Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hindutva in Academia and Brahmin Hegemony in Arts

As one who has consistently written against class hatred of Brahmins, as a community, largely by adherents and supporters of Dravidian political ideologies, I'd like to speak of another side as a critic and member of the human race. In the vitiated political atmosphere that Tamil Nadu became, thanks to nearly 70 years of hate propaganda that took the place of much needed reform ideas, it is easy to tarnish any non-Brahmin who speaks against class hatred as 'Brahmin stooge' or 'apologist of Brahminism' and it is easier to lump one such person as 'Dravidian political hate monger' when one criticizes trends in a community. I hate the term 'non-Brahmin' because it defines a  person by what he is not rather than what he is. I'd rather take the label of 'gadfly'.

The many details of this blog, as it always happens, have been swirling in my mind for some time the catalyst in making me write this today is the news that Aravindan Neelakandan, a purveyor of Hindutva brand of hatred, spoke at India's premier educational institute, IIT-Chennai delivering an 'Extra-Mural lecture' on 'Exploring the cultural roots of India: A neuro-cultural approach'. God knows what is a 'neuro-cultural approach' is. He is no academically trained sociologist or anthropologist or any 'ist', nor does he have any publication to his credit in a peer reviewed journal of note. Here, 'peer-reviewed' does not mean reviewed by his cohorts who spew venom in 'Tamilhindu.com'. Neelakandan is the kind of person that no institute with respect for academic rigor should allow to even be an announcer at a meeting let alone deliver a lecture. IIT-Chennai is now a den of a militant brand of Brahminical Hindutva.

Picture taken from VSC-IIT. The image file was named 'VSC_Sena.jpg'. Sigh!!
IITs were established by Nehru, the bete-noire of Neelakandan, with the sole purpose of creating an MIT in India. No other leader of Independent India had such a vision. IIT's have occupied the place of pride in Indian educational system. Cultivated as 'islands of excellence' IITs were exempt from the full component of reservation policies. Though I oppose reservation I fully agree that IITs cannot be islands. If we disregard merit or take a nuanced view of what constitutes merit in how doctors, who treat thousands, are selected and engineers, who build roads and bridges, are selected then how can we exclude one institute that is now more notorious for being a feeder to American universities than for anything else. I fully support reservation in IIT. Also these so called islands of excellence have not only not turned up a single Indian Nobel laureate, their share of alumni, on a global scale, creating groundbreaking theories is pathetic. Yet these IITs, dominated by a Brahmin student population, are coveted even amongst seekers of grooms in Brahmin families.

Thanks to social media and youtube I've watched lectures by IIT-Chennai professors, almost all Brahmins, and I can say that I no longer wonder why IITs rank abysmally on World rankings. 'Vivekananda Study Circle IIT-Madras' is a communal and blatantly Hindutva organization functioning within the auspices of IIT and patronized by their professors. All topics, in the name of Indian culture, are exceptionally Hindu topics and many are plain nonsense like 'spirituality in student life'. These colleges that Nehru and Homi Bhabha dreamed of becoming India's MITs are now nothing more than parochial Brahmin ghettoes (agraharam). Neelakandan was felicitated by Prof L.S. Ganesh who once spoke on 'purpose of education'. Ganesh's speech is aboriginal in intellectual comparison with Cardinal Newman's 'idea of university' or even 'The uses of University' by Clark Kerr.  Another professor's speech on 'spirituality in student life' is plain drivel. I'd say that I've not yet come across a single good speech, including one delivered by the the Director of IIT, organized under the auspices of the saffron brigade at VSC. Check out Dr N. Gopalakrishna's, not an IIT faculty, speech 'lecture on Indian science' at IIT-Chennai ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EngwxT8xY10) . Any university worth its salt should disband this organization and put a stop to such nonsense within its premises.

The common thread in all the speeches is a frighteningly parochial view of India where 'Indian culture' always comes to mean 'Hindu culture'. To those who protest my labeling such topics as 'Hindu' the response is simple 'why do you stop there and as long you stop at the banks of Ganges alone I'll insist on calling it as religious in nature and not Indian'. One can see this in other Brahmin run institutions, whether it is a school like Padma Seshadri or a deemed university like SASTRA (my alma mater) I see an incursion of resurgent Brahmin ideology clothed in Hindutva duplicity and masquerading as 'Indian'.

