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Modi govt undermining scientific temper of Arthashatra, Kamasutra, sceptic Charvakas; is "promoting" mythoscience

By Our Representative
In her newly-published book, controversial US Indologist Wendy Doniger has directly attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what she creating a climate in which "mythoscience" thrives, pointing out that the government allegiance to Hindutva and its 'eternal dharma' doesn't just have "strong anti-Muslim agendas" but is coupled with "virulent repression of other versions of Hinduism and its history, particularly those that contradict the skewed construction of Hindu history proclaimed by Hindutva."
The veteran historian, whose earlier book, "The Hindus: An Alternative History", was withdrawn from India by its publishers Penguins after pro-Modi campaigner Dina Nath Batra blamed it for denigrating Hinduism by focussing on sex, has now accused the regime under Modi for encouraging "the by now entrenched bad habit of seeking scientific authenticity in religious rather than scientific texts from the past."
Noting how scientific temper Arthashatra and Kamasutra, as also Charvaka mythology of scepticism, "has now come up against a new incarnation of the forces of repressive dharma, now supporting pseudoscientific claims", Doniger says, the effort now is to find roots of modern science in religious texts like Ramayana and Mahabharata, and Vedas, with claims about "Vedic quantum mechanics and general relativity".
Referring to the Modi government setting up ministries of yoga and Ayurveda, Doniger says, this has been done "to peddle their versions of ancient Hindu sciences", underlining, to achieve this "Modi has commissioned a number of revisions of textbooks (the modern heirs to the ancient shastras) mandated as supplementary reading for all government primary and secondary schools".
She recalls, "Many of these books, including the widely assigned 125-page book 'Tejomay Bharat' (Brilliant India), had originally been published in 1999 in Gujarat; Modi had written the forewords to Batra’s books when he was chief minister in Gujarat and now reissued the books and wrote new forewords for them."
"These revised textbooks include outlandish claims about the history of science in India, often producing weird anachronisms", her new book, "Beyond Dharma: Dissent in the Ancient Indian Sciences of Sex and Politics", says, adding, "One maintained not only that ancient India had the nuclear bomb, it even practised non-proliferation by carefully restricting the number of people who had access to it” (presumably to Brahmins)."
Noting that there are now books about Vedic physics and Vedic string theory, Doniger gives the example of how in 2015, the incumbent minister at the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Earth Sciences publicly announced, “We all know we knew ‘beej ganit’ (seed-counting), the Indian word for algebra, much before the Arabs, but very selflessly allowed it to be called algebra” (a Latin word based on the Arabic al-jabr)."
Doniger says, the root of all this could be found in "Hindu nationalists", seeking to "expel the British from India", advancing a series of "two-pronged arguments, not just 'You are scientific, but we are spiritual' (though this was often said, too), but, better, 'Our religion is wiser than your science – and our religious texts contain science much older than yours'.”
However, she believes, the "complex relationship between science and religion in India" took a "sharp turn to the right under the impetus of a nationalist movement known as Hindutva, 'Hinduness'. This term was invented by the nationalist Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his 1923 pamphlet entitled 'Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu?'" What came up was a new variety of sanatana dharma "heavily laced with anti-Muslim and anti-woman sentiments."
Suggesting the thst this has affcted devrlopmental agenda, too, Doniger says, the protagonists of Hindutva have gone so far as to justify blocking of major government project to build a much-needed shipping canal between India and Sri Lanka in 2007 citing the mythical causeway in the Ramayana, built by "talking monkeys" for Rama to cross over from India to the island of Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from the ten-headed demon Ravana.

