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Post Info TOPIC: Micheal Witzel:Steve Farmer accuses Asko Parpola, I. Mahadevan and “The Hindu” too!


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Micheal Witzel:Steve Farmer accuses Asko Parpola, I. Mahadevan and “The Hindu” too!
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Steve Farmer accuses Asko Parpola, I. Mahadevan and “The Hindu” too!

July 16, 2009

Steve Farmer accuses Asko Parpola, I. Mahadevan and “The Hindu” too!

http://vedaprakash.indiainteracts.in/2008/02/19/steve-farmer-accuses-asko-parpola-i-mahadevan-and-the-hindu-too/

Asko Parpola”s talk at Chennai and outburst of Steve from Harvard: In www.Indiainteracts.com, I posted the proceedings of the Asko Parpolaa talk delivered on 17-02-2008 at Roja uthaiah Hall, Taramani, under the caption, “The Row over Indus Script: Why Asko Parpola”s paper questioning Michael Witzel was not published?” considering the importance of the issue. The organizers had evidently discouraged the questions. I already pointed out as how K. V. Ramakrishna Rao who started asking Asko Parpola as to why his paper was not published in the Stanford University proceedings, and proceeded to ask about the IVC symbols appearing in Soghura Copper plate, punch mark coins, why the animal symbols were chosen to be used etc[1]., he was prevented on the plea of shortage of time. The press has also not covered it properly as each paper carried the story differently. Either the reporters did not care to get the names of the persons[2] who discussed with Asko Parpola or the organizers would have given different Press Note.

Steve Farmer informed about the Chennai talk and responds: Coming to the issue, now, Franscesco Brighenti, who was fighting with Vedaprakash[3] supporting Asko Parpola earlier (in Indiancivilizationyahoogroup) has evidently switched sides to Steve Farmer and Company. He informed  the “The Hindu” report of Asko Parpola”s Chennai talk on 16-02-2008, which has provoked Steve Farmer and responded as follows[4]:

——————————————————————————————————-

Re: [Indo-Eurasia] “Indus script was a writing system” (Parpola”s talk in Chennai, 16 Feb., 2008)

On Feb 18, 2008, at 4:04 AM, Francesco Brighenti wrote:> Forwarded from another List:

>http://www.thehindu.com/2008/02/17/stories/2008021759560500.htm

> Indus script was a writing system, avers Indologist….*********
Dear Francesco,

What? _The Hindu_ announces that Asko Parpola thinks that the “Indus script” is a “writing system”? I”m shocked. :^)[5] (Parpola first came to prominence in 1969 when he declared that the “Indus code” had been “cracked” and encoded proto-Dravidian: he”s said the same thing for the past 40 years.)[6]

For discussion of Parpola”s early views and these arguments, see the paper by the unnamed three researchers noted in the story (Farmer, Sproat, and Witzel), especially pp. 19 ff.:http://www.safarmer.com/fsw2.pdf

A few things of interest, some of which we”ve pointed out on the List before, and then basta[7], hopefully:1. Ever since we published “Collapse of the Indus Script Thesis” in December, 2004, the Hindu has posted an endless series of stories like this, most involving Iravatham Mahadevan. (Mahadevan is a close friend of the owners of the paper.) The stories included the announcement of Mahadevan”s claimed Tamil-Nadu “Indus axehead”, which supposedly carries an Indus sign that Mahadevan identifies with the Tamil god Murukan, who isn”t attested historically until thousands of years after the Indus civilization was gone. (No serious Indus researcher besides Mahadevan accepts the legitimacy of the “Indus axehead” found in Tamil Nadu.)

2. Parpola”s talk was given in the Roja Muthiah Research Library,which houses what is gloriously called the “Indus Valley Research Centre”, apparently a small one-room office in the Library, which was founded by Mahadevan and his Tamil nationalist friends to counter the influence of our 2004 paper, which for obvious reasons is as anathema to Tamil nationalists as it is to Hindutva nationalists. The long stream of stories in The Hindu since we published our paper have all revolved around this “Centre” and the Library.