SASTRA conducted a tech meet, yes it was supposed to be one such, on Mahabharatha. A computer science student blogged that Mahabharatha teaches us about 'weapons of mass destruction' and 'in-vitro fertilization'. I puked and then pitied her. Creation of the atom bomb was an intellectual feat that not even Einstein had believed was possible. Einstein had to be coaxed by other scientists to write that fateful letter to FDR to start an atom bomb project. To control a fission process, weaponize it and then to unleash it was a process that challenged the collective wisdom of many a Nobel laureate and here is a student nonchalantly comparing fantasy weapons in a mythology to what later became the scourge of humanity. Even today IVF (in-vitro fertilization) is more art than science. The results are neither predictable nor controllable. To compare a great leap of modern science, again, to a shred of mythology, is pathetic. These are not passing fads to be ignored. If this is how engineers at a highly ranked university (in Indian rankings) are exposed to the miracles of science it is no wonder Indian colleges turn out foot soldiers of technology.

SASTRA's annual tech fete is called 'Kuruk-sastra'. Really!! I mean really? IIT calls its tech meet as 'Shaastra'. SASTRA held a symposium on law and titled it "Tarka Saastra", written in Devanagri script.

Murali Manohar Joshi, during the last BJP regime, sought to introduce astrology as a course of study in Indian universities. Even today it is common to find, mostly Brahmins, arguing that astrology is science. Sujatha is often considered a writer of science and science fiction by those who know neither. Sujatha, a Brahmin, remained imprisoned in his Brahminical soul even when discussing Big Bang theory or Quantum physics. He can never speak of science without finally rounding it off with "as our own ancient Indian scripture says". To be fair, P.A.Krishnan, also, incidentally, a Brahmin, wrote a wonderful article on 'what science is'.

An article, in a website where Neelakandan and his cohorts often write, baselessly claimed that Muslim invaders, lacking any modicum of culture or civilization, destroyed Hindu kingdoms. The first known autobiography of an Indian ruler was by Babur and it is a much acclaimed one on par with Ceasar's commentaries. Jahangir's 'Tuzuk-i-Jahangairi' too is a delightful read. Can one speak of Hindusthani music or Indian architecture without thinking of Mughal influence. India, to the chagrin of those charlatans, is known through Taj Mahal to the wide world.

Even non-Brahmins tend to look up at Carnatic music and Bharathanatyam as classical art forms and this is a propaganda victory of unprecedented nature, without parallel, by Brahmins. Sowmya, a Brahmin and Carnatic singer, ran a website for carnatic music where she, an IIT graduate, claimed that music originated from a Hindu god. Yes there is mythology around that but is that what a graduate, from an engineering institute, should regurgitate? It is a complete myth that Carnatic music 'happened' with Thyagaraja. The complete obfuscation of native musical traditions, that Thyagaraja drew from, is propagandist victory that even Goebbels could not achieve.

Rukmini Devi Arundale took the native lusty 'sathir' and bowdlerized it to create Bharathanatyam. Shorn of its lustiness today every Brahmin girl dreams of beckoning Krishna at least once in her life on stage. The fetish for staging the maiden dance ('arangetram') is both amusing and disgusting.

Music and dance were the province of the lower caste with Brahmins disdaining to even practice them let alone become proponents of them. Even today there are parts of a Carnatic musical, like playing some instruments, that Brahmin students would shrink from even thinking of becoming a student of.

The smugness of Brahmins who profess love for Carnatic music is something to be experienced for its fathomless depth. Most have no idea of any music beyond what Thyagaraja gave and even if they do take a peek at Western classical they would shrug it off. I'd like to compel every student of Carnatic music to read the pages on comparing Western classical and carnatic music by Jeyakanthan in his 'Parisukku Po'.