Comments

Uma said…
I come from a family of freedom fighters. Today, I am glad that none of them is alive to see what has become of the country they fought for
Shall Wendy Doniger also make few exposes on the much debated crimes prevailing under the canopy of dubious Papacy ever since centuries those include sexual scandals to murders to human trafficking to drug peddling to indulging in spying activities on other sovereign governments in collusion with CIA, etc? I think, if Doniger can enlighten us only on one of the aspects recounted here, I think, the world shall become a peaceful place worthy of living.
Uma Sheth, I can sense the feeling of despondency in your words but credit it to our beloved Chacha Nehru, who spent more time in his personal gratifications and misconducts of all varieties, I feel shy to narrate here. Lady Edwina was the main source for keeping Lord Mountbatten in India post 15 August 1947, when his mandate had expired in India. If not, then why did Mountbattens left India in the middle only to be replaced by an Indian face midway b4 26 January 1950? Nobody wants to enlighten us on this ugly truth of Nehru's Platonic Love?
Jag Jivan said…
What a stupid explanation by George Washington (sic!). He appears to think that the result of the freedom movement in which Nehru played a catalytic role -- he spent 14 years in jail -- was the outcome of personal relations between individuals. Mr "Washington" does not have any sense of history... He must read "What is History" by EH Carr to know that history and culture are not the outcomes of individuals but of dynamic social processes, in which individuals like Nehru and Gandhi and Patel can act only be catalysts, not more. As for Mr "Washington's" argument that why didn't Doniger write about Papacy, he should know she is an Indologist and not an expert on Christianity. There are numerous historians like her who have written volumes on it, he just needs to Google, if he desires... Pray why don't you write, I say, on Papacy, if you think you are a great expert, hiding behind a founder of American nation's name...
Uma said…
Thank you Mr. Jag Jivan. You have worded your response very nicely on three points: 1. leaders should be and are judged by the effect their actions have on the nation; 2. Ms. Doniger is an Indologist; 3. using a famous name as a pseudonym shows the writer does not have the courage of his convictions.
Mr. Jag Jivan, thank you for calling me names, which if makes you wiser than a "stupid" me. I am a man who always welcomes constructive criticism, but alas, it is none of a constructive one. Yes, history is your captive property, which is not read by me the way you expect me or anybody else to read.

I wish, if my points raised were answered correctly than trying to silence me by abusive filthy arguments. History is a dead subject matter of "narratives" those depend upon the interpreters. Jinnah in India is still a "Hero" for some but a villain for others. It depends upon the colour of spects you wear. Colour blindness is incurable and such persons will hardly ever distinguish any difference.

Regarding the "Indology" business, and Ms Wendy Doniger, she is no different than those "White Colonials" who were thrown out by "your" and "my" ancestors. Ms. Wendy Doniger is well known character for her hate interpretation of Hindu scriptures and India that maskes her a highly suspect character in International perspective.

Indology is a deliberate subject created by "White" clever rulers to subjugate the majority Indian populace. I shall leave this for you and Ms. Sheth to interprete in your own way you like but the history of Romilla Thapar, Ramchandra Guha, and a host of award wapsi, secular gangsters following the political change in India post 2014 is highly suspect.

Thank you for your kind response and my purpose has been served with your irrited response.
Jag Jivan said…
My dear Mr "Washington" (whoever you are, even if you are an incarnation of one of the founders of America), the above article, quoting Indologist Wendy Doniger, has no reference to Jinnah, whom your beloved leader Mr LK Advani, mentor of Modi, praised, even went to Pakistan to bow his head... But you know better, maybe that's why you know Jinnah (and his supporters) better than anyone in India. Hence, I don't want to discuss with you Jinnah...
Anyway, it's so easy to call names like White Colonials etc., without reading Doniger, not knowing what's colonialism as a historical phenomenon. Whatever has appeared above in the article quoting her is a clear indicator that she FAVOURS some of India's great books like Arthashatra and Kamasutra as propagating scientific temper, as also sects of Charvakas, who were the first proponents of scepticism. Her regret only is, India's search for history of science is sought from scriptures instead of the works that had scientific temper.
Any student of history would tell you: No colonial ruler (or colonial historian, for that matter) has ever done it, they didn't even know anything about Charvakas.
My dear Mr. Jag Jivan (whoever you are an incarnation of like late our Mr Jag Jivan ji) but the name George Washington is not a copyright of the venerated Late President of America, if I'm not wrong. There are and shall be many more George Washingtons to come till this planet lasts. This is to start off, to clear the mist from your erudite mind.