3. It Is a pain to answer newspaper stories, especially when there are a long series of them that repeatedly say the same things, but briefly to the points ascribed to Parpola:

1.
> Citing a host of reasons to substantiate his position, he said the
> Indus script was created for economic and administrative reasons
> like the Archaic Sumerian script.
>
> This could be found out, given that the majority of the surviving
> texts were seal stamps and seal impressions used in trade and
> administration.

Odd comment, since stamps and seal impressions from Sumer certainly don”t contain any “writing.” Seals and seal impressions go back thousands of years before writing, incidentally, and were used world- wide by literate and illiterate societies both.

2.
> As for the issue of the size of Indus texts, he said though the
> texts had five signs as their average length, this was sufficient
> to express short noun phrases in a logo-syllabic script of the
> Sumerian type. “We cannot expect complete sentences in seals and
> other types of objects preserved.”
>

The size issue is a script-thesis killer — one of several killer arguments. More precisely, the longest line of symbols on one surface contains only 17 symbols, on a piece less than 1 inch square. Less than 1/100 pieces carry as many as 10 signs. The average inscription” using Mahadevan”s concordance, which lists 2,905 objects, is 4.6 signs long. That concordance (not a good one) was published in the 1970s. Everything found since then is also uniformly short. We”ve offered a $10,000 prize for anyone who comes up with any “long text” (knowing full well that none will ever show up[8].) Here is our tongue-in-cheek prize announcement, which we made since we couldn”t get script advocates to discuss this embarrassing issue:http://www.safarmer.com/indus/prize.html

So there where are the texts? On perishable writing materials, to cite the argument invented by Hunter 1929 (backed by Marshall 1931) to explain away the lack of long texts? Apparently so. Parpola reportedly[9] comments:> Manuscripts on perishable materials “almost certainly” existed in
> south Asia but had not been preserved during 600 years, from the
> beginning of the Persian rule, corresponding to the duration of the
> Indus Civilisation.

It”s interesting that he says this to reporters. We tried to get him to discuss this issue at our Stanford conference, and he ignored the question[10]. The reason? As he knows (since I discussed the issue at length at Stanford), we know of no premodern literate civilization anywhere in the world — not even those that wrote extensively on perishable materials — that didn”t also leave long texts behind on durable materials. See our “one-sentence refutation of the Indus-script myth”:

http://www.safarmer.com/indus/simpleproof.html
(cf. also the more detailed arguments in our paper)Asko has carefully ignored this issue everytime we”ve spoken together — at Harvard 2002, in Kyoto in 2005, and at Stanford 2007 — but he brings up the “lost manuscript” thesis when speaking with reporters, since there is no one there to challenge him on it.

3.
> As for the Harappan writing equipment used, he said an analysis of
> painted Indus texts on Harappan pots and bangles revealed that
> Indus people had used brushes to write, though the brushes had not
> survived or had not been recognised.

This one is really a stretch, picking up a passing line in Hunter 1929 that no one has ever taken seriously. The reason Parpola now resurrects this argument (without showing any visual evidence for it, since there isn”t any) is because we argue at some length in “Collapse” and elsewhere the obvious: that no traces of writing instruments or writing paraphernalia show up in Indus iconography or
among Indus artifacts[11] (see “Collapse” above, pp. 24-6, in the section entitled “The Lost Manuscript Thesis”). Expected markers of manuscript production involve things like inkpots (also ink residues), brushes, palettes, styli, pens, other literate paraphernalia; pictures of scribes, texts, and writing instruments in
art; signs in inscriptions (when symbols as in the Indus case are partly pictographic) of scribes, texts, writing instruments, etc. Not one trace of anything like this is found in the Indus Valley (for detailed discussion, see the above pages). Interestingly, Marshall (who oversaw the early Indus excavations, and accepted without discussion Hunter”s “lost manuscript” thesis, since it allowed him to accept the claim that the Indus peoples were literate, like the Mesopotamians or Egyptians), found abundant evidence of writing materials in his excavations in Taxila, in Indus territory but of course from a period over a millennium after the
last remnants of Indus civilization were gone (cf. Marshall 1951). The supposed[12] “analysis of painted texts on Harappan pots and bangles” that Parpola speaks of refers to a line in the 1929 doctoral thesis of G.H. Hunter, who invented the “lost manuscript thesis.” I discussed this issue again at length at Stanford, in Parpola”s presence, and he didn”t say a word. Things change when there is no one to respond to him.