Carnatic musicians and the legions of its lovers like to think of it as 'Indian' music and not strait jacketed as 'Hindu' music. When a group of Christians came up with the idea, actually its an old tradition, to compose Christian hymns with Carnatic raga the Times of India noted "purists too are not averse to the idea". Who are the purists not averse to the idea? Bombay Jayashree, TOI quoted, "music is a religion and singing Christian songs in Carnatic style is an interesting way to combine two religions". Poor Jayashree, she has not heard of Abraham Pandithar and Vedanayagam Sastriyar.

There was a time when Sabhas used to advertise Carnatic music performances saying "Not for Shudras". Sabhas assiduously practiced segregation to levels that make Jim Crow American South look more hospitable. In Jim Crow South blacks could at least enter a theater to watch a performance, whereas, in Mylapore Sabhas low caste Hindus could not even enter. Carnatic music teachers relish dropping innuendos to non-Brahmin students about how they may not suit learning the music. Of course there are always exceptions, including a very good gregarious friend of mine. A carnatic music lover once smugly told me "who is preventing others from learning". Poor man he did not know that low caste non-Brahmins were not even allowed into temples where most performances happened until Sabhas mushroomed in Chennai. A wife of a carnatic musician recently wrote about music in Chennai, where else but 'The Hindu' newspaper, and she could not think of anybody but Brahmins, the 'pattu maami', teaching and learning carnatic music.

T.M. Krishna, a wannabe rebel in the carnatic music scene, lectured an audience that one can even be an atheist and sing Thyagaraja Kritis about Rama. Actually I'd disagree on that score. Yes, an atheist could probably deliver but for a music system that emphasizes 'bhava' (emoting) it might help to be a believer in some God, if not Rama. Neither Krishna nor Ilayaraja, who pays obeisance to carnatic music more than he does to Mozart, took music to the slums. Only A.R.Rahman does that. Krishna is loosening the informal but dogmatic caste hold on the music to scour practitioners for an art that is still in the margins of the daily life of citizenry despite its assigned place of pride in the cultural pantheon.

The shrill anti-Brahminism of Dravidian politics, spear headed by the irascible EVR, was a reaction to the sweeping hegemony in arts, culture, education and jobs by Brahmins. Prof Neelakanta Sastry, considered the doyen of Indian historians, happily wrote the following in the opening paragraph of a chapter on South Indian literature: "Sanskrit was the language of higher culture throughout South India......All these literatures (referring to native, including Tamil) owed a great deal to Sanskrit, the magic wand whose touch alone raised each of the Dravidian languages from the level of a patois to that of a literary idiom". Mr Sastry wrote that as a Sastry than as a historian. Of course one kind of charlatanism begets another. Today we've a former Vice Chancellor claiming that the entire world civilization originated in Lemuria. We now have lessons for school students that claim Einstein's and Newton's theories are in ancient Tamil literature. Speak to most Tamil professors today you will hear how Kamban predicted atomic fission.

Between religious and linguistic chauvinism academic rigor and scientific values have all but vanished in Tamil Nadu today. Ramayana is a great epic produced by a great civilization but when speakers pretend that it is 'history' one can see the absence of academic rigor. The worst is when somebody claims Vyasa is the first known biographer of the world. Vyasa is just a person that is considered to be the author of the epic. In fact when we consider Ramayana to be some work of one individual in a given period, instead of streams of civilization across ages by several authors, we lose sight of why it is a rich document of a great country. A group called 'Tamil Heritage club' recently had a talk titled 'Historical Rama'. Other than Islam and Sikhism I cannot think of any ancient religion that can speak with certainty of the historical nature of its key figures. I am not averse to any 'historical' discussion based on facts and findings. But these discussions often degenerate into pathetic illogical theoretical constructs that would not stand the mildest of academic scrutiny.

My favorite author Jeyamohan  today weighed in on Hindutva ideologues and their intellectual vacuity. Jeyamohan cribs, justifiably, about the dominance of Marxist adherents in institutes that have arrogated to themselves to be the intellect of India. He then suggests that Hindutva drivel was a reaction to asserting native identity against Marxist intellectuals who, held in thrall by Western ideas, looked down on our own culture and history. Though he respects Nehru Jeyamohan has always complained that India's cultural institutions became dominated by Marxist intellectuals thanks to Nehru who was both a Marxist and an anglophile. It is true only in parts and the missing part is crucial. Nehru was not a blind anglophile, far from it. Rejecting Nehruvian idea of history Jeyamohan holds up Vivekananda, Narayana Guru and Nithya Chaitanya Yathi. The missing name, notably, is Dr S.Radhakrishnan.

