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An eye to India

As with all `eye-views’, this book is a mélange of the good, the bad and the ugly, `big names’ rubbing shoulders with the less heard of… MALAVIKA KARLEKAR reviews “Foreign Correspondent - Fifty Years of Reporting South Asia.”

Posted Saturday, Jun 14 18:06:18, 2008

Foreign Correspondent - Fifty Years of Reporting South Asia edited by John Elliott, Bernard Imhasly and Simon Denyer, New Delhi: Penguin Viking, 2008, pp. xvi + 405, Rs. 695.

How does one review a collection of writings on fifty years of a country from the `foreigners-eye view’? Does one bristle at the very thought, confident that everything will be `misrepresented’ or rosy-pictured? Or does one try and read them `objectively’. As a reviewer, I’ve tried to do the latter – though not always successfully, I may add. Brought out to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of South Asia (that was renamed the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in 1991), the book is a collection of “reportage, comment and photographs”; however, there are only a handful of the latter as compared to the seventy-nine in print (chosen from 400 submitted by invited members, both past and present. In their introduction, the editors have made it a point to stress that they have neither been able to cover all major events, nor the countries of South Asia in equal detail. The obvious authorial ploy of circumventing nit-picking. . .

Contributions are arranged chronologically from 1949 onwards and the last despatch is November 2007 – making it almost sixty years of reporting. Though the emphasis is on political reportage, there are pieces on wild life preservation, child labour eradication, the lack of communications at Independence, and so on. The war with China receives a lot of attention and yet there are no pieces to set the stage for independent India, namely, the debates around the notion of a planned economy, the emphasis on industrialization and so on. Nevertheless, for those who were idealistic youngsters knitting balaclavas for the pathetically-clad troops on the Chinese border – or those not even born then – it is interesting to read James Cameron comment: “It is heartbreaking that at the twilight of his great authority, Jawaharlal Nehru should be saddled with this intolerable dilemma.” And that too over a “meaningless stretch of empty mountainside” that is at the same time, “indescribably beautiful, difficult, remote and useless” (p. 40). In his despatch in The Times of April 4, 1963 entitled “Tarnished Image of Mr Nehru”, Neville Maxwell writes of the Prime Minister’s humanness but lack of follow-through and “where once his judgments were accepted without question, now they are often mistrusted and even scoffed at”. Clearly, not many Nehruites would agree with this assessment; but few with disagree that the war with China must have left `Panditji’ a very sad man. Selig Harrison’s on-the-spot long despatch of December 1963 after a visit to the Cease-fire line dividing Kashmir is fascinating and informative. <b>And then comes James Cameron’s piece “The Death of Nehru” in which he reflects on the man whom he had met a number of times but was at a loss to describe. A man who “shared with Gandhi the long luxurious reveries of self-examination and he could be merciless in his findings” (p. 58). As with others who have lamented the fading of a great man he writes “if he was over-idolized, as he sometimes was, he was equally cruelly outraged at the end” (ibid.).

The luxuries of expatriate life have to be described and Selig Harrison’s amusing account (`but Madam, there are no fish knives!’) reminds us of the select band of Mugh cooks that some of us have known, and the description of the Muslim bearer who “acts as a built in grandfather, delightedly sabotaging parental authority” is charming if not a little precious. John Slee does an interesting interview with the `Lion of Kashmir’ (The Sydney Morning Herald) and Vikram Sarabhai’s prescience (1970) on the likelihood of our space programme picking up, is useful. However, as the despatches sail into the seventies, there are certain significant omissions: the Lal Bahadur Shastri era is ignored as are devaluation and the death of Homi Bhabha. The entire Naxalbari phase is treated in a somewhat cavalier manner whereas the countdown to the 1971 war with Pakistan is given full coverage: extracts from Peter Kann’s `Dacca Diary’ for The Wall Street Journal make interesting reading and his descriptions of `crisis conviviality’ (what a marvellous phrase!) have today a distinct sense of déjà vu. Not unexpectedly, Kann got the 1972 Pulitzer for his writings.

As the tempo builds up for the Emergency, Lewis M. Simons’ “Mrs Gandhi Turns to Son in Crisis” for The Washington Post of 10 July 1975 not only rattled some of the skeletons in the Nehru-Gandhi cupboard (including Mrs G’s estrangement from husband Feroze) but also carries the little-known incident of Sanjay slapping his mother six times across her face! The family friend who is supposed to have reported this also said that Mrs Gandhi “ ‘just stood there and took it. She’s scared to death of him’ ” (p. 99). Wow – but does not the ubiquitous yet anonymous `family friend’ (that great Indianism) lead us somewhat into the realm of rumour? Suman Dubey’s account of the lady on the campaign trail in Chikmagalur is interesting particularly today when Karnataka has shown the Congress Party the door. Ethnic cleansing in Sri Lanka, the Bhopal gas leak, a profile of Zia ul-Haq and a discussion of India’s archaic telephone system take us into the eighties. But there is no Operation Blue Star – though a little on Bhindranwale - and no assassination of Indira Gandhi! Instead, the tension with Pakistan is played up and Barbara Crossette’s “In Kashmir Valley, Alienation Turns Deadly” (The New York Times, 15 June 1990) may set some people’s teeth on edge. In another article, her description of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination (she was a few yards away from the site) reminds us how difficult it is to provide security to our politicians: “His security had been almost nonexistent tonight. A hundred times one of those hands that reached into the car to grab his arm or stroke his hand could have stabbed or shot him” (p. 181, The New York Times, 22 May 1990).