(On this issue: at Stanford in our conference, Michael presented detailed evidence undercutting the idea that the Indus Valley was Dravidian speakingAgain, Parpola didn”t say a word, and in his own talk in our day-long conference didn”t even use the word “Dravidian” once, since Michael, Richard, and I were all thereThe next week, Parpola gave another talk at Stanford in which neither I nor Michael were present — and the Dravidian thesis was at the center of his talk.)Thus scholarship on the “Indus script”: guerilla warfare in newspapers which under no conditions will publish rebuttals. As he knows, Asko has an open invitation to discuss these issues on the List. A few days of public discussion would close the book on the so-called “Indus script” thesis forever. (Hence that discussion will never occur.)[13]

Best,
SteveOn Feb 18, 2008, at 4:04 AM, Francesco Brighenti wrote:

>http://www.thehindu.com/2008/02/17/stories/2008021759560500.htm
>
> Indus script was a writing system, avers

————————————————————————————————

Re: [Indo-Eurasia] “Indus script was a writing system” (Parpola”s talk in Chennai, 16 Feb., 2008)

Dear Francesco,An addendum to my last post:

http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/koko.jpg

For that post:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/9362

It”s a holiday in the US, BTW — President”s Day, no less — justifying the appearance of the wisest of all guerillas on the List. I think I know what Koko is thinking. NB that the 1,000 signs that Koko has mastered are “well ordered” at that, just as street signs are.George Bush celebrated his day — he”s President, after all – by endorsing John McCain as his would-be successor. Hopefully (but assume nothing about US elections) it will be the kiss of death:

http://tinyurl.com/yvp79z

Steve**********************************************************************************

On Feb 18, 2008, at 8:06 AM, Steve Farmer wrote:

> On Feb 18, 2008, at 4:04 AM, Francesco Brighenti wrote:
>
>> Forwarded from another List:
>
>>http://www.thehindu.com/2008/02/17/stories/2008021759560500.htm
>
>> Indus script was a writing system

————————————————————————————————-

Re: [Indo-Eurasia] “Indus script was a writing system” (Parpola”s talk in Chennai, 16 Feb., 2008)

> An addendum to my last post:
>
http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/koko.jpg

The link is now fixed, for those who tried it a minute ago and got an error message. A collaborator who I”ll leave unnamed (not at Harvard) adds off-List: “What was the Indus text that read ‘give me a banana now or your ass is toasted”?”SF

———————————————————————————————————–

I have added emphasis to drive the points for discussion to know how the Western Indologists have been acting and reacting about and against India.

Steve”s criticism of “The Hindu”: For Steve Farmer and Michael Witzel, “the Hindu” or “Frontline” has not been anything new, as they were reigning supreme in getting their articles published in the “Open pages” of it and in Frontline. I have given the following as illustrative purpose and it is not exhaustive[14].