Nehru, to be fair, was not a blind anglophile. He had a very healthy respect for India's hoary civilization. Anyone who reads 'Discovery of India' can see the depth of his love for the soul of India at its people. At the same time he was a modern man too. Nehru's scientific temper remains unmatched in all subsequent Prime Ministers of India including his progeny. The vision in establishing premier educational universities and research organizations were his own. And yes he had a disdain for the exceeding 'religiosity' of India.

Jeyamohan always holds up Vivekananda as a shining example of India's ancient intellectual tradition and proponent of Indian philosophy. Vivekandanda has the aura and romance of young radiant ascetic. Yet for all his brilliance he remains a Hindu mystic with no academic credentials or modes of exponentiation. The rejection of Nehru and Radhakrishnan, while embracing ascetics, by Jeyamohan is driven more by his innate Hindutva leanings that abhors the scientific temper and avowed secularism of both. It is strange that I never see Radhakrishnan mentioned by the likes of Jeyamohan. It was Radhakrishnan, in the tradition of Max Mueller, who gave an academic sheen to Indian philosophy which was looked down upon as theology.

It is a common complaint in America that liberals dominate the academia. Jeyamohan's complaint of Marxist domination is not entirely without merit. However, he glides by a key caveat of not judging rubbishing the likes of D.D. Kosambi and Romila Thapar based on their political allegiances and historical outlook. Both Thapar and Kosambi are great scholars of merit. If their historical work or interpretation, tinged or not with Marxism, is found faulty then call them out on it but to sweep them aside is chicanery.

Is Marxist interpretation of history all that wrong? Not always. Ambedkar who hated Muslims made political hay on the Moplah Rebellion when thousands of Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam or butchered or raped by Keralite Muslims. Gandhi struggled to hold together his cherished Hindu-Muslim unity in the face of that massacre. Citing the rebellion Ambedkar happily suggested that both communities are incompatible for any collective future. A Marxist interpretation would be that it was an agrarian rebellion which used religion to intimidate. All the landowners were upper caste Hindus and all the laborers, almost without exception, were poverty stricken Muslims.

A point here about inviting Marxists. I'd frown on Arundhati Roy too. People like Roy are activists. There is no 'grey' in their world. They like to see everything in black and white. As a fan of Ayn Rand I like the principle 'A is A'. I don't like when people seek to validate all contradictor views as equally valid. Thats patented nonsense. Open mindedness is often confusingly defined as being so open as to accept all arguments as valid. No. Human mind is not a sewer to accept everything indiscriminately. We should be open enough to consider competing arguments and then decide one way or the other depending on whether sufficient data are available. When left wing Princeton professor Cornel West courted arrest in a 'occupy wall street' protest I considered it bad academic activity. A professor becomes less of a professor when he becomes an activist. An activist has no skepticism or nuance, essential characters of a teacher. Do activists have no place at all in academic portals? No. What matters is the forum and what kind of intellectual challenge happens in that event.

The likes of Neelakandan do not believe in academic discussion or even intellectual jousting. That hate monger gleefully posted on Facebook on Easter Sunday that it is nothing but a pagan festival. On Christmas day he sought to inform Christians that Mithra was the original Christ. DK's Veeramani used to write columns denigrating Hindu gods on the occasion of Hindu festivals. Neelakandan is just his counterpart. Any Westerner with a modicum of knowledge in history would know that Dec 25th is a pagan festival. Nobody seriously believes that the good Lord came with a birth certificate and Dan Brown disabused anyone still thinking of Christmas as anything holy. Elaine Pagels, who wrote bestseller 'Gnostic Gospels' and 'Beyond Belief: The secret Gospel of Thomas', is a professor of religion at Princeton University. She is the clear example of how religion can be studied within the academic framework. All these IIT professors who blather on culture, ethos and other such vacuous terms cannot hold a candle to her. Incidentally, the Mithra cult was prevalent during the days of Emperor Hadrian as Marguerite Yourcenar tells in her prodigiously researched 'Memoirs of Hadrian'.