Mark Tully’s `Nehru Dynasty’ for the BBC of 25 May 1991 is a telling reminder of how moribund and leaderless the Congress party has been from the 1990s onwards: the attempts to make Sonia Gandhi ( “Italian by birth and Roman Catholic by baptism” Tully reminds us) President of the party were rejected by her. Nevertheless, the clamour “all just goes to show the extent to which India’s only national party has become a fief of the Nehru family” (p. 186). Were things very different in May 2004? The road to globalization by India’s `financial architect’ (Manmohan Singh), the ailing Satyajit Ray being awarded the Oscar and then of course December 6 1992 and Babri Masjid, the Bombay riots of 1993 are well represented as are Sai Baba and Mother Teresa. How could they not feature in the country’s recent history? Kidnappings, beheadings and Laloo Prasad Yadav, the `wizard of Bihar’ as well as Benazir appear as important events and persona. In fact, the interviews in the book are often more interesting than the reports – little personal details such as Bhutto’s hacking cough as she tackled the dust and the crowd, her charm - `she is in Belgravia. They are in Pakistan’ (Julian West “Benazir Bhutto: `Power, Men and my Regal Style’, The Sunday Telegraph, 2 February 1997), Laloo sticking his feet out the airborne helicopter . . . Somini Sengupta picks up the threads of the Naxalite movement in present-day Chattisgarh and the declining female sex ratio remind readers of how backward some communities continue to be. And then the Gujarat earthquake, the Nepal palace massacre, an insightful despatch by the late Daniel Pearl of drug smuggling in Afghanistan and of course the little Orientalist touches of the Goddess Kali blighting those who wish to remove a tree to build highways bring us towards the end of this tour of India.

Jo Johnson (“Inequality Threatens India’s Economic Boom”, Financial Times, 1 November 2007) rings down the curtains and one wishes that it had ended on a more optimistic note. Where is cricket and our all-time greats, the women’s movement – environmental issues are dealt with somewhat – and the reversal of the brain drain, to point to only a few other excitements of these years that have slipped through? And the interleaving of only a few photographs is disappointing, a point borne out by the powerful cover visual of the Ali Kadal Bridge on the Jhelum river being set on fire by militants. The brilliance of the flames is a backdrop to three persons on a boat on the river. One of them is a woman with a shopping basket, in the process of leaving the boat. Is she escaping in fear or merely alighting, her day’s business over? As the photograph juxtaposes the mundane with the horrific, it reminds us of the power of the visual in providing many readings of an event. And how do Pablo Bartholomew’s and Raghu Rai’s images feature in this volume of the work of foreign correspondents?

Finally, as with all `eye-views’, this book is a mélange of the good, the bad and the ugly, `big names’ rubbing shoulders with the less heard of… who, nevertheless, provide fine examples of reportage: Michael Hamlyn’s interview with Zia, or Olaf Ihlau’s of Sai Baba as well as Manjeet Kripalani’s on India at the Science and Technology Museum in Shanghai in 2003 being instances of the latter, who together with Neville Maxwell, Mark Tully, James Cameron and Barbara Crossette make Foreign Correspondent an interesting dipping-into collection, ideal for journeys and casual reading across generations. At a more serious level, it is useful not only for an understanding of how India has been perceived by contemporary observers but also provides instances of what courage at the job, good reportage and perceptive interviewing can mean.
Lal Bahadhur Sastri was the first realist PM of India. In his short tenure he did a lot. He retrived the honor and dignity of the Indna military and gave them a free hand within reason. He crossed the IB and but for incompetent generals would have captured Lahore. He authorized the fast neutron expts aka bomb. Unfortunately he couldnt hold on to the gains and lost them at Tashkent.
RSS is the silent revolution of making men: Modi
Submitted by ashish on Wed, 04/16/2008 - 19:59. modi rss

Why has Gujarat become a laboratory of the Sangh Parivar? The answer lies in the book written by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in which he has depicted the lives of the leaders who built the Parivar in the state.

Modi, in his book <b>Jyotipunj,</b> written in Gujarati and released in Ahmedabad on Monday, has written on unsung heroes of the Sangh Parivar who worked in oblivion throughout their lives to build the organisation in Gujarat.

In his book, Modi says that he has obtained his sanskars from these RSS leaders. In the 200-page book, he has written about the lives of 16 leaders of the Sangh Parivar.

He has described in detail about their character, their strength, their skill in organistion building and above all their simplicity.

