Aravindan Neelakandan clarifies his positive relationship with Rajiv Malhotra

Posted here is the exchange between Aravindan Neelakandan and Rajiv Malhotra which took place so that the air could be cleared on what Maria Wirth on twitter insinuated with the following tweet.

Maria Wirth: just wondering ,u say "My book Breaking India.." Wud it not be fair 2 say "Our book"with Neelakandan as Co-author?

Well, the background to the above tweet was this tweet from Rajiv Malhotra

My book 'Breaking India' now ranks No. 1 on Amazon under International Relations:

That led Aravindan Neelakandan to issue these two tweets earlier today to clarify

"does not want to work with u anymore" is WRONG. Working on BI has been a good learning experience.

'doesn't want to work' is WRONG. Coauthoring BI has been a good learning experience.

Here is Aravindan Neelakandan's complete response to the above tweets along with Rajiv Malhotra's comments.

[Rajiv: Maria Wirth (angry because of some unrelated issue I had with her work some time back) has tried to create tension between me and Aravindan Neelakandan on twitter. Aravindan not only rejected her presumption on twitter, but also sent this post as a clarification of his position. He re-joined this egroup after a gap, in order to post this. I encouraged him to do so. Though the main purpose is to clarify the issue of our mutual relationship, Aravindan also takes this opportunity to disagree with my positions of certain unrelated topics - theism/atheism, Subramanian Swamy, and plagiarism by Sanyal. I give my responses below in highlight. Welcome back Aravindan.]
Let me state categorically that when we started the BI project I was not intended to be coauthor and was a research assistant with Infinity. It was Sri. Rajiv Malhotra who voluntarily offered me to be the co-author. [Rajiv: I did this towards the very end when the book was nearing completion; Aravindan at first said he did not deserve it, but later accepted.] It was a graceful gesture and am thankful for that.

I value his original scholarship, its depth and new insight. I do have my differences of opinion with him. But that does not in anyway diminish my respect and administration for him.  

Being an atheist myself I find his criticism of Darwinism ill-founded and have openly expressed my criticism of his saying 'intelligent design' being influenced by Hinduism. As a person who has been working in the field of environment and organic agriculture for more than a decade, I can say that Darwin is profoundly right and only Dharmic religions have the capacity to integrate Darwin in their worldview. Intelligent Design is a camouflage for creationism and the involution Swami Vivekananda talks about including the intelligence being involuted to expand as existence has more in sync with David Bohm's implicate order than the 'intelligent design'.
  • Aravindan is certainly entitled to his position as an atheist. 
  • My views on Darwin mirror what Sri Aurobindo wrote, which is a much more detailed position than Vivekananda. This is explained in some of my writings - the importance of involution-evolution process, and not the one-way evolution by Darwin. So Darwin is incomplete, as there is no upward feedback loop, which is also important in systems theory. 
  • Many Judeo-Christian digesters are now borrowing this Hindu tenet to bridge the gap between "science and religion", a gap that never existed between dharma and science. Bohm himself was learning these ideas from his extensive dialogs with J. Krishnamurti and others from the dharma traditions. 
  • I feel Aravindan has seen both sides of the debate mainly through Western proxies (like Darwin, Bohm Intelligent Design), none of which properly capture the dharma position on the matter. This is a separate issue I am happy to debate in a suitable forum.]

In my personal opinion he is a bit over anxious about people plagiarizing his works. I also feel he sometimes goes overboard on this account as in the case of Sanjeev Sanyal. Perhaps because he has had a few bad experiences in the past, and hence this anxiety over his works being plagiarized. I am afraid this attitude may actually be an impediment in his vision of building an institution and intellectual movement that will live for generations to come.
[Rajiv: Since Aravindan was not a member of this egroup, he is probably unfamiliar with the details written in: message 8655 (thread), message 8679 (Chronology of my interactions with SS since 2013 over my work), message 8700 and message 8761. As a good scholar, Aravindan knows the importance of studying the background evidence before passing judgment. SS has since then accepted this account and issued an acknowledgment. Plagiarism is a problem of dharmic ethics; of nurturing team work to create robust schools of thought and not random sporadic one-off blogs here and there; of encouraging hard work and discouraging the fast-food mentality of quickly jumping ahead present in many of our fellow Indians.]

I also find his endorsement of/association with Subramanian Swamy problematic, as in my personal opinion SS is also engaged in playing up the Brahmin vs Non-Brahmin binary in Tamil Nadu, apart from being pro-Chinese and pro-Sri Lankan against the Tamil-Hindu interest. Subramanian Swami's accusation of RSS in Coimbatore bomb blast in 1998 is something that has hurt me deeply as a Swayamsevak. [Rajiv: We agree to disagree on Dr. Swamy. I may not agree with 100% of issues with him. or anyone else for that matter. But I base my overall support seeing the big picture dynamics of the kurukshetra, and not get distracted by every instance and every stand of someone. I respect his tapas, long term persistence, ability to stick neck out and take risks, continue even when not rewarded formally...]    

But these are issues that do not affect my respect for his ingenious presentation of Indic Dharma, his hard work and intellectual integrity in fighting for the Dharmic-Indic civilization. He could well have chosen a happy retirement with occasional sideline charity towards Dharma. But that he plunged right into the center of the fire is something for which we as Hindus are indebted to him whether one agrees with him or not in all his stands. I will always feel it a honor to be invited to coauthor the sequel of 'Breaking India'. As a Tamil Hindu I specially feel indebted to him because 'Breaking India' had really stopped a grand plan of Christian appropriation in Tamil Nadu. Had he not come into the picture at best a few articles would have been written on the net and would have been used merely to gain some brownie points in the internet debates but only a field-worker knows what kind of effect 'Breaking India' had achieved in Tamil Nadu and the kind of awareness it had created. For this too we need to be thankful to him.

[Rajiv: I want to thank Aravindan for being more than a scholar, but also a true friend. We developed mutual interest in each other's personal well-being. That is important to bear in mind. Disagreeing on scholarly matters is not the end of a relationship.]

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