Wendy Doniger and many others run into one problem when they write on Hinduism. Hinduism lacks theologians, students who study theology as an academic discipline, and Indian universities do not study 'religion' as an academic course. Hence the rudimentary rules of academic discussion are unknown to the many who take umbrage at less than flattering narration of Hinduism especially when it is by westerners.

Jeyamohan argues that we call as 'academic' and 'scientific process' are constructs of Western education which are 'prejudiced' and cultivates a 'self-loathing' amongst Indians. That is untrue and skates on lot of thin ice. First, Indians look at university education and everything under that amorphous terms as 'western' and therefore alien. Much of what we call education today was recent even in the West. Historical interpretations today are radically different from even 50 years ago. Modern ideas of secularism and political correctness have tempered many past assumptions in Western academia. The concept of 'education' is an ever changing one and one in which India can be both a participant and shaper of the discussion if it chooses.

When we say that for a concept to be called 'scientific' it has to adhere to basic principles of what is scientific, including 'falsifiability' we don't see, for instance, Americans shun the principles saying 'it is European we need to invent American scientific idioms'. That would be idiotic.

Nothing has angered the Hindutva crowd more than the Western concept of 'nation-state' under which India is considered by western and Marxist academics as having been born on Aug 15th 1947. They are correct in rejecting a western template. India has a cultural unity, brought about by many reasons, across centuries. Yet, India was not always India too. I'd agree we need to fashion an 'Indian' definition of 'nation-state'. Ironically, as Sunil Khilnani points out in his densely written 'Idea of India', that these same Hindutva brigade then beseeches to fashion an India along the lines of Western nation-state of one religion, one people, one civil code etc.

Often times the call for 'Indian' definitions degenerates into disguised Hindutva as Jeyamohan amply demonstrates. He calls on thinkers to draw on 'Indian intellectual traditions' and then specifies which streams he considers as part of such a tradition: Hindu, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Sufi Islam.

Aravindan Neelakandan is a blunt instrument and too crude and therefore easily identifiable. Jeyamohan works more subtly and far more deviously. He omits, unsurprisingly, Christianity. What is worse he selects not all of Islam but a sect of Islam, Sufism, which is considered very eclectic and friendly towards Hinduism, as part of Indian tradition. Whereas Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism he includes without caveats. Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka and Myanmar are the powers behind genocides while Sikh Separatism was the most serious threat to India in the 80's. Hindu fundamentalists destroyed a Mosque in twentieth century and then proceeded to inflame all of North India in a series of communal riots. Yet, Jeyamohan does not even think twice of excluding any parts of those religions. THIS is precisely why I'd still prefer Marxist dominance of education to any attempt, however justified, to balance the prejudices of Marxism. Every attempt, in the name of Indian culture, to redress intellectual corruption always degenerates into Hindu fundamentalism.

To their credit EML-IIT invites an eclectic cast of speakers of all mix like A.Patwardhan, Teesta Setalvad (to the ire of many), Jeffrey Archer and many others.

Modi becoming a Prime Minister scares me far less compared to the agony of seeing India's supposed citadels of higher education become vehicles of parochialism and a breeding ground for charlatans. Rescuing the IITs from such a clique is more urgent than preventing Modi from reaching 7 Race Course Road, New Delhi.

References:

1. Prof L.S. Ganesh lecture 'Purpose of education' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvz5VIMif58
2. Prof C. Lakshmana Rao lecture on 'Spirituality in Student Life' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tglBUorpfY
3. Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthy on 'Indian culture' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUDjkL5GK04
4. Vivekananda Study Circle - Archive of lectures - http://www.vsc.iitm.ac.in/Home/?page_id=56
5. Aravindan Neelakandan - 'Science and Spirituality' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouai7DXfmcI
6. Jeyamohan on Marxist intellectuals and Hindutva http://www.jeyamohan.in/?p=53857

