RMF Summary: Week of March 15-21, 2011

March 15
Moving backwards - Yogesh Atyal
"Moving backwards"

The above article by former Principal Director of Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO, shows how the wars to claim "lower caste" privileges are fragementing India in violent ways ...

March 15
Berkeley's Tamil Chair (Breaking India, chapter 10)
One of the chapters in "Breaking India" discusses, in the context of Dravidian Academic-Activist Network Outside India, the role of the Berkeley Tamil Chair held by Professor George Hart. The book brings out many facts that Indians (Tamils and ardent Hindus in particular) have not been aware of:
- Hart has disseminated the Dravidian propaganda exemplifying the "cunning Brahmin responsible for all social evils."
- He has claimed that early Sangam literature was composed before Aryan influence had penetrated the South....

Another commentator adds: "...So powerful was Karunanidhi's clout over Tamil Nadu during the 90's that he even allowed shooting of films inside temples..."

March 15
Council on Foreign Relations promotes Timothy Samuel Shah's prejudiced works
Rajiv Malhotra: I just got notified today that the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations is holding a worldwide conference call on March 29 to promote a new book that is innocently titled, "God's Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics." (http://books.wwnorton.com/books/Gods-Century/.) But what appears like objective and balanced scholarship has a long hostory of anti-Hindu bias and venom. Timothy Samuel Shah, one of the coauthors, is described in Breaking India (pages 243-5)...

March 16

Re: Afro-Dalit Project
Vijaya Rajiva adds : "Shri Loganadan should please watch the video below which at the end speaks of the Tevaram music in the first millennium." ...

March 17
This debate below had 37 excellent comments, including discussions between noted scholars of Hinduism, and will be covered by a separate post. The link is provided below for completeness.
Fw: Tribe and caste(jati)
Tribe and jati are both endogamous, but the jati is integrated with the shreni (guild) and the tribe is not. Dear Dr. Elst, Strictly speaking those Hindus who...

March 18 
Re: Dalit/Dravidian identity in light of Rwanda's Hutu/Tutsi history
N.S. Rajaram notes: " .... The terms, India, Hindu(ism), Hindi all are from Sindhu (the river), which is indeed a Samskrt word. Just like the word Asura becomes Ahura in Old Persian, Sindhu became Hindu. The word "Samskrtm" has direct meaning in Samskrt, whereas "Tamil" does not have meaning as-is in Tamil. Same goes for Dravid(ian) as well.
Their sloppy etymological gymnastics is beyond silly when they desperately try to justify their claims..."

The Afro-Dalit Movement
Aravindan Neelakandan, co-author of 'Breaking India' makes some very important observations about the so-called Dravidian movement, which subsequently led to a brief discussion:
...of the important aspects of the book 'Breaking India' is its research into the new faultlines fabricated by Western scholars and their Indian collaborators. The Afro-Dalit movement is one example.

Rajiv Malhotra discovered this in the office of an western academic where he saw the map of India balkanized into Dalitstan and other 'stans' which in turn set him in a quest to investigate who were behind this discourse. (The map is on the book's cover.) Those familiar with modern Tamil literature also know that various Dalit writings increasingly mimic American Blacks' writings. There is a well-organized attempt to shape Dalit experience as a variant of American Black
experience, and to make them feel like slaves of other Indians....

This message was posted in the Afro-Dalit site, and an AD representative Clyde Winters responded thus:
".. There is nothing wrong with the Afro-Dalit Movement. You see many Dalits were sold into slavery during the Atlantic Slave Trade. As a result, Afro-Americans (AA) have a direct genetic and historical relationship with Dalits.

AAs have recognized a relationship with the Dalits for years, beginning with W.E.B. DuBois and Malcolm X. Since the 1960's, with the creation of the Dalit Panthers, Dalits have been modeling there protest movement on AAs..."

After a few excellent comments that call CW's bluff, A. Neelakandan came up with a scholarly rebuttal:
"Indian Dalits do not have any special 'genetic relation' with African Americans any more than other Indians do. Dr.Ambedkar vehemently repudiates classifying Dalits as non-Aryans and Brahmins as Aryans. Modern genetics proves Ambedkar's thesis. (Please see: Appendix-A in the book). So the question arises: Whose frame of reference should we use to explain the Dalit experience? W.E.B.Dubois
and Malcoim X, or Dr.Ambedkar, Ayyan Kali and Sri Narayana Guru ...?" 
For brevity, we have only included excerpts. Read the original thread for the complete debate.

March 21
"European Misappropriations of Sanskrit led to the Aryan Race Theory
Please read my latest Huffington Post blog, "European Misappropriations of Sanskrit led to the Aryan Race Theory,"
Re: European obsession, not Indian-- read COLONIAL INDOLOGY
N. S. Rajaram comments: "In the forthcoming series *A People's History of India, * I (as General Editor) will have a significant section on the evolution of Indian writing, tracing it to the Harappan and pre-Harappan of which a handful of examples are known. It is a fascinating story..."

Rajiv Malhotra adds: "Dr.Rajaram wrote: "I strongly recommend Dilip K. Chakravarti's book ColonialIndology (Munshiram Manoharlal). It is heavy going but eye opening about how race and language were mixed up right from the start."
I am glad to say that I have enjoyed knowing Prof. Chakravarti (CambridgeUniv.) for several years and we have shared ideas..."

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