A small but significant contribution towards changing the discourse


This post is reproduced from this thread in Rajiv Malhotra's forum posted by Infinity Foundation India (IFI). Please visit the forum to follow the developments in this thread and thank these two independent Swadeshi Indology (SI) scholars for their contribution.

Dear Listfolk,

two scholars from the SI movement have managed to effect a small but significant change in the official narrative of Indian history as was found in a link on the National Portal of India. They used provisions of the RTI (Right to Information) and the Public Grievances mechanism, to engage with ICHR, PMO, MHRD and NIC for about 6 months to get the change effected.

Their achievement can be tracked through the below note. We hope that more scholars from the SI movement will be able to make meaningful interventions in the coming years on very many issues that pertain to the discourse on India.

Many thanks to Manogna and Megh for their efforts.

A note from them is appended below:

The "History" link in the section "Know India" on the National Portal of India, a link on India's Ministry of External Affairs website, which receives about 30,000 views* each month (*Statshow estimates as on 2017 May 20), until April this year contained the following information in its narrative about India's history: 
In the section “The Indus Valley Civilization”:
"Among various causes ascribed to the decay of Indus Valley Civilization are the invasion by the Aryans, the recurrent floods and other natural causes like earthquake, etc."
In the section “Vedic Civilization”:
"The Vedic civilization is the earliest civilization in the history of ancient India associated with the coming of Aryans. It is named after the Vedas, the early literature of the Hindu people. The Vedic Civilization flourished along the river Saraswati, in a region that now consists of the modern Indian states of Haryana and Punjab. Vedic is synonymous with Aryans and Hinduism, which is another name for religious and spiritual thought that has evolved from the Vedas. The largely accepted view is that a section of Aryans reached the frontiers of the Indian subcontinent around 2000 BC and first settled in Punjab and it is here, in this land, where the hymns of Rigveda were composed. The Aryans lived in tribes and spoke Sanskrit, which belonged to the Indo-European group of languages. Gradually, the Aryans intermingled with the local people and a historic synthesis was worked out between the Aryan tribes and the original inhabitants. This synthesis broadly came to be known as Hinduism. The Ramayana and Mahabharata were the two great epics of this period."
In the section “Indian Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)”: 
"In ancient times, people from all over the world were keen to come to India. The Aryans came from Central Europe and settled down in India."
One way to see more clearly, the implications of statements above, might be to read them again after re-ordering some of them, as follows:     

1. The Vedic civilization is the earliest civilization in the history of ancient India associated with the coming of Aryans.
2. The Aryans came from Central Europe and settled down in India.
3. The largely accepted view is that a section of Aryans reached the frontiers of the Indian subcontinent around 2000 BC and first settled in Punjab and it is here, in this land, where the hymns of Rigveda were composed.
4. Vedic is synonymous with Aryans and Hinduism, which is another name for religious and spiritual thought that has evolved from the Vedas.
5. The Aryans lived in tribes and spoke Sanskrit, which belonged to the Indo-European group of languages.
6. Gradually, the Aryans intermingled with the local people and a historic synthesis was worked out between the Aryan tribes and the original inhabitants. This synthesis broadly came to be known as Hinduism.
7. Among various causes ascribed to the decay of Indus Valley Civilization are the invasion by the Aryans, the recurrent floods and other natural causes like earthquake, etc.

One way to summarize the above could be:

Vedic Civilization is associated with the arrival of some Central Europeans (Aryans) who spoke an Indo-European language Sanskrit, invaded Indian subcontinent around 2000 BC, contributed in ending the so-called Indus Valley civilization and during their stay composed the Rig Veda and "worked out" Hinduism while they "intermingled" with "the original inhabitants".