ஆகவே இன்றையதேவை ஐரோப்பியநோக்கின் சாதனைகளை கருத்தில்கொண்டு அதிலிருந்து விலகி சுயமாகச் சிந்திக்கமுடியுமா என்று பார்ப்பது. இந்துத்துவம் என்றபேரில் இந்தியசிந்தனைமரபை எளிய அரசியல் வாய்ப்பாடுகளாக குறுக்குவதற்கு முற்றிலும் எதிரான நிலைபாட்டை எடுப்பது.இந்தியசிந்தனைமரபின் அனைத்துக்கூறுகளையும் [இந்து,பௌத்தம்,சமணம்,சீக்கியம்,சூஃபி இஸ்லாம்] உள்வாங்கிக்கொண்டு சிந்திப்பது. எந்நிலையிலும் ஆக்கபூர்வமாக மட்டுமே யோசிப்பது

7. 'Carnatic Music gets a Christian touch' - Times of India - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Carnatic-music-gets-a-Christian-touch/articleshow/5286038.cms?referral=PM

"Purists too are not averse to the idea. Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri says, "Music is a religion and singing Christian songs in Carnatic style is an interesting way to combine two religions. Christians all over the world adapt local customs and sing prayer songs in local languages." "


18 comments:

suresh said...

well written , but is the western model of secularism with clean divide between state and religion possible in India?

Arjun said...

"SASTRA held a symposium on law and titled it "Tarka Saastra", written in Devanagri script."

And your point is?

"Sujatha, a Brahmin, remained imprisoned in his Brahminical soul even when discussing Big Bang theory or Quantum physics. He can never speak of science without finally rounding it off with "as our own ancient Indian scripture says".

I just read En iniya iyandhira. Can you point to me where he says that? It's ironical that someone who insists on rigour cannot be bothered to be rigorous himself in framing sentences or arguments. You could have said "He usually speaks...", but no, you had to use the sweeping "never".

"IIT-Chennai is now a den of a militant brand of Brahminical Hindutva. These colleges that Nehru and Homi Bhabha dreamed of becoming India's MITs are now nothing more than parochial Brahmin ghettoes (agraharam)."

Have you even set foot inside IIT Madras (Oh btw, it isn't IIT Chennai)? Do you even know the proportion of Brahmin students and professors? I really really wish people would not mouth off about things which they have no clue about.

"Also these so called islands of excellence have not only not turned up a single Indian Nobel laureate"

Yes, just like Harvard and Princeton haven't produced a single Oscar winning director or actor.

"their share of alumni, on a global scale, creating groundbreaking theories is pathetic."

Yet much more than all other Engineering colleges and universities in India combined.

"Music and dance were the province of the lower caste with Brahmins disdaining to even practice them let alone become proponents of them."

Reference, please?

"Most have no idea of any music beyond what Thyagaraja gave and even if they do take a peek at Western classical they would shrug it off."

And you know this, how? And oh, last time I checked, western classical musicians don't come knocking at doors expressing interest to learn or practise carnatic music, either. So, what's good for the geese is good for the gander eh?

In toto, what could have been a good blog fizzles off into blind hate mongering and ranting (which you incidentally accuse Jeyamohan and others of). Not to speak of numerous strawmen, non-sequitirs and nearly every other type of logical fallacy (not sure of it is intentional or unintentional) that can be accommodated in a blog of this length.

Friendly advice - Do some research on IITs before you write about them next time. And I hope you can answer some of the queries I have posted.


Arjun said...

On the other hand, to be balanced, some of your valid points are:

"I hate the term 'non-Brahmin' because it defines a person by what he is not rather than what he is. I'd rather take the label of 'gadfly'."

"Murali Manohar Joshi, during the last BJP regime, sought to introduce astrology as a course of study in Indian universities."

I agree that is not a good idea.

"Sowmya, a Brahmin and Carnatic singer, ran a website for carnatic music where she, an IIT graduate, claimed that music originated from a Hindu god."

That is embarrassing. Agreed.

"Even today there are parts of a Carnatic musical, like playing some instruments, that Brahmin students would shrink from even thinking of becoming a student of."

Yes, and I condemn that.

"When a group of Christians came up with the idea, actually its an old tradition, to compose Christian hymns with Carnatic raga the Times of India noted "purists too are not averse to the idea". Who are the purists not averse to the idea?"