"The work of the Sangh Parivar is an open university in organisation building," Modi writes in the chapter on one such leader Keshavrao Deshmukh. He describes RSS as the, "silent revolution of making men".

Modi says, "The RSS model of making leaders needs to be studied in comparison to western models which is being taught in IIMs, Harvard and Stanford".

"The RSS has a unique culture in which they do not teach to impress, but they give importance to renunciation, dedication and hard work," he added.

Modi has described in detail the hard work done by these RSS leaders to build the organisation in the state. He said it is due to their work and work of other RSS volunteers that the Sangh Parivar has grown into a vat vrakush (a big tree).

"These people have given their life without expecting any rewards from the society. The society is unaware about the work done by them," he added.

"People will come to know about the work of the RSS by reading this book," Modi said.

He said in his book that it is a myth that Sangh Parivar is formed by upper caste Brahmins. "If we look at the development of RSS in the states, there are many leaders from lower rungs of the Hindu society, who have contributed to the development of Sangh Parivar in Gujarat," Modi said in the chapter on RSS leader Babjubhai Oza.

Oza, who came from other backward class community, held one of the top posts of RSS leadership in the state for a long time, Modi said.

Modi, who has been a RSS worker, has refrained to write about his relationship with the leaders on whom he has written in the book.

The Sangh Parivar leaders about whom Modi has written in his book are Dr P V Doshi, K K Shastri, Laxmanrao Inamdar, Madhukarao Bhagwat, Anantrao Kale, Keshavrao Deshmukh, Vasant Gajendragadkar, Dr Vishwanath Vanikar, Kashinath Bagwade, Nathalal Jaghda, Babubhai Oza, Bachubhai Bhagat, Vasudevrao Talavkar and Vasantrao Chilponkar

source : http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/apr/15modi.htm

India First Foundation has a lot of books:

(via Rajeev Blogspot)
<b>Impressing the Whites: The New International Slavery</b>
08.05.05 | 25 Comments | Filed Under Uncategorized

Is the title of the latest book I read. Two words are sufficient to sum up the book’s review: powerful and path-breaking. But I’ll prattle along.

The book’s title almost reveals its theme: that colonialism is not dead. It is thriving inside the minds of both the formerly-colonized as well as the “liberal” (read: white) people. And its dangers are compounded because it is invisible. Richard Crasta the author, uses the word invisible to denote the neo-colonized who willingly wear the slave badge and proudly strut around with an air of superiority.

The book is a collection of essays which follow a logical sequence in exploring the theme of cultural colonization. A satire, it is written in thrilleresque, racy language, which breezes along holding you in its grip. It took me all of 5 hours to read it. And changed so many (mis)conceptions I had taken for granted so far.

The fact that it is not popular owes precisely to the cause of the hard truths it reveals. An Amazon search revealed that it is “out of print/limited availability” and there’s not a single review: editorial or otherwise. Crasta, a Mangalorean Catholic by birth–now settled in the US–pithily recounts the hardships he had to face trying to get it published. And notes that the most opposition came from the Indians (settled in the US) themselves. He calls this phenomenon the Brown Man’s Burden.

The essays are as sarcastic as they are witty and insightful. For example, he uses Coconuts to describe the mentally-colonized Indian. Coconut because it is brown on the outside whereas the real stuff inside, is white. This new form of colonialism Crasta demonstrates, has successfully created entire colonies of Brown Sahibs whose disdain for the “natives” far exceeds that of the whites.

The author correctly traces the roots of this intellectual slavery to the Macualayite educational system that created intellectual wimps whose inferiority complex regarding their own culture has itself become a leash in the hands of their white masters. In the US as Crasta observes, Indians are the most docile of all “South Asian” immigrants; in sharp contrast to the Chinese immigrants who let their hair down in countrymen-only gatherings, laugh boisterously and generally make merry, their Indian counterparts in similar social settings behave more stiff-upper-lippedly than the white men themselves, but we’ve not even been introduced.

Crasta profiles such class of people as hailing typically from middle-to-upper middle class families who have had the typical Maculayite education and their dream of “arriving in life” is to get the coveted Green Card. Unaware of their roots, combined with a superficial knowledge of “Indian culture,” they try throughout their lives to escape–instead of understand–from their rootlessness by denigrating India and trying to become whiter than the whites.

The book gives us a multitude of methods Indians use to impress the whites. The foremost is to pander to their stereotyped ideas about India and Indians. While a majority of those ideas are downright false or don’t exist at all, the Coconuts ensure their perpetuity by:

Reinforcing these biases through fiction and media
Clamping down dissenting–or opposing–voices
Richard Crasta singles out the literary domain to prove his thesis, his chosen targets: Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh, and Arundhati Roy and Pankaj Mishra, to an extent. He traces their literary careers in some detail and shows how they have become the spokesmen for the West to understand India. It is their ideas of India that the West accepts. And perversely–and it is really sad–<b>any Indian author who wants to get published here is rejected, nay told outrightly to “go get published out there first.”</b> The rules of the game are stark clear. Thus, any Indian writer with a different portrayal of India is not allowed entry by these gatekeepers of the white masters: the writers of Rushdie’s ilk.