Wendy Doniger is a well known hater of Hinduism under the stupid pretext of "Indologist", who is especially crafted to use academia to abuse, malign and defame Hindus, India. If it irks you, it is your problem but the truth remasins.

As far as my counter to her "Indologism", I have the right to question her credentials and ask a counter question, "Shall she also write on the crimes under the canopy of Papacy"? Why are you so so irritated? Secondly, "Why are there no academic discourses on Britology, Americalogy, Belgiology, Purtgalogy, Arabiology, etc"; why alone Indology on the earth? The fact of the matter lie in bitter hate of White colonnials.
One more point from your erudite comment, Ref: Mr LK Adwani:

You pretend but pretentiously and proclaim him "your beloved leader", as if he is your hated one. Second, what leads you to conclude him my beloved leader? He is not the mentor of Modi, whom you seem to hate so much. I can sense the stomachache in your body. Sad truth that makes this very discourse fallacious while you seem to pour out your entire hate. This entire world is engulfed in hate and violence perpetrated by three major hate filled violent forces, viz. Christianity, Islamists, Communism. Why did your beloved US not deny Visa to Ariel Sharon but to Modi for no fault of his? I know your gut feeling on it also. Go on and come out with newer allegations, when you seem to have bought the copyright of entire global history and events. Sad but irritating bitter truth. Yes, I have the right to question those who pretend erudite but filled with hate, anger and violence!!! Nobody can deny a right to those who have an alternative view than you? Who does Wendy Doniger think, she is to malign us and our traditions and misusing academia? Wendy Doniger is a spy and an agent of your proselytising corrupt industry that brings me to answer your contention of my questioning the criminal House of Papacy. Please keep your hate and venal anger with you but answer the view points when it does not tally with yours. Thank you and please do come back but respectfully leaving your copyright arguments home.

Papacy is the most corrupt, criminal and defamed house on this earth. If you don't know or pretend ignorant, kindly do your homework before commenting back. It cannot be brushed aside as Platonic Love between two sexually potent opposite sex persons sleeping together for a length of time or sitting for hours lonely in a Park again and again.
Vivek Bhargav said…
Mr Washington, I've read through the above arguments.
Who, pray, who has taken away your right to express your views? You views are being published on this site, but others too have have the right. No?
As for Doniger "abusing, maligning and defaming Hindus, India", well, what's calling Arthashastra, Kamasutra and Charvakas having scientific tempter? Maligning Hinduism? You can draw your conclusions.
As for academic discourses on whatever "logy" you are talking of, let me tell you as a student of history, Indology is a discipline born out of studying South Asian culture and history by foreign scholars, whether in Germany, Russia (there is a School of Oriental Studies in Moscow), Britain, the Netherlands, or in the US.
That's because South Asia excites historians of all hues, of different persuasions -- starting with Max Mueller in Germany, to Eric Komarov in Moscow. Indology doesn't mean castigating Indian culture, just as Sinology doesn't mean castigating Chinese culture...
Instead of finding the discipline of Indology as something to be proud of for us Indians, you are calling it names?
Strange, indeed.
Jag Jivan said…
"Wendy Doniger is a spy"??? Ha!!! Are you a RAW agent that you know it, Washington ji? As for visa issues to Modi etc., where was Doniger involved? Or she campaigned for it as a spy? She has better things to do. By the way, her first book was withdrawn by Penguins when UPA was in power, the top publisher was pressured by ultranationalists, and UPA, strangely, sat duck.
As Advani-Modi relations, you may know better as you clearly belong to that group.

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