Title of the article

Author

The Hindu dated

Horseplay in HarappaMicheal Witzel and Steve FarmerFrontline October 13, 2000.
New Evidence on the `Piltdown Horse” HoaxDoFrontline November 26, 2000
Harappan horse myths and the sciencesMichael WitzelMarch 5, 2002
A maritime Rigveda? – How not to read ancient texts?Michael WitzelJune 25, 2002
Philology vanquished: Frawley”s Rigveda – IMichael WitzelAugust 6, 2002
Philology vanquished: Frawley”s Rigveda – IIMichael WitzelAugust 13, 2002
   
Ecology, rhetoric or dumbing down? – IMichael WitzelFebruary 11, 2003

Steve Farmer”s “Horse play” was published in “The Frontline” and he became famous, reportedly exposing N. S. Rajaram, “the native Indologist”! However, the responses of Prof. K. V. Raman, Dr. R. Nagaswamy, K. V. Ramakrishna Rao and others sent to “The Hindu” were not published. Only edited versions of R. Nagaswamy appeared on March 12, 2002 (Harappan horse) and July 2, 2002 (From Harappan horse to camel), as he himself used to tell to others in meetings and conferences about the attitude or the “editorial policy” of “The Hindu”, only Indian national newspaper! So with such influence with and accommodation of “The Hindu” group of Companies, now, Steve comments as follows:

“Ever since we published “Collapse of the Indus Script Thesis” in December, 2004, the Hindu has posted an endless series of stories like this, most involving Iravatham Mahadevan. (Mahadevan is a close friend of the owners of the paper.) The stories included the announcement of Mahadevan”s claimed Tamil-Nadu “Indus axehead”, which supposedly carries an Indus sign that Mahadevan identifies with the Tamil god Murukan, who isn”t attested historically until thousands of years after the Indus civilization was gone. (No serious Indus researcher besides Mahadevan accepts the legitimacy of the “Indus axehead” found in Tamil Nadu.).”

So what happened in between? Why all of sudden he should point to “the Hindu” differently?

N       Ever since we (Steve Farmer, Richard Sproat and Michael Witzel) published “Collapse of the Indus Script Thesis” in December, 2004, the Hindu has posted an endless series of stories like this, most involving Iravatham Mahadevan.

So “The Hindu” did not like your Company after 2004?  He is so worried to note the love of “the Hindu” has shifted from their Company to I. Mahadevan!

N       (Mahadevan is a close friend of the owners of the paper.)

When they were publishing articles of your Company, which friend was there close to the owners of “The Hindu” is not known. Anyway, the role of “The Hindu” manipulating in Indology, history and related topics have been exposed.

N       The stories included the announcement of Mahadevan”s claimed Tamil-Nadu “Indus axehead”, which supposedly carries an Indus sign that Mahadevan identifies with the Tamil god Murukan, who isn”t attested historically until thousands of years after the Indus civilization was gone.

  1. The Steve and co. doubt the reading of I. Mahadevan!
  2. Iravatham has to be careful with Steve, because, earlier Steve[15] accused R. Madivanan involved in an IVC forgery and he has also explained in detail in his article published in Steve ” Co electronic Journal. Refer to my earlier posting for details.
  3. Mahadevan”s identification of Murugan”s name with the symbols found on doubtful “Indus axehead” is unhistorical.
  4. The claim is made after the disappearance of the IVC.

N       (No serious Indus researcher besides Mahadevan accepts the legitimacy of the “Indus axehead” found in Tamil Nadu.

  1. He not only throws doubt on the so-called “Indus axehead” finding. But also questions the status of Mahadevan.
  2. Only Steve has to differentiate between the so-called “serious Indus researcher” and “not serious Indus researcher”.
  3. Dorian Q. Fuller[16] has already recorded his “skepticism” of the finding.
  4. Nicole Boivin[17] has also concurred with Dorian Q. Fuller.

N       The long stream of stories in The Hindu since we published our paper have all revolved around this “Centre” and the Library.

“The Hindu” has so much interest around the “Centre” found by I. Mahadevan! So Steve is not happy with “The Hindu”.