The West’s interest in the “Third World”–if at all–is very limited. As Crasta says in the essay, Monica Lewinsky’s thong underwear, the West is more interested in the political, social, economic and philosophical implications of Pamela Anderson’s breast implants and Monica’s thong than the suffering lot of several African countries. Their interest in the Third World merely serves as a diversion from the serious issues of thongs and boobs. Which is what the Third World house niggers have shrewdly understood. This explains the phenomenal success of hundreds of Indian “Spiritual” gurus who’ve never had it better than now. They simplify Indian philosophy and present it in the form of easily digestible sound/newsbytes to the ever-hungry and spiritually-dead West.

Returning to literature, Crasta calls the writers of Rushdie’s breed as “public school writers.” This alludes to their education–in elite schools like the St Stephens where children are taught to denigrate the Indian heritage. That Pankaj Mishra called David Godwin after reading Arundhati Roy’s manuscript instead of an Indian publisher is a beacon for how things are skewed.

And then there’s an insight into the politics of names. This is extremely subtle but powerful. <b>Arundhati Roy’s real name is Margaret Roy but the West refuses to publish books authored by an Indian who has a non-Hindu name. From experience, Crasta says he was promised a hefty advance for one of his novels the moment he said he was contemplating a change of his name to Avatar Prabhu</b>. There’s also a converse of this theory, which again is aimed to please the whites. Changing Indian names to “American” names so that they can pronounce/remember them easily. Thus a Sharatchandra Rao becomes Sonny Rao, a Chinmay Patel becomes Chris Patel, and Jaithirth Rao becomes Jerry Rao. Ever heard of a Pringnitz change his (her?) name to Pran, or Vaughn (pronounced “von” but how the hell am I supposed to know?) to Vani? As Rajiv Malhotra says

The [Washington] Post should be wary of Indian writers who are in the habit of dishing out the negative stereotypes which are easy to sell in the American market. It should not assume that an ethnic name implies competence in that culture. To become aware of the sepoy syndrome, a good starting point would be Richard Crasta’s courageous book explaining this phenomenon.

Crasta also calls the male Indian writers neutered or in plain language, eunuchs. To figure out why he calls them so, buy the book. It’ll be well worth your time and money .

came via email..
Shrikant Talageri's book with references to Witzelspeak.

http://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97/sara...du-civilization  Updated.

Hindu civilizational continuum (Book revie -2: Talageri's The Rigveda and the Avesta, 2008, with particular reference to critique of Witzel's unscholarly, unethical, dishonest, abusive, flip-flops)

Posted on the web at http://www.scribd.com/doc/8775936/witzel2

In my first review of the book published on Nov. 18, 2008 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/8116692/Talageri Annex 2 for ready reference), I had focused on the key points made by Shrikant Talageri in affirming the chronological sequence of Rigveda and Avesta.

I present a second review, pointing to the raison d'etre for Talageri's work: critiquing the 'scholarship' evidenced by Michael Witzel, a Harvard Professor.

I earnestly suggest that both Witzel and Hock should read Talageri's book (2008). If they need copies, I can have them couriered, provided I get the mailing addresses and a request. This suggestion is particularly directed to both Witzel and Hock whose false claims are shred by Talageri into pieces, with remarkable collation of evidence and scholarship.

If both Witzel and Hock do not read Talageri's work and do not respond to the specific points made by Talageri, I will have to continue Review 3 with particular reference to Hock's spurious linguistic arguments, also exposed by Talageri.

Shrikant Talageri has critically referred to Witzel throughout the book. Special sections dealing with him are chapter 1 (p.49-53), chapter 3 (p.117-129), chapter 5 (p.168-175), chapter 6 (290-307), chapter 8 (p.347-354). A few bon mots from these pages are annexed (Annex 1) so that the readers are encouraged to read Talageri's work in original. This is intended to show a flavour for the arguments of Talageri to fully expose the spurious scholarship of Witzel.

I strongly urge Witzel to read the above cited pages, and answer every point if he can; he also has the option to read the entire book. Of course, he will try to get away from this exercise as usual by breezy references to Talageri's profession as a bank employee and will avoid replying on the grounds that it is not necessary to do so! But other readers can draw their own conclusions.

Talageri has, demonstrated, with irrefutable evidence, Witzel, for example:

<b>1. making up stories out of thin air (e.g., converting Vasistha into an Iranian and finding all kinds of evidence for this, p.50-52) ,

2. to be a confused 'scholar', forgetting on one page what he has written on another and therefore contradicting himself thoroughly (e.g., he makes Visvamitra the head of the coalition against Sudas in the Battle of the Ten Kings and has Visvamitra defeated and humiliated in this Battle, and then elsewhere he has the Visvamitras glorifying Sudas' victories in this very battle, p.52-53. Similarly, Witzel describes the Aryan incursion as the trickling-in of one Afghan Aryan tribe into the Indus area and emphatically rejects the idea of a violent military invasion, and then he himself describes a violent military invasion in detail, p.321-322), and

3. writing exactly the opposite after reading Talageri's book The Rigveda A Historical Analysis of what Witzel had written before reading it (for example on the Ganga, p.125-128, and on the Rigveda itself, p.348-353). 

