RMF Summary: Week of October 3 - 9, 2011

October 4
BEING DIFFERENT: First public talk at California conference a succes
Within a week we hope to upload the video from my talk at the conference last weekend, where I was keynote speaker and gave an overview of the new book, BEING...

October 4
Christians launch political party in Tamilnadu
(March 22, 2011) Christians in Tamil Nadu have launched a political party in the southern Indian state, where a legislative assembly poll is scheduled for... 

October 4
Indian clergymen whistleblowers
Prahalad: A couple of years ago, Sister Jesmi, a nun who retired as professor in a women’s college in...

October 4
Ethanographic Intelligence - A possible tool for more divide & conve
This link shows how Ethnographic intelligence, currently used as a counter terrorism mechanism can actually be used as an effective "divide and rule" strategy....

October 4 (This post received a lot of responses, involving a long discussion. We will try to summarize this in a separate post).
Response to Indian dancer upset at my critique of Christian Bharatnatyam
After the recent highly successful book event in Houston, the organizers received an email from a dancer in Houston about an upcoming performance by Leela... 
followup thread
Re: Response to Indian dancer upset at my critique of Christian Bhar
[In response to Mukund Apte]: Let us not oversimplify, please. I don't know about Islam but prayers are chanted in Judaism, apart from other music...
October 4
Houston Seminar on Breaking India: September 11, 2011 - Audience Q &
Sanjay: I am looking for a source for the quote from Narayana Murthy that Rajiv-ji mentions in the video. Ref.
According to Narayana Murthy, when he was asked why Indians were so good in IT,rather than explain that we have a whole learning tradition, he said"Thanks for the British for teaching us Maths and Science."

Rajiv responds:
"I heard this in his talk in 2003 at the Bangalore conference organized jointly organized by Templeton and Infinity Foundation. I felt he was impressing the western guests. The "scientific debt to colonialism" is a common theme amongst many leftists. Gyan Prakash of Princeton has written a book on Indian science during the British period in which the direction of influence is onw-way from Europe to India as if the europeans learned nothing scientific from Indians. (Mr. Murthy has said that he was rooted as a leftist in his younger days but that he later turned into a capitalist. That kind of rejection of the left is for its economic model only, but it does not automatically involve embracing the dharma paradigm.) The key issue is: where lies the root of Indians' competence in science? The west claims to have invented the scientific method - a claim many Indians accept. Thats why I started the very ambitious project of doing 20 volumes on the History of Indian Science and Technology, of which 8 are published already. What is more troubling than a random remark is that Mr. Murthy's foundation has given a multi million dollar grant to bring out English translations of Indian classical works, and the editor in control is Sheldon Pollock. A brilliant Sanskritist no doubt, Pollock's interpretations have tilted towards things like: Aryan invasion theory, dalits being oppressed by sanskrit under brahmin control, etc. In some of the volumes of Indian classics which he did under a different series, such ideologies came through in various ways direct and indirect. For the same amount of money, Mr. Murthy could have re-ignited a whole India based Sanskrit scholarship and translation under the guidance of pandits. Of course, its his hard earned money and we respect his right to spend it howsoever he chooses. I am merely expressing my personal opinion on how I wish our tycoons would back their own civilization in the same manner as American tycoons helped build their civilizational foundations. The Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie philanthropy did not go to foreign scholars to write American history. "

October 5
Ref: FHRS Digest No.2305 - Rajiv Malhotra's Breaking India - posted
Ref: FHRS Digest No.2305 Rajiv Malhotra's Breaking India - posted by Achintya Nath Sexena Oct,2. With reference to the remarks of Mr.Achintya Nath Saxena that Dalit and Dravidian movements are home grown, I can only say that the author is simply under informed about the genesis of separatist trends.   It seems Mr.Sexena has   turned a blind eye to the historical facts relating to the colossal role played by the imperial Govt. in creating a wedge and fanning hatred amongst the people of India.  Further, Mr.Sexena remarks regarding Smritis and oppression of lower castes by upper castes for centuries are nothing short of monomania.  For people of any evolved civilization/progressive nation, inheriting such a precious patrimony i.e., the  Vedic texts including original Manusmriti(without interpolations) would have been a matter of great pride.    However, it is quite astonishing to note that  certain sections of our own countrymen,  instead of digging the gems of Vedic truths in their original form by purging the extraneous matter, simply engage themselves in negating and condemning them without going into their depth..."