N       It Is a pain to answer newspaper stories, especially when there are a long series of them that repeatedly say the same things,

  1. “The same Hindu” that promoted Steve gives pain to Steve – Why?
  2. Perhaps, now Asko Parpola gets support from it and his articles might be published soon.
  3. Of course, Asko Parpola himself has accepted that his paper would be published by I. Mahadevan, when, K. V. Ramakrishna Rao asked him on 17-02-2008 during the discussion.

N       It”s interesting that he says this to reporters.

  1. The reporters obviously including “The Hindu” that carried the story next day.
  2. Perhaps, he questions the reporters[18] as to whether they know the nuances of scripts written on perishable and non-perishable materials.

N  Thus scholarship on the “Indus script”: guerilla warfare in newspapers which under no conditions will publish rebuttals.

  1. Now, “The Hindu” accommodates guerilla warfare in newspapers
  2. “The Hindu” under no conditions will publish rebuttals, implying that Steve ” Co., might have sent their articles to “The Hindu”., but they are not published! Of course, the fact has to be verified.
  3. Anyway, as otherwise, Steve would not have been so angry with “The Hindu” as the Hindutwa people have been also angry with “The Hindu”!

Steve tirade against Iravathan Mahadevan: Interestingly, the tirade against Iravatham Mahadevan, one of the leading “native” Indologists is interesting and intriguing, as hitherto, he was supporting only Steve and Co.

N       By accusing that he, “is a close friend of the owners of the paper“, what he tries to imply is not known. Perhaps, he tells that “The Hindu” has been now biased against him supporting I. M. and A.P.

N       It is really unbecoming to dub him as a not “serious Indus researcher”.

N       He questions the legitimacy of the acceptance of symbols found on the doubtful “Indus axehead”.

N       Steve perhaps doubts Mahadevan has been behind for their “rebuttals” not published.

N       He strongly criticizes the “Research Centre” founded:  “….the Roja Muthiah Research Library, which houses what is gloriously called the “Indus Valley Research Centre”, apparently a small one-room office in the Library, which was founded by Mahadevan and his Tamil nationalist friends to counter the influence of our 2004 paper, which for obvious reasons is as anathema to Tamil nationalists as it is to Hindutva nationalists[19].

  1. The research centre is apparently a small one-room office in the Library, so what? Is there there any condition that research cannot conducted sincerely, seriously and with standards in one room?
  2. It is evident that Steve has become desperate in accusing others.
  3. Steve accuses that the research centre, “…..was founded by Mahadevan and his Tamil nationalist friends to counter the influence[20] of our 2004 paper, which for obvious reasons is as anathema to Tamil nationalists as it is to Hindutva nationalists.” but what about his background? He has been accused of as a Christian fundamentalist[21] by his friends and others in Internet forums, that too, based on his Ph.D thesis? Would he disprove that?
  4. The rationale being, “….. for obvious reasons is as anathema to Tamil nationalists as it is to Hindutva nationalists.” Why their 2004 paper has been anathema to Tamil nationalists? Why all of sudden “Tamil nationlists” have come here? Why they should oppose Steve and Co? Why even it is anathema to Hindutva nationalists? When he has liberty of arrogance to dub others as so, what brand of “ideology”, he is belonged? He must have some anti-ideology against “Tamil nationalists”and “Hindutva nationalists“.  That means, he agrees that he has beemn an anti-Tamil and anti-Hindu ideologist? Steve should come out openly, before he alleges and accuses others, that too from Harvard University.

N       The average inscription” using Mahadevan”s concordance, which lists 2,905 objects, is 4.6 signs long. That concordance (not a good one) was published in the 1970s.

  1. So what, how he can discredit another scholar like this without any decency and decorum?
  2. Is it not unbecoming for a person claiming as “serious Indus researcher” that too hailing from Harvard?
  3. Who is he to declare that, “That concordance (not a good one) was published in the 1970s.
  4. Is it worthwhile to say so?
  5. So his complete tirade against Iravatham Mahadevan is exposed here, as he has stopped down to such a mean level to discredit a monumental work on IVC.
  6. In fact, the International scholars should condemn him for his arrogance, pride and foolishness of his outbursts made in Internet forums in which he claims there have been world-famous, first class academicians, historians and scholars are there.