Bang on.

"low caste non-Brahmins were not even allowed into temples where most performances happened until Sabhas mushroomed in Chennai. A wife of a carnatic musician recently wrote about music in Chennai, where else but 'The Hindu' newspaper, and she could not think of anybody but Brahmins, the 'pattu maami', teaching and learning carnatic music."

True, lot of Brahmins have a Brahmin-centric view of everything - that is despicable and it makes me cringe.

"All these literatures (referring to native, including Tamil) owed a great deal to Sanskrit, the magic wand whose touch alone raised each of the Dravidian languages from the level of a patois to that of a literary idiom". Mr Sastry wrote that as a Sastry than as a historian. Of course one kind of charlatanism begets another. Today we've a former Vice Chancellor claiming that the entire world civilization originated in Lemuria. We now have lessons for school students that claim Einstein's and Newton's theories are in ancient Tamil literature. Speak to most Tamil professors today you will hear how Kamban predicted atomic fission."

This is a fringe element, but nonetheless exists. It is truly appalling and must be nipped in the bud.

Oh, I missed this on first reading:

" Yet these IITs, dominated by a Brahmin student population"

Patently untrue again.

"He calls on thinkers to draw on 'Indian intellectual traditions' and then specifies which streams he considers as part of such a tradition: Hindu, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Sufi Islam."

Isn't that true, strictly speaking? What other truly Indian religious tradition exists that stretches across several centuries? Surely you don;t consider the various other branches of Islam and Christianity to be Indian religious (or intellectual) traditions, do ya?

Arjun said...

Also, one final comment, what fault do you find exactly in the Vivekanada study circle? They don't preach hatred of others, they pretty much mind their own business, discussing Vedanta and such and some of their adherents are among the most docile guys you will come across at IIT Madras(speaking from personal experience) don't attempt prosetylise (unlike certain other faiths, hmmm).

Are you simply vexed that they call it Indian culture, but discuss only Hindu related things? Well, surely someone planning to attend a VSC lecture should know what to expect, no? Also, if you are annoyed that the IIT director (who btw is an absolutely brilliant researcher and teacher from what I have heard from friends who have moved with him)in his field) is associating with a "Hindutva" organization, I am sure you know that academics openly associating with religious groups has a long tradition in the west too (example - Cauchy), so...

Anonymous said...

Well this one is all one sided view.. While I do enjoy reading your other material here this one is spewed with venom.
I know you many not care but just want to register.
goodluck with all that intellect skills.
rgds
Surya

வன்பாக்கம் விஜயராகவன் said...

For your statement "There was a time when Sabhas used to advertise Carnatic music performances saying "Not for Shudras"., is there any documentary evidence , preferably a plain photo , or is it "X said y heard c said d saw" variety?

Anonymous said...

So why does this point of view that you want to convey does not exists in the Western world. The west is so intolerant to the east that it will easily give rise to more militant Hindutva which would be a reaction like you saw in Gujarat riots. Try to erect a mosque or a Hindu temple in Vatican and then talk about the nonsense that you try to convey here.

S Baskar said...

>>THIS is precisely why I'd still >>prefer Marxist dominance of >>education to any attempt, however >>justified, to balance the >>prejudices of Marxism. ..

Oh Oh then marxist education talks about pol pot and Maos great cultural revolution..You need to attend 101 of dharka and nyaya shastra..

Sujatha very rarely says Quantum Physics emanated from Indian scripture.. May be you are confused with Frijit Of Capra ( May be his name rhymes with Sujatha).

I have also read many western view on Hinduism and I can tell they make some sweeping remarks without understanding anything on basic Hinduism. We can discuss if you want.

When cricket Historians and imminent Historians are becoming eminent historians here because of Marxist hold on our ( assumed you are Indian) intellectual and academic circle you can as a great admire of peace loving islamic saints and the lover of Mughals allow a trickle like Aravindan Neelakandan

Anonymous said...