Talageri's work is a veritable expose of Witzel's  'scholarship'. Is Talageri trying to pour water on a duck's back? The duck will swim away, the spurious Professor stays on with water wetting most of his slippery work and demonstrating an example of motivated, dubious scholarship.

Sotto voce

J'accuse Harvard University of retaining and encouraging an academic who is intent only on denigrating the world heritage represented by the cultural foundations provided by Samskrtam.


It is doubly shameful that the University has allowed the Prince of Wales chair to be sullied by acquiescing in gross violation of academic ethics by an occupant of the furniture. Many instances of conduct unbecoming of a Harvard University have been brought to the notice of Harvard Corporation and no action has been taken. (See Vishal Agarwal's critique, Shree Vinekar's critique available on Harvard U. files. I will be happy to provide the references, if asked for). It is time for the prestigious institution to review, de novo, the contribution to knowledge made by this chair on the lines of the reviews undertaken in German schools resulting in the closure of Sanskrit/South Asia studies. It is tragic indeed that an occupant of the furniture called Prince of Wales chair has insulted the institution's standards of ethics and academic standards of excellence bringing scholarship to a gutter level.

In the name of education, vidyadevi Sarasvati, I urge the Provost of Harvard U. to institute an inquiry and throw the chair and its occupant out and redeem the University's image in the community and demonstrate social responsibility. It is shameful that an academic indulges in general abuses without facing up to, reading critiques and respond if he can or acknowledge ignorant arrogance and crass academic incompetence. This academic is a blot on the academe and a danger to the present and future generations of students (exemplified by the intemperate and abusive response to Review 1 of Talageri's work so diligently, painstakingly put together with remarkable integrity in search of truth.

I suppose this is the hallmark of all seekers of knowledge, including Harvard University and standing the test of contributions made to the enlightenment of young students in their earnest quest for satyam and enhancing their full potential to make contributions to abhyudayam and dharma.

Annex 1 Ripping apart Witzel's work of dubious 'scholarship'

NB: All page references are to Talageri's book (2008).

Chapter 1G (pages 49-50)

"There has been a strange failure, on the part of the scholars examining the evidence, to reach the unavoidable conclusions we have reached in this chapter. The reason for this is of course the fact that they have always viewed the data through the blinker of the AIT. But the failure runs deeper: there has been a tendency to manufacture evidence and indulge in fraudulent scholarship in order to provide substance to the theories which run contrary to the data.

"The level of fraudulent and make-believe scholarship which dominates the Aryan debate today can be gauged from the following: Michael Witzel, throughout his various writings, from WITZEL, 1995b:334-335 to WITZEL, 2005:344, keeps insisting that Vasistha is an 'Iranian' or an 'immigrant from Iran', even a 'self-proclaimed' Iranian immigrant. In WITZEL 2005: 335, he even refers to 'the origins of the Bharatas and Vasistha in eastern Iran.' …By what statistical logic does Witzel decide that Vasistha, of Book 7, 'avoids' the use of absolutives, presumably in sharp contrast to all the other composers making lavish use of absolutives in their compositions? As we can see, there six occurrences of absolutives in Book 7, compared to, for example, only three in Book 6, and five each in Books 4 and 5."

Chapter 1G (pages 51-2)

"The way in which Witzel arrives at his conclusions is in itself enough to show up his fraudulent scholarship. But what is significant, in the light of our analysis of the Avestan names in this chapter, is that while the Late Books 5,1 and 8-10 are literally overflowing with compound names of the Avestan type, such names are completely absent in Book 7, the Book of Vasistha (and also in the Early and Middle Books, 2-4, 6-7, which are the Books associated with the Bharatas. Bharatas are in fact referred to by this name only in the Family Books 2-7: the owrd Bharata in this sense does not occur even once in the non-family Books). In fact, the only Iranian names, of persons and tribes, in the Book of Vasistha, the 'self-proclaimed Iranian', are the names of the enemies of Vasistha and the Bharatas in the Battle of the Ten Kings: Kai, Kavasa, Prthus, Parsus, Pakthas, and Bhalanas."

Chapter 1G (Page 53)

"In other words, according to Witzel's account of the events, Vasistha ousted Visvamitra as the priest of Sudas; and, in revenge Visvamitra led a coalition of tribes in the Ten Kings' Battle against Sudas and Vasistha, and was 'completely' defeated. And, later, the descendants of Visvamitra composed a hymn III.53, in 'praise' and glorification of the Bharatas, in fond memory of the asvamedha organized to 'commemorate' and celebrate the 'triumphs' of Sudas and Vasistha and the defeat and humiliation of their own ancestor visvamitra!"