His tirade against Asko Parpola: Of course, it has been as open as was revealed perhaps their fight started at Tokyo in 2005 and erupted inn big proportions at Stanford University:

“   Asko has carefully ignored this issue everytime we”ve spoken together — at Harvard 2002, in Kyoto in 2005, and at Stanford 2007 –

Steve should come out openly what Asko Parpola ignored about their speech. Or Asko should clarify, as this is a serious issue for Indians and others also. The scholars cannot go on play with our historical issues, controversialize it and make Indian progeny to read false histories as has been going on. They have every right to know the background of how Indian history was written, has been written and is written.

“   but he brings up the “lost manuscript” thesis when speaking with reporters, since there is no one there to challenge him on it.

> As for the Harappan writing equipment used, he said an analysis of
> painted Indus texts on Harappan pots and bangles revealed that
> Indus people had used brushes to write, though the brushes had not
> survived or had not been recognised.

For the above Asko Parpola”s point, Setve retorted differently as mentioned. To analyze crucial sentences, -

“This one is really a stretch, picking up a passing line in Hunter 1929 that no one has ever taken seriously. The reason Parpola now resurrects this argument (without showing any visual evidence for it, since there isn”t any)”……….. that no traces of writing instruments or writing paraphernalia show up in Indus iconography or among Indus artifacts (see “Collapse” above, pp. 24-6, in the section entitled “The Lost Manuscript Thesis”). Expected markers of manuscript production involve things like inkpots (also ink residues), brushes, palettes, styli, pens, other literate paraphernalia; pictures of scribes, texts, and writing instruments in art; signs in inscriptions (when symbols as in the Indus case are partly pictographic) of scribes, texts, writing instruments, etc. Not one trace of anything like this is found in the Indus Valley (for detailed discussion, see the above pages). Interestingly, Marshall (who oversaw the early Indus excavations, and accepted without discussion Hunter”s “lost manuscript” thesis, since it allowed him to accept the claim that the Indus peoples were literate, like the Mesopotamians or Egyptians), found abundant evidence of writing materials in his excavations in Taxila, in Indus territory but of course from a period over a millennium after the last remnants of Indus civilization were gone (cf. Marshall 1951). The supposed “analysis of painted texts on Harappan pots and bangles” that Parpola speaks of refers to a line in the 1929 doctoral thesis of G.H. Hunter, who invented the “lost manuscript thesis.” I discussed this issue again at length at Stanford, in Parpola”s presence, and he didn”t say a word.Things change when there is no one to respond to him.

  1. So if evidences were / are there what happened to them?
  2. Why one scholar should say the material evidence are available and another deny?
  3. I have already pointed out the foul play played by John Marshall suppressing the manuscripts of R. D. Banerjee and even making photographs disappearing. Therefore, how Indians have to rely upon in this context?
  4. Who is telling truth and who is lying?

“   (On this issue: at Stanford in our conference, Michael presented detailed evidence undercutting the idea that the Indus Valley was Dravidian speaking.

So that undercutting has made the “Tamil nationalists” unhappy as “hindutva nationalists”.

“   Again, Parpola didn”t say a word, and in his own talk in our day-long conference didn”t even use the word “Dravidian” once, since Michael, Richard, and I were all there.

So Asko was supporting your undercutting “Dravidian theory”, as long as you were there.

“   The next week, Parpola gave another talk at Stanford in which neither I nor Michael were present — and the Dravidian thesis was at the center of his talk.)

So Asko took one week to get him prepared to oppose you with pro-Dravidian or “Dravidian theory”. Anyway, it is ironical, that “the Three” were not present! But what about their “rebuttals” against him? At least, they could have published in other non-guerilla warfare journals!