What should be evident to any objective reader is how (unsubstantiated hypotheses such as) Aryan Invasion and (Proto-) Indo-European have been used to ascribe (atleast in part and covertly, at the very least) origins of Vedas, Sanskrit and Hinduism to Central Europe when, till date, no absolutely conclusive evidence proves either of these, what may be not unreasonably called "motivated", hypotheses. [For some recent treatments of "Aryan" and "Indo-European", see Chavda A.L. (2017), Aryan Invasion Myth: How 21st Century Science Debunks 19th Century IndologyKazanas, Nicholas (2017), Fallacies of Proto-Indo-EuropeanSastry, Manogna and Kalyanasundaram, Megh (2017), Purva Paksa of Sheldon Pollock's Use of ChronologyDanino, Michel (2016), A series of lectures on the Aryan issue - PART 01 and The Aryan Issue (2016); Malhotra, Rajiv (2011), Breaking India, p. 15-35 “Inventing the Aryan Race”]. 

Through an engagement that spanned about 6 months [see timeline below] with the Indian Council of Historical Research, the Indian Prime Minister's Office, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development &  National Informatics Centre, using common public mechanisms - RTI (Right to Information) [No. 3-259/2016- ICHR/RTI] & Public Grievances [PMOPG/E/2017/0123386, MINIT/E/2017/01091] - the narrative of Indian History on the National Portal of India was corrected, in 2017 May, with removal of "Aryan", "Indo-European" and "Central Europe" (See column "What is the change effected" in Table below for a detailed log of all changes). Summary of the relevant questions in the original RTI petition mapped to changes implemented (with Before/After details) followed by a timeline of key events are included below:

Summary of Questions in RTI, Status of Change effected, Statement/s Before & After Change & Actual change effected

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 10.36.17
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 10.36.33

Screenshots (Before/After)

Before:

Screenshot- Before-2

After:

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 09.00.45

Before:

Screenshot- Before-4

After:
 
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 09.01.30

Before:
 
Screenshot- Before-3

After:
 
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 09.02.12

Timeline:
 
2017 Jan 04: RTI: 3-259/2016-ICHR/RTI to ICHR, with questions pertaining to content on KnowIndia website, in line with the mission statement of ICHR 
2017 Feb 07: Response letter (snail-mail) from ICHR signed by Deputy Director/CPIO (Dated Feb 7)
2017 Feb 20: Face-to-Face meeting at ICHR, Delhi with CPIO, First Appellate Officer (Member Secretary) to get clarifications on response letter from CPIO 2017
2017 Mar 03: Grievance PMOPG/E/2017/0123386 registered
2017 Mar 15: Forwarded from PMO to Director ICR in Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) which was then forwarded to Member Secretary, ICHR 
2017 Mar 21: Second Letter from ICHR, this time signed by Member Secretary (Dated Mar 21) with copy to Director ICR
2017 Mar 28: Face-to-Face meeting with ICHR Chairman
2017 Mar 30: PMOPG/E/2017/0123386 disposed with reference to Mar 21 letter from Member Secretary
2017 Apr 03: Mail sent to ICHR Chairman escalating disposal and requesting clarifications. Grievance MINIT/E/2017/01091 registered     
2017 Apr 07: Telephonic conversation with NIC official to whom MINIT/E/2017/01091was forwarded
2017 Apr 09: Grievance MINIT/E/2017/01091 also disposed. Email to NIC in-charge seeking clarifications to actions requested in disposal     
2017 Apr 10: Reminder mail to ICHR Chairman along with additional evidence
2017 Apr 21: Interdepartmental engagement - NIC & ICHR - email sent from NIC to ICHR
2017 May 02: Status update mail from NIC Grievance Cell to Megh with Apr 21 inter-departmental communication included as attachment
2017 May 07: Changes w.r.t. to Questions 2, 4-8 noticed; mail sent requesting change w.r.t. Question 3
2017 May 11: Changes w.r.t. Question 3 noticed




Thank you.


Regards,

Team IFI

A Report on Swadeshi Indology Conference-2

An Infinity India Foundation (IFI) Report. A small IFI team (you know who you are) put in incredible hard work on the ground, working quietly behind the scenes. Their quick thinking and teamwork, along with help from volunteers ('the unknown soldiers'), overcame multiple and daunting real-time operational and logistical challenges to make this event a success. Thank you for your Seva.
Photos.