October 5
Critique and salient points of Breaking India - Blog
Venkat posts: Here is an worwhile blog which well summarizes breaking india. It is worth reading thru it. ...

October 5
Explaining purva paksha to Hindu activists
Rajiv Malhotra posts:
"One or two Hindu activists in India who have no clue what this book is about have expressed concern simply on the basis that it has been endorsed by a variety of persons who are non-hindu, including christians, scientists who are atheists, etc.

Such a statement comes from a closed mind which parrots simplistic statements that are already well known, and hence speaks to those already on their wavelength. They need to understand the traditional method of purva paksha debate with opponents. BEING DIFFERENT opens a new type of interfaith engagement than has existed today. It seek to (a) clarify dharma for those inside dharma, (b) invite open introspection from those who are in the undecided/confused middle, and (c) challenge those with certain metaphysical beliefs opposed to dharma.

To achieve this goal, it defines dharma categories in clear, strong terms (i.e. categories that comprise whats "different and distinct" about dharma) and invites debate on our terms. It reverses the gaze upon the west using the dharmic lens, making us the observer of the other. Till now the terms on which debates took place were set by western metaphysical assumptions. Therefore, my project is to hold a series of debates, some live and some online as webinars, with various thinkers from diverse traditions. I already have serious interest from Hindu groups, some Christian theological centers, Buddhists, those in the scientific approach of religion without espousing any faith, etc. I want to expand this set of debates.

The email from the critic who has not even seen the book says: "Why has the author sought and received endorsment from the evangelist Francis Clooney who is acitve in TN? Considering the previous book is about the church's agenda to break india I am surprised that Malhotra has sought Clooney's endorsement who has authored comparative religion books on mary worship and devi worship besides insidiously penetrating srivaishnava mathams seeking to be educated on srivaishnava philosophy. If the author wants endoirsements from evangelists then he diesnt need Hindus to read his book."

I preciously started an online debate with Clooney challenging his view that Mary and devi worship can be interchanged. It did not go far because of his unavailability. With this book, I want and hope Clooney will organize a public event at Harvard (or somewhere) where my positions on how dharma DIFFERS from western religions can get a fair hearing. Therefore, his endorsement is a good sign and I appreciate his willingness to have such a conversations. Once a door is opened, one may have serious engagements in a tone of mutual respect and fairness.

Of course, those Hindus who are insecure will not do this because they simply cannot do it. They have not done enough study and churning internally for a sufficient number of years, have not engaged in hundreds of serious intellectual encounters with opponents to be able to develop solid positions that they could confidently bring to the intellectual forums. They are secure only inside their small and relatively isolated cocoons and are afraid to speak in an open forum as equals. It is easier for them to shout than reason but this has only turned off many of our own youth and pushed them away. I am wanting to stick my neck out and face the "other" in the same spirit as our purva paksha tradition.

Purva paksha REQUIRES the active participation of the opponent; otherwise it is a monologue and not a purva paksha. In the same fashion, if a Muslim scholar wants to debate me I am interested. All I ask for as a precondition is a fair forum and moderator. I intend to bring my own video camera to record so that nobody can edit a one-sided outcome.

Most interfaith events I have seen have a pathetic Hindu presence. BEING DIFFERENT wants to shift the game by this very approach. It shocks and bothers many Hindus who get a drubbing in metaphysical debates, because their knowledge is limited go Hinduism only with a superficial knowledge of western religions and philosophies.

BEING DIFFERENT gives extensive Hindu views on metaphysical issues concerning: Aristotle, Hegel, Christian ideas of original sin, redemption, salvation, Judaism's exclusiveness, misappropriations of Hindu dance/yoga and even Vedanta, the Hebraic/Hellenistic split, the science/religion split in the west, among several others.