"While I do enjoy reading your other material here this one is spewed with venom". Spot on! The author's rants in this post show that "non-Hindutva" bigots do exist but by bashing the "Hindutva" and other bigots, hide their own religious/socio-political bigotry! The worst post by this author so far considering the other well-thought out articles previoulsy.
-Ravi

Anonymous said...

Look at one "brilliant" IIT alumni showing a picture of recent origin to claim Indian's knew the earth was round 10000 years ago. I am not sure if he is really naive or he really can't think. Everyone knows ancient varaha statues in temples show the earth as a women (Boomadevi).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=I9aR_xfm-gE

Anonymous said...

Your genuine idolatry of the EVR’s ‘kill brahmins’ culture is brought out well in style - with your head buried firmly in the sand, of course.

Why not train your ilk of EVR descendants - the ‘kazhaga eyeballs’ - upholding this virtue, in your sophisticated style to present raw hate as a work of social engineering strengthened by intellectual reasoning or some scientific basis.

I like your command over the English language with a decisive style passing for an unbiased.

Anonymous said...

Then why u studied in SATRA? i guess u got placed thru campus placements arraged by the management of SASTRA? Tarkasastra is an age wisdom in law practiced for centuries.. wats wrong in using that name for a law conference.... if u hate brahmin institutions so much y dont join some non brahmin institutions? is it because they dont offer quality and merit oriented education?

Shankar said...

"Neither Krishna nor Ilayaraja, who pays obeisance to carnatic music more than he does to Mozart, took music to the slums. Only A.R.Rahman does that."

You cannot be more disconnected with Tamilnadu. I travel frequently across TN and wherever I go - in tea shops, buses, people's homes, on TV channels that talk about "Then Virundhu" or whatever - it is only Ilaiyaraja. In fact, I sometimes feel that ARR is given a raw deal as his songs become popular only when tuned for a Rajinikanth or some star. whereas ANY Ilaiyaraja song becomes a hit.

Please get off that high horse and visit Tamilnadu before you make such outlandish claims. What I have quoted above is just one in your blog post.

Tejaswininimburia said...

I wonder why Brahmin Non Brahmin issue had not attracted attention in any other state except Kerala. There are two reasons: i)Tamilnadu lost its historical continuity after collapse of Chola Empire ii) About 40% of people in Tamilnadu are of Telugu origin Why did linguistic minorities like Sowrashtra/Kannada Gowdas?/Muslims everybody joins the bandwagon of Dravidism. Tamil Brahminism emerged only during 1840. During the early years of East India Company it was Andhra/Maratta Brahmin/Non Brahmin Telugu/Tamil elite called the shots. But the unreliability of Court Pundits and nepotism made British to look for some other groups. Since Tamil speaking Brahmins were already intellectual vagabonds having no fixed place of residence fit into it. Thus their efforts in getting Carnatic music/Dance a recognition automatically made them culturally dominant and this became a lethal weapon. Tamil speaking Brahmins are vanishing tribe and they will slowly get absorbed everywhere. However anti Brahminism will continue to be there without which nothing can unite all people of Tamilnadu. North Indian leaders/Sri Lankan Tamils/Foreign Indologists like Witzel/Asko Parpola and our own Thiruvaiyaru Tamil Brahmin Iravatham Mahadevan will continue to enjoy Dravidian diatribes against Brahmins since they will become irrelevant without Dravidinism

வேயுறுதோளிபங்கன் said...

Anyone who wants to know about the corrupt activities in IIT Chennai can visit: http://www.slideshare.net/thaamaraichchelvi/employment-opportunity-in-the-iit-madras-at-chennai

Shiva Shankar said...

A very true article! I have studied and taught at IITs, and yes, they are indeed hierarchical brahminical close-minded mediocre institutes. IITM however seems to be in a class by itself, at the very bottom of the heap.
(Who, pray, is the author of this 'blog'?)

Shiva Shankar said...

Sorry, I wrote a comment without reading the entire article. Now, reading further I read praise for the S.Radhakrishnan feller, a charlatan as big as the ones this blog's author rails against. And there is even - As a fan of Ayn Rand I like the principle 'A is A' !! This blog's author is as uncouth and illiterate as the other pretentious oafs who inhabit this unhappy land. Please therefore remove my comments (what will my friends think!).

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