RMF Summary: Week of August 8 - 14, 2011

August 8
Visit of St Thomas to Kerala
Devendra posts: See the report that appeared in The New Indian Express on debunking the visit of St Thomas to India. It appeared in the Chennai edition on August 5, 2011. ...

August 8
SAA Rizvi and Imtiaz Ahmad
Manas asks: 
"A while back it was mentioned in this forum that SAA Rizvi and Imtiaz Ahmed were hounded out of AMU and JNU respectively, apparently for not toeing the Marxist-secularist line of negation, whitewashing and history engineering. Does anyone have any reference for this?.."
 (w.r.t. Imtiaz Ahmad)
  (w.r.t SAA Rizvi)

[if anybody reads this thread and has some updates, please post in the comments section]
August 8
Christianity: From Religious Microsoft to Spiritual Ubuntu
Is Christianity now beginning to plug into India's God Project ? It was Josh Schrei who first posited the insight that Hinduism was an Open Source project of..

August 9
Professor Ramesh Rao on the Ghulam Nabi Fai issue
Champagne, seminar and ISI
August 05, 2011 11:36:50 PM Ramesh Rao
The genteel face of Track 2 diplomacy was given a crude scar by the FBI’s inquiry into the Ghulam Nabi Fai operation and this time the usual counter (“its Hindu nationalist cant”) is not available for the defense of the liberal elite

About ten years ago, when at a conference in Madison, Wisconsin, I presented a content analysis of The New York Times and The Washington Post’s coverage of Indian matters over a three-year period (1998-2000), I was heckled by some who sought to shut me up. This was when the NDA held the reins in Delhi. In my paper I had concluded that the Post, despite some partisan editorialising, was more circumspect
about Indian matters but the NYT was consistently tendentious and didactic.

The people who tried to shut me up included an academic/activist from California, along with a couple of graduate students representing the “left-secular-progressive” front. For them, anything that was even remotely supportive of the NDA regime was anathema..."

We carry the followups to this post in full without excerpting to ensure that the message is clearly understood. Rajiv Malhotra's response is stinging:
"What Ramesh Rao fails to mention is that Infinity Foundation wanted an analysis of US media bias against India, and he was given the grant to do this work. It was eventually finished with the help of other scholars we brought in... Infinity Foundation also sponsored research by a team of scholars at Penn State University to analyze bias against Indians in US film and television. Likewise, there were grants given to analyze school
textbook biases - years before such topics became fashionable among the diaspora. After 400 such grants to a variety of scholars and many millions of dollars given away over several years, I finally reached the conclusion that I had to publish my own original research that makes its points with hard hitting
facts. This is not a praise for me, but rather an assessment of the shoddy quality of most academic scholars in the humanities especially when it comes to India related work. It seems that the students who were too bad to get into things like science, IT, medicine, law or business are the ones who entered the humanities. Unfortunately, this low caliber lot are empowered to speak as the "experts".

Srinarayan responds:
" i am a chemical engr from iit- chennai and do not agree that those who go in humanities are of lower caliber. i would appreciate if we would avoid such comments."

Rajiv's followup:
"Emotions and political correctness has no place when hard facts are being discussed.

It is a FACT that bright kids choose careers with best prospects as evidenced by surveys, exam scores of students entering various fields. Based on this, it is TRUE to say that the brightest go for certain disciplines and unfortunately
humanities suffer.

There was once a time in India when the brightest pursued very intellectual fields without considering material wealth opportunities. Thats why brains like Adi Shankara and hundreds of others we know entered fields where they did not
stand to make any wealth. This is simply not true today. Its reflect on the state of social priorities and the measures by which we judge people.

For you to deny this because it is discomforting is hardly responsible. Instead, you should inquire WHY are bright kids not preferring humanities on ground of principles, and what would it take to encourage that."

August 10
Another whistleblower comes out - we need more of this.
We all know the virulent bias of N. Ram, the lucky son-in-law who took over the Hindu group of newspapers as its head (India's largest or number two media...

August 11
Thanks to Kalyan Vishwanathan for a great event in Dallas
Just a short note that: Kalyan Vishwanathan pulled off a very professionally organized and successful event in Dallas yesterday, one of the best managed by ...

August 11
China Banning U.S. Professors Elicits Silence From Colleges
Rakesh posts: Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- They call themselves the “Xinjiang 13.” They have been denied permission to enter China, prohibited from flying on a Chinese airline and pressured to adopt China- friendly views. To return to China, two wrote statements disavowing support for the independence movement in Xinjiang province.