It is a delight to interact in the spirit of purva paksha on such matters with those in other faiths. I hope to educate more Hindus on how to do this without fear of getting a thrashing. The west has systematically studied Indian civilization for centuries (incl. debating hindu scholars) and have built armies of scholars who can debate any issue from their point of view. It is time we level the playing field by encouraging our folks to reverse the gaze - which is what BEING DIFFERENT does."

October 6
Nick Sutton - oxford center for Hindu studies
Please view the link below for a perfect example of a eurocentric academic who is holding forth on Hindus. He plays the game of giving all negative information...

October 6
Ayudha Puja & Vidyarambham Inculturation
Hindu or Christian, for Kerala Kids It's Vidyarambham http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=118169 Kasargod: Ayudha Puja Held at Our Lady of...

October 6
Punjab overwhelmed by Christian missionaries - Jesus as Satguru, Chu
** I wonder what explanation the weak Hndus who glorify Christian yoga, bharatnatyam, karnatik music et al will now use for Christian satsang and Jesus as...

October 7
A Shankaracharya on Islam
Dear All,  Please see this video as an example of all that Malhotraji has been warning about

October 8
Response to Vishal Mangalwadi's attack on "Breaking India" its princ
Rajiv Malhotra [and Aravindan Neelakandan] share:
In his review of the book `Breaking India', [see 1] Vishal Mangalwadi makes numerous attacks on book and on my personally. Being a prominent world class jet set evangelist serving the foreign nexuses, he gets extensive coverage in the book and it is not surprising that he would hit back through such a rant.
My co-author and I are issuing the following rejoinder to Mangalwadi's review:
Response to Vishal Mangalwadi's attack on 'Breaking India' and its principle author
Mangalwadi eulogizes `Mosaic Ethnology' thus: "Mosaic Ethnology) assumes that our human race originated from one pair of parents. Initially everyone spoke the same language. Linguistic and racial divisions arose after Noah. The authors are right in saying that from the 17th to the early 20th century it was not secular rationalism but the Bible that inspired and directed Europe's intellectual vitality, including Indological studies. Hinduism and Islam had been in India for centuries but neither of those faiths stimulated their followers to study India, its languages, history, people, or natural resources as the Bible inspired Europeans."
Mangalwadi perhaps did not read the book properly for he misses the point entirely. From the 17th to 20th century it was not the Biblical view alone that shaped European mindset but also colonial expansion, renaissance driven enlightenment which actually has its roots in the rediscovery of the pre-Christian pagan philosophical and scientific legacy and identity crisis driven by all these factors – which was forging the European worldview.
What Mangalwadi boasts as `Europe's intellectual vitality' was actually responsible for the justification of the most cruel and most commercialized slavery establishment in the history of humanity namely trans-Atlantic slave trade.  It was the Hamitic Myth of the Bible that justified slave trade and all its cruelty. For example the nineteenth century American best seller `Slavery as its Relates to the Negro or the African Race' (1843)  elaborated on the Biblical scene of Noah cursing Ham's progeny into slavery and cursed the Blacks should remain as `both in times of peace and war a despised, degraded and oppressed race.'  As late as 1895 Biblical mythology was trumped up in defense of slavery as in the writings of Troup Taylor, a devout Christian who in a very popular track explained that the entire `Negro' race `was adapted to a destiny suited only to an inferior race.' The countless evidences can be multiplied and one can read some of them in a very detailed manner in the book (for example pp. 40-41).
Mangalwadi exhibits his arrogant ignorance when he states that Hinduism and Islam never stimulated their followers to study India, its languages, history, people, or natural resources as the Bible inspired Europeans. In reality it was the Hindu mathematics which was transmitted to Europe by Islamic scholars which started the very European renaissance. And modern linguistics including computational linguistics owes its origin and development to Panini and Kerala mathematicians as well as logicians. The only additional input that Europeans added was the racial categorization which visited upon humanity some of its worst scourges in history in the form of Nazi holocaust and Rwandan genocide. And this distinctly European contribution, which Mangalwadi claims as having Biblical roots, is neither scientific nor very flattering to Christianity as a religion.
Again Mangalwadi errs when he states that it was Bible through European colonialism that made India a nation-state in the modern sense. In fact the idea of Indian nation state defies the European idea of nation-state which was based on rigid monocultural identity. As B.R.Ambedkar the chief architect of Indian constitution has pointed out in an elaborate discussion that the integrity of India is based more on its spiritual culture rather than the colonial infrastructural frameworks that the British created for their own interest. From the beginning Indian unity has been based on its respect and acceptance of pluralism – something that the modern West including US is trying hard to come to terms with and which is resisted by fundamentalists like Pat Robertson and his ideological clone Mangalwadi.
Mangalwadi claims that the "missionaries embraced, loved, and served the racially different "lower" castes and Dravidians." But documented evidence suggests that missionaries only saw the impoverished social conditions of the `lower' castes and the fabricated Dravidian race identity as opportunities for conversion rather than showing on them genuine love and respect for their culture. For example the book documents how Caldwell considered Dravidians as inherently endowed with `the density of their ignorance' which he laments is the `chief obstacle to their evangelization'. So much for love and respect that missionaries have for the fellow human being!
He states that "The oppressed do hate their oppressors, but that privilege is not available to Christians..." How does he explain the centuries of Christian oppression - from the times of Roman imperialism, to the genocides of Native Americans, the slavery of Africans, and colonization of Asians? Even today, American civic society is highly divided along race lines. The churches are almost entirely segregated - Blacks, Hispanics, Koreans, Indians and Whites each have own separate churches. Before wagging the finger at others and exporting "solutions", US based evangelists like Mangalwadi should work on solving Christianity's internal problems at home..."

