I am thankful to Prof. KS Kannan who has presented a lucid summary of the Commie's views (see Appendix). In brief, the Appendix lists the loony Commie's views on Samskrtam and Samskrti (i.e. the language and culture of Bharatam). The views are comparable to a Drain Inspector's Report so characterised by Gandhi about Katherine Mayo's book: 

  1. Vedas engender authorianism and inspire social repression
  2. Kumarila, Mimamsa scholar should be characterised as a deep Nazi, the way Hitler is characterised as a Mimamsaka
  3. Samskrtam began two millennia after Indus Valley civilization and rise of vernaculars killed Samskrtam
  4. Ramayana is a literature of atrocity and is used as violence against Muslims

What should be done? Should these loony expressions be taken seriously and detailed scholastic attempts made to debunk the rascal?

I suggest that commie loonies and equally loony corporate sponsors of such loonies should be ignored as a drain inspector gang. There is no need to waste the time of the nation on the path of true Swarajyam since May 2014. 

Rajiv Malhotra has made a good point about the need to join the Battle for Sanskrit. I agree. the battle should be fought NOT against commie loonies and loony financiers, but by implementing the recommendations of N. Gopalaswamy committee report. See: 10 year roadmap for development of Samskritam, Full text of Report (2016) to HRD Minister. 

Srinivasan Kalyanaraman

Sarasvati Research Center'

March 16, 2016

Appendix

 1. Pollock’s paper on shastra 

His thesis: The relationship between shastra and prayoga (theory and practical activity) is one which is diametrically opposed to what it is in the West. In the West there is progress because new experience and practical considerations inform the thinkers who can change and develop new thought based on such empirical evidence. On the other hand, the Veda-s are deemed as shastra par excellence, and as already containing all the knowledge. The Veda-s are thus opposed to all progress. Shastra-s are frozen in time; hence they hinder creativity, and are inherently regressive. Added to this, shastra-s engender authoritarianism and inspire social oppression. In contrast, Western civilisation is based on freedom. As a result, shastra-s are to be seen as a major cause - of Indian lack of creativity and freedom, and for the existence of oppression. 

2. Pollock’s paper that Sanskrit influenced Nazi ideology leading to the holocaust 

His thesis: Early India had a pre-form of racism evidenced in the tension it provided between the aryan and the non-aryan. This became adopted by Europeans and was projected in the West as White v/s non-White. Nazi Indologists took recourse to Sanskrit texts to model their racist agenda. The Purva-Mimamsa school championed a high brahminism, and this contributed to the legitimisation of genocide, which found its culmination in the holocaust of Jews by Nazis. Kumarila may hence be styled as a deep Nazi, and by the same token, Hitler may be labelled a deep Mimamsaka. 

3. Pollock’s paper on the death of Sanskrit 

His thesis: Sanskrit began its career about two millennia after the Indus Valley Civilisation. Right from Vedic times, Sanskrit grammar and literature were a serious cause of social oppression, because Sanskrit was monopolised by Brahmins. Sanskrit was killed by Hindu kings around a thousand years ago; the Muslim kings cannot get any blame for this. The rise of vernaculars too contributed to the killing of Sanskrit, as it had domineered over them for a millennium. Sanskrit ought to be secularized because the ritual uses to which it is put are veritable props of superstition and social exploitation. Sanskrit is after all dead, and recent attempts to revive it go to serve a political agenda, and nothing more. 

4. Pollock’s thesis on the Ramayana as a political device 

His thesis: The sacredness of the Ramayana is only a smokescreen to cover its essential role as a political instrument of rulers. To a large extent inspired by a Buddhist Jataka tale, it has  principally been a tool of safeguarding the exploitative means of social stratification. The major characters of the epic utterly lack free will, and the epic thus inspires fatalism, so detrimental to the future of the nation. Patently oppressing women and marginalising the lower classes, the Ramayana theme is little different from a literature of atrocity. The performance of yajna-s was a way of divinising the kings, who returned the favour to the brahmins who conducted this, by ensuring full and high security to them. The Raja Dharma section of the Mahabharata, twin epic of the Ramayana, issues a stern warning that whosoever turns against the king would soon meet his ruin. The rules of dharma-shastra were wantonly violated by kings, while at the same time were imposed on the citizens. In recent centuries, it has turned out to be the means of inflicting violence against Muslims who have been demonised.

Author: Srinivasan Kalyanaraman

Published: March 16, 2016

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