Chapter 3 (p.117-129)

"As a crusader in the holy cause of the AIT, who has collaborated closely with many of the eminent leftist historians in anti-OIT campaigns in the Indian media, Witzel contributes his bit to this campaign…Witzel goes on to make the following juvenile comments: 'Incidentally, it is entirely unclear that the physical river Sarasvati is meant in some of these spurious hymns: in 6.49.7 the Sarasvati is a woman and in 50.12 a deity, not necessarily the river (Witzel 1984). (At 52.6, however, it is a river, and in 61.1.7 both a river and a deity – which can be located anywhere from the Arachosian Sarasvati to the Night time sky, with no clear localization' (WITZEL 2000b:7). These are clearly not the words of a scholar making serious statements on an academic subject: that the Sarasvati of VI.49.7 'is a woman' is ludicrous, to say the least! And if, in any reference, Sarasvati is the name of a deity or a woman, even an amateur student of the subject could tell Witzel that the circumstance presupposes the existence of a river named Sarasvati, since the word Sarasvati is clearly originally the name of a river: it means 'the one with many ponds' (WITZEL 1995a:105)…

"WITZEL.1995b:335, fn82). Here, he (Witzel) not only identifies the Sarasvati of the RIgveda with the Sarasvati of Kurukshetra which dried up progressively after 1500 BCE, but notes that it 'flows from the mountains to the sea' (a description now often sought to be transferred to the Harahvaiti of Afghanistan, with the Hamun-i-Hilmand being the 'sea' described in the verse), and accepts that it shows that the battle of ten kings took place prior to 1500 BCE. And nowhere, in that article or in his charts on the geographical data in the Rigveda, does Witzel talk about women and non-riverine deities, or about Arachosia or the Night time sky, in reference to the word Sarasvati in these Early Books…(WITZEL. 2000a: 6). Note what Witzel is writing shortly before reading TALAGERI 200: he repeatedly refers not only to Book 6 in general, not only to hymn VI.45 in general, but specifically to the verse in that hymn which refers to the Ganga, as pertaining to the 'early Rigvedic period' and as constituting part of the geographical data of 'the oldest books' and 'the oldest hymns', and he even takes up issue with other western scholars who think otherwise!"

Chapter 5 (p.168-175)

"WITZEL's FRAUDULENT ARGUMENTS. In a recent paper (WITZEL, 2005), Witzel argues, in some detail, a point frequently made by him earlier: that the Indo-Aryan elements in Mitanni indicate a pre-Rigvedic language, with linguistic features which necessarily rule out any idea that the Mitanni coluld have emigrated from India – that the Mitanni were in fact an offshoot of the pre-Rigvedic Indo-Aryans as yet on their way towards India…And all three points (of Witzel's arguments) are misleading or fraudulent:  1. The argument about 'retroflexation' is clearly fraudulent, since it is clearly impossible to know whether the Mitanni IA language had cerebral (retroflex) sounds or not. But, in either case, whether they had them or not, it constitutes no objection to their emigration from Rigvedic India…2. Witzel's second argument, about the absence of 'typical South Asian loan words' and 'local Indian words' in the Mitanni IA language is in the same fraudulent vein. The only Mitanni IA words in the record are the names of a handful of Vedic Gods, some numerals, some words connected with horses (their colours, chariots, racing, etc.), a handful of other words (e.g. mani), and, as Witzel aptly puts it, 'a large array of personal names adopted by the ruling class'…The limited available Mitanni IA wordlist can certainly be analysed, but how on earth can anyone presume to make categorical declarations about which words were absent in the Mitanni IA language?...3. Witzel's third argument is that the Mitanni words seem to preserve certain sounds which had been transformed into other sounds already in the RV language: the RV has edh, e and h where the reconstructed pre-RV forms (also in Iranian) were azd, ai and jh respectively, while the Mitanni IA words seem to preserve the original sounds. This argument is not necessarily fraudulent in its essence, but it is nevertheless as baseless and misleading as the others…Witzel, of course, usually refers to phonetic changes in 'minor details such as the pronunciation of svar instead of suvar, etc.', but (as in Deshpande, above) changes from azd to edh or ai/au to e/o could very logically have been among the changes affected in the phonetic redactions."