Rajiv follows up:
"Mangalwadi champions the missionaries are helping the labor class in India. Below is a counter example of the devastation they cause, this example sent to me by someone named Bharat Nair. It shows their role in plagiarizing India's manufacturing advantages in order to help the industrial revolution in Europe:

For example, see Cotton: The Biography of a Revolutionary Fiber By Stephen Yafa p.30)

 "As for the Indian methods of  "animalizing" cotton [i.e. giving cotton the texture similar to animal skins], they remained mysterious to most European printers until much later than might be expected - for seventy years after the arrival of chintz. Ironically, it was a man of the cloth, Jesuit Father Coeurdoux, who betrayed these fiercely guarded secrets. In 1742 the French cleric took advantage of his missionary posting on the Coromandel coast to gain the trust of Indian master dyers whom he had converted to Catholicism. They confided their secret pricess to him with an understanding that he would never reveal it. Coeurdoux immediately gave a detailed description in a step-by-step letter published in France. In a blink, three thousand years of clandestine artisan practice became public knowledge."

  This is the same priest described in Ananda Ranga Pillai's description of the destruction of Vedapuri Iswaran temple in Pondicherry"

October 8
"Ecstasy, possession, and spiritual realization: Yoga of Dance"
Udaya shares:
"....Christ repackaged for Hindus?
Christ who is at heart only a Hindu?
Hindu Christ for the whole world?

Since its inception in 1988, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company has worked throughout the United Kingdom and internationally, producing and touring dance works by its artistic director and choreographer, Shobana Jeyasingh. Each year, the company engages with up to 30,000 people through performances and a range of education projects.
Shobana Jeyasingh is acclaimed for her pioneering work in choreography. She deploys her South Asian roots to create work that is uniquely British. The dance itself is ground-breaking and contemporary in style but draws on many traditional forms and influences such as Ballet or Bharata Natyam, a centuries-old Asian classical dance form. This produces a language of movement with which people from all cultures can identify..."

October 9
Subject: "BORNEO TRIBE PRACTICES ITS OWN KIND OF HINDUISM" - NYT Date: Monday, September 26, 2011, 7:37 AM ...

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