The second edition of the Swadeshi Indology Conference Series was held at the IGNCA premises, New Delhi on 17th, 18th and 19th February in collaboration with IGNCA. It was titled "Global Perceptions of Indian Heritage"

The conference got off to a great start with an inaugural function graced by the presence of the Union Minister for Law and Justice and Information Technology, Sri. Ravi Shankar Prasad and Rajya Sabha MP and BJP stalwart Sri. Subramanian Swamy. 

This edition of the Conference series was much larger in scope than the first one and had three parallel tracks. Continuing on the theme of critiquing the Neo-Orientalist School of thought led by Prof. Sheldon Pollock, this edition saw 10 theses put forward by Pollock countered.

There were 35 paper presentations on topics ranging from Rasa, Mimamsa, Chronology, Desacralisation with the maximum number of presentations being made on the topic of Rasa.

Apart from these paper presentations, there was the robust refutation from the traditional scholars. The format is called Vakyartha Sadas and it is something that is conducted amongst traditional scholars in their own groupings but has gone out of the larger public discourse. We were able to bring back this ancient tradition centre stage and it was a huge success. 

We will be continuing to engage with these scholars and will strive to make their voice heard in the larger mainstream discourse. Vakyartha Sadas, the traditional form of Purvapaksha and Uttarapaksha debate will slowly be revived and restored to its rightful position as a scientific and rigorous form of debate that has been the cornerstone of our intellectual tradition.

The conference signed off with a valedictory function in which, awards for the best papers and two monographs (the outcome from SI-1).The two monograph writers have been supported by Vellayan Chettiar Foundation based in Chennai and the awards for the monographs were given away by FICS (Foundation for Indian Civilisation Studies) run by Sri. Mohandas Pai.



The papers which won prizes from FICS (Foundation for Indian Civilisation Studies instituted by Sri T V Mohandas Pai) were:

1. Prof. K Gopinath for his paper on Rasa titled "A computational Theory for Rasa"

2. Megh Kalyanasundaram and Manogna Sastry for their paper on Chronology titled "Purvapaksha of Sheldon Pollock's use of Chronology"

3. Nilesh Oak for his paper on Chronology titled "A cririque of Pollock's "self-evident claims" for the chronology of Mahabharata and Ramayana AND Assertion for the dating of Mahabharata and Ramayana events based on the internal astronomy evidence"

4. Dr. Shrinivas Tilak for his paper on Mimamsa titled "Professor Sheldon Pollock on History in India: A critique from the perspective of Mimamsa"

5. Sowmya Krishnapur for her paper in Sanskrit titled "Sheldon Pollock Pratipaditasya Vyakarana Sastra - Prabhutvayoha Sambandhasya Yuktiyuktatva Pariksha"

6. Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay for his paper on Sastra titled "Practice versus Theory: Ganita Sastra and Western Mathematics"

7. Sudarshan Therani for his paper on Philology titled "The Science of Meaning"

In addition to the above papers, awards were also given for the two papers from the first edition of the conference series that were turned into monographs. These monographs were released at the conference in their draft form. It is a moment of pride for the movement that we have created a significant body of work in such a short span of time. A draft version of the selected papers from SI-1 was also released at the conference. 

Hence, as of now, starting with TBFS, this movement has produced 4 books: TBFS, Proceedings of SI-1, and two monographs. Soon, we will also have the proceedings of SI-2 published. We will therefore have a solid body of work in just over a year's time.

The monograph details are as follows:

1. Manjushree Hegde is the author of the monograph titled "Politics of Sanskrit Studies: A Critical Appraisal of Sheldon Pollock's Ramayana"

2. T M Narendran is the author of the monograph titled "A Pariksa of Sheldon Pollock's Three Dimensional Philology"

Congratulations to all the prize winners!

An important marker of the conference was the presence and active and enthusiastic participation of Dr. Nagaswamy upon whom a Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred by FICS.

Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Nagaswamy

We will take a small breather but will soon announce plans for the next conference of the series. 

Lastly, we have had excellent video coverage and the videos will be up sooner rather than later on all platforms.

Do look out for the upcoming fantastic videos from Si-2.

Regards,

Team IFI