They aren’t exiled Chinese dissidents. They are American scholars from universities, such as Georgetown and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who have suffered a backlash from China unprecedented in academia since diplomatic relations resumed in 1979. Their offense was co-writing “Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland,” a 484-page paperback published in 2004.

“I wound up doing the stupidest thing, bringing all of the experts in the field into one room and having the Chinese take us all out,”... "

Rajiv's response:
"Thanks to Rakesh for sending this VERY IMPORTANT ITEM below. I have written many times that China controls the study of its civilization, standing up to western pressure on so-called "intellectual freedom." India works the opposite - thinking it is a favor when others study India regardless of what they end up saying. India has an inferiority complex of being ignored, so its leaders are craving to be "included" no matter what. hence the programs in USA that study Indian languages, cultures, etc are fashionable WITHOUT THE DUE

August 12 
More applause for Sheldon Pollock
Some may find this article, "Columbia U. Professor Broadens Access to Sanskrit, Ancient Language of the Elite", which appeared in today's Chronicle of Higher...

August 12
8000 yr old wall discovered in west Indian coastline
This appeared in the DNA newspaper in July. The discovery was made by a retired Professor from Deccan College of Archaeology in Pune. ..

August 12
Relevant article on infiltration: Is India turning into a banana rep
http://www.samachar.com/Is-India-turning-into-a-banana-republic-limnJTej\ ihb.html Is India turning into a banana republic? RSN Singh | 2011-08-12 [Anna...

August 12
The birth based hysteria
I penned down an article in my blog on the unquestioned hatred on jaathi, just because it is birth based. What is an inherent strength of our society...

August 13
Correction: I named the wrong D'Souza in my talk
In my recent talk in Dallas, I mistakenly mentioned the name Dilip D'Souza as a person affiliated with Dalit Freedom Network. The right name is Joseph D'Souza,...

ICCR setting up Sanskrit chair in Cambodia, and cultural centres in
N. S. Rajaram posts:
"Time of India: 'The East has been deeply influenced by India'

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has opened a centre in the South Korean capital Seoul and set up a chair of Sanskrit at the Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University in Cambodia. These initiatives are part of the Indian government's 'Look East' policy. ICCR president Karan Singh talked with Shobhan Saxena about India's growing soft power and need for more engagement with countries in our extended neighbourhood."

Rajiv Malhotra responds:
" In fact in 2005 Infinity Foundation sponsored the first Sanskrit Conference in Thailand where a sanskrit studies program and journal were inaugurated. The then BJP govt and its famous HRD minister had refused to fund it, and a Delhi Univ. prof had contacted me to salvage India's image in the eyes of the Thai royal family who were the conference patrons. So I became the "Indian representative"
and source of funds (a small sum just symbolically to save face for India). But in the last minute once it became clear that this was going to be a big success with the royal family present, the honorable HRD minister suddenly announced
that he would attend. The Indian embassy scrambled to get him into the program in a prominent spot. The Thai Crown Princess attended every minute of the 3 day event and threw a big series of cultural programs in honor of India and Sanskrit. As the inaugural speaker, I presented my paper on Sanskrit Phobia and the inter-civilization issues raised by Sanskrit studies. This paper later got adapted and is now on Sulekha... It was published by their Sanskrit studies journal. The famous Gombrich (Boden Chair of Sanskrit at Oxford) was present and felt tensed by statements about how sanskrit studies in the west in fact undermined the sanskriti civilization behind the language.

The GOI involvement was entirely driven by the craving for media and PR attention by certain bigwigs, not any deep love for Sanskrit or sanskriti. The same is true of the present ICCR - mostly driven to bring back pictures that can be shown to visitors to impress: "I had lunch with the president of that country who rarely allows visitors"; I met the very old head of that monastery and he gifted me this rare manuscript"; etc.

Many of these GOI programs are funding the pro-Aryan camp of scholars ..." 

August 13
a documentary on the fanatical Christian evangelical drivers behind
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhRM4Jg96Kc Please watch this series of 5 videos on the Kandhamal riots. Most documentaries made on such issues are inevitably...

August 14
Re: Plight of activism, escapism, doing nothing beyond talk...
I diligently read all the posts in breakingindia. Some are simply informative, others raise important questions, and recently some questions as to what can be...

August 14
US Diplomat in India racist comment on Tamils
US Diplomat in India made racist comments on Tamils as "dark and dirty". Now whole of Dravidian brigade are up in arms against her....
[update: Maureen Chao finally left her post as vice-consul in Chennai]

August 14
Response to K P Ganesh's Natural exploitation driving the colonial...
The irony is that the movie "Avatar" itself is a supreme example of avarice. Producer James Cameron is known as the most self-involved and...

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