Chapter 6 (290-307) – 7G

"APPENDIX: WITZEL'S LINGUISTIC ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE OIT…we will examine the article presented by Michael Witzel (WITZEL 2005) in a volume edited by Edwin Bryant and Laurie Patton, published in 2005, which claims to present the linguistic case against the OIT…Witzel begins his linguistic arguments with an inadvertent admission that the AIT linguistic case is based on argumentative points rather than concrete evidence…Ironically, the case presented in Section 1 of this book (which I challenge Witzel to refute), for the Out-of-India scenario, is actually based on a combination of the Mitanni 'inscriptions' and the evidence of the Rigveda and Avesta, of which the material in the Rigveda has also frequently been referred to by Witzel as being 'equivalent to inscriptions' (see section 8C in the next chapter)… In sum, all of Witzel's linguistic arguments are basically directed against three hypotheses which are treated as the core of the OIT case, but which form no part whatsoever of the case presented by us: (1) the 'Sanskrit-origin' hypothesis…(2) the 'sequential movement of different groups' Out-of-India hypothesis (postulated by no-one, so far as I know) argued against by Hock (HOCK 1999a)…and (3) 'Misra's new dating of the RV at 5000 BCE' (WITZEL 2005: 358), from which Witzel decides: 'The autochthonous theory would have the RV at c. 5000 BCE or before the start of the Indus civilization at 2600 BCE', and 'according to the autochthonous theory, the Iranians had migrated westwards out of India well before the RV (2600-5000 BCE)' (WITZEL 2005: 369). Therefore, to sum up, there is no linguistic case at all, worth the name against the OIT case presented by us in our earlier books, and presented again with much more detail in this present book, especially in this chapter. The Indian homeland case presented by us answers all the linguistic requirements perfectly, while the AIT completely fails to answer any of them."

Chapter 8 (p.347-354)

"…the correctness of our classification (in TALAGERI 2000) of the Books of the Rigveda into Early, Middle and Late, and the fact that this is the 'right Rigveda', is established and proved by the way in which it 'predicted' the pattern of distribution of the Avestan names and name-elements (and other important words like ara, 'spokes') years before that distribution was demonstrated in this present book. A more fitting reply to Witzel's criticism could not have been found…As Witzel tells us elsewhere, 'we need to take the texts seriously, at their own word. A paradigm shift is necessary…' (WITZEL 2000b:332). Unfortunately, instead of taking the texts seriously at their own word, writers like Witzel have spent umpteen years and plenty of energy in producing voluminous piles of pure and incomprehensible nonsense based only on wild flights of their imagination, full of masses of chaotic details, wild speculations, mutually contradictory interpretations and conclusions, and ludicrous fairy tales, all of it leading nowhere."

Annex 2 Book review: S.G. Talageri, 2008, The Rigveda and the Avesta â€" the final evidence, Delhi, Aditya Prakashan interspersed with flippant, fraudulent comments by Witzel<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Kerala nun's controversial tale in English, Hindi, Marathi soon</b>
http://news. in.msn.com/ national/ article.aspx? cp-documentID= 1829864

Mumbai, Feb 24 (IANS) <b>The controversial book, 'Amen - Autobiography of
a Nun', by a Kerala Catholic nun in which she alleges that sexual
abuse and homosexuality are prevalent in the Catholic Church in the
southern state, will soon be published in English, Hindi and Marathi.</b>

The book, which has taken the Catholic Church by storm, could hit
bookshelves across the country before the Lent period begins on March
10, book's author Sister Jesme told IANS over phone from Calicut.

'An agreement was signed yesterday (Monday) evening with Penguin
Books, giving them the full domestic rights for the book. They hope to
bring it out within the next 10-15 days or so,' she said.

Sr. Jesme said the English version is ready. 'In fact, I had written
the book first in English, but there were no takers,' she revealed.

When a Malayalam publisher got ready to publish it, she translated it
into Malayalam and it was published a few months ago, raising Church
eyebrows around the world as the word spread.

Though she said there has been no official reaction from the Vatican
so far, church authorities in Kerala have been in touch with her
seeking clarifications about her motives behind penning the book.

'I have maintained right from the beginning that I am not against the
church, all that I am seeking is a 'renewal in the church'. I am
dedicated to Lord Jesus and he is my guiding spirit all these years,'
said the 52-year-old Sr. Jesme.

Asked about the Hindi and Marathi versions, she said that Penguin will
arrange to get the translated versions and these will hit the markets
after the English book - to be titled 'Amen - The Story of a Nun' - is

'We agreed on Hindi and Marathi since these are Penguin's speciality
areas apart from English,' Sr. Jesme explained.

Born in Trichur as Meamy Raphael, Sr. Jesme joined a convent and
became a nun at a young age.

In the book, she speaks about shocking instances of carnal pursuits by
members of the church. She has even highlighted how she became a
victim to such incidents, setting off a furore.

<b>Sr. Jesme said that reactions to the book - there were even some death
threats - have amazed her.</b>

'However, as a believer, I feel Lord Jesus is behind all this. I am
merely an instrument. He wants a renewal in the church,' she asserted,
explaining that her name itself is a combination of herself and Lord
Jesus - 'Jes' and 'Me.'

The middle among seven children, Sr. Jesme is no stranger to the world
of publishing. Prior to the latest book, she has penned three
collections of poems - 'A Cascade', 'Rhapsody' and 'At The Foot Of The
Cross' - and a critique on criticism 'Narrative Aesthetics - A Case

While the 180-page Malayalam book 'Amen - Autobiography of a Nun' had
several pictures, she is not sure if Penguin would include photographs
in the English, Hindi and Marathi editions which are expected to be
over 200 pages each.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Anna: The Life and Times of C.N. Annadurai

By R. Kannan, Penguin, Rs 550

R Kannan laments that C.N. Annadurai is ubiquitous in Tamil Nadu, lending his name to parks, universities, welfare projects, but is rarely a subject of biographies, even in Tamil. One has to remember that a certain mental distance has to be traversed from an event or a person before a reasonably dispassionate recollection can be attempted. Tamil Nadu and its Tamil-speaking population, still steeped in the politics and culture spawned by Anna’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, are yet to travel that distance. Anna is too much of a living presence to be remembered through a biography there. Kannan’s biography is clearly meant for a readership outside the state whose idea of the man has been shaped by the perspective of the country’s largest national party and its difficulties in containing the aspirations Anna had for his people.

This dream was essentially one of bringing about a revolution — a drastic change in the Brahmin-dominated social order. The dream, as Periyar saw it, involved instilling a sense of pride in one’s identity. Through the churning that the Self-Respect Movement initiated in the early 1920s, Tamil identity came to be shaped first in opposition to the Brahmins and then the Hindi-speaking North. What had been a social project took wing, under Anna, to become a political movement aimed not only at bringing power to the people but also preserving what was projected, and perceived, to be a distinctly different Tamil identity.

The quest for a separate Dravida Nadu and the anti-Hindi agitation were two facets of this movement. The first scheme was dropped unceremoniously, following the Chinese invasion in 1962. The second ended after self-immolations and a bloodbath in 1965 forced the Centre to allow Tamil Nadu, then Madras, to follow a two-language policy that it still follows today. Both demands lent a sour taste to the festivities that followed India’s independence. Their persistence weakened the Congress’s grip on the southern state and placed it at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the power equation at the Centre which it is yet to overcome. The leaders of the Dravidian movement have been considered unnecessary irritants to the grand game of democracy. Kannan tries to prove how stalwarts like Anna have provided a “safe and democratic outlet for regional aspirations within united India”.

Kannan does not want to write a hagiography, but Anna is clearly his hero. In this account, Anna scores way above Periyar in his literary genius, oratory and sensitivity. Kannan extensively covers Anna’s relations with Periyar and several of his thambis or brothers. Anna appears to be dictated more by his heart than head. However, sentiment does not cloud his political vision. Unlike Periyar, Anna never misjudged politics as a means to effect actual social change and did not allow ideology to come in the way of electoral alliances, a strategy that made him the chief minister in 1967. Kannan’s Anna is an idealist, but also a pragmatist.

Kannan’s study of Anna’s associations — in academia, theatre and cinema — brings alive a time similar to the intellectual ferment Bengal witnessed in the 1960s and 1970s. But somehow, the Tamil people, on whom phenomenal changes were wrought, are missing from the scene. This is because the spotlight remains steadfastly trained on the principal characters in Anna’s life — Periyar, E.V.K. Sampath, MGR, Karunanidhi. Kannan is perhaps too taken up by his effort to get the facts right. While taking a stand on Anna or the DMK, Kannan first quotes their principal critics, and then tries to arrive at a mean. A sign that Kannan, like his generation, remains too close to the subject of his study?

[url="http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/15073106/1844542044/name/Equality_and_Incusion.pdf"]Equality and Inclusion: Progress and development of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in Independent India[/url]

Quote:The 97 page report 'Equality and Inclusion: Progress and Development of Sceduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Independent India' (August 15,2011) is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the enormous strides made by independent India on behalf of the scheduled castes (SCs) and the scheduled tribes (STs) of India.

The author Dr.Rakesh Bahadur and his dedicated team have produced a document that is detailed and authentic. The references drawn from governmental, scholarly and NGO sources indicate that the team has been involved in the conceptualisation of the question and the painstaking task of data collection and analyses. The report abounds with tables, charts and graphs that are relevant to tracking the work done by independent India.

They have not hesitated to include criticisms that argue that the lot of the SCs/STs has not substantially improved in the last 67 years of independence. Bahadur and his team refute these claims with hard core stats and analyses, rather than emotional rhetoric. This is the strength of the report. It can be relied upon to provide reliable data and sober analysis.

The report shows improvements in real time as opposed to preconceived notions and prejudices surrounding the question. . . .The sober methodology of this report is therefore crucial in dispelling some of the myths propagated by those fishing in troubled waters and who continue to impale India on the topic of SCs/STs. Their political agenda needs to be defeated and the Bahadur report does just that. The Report offers an analysis of long term trends and present achievements based on the parameters of literacy rate, poverty, human development index, crime rate, human rights violations, job reservations in legislative bodies and executive bodies. The improvements in the condition of the SCs/STs can be seen in real time, rather than in the context of abstractions

[url="http://www.docstoc.com/docs/90074351/Equality-and-Inclusion-Progress-and-development-of-Scheduled-Castesand-Tribes-in-Independent-India"]Alternative link[/url]

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