Warning to Indians, particularly to the youth and Children: Now, we know India youth and children have been reasonably intelligent knowing the facts with hard work. Perhaps, they have to compete with crores of other colleagues in their competition. So they have to know the way in which our “Indian history” was written by the British and western scholars and has been written by our Indian historians and others faithfully following their methodology. So they should read the history with the background of their scientific thinking and critical analysis of facts of development of Numbers, number system, script, philiosphy and psychology behind it etc., as they expose the truth behind the Indian civilization, which has been target of all by all means. No doubt, not only the Steve-Witzel type arrogant category, “The Hindu” type Communists, or Dravidian ideologists may immediately jump and dub it as “Hindutva” and so on. But the youth and children should pursue and find out the facts.

Why historians fight with each other for Indian history: Whether IVC Indians had scripot and language or not, whether Harappans literate or illiterate, Vedic people recited Vedas with script or without script, could remember thousands of verses by mere memorizing or simply reading from the written manuscripts, etc., why the western Indologists, historians and scholars have been so anxious. Why they should oppose whenever, any claim is made that Indus script was deciphered. Even if deciphered why they should oppose if it is in Sanskrit or Tamil? It apperars that there has been more unhistorical psyche working in the minds of so-caled historians, as otherwise, they would not have indulged in mudsling and calling others by names etc., as has been witnessed by us now,

B      We do not know how Jon Marshall and R. D. Banerjee fought with each other when his findings were not published.

B      We do not know as to how Thomas Watters warned Vincent Smith not to edit his manuscript.

B      We do not know how Buhler disappeared or died mysteriously falling into waters reportedly “in a boat accident”, as he opposed Vincent Smith and other for their manipulations.

B      We do not know how Dr. Alois Anton Fuhrer, Editor ofEpigraphica Indica was dismissed from the service[22] in 1898 for his forgery of creating Buddhist Urns and with Asokan inscription on them.

B      We do not know how so many Indian manuscripts were taken away to foreign countries but not available to Indian researchers to be accused of as not “serious”.

B      We do not know how Witzel and Co., have reportedly acquired manuscripts from India.

B      We do not know how and why Dr. (Vincent John Adams) Flynn could go oin smuggling valuable historical evidences of Indian history dating from c.1000 BCE from India till he was arrested at New Delhi Airport? He has been a very close and good friend of AAA Rizvi, Nural Hassan, Irfan Habib and other “eminent” and “elite” historians of India!

I stop, because the list would increase as K. V. Ramakrishna Rao gives hundeds of such instances. In any case, We have a right tp provide them the factual position. Of course, Indians have every right to write their history and rewrite also if anything is wrong, manipulated, falsified, fraudulently written etc., as there have been instances. The western or non-Indian or even Indian ideological Historians cannot accuse such historians as “nationalist”, “Hindutva” and so on, as they could not set right the things for the last 60 years. In fact, they have only enjoyed crores of Indian tax payers amount but misleading Indians.

Therefore, it rigt time for every true Indian to probe into the incidences of Indologists, historians and scholars fighting with each other and expose the motive behind it.

VEDAPRAKASH

1902-2008.


[1] There have been hundreds of papers published in the JRAS, JOBR, JBORI, etc.

 

[2] Even though, the organizers took the name, signature, e-mail and phone number, they refused to give the details of the participants in the discussion.

[3] When Vedaprakash questioned the Asko Parpola”s interpretation of “Dravidian megalithic people” invading India and coming to South India, he persisted that Asko never wrote like that. See Asko Parpola,Deciphering the Indus Script,  Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp.171-175.

[4] Accessible to the members of the yahoogroup.

[5] This symbol is used by Steve and his friends connoting some other meaning, which is not revealed to others.

[6] Note his sarcasm and scorn at his colleague.

[7] I do not understand it or its meaning. I would be grateful, if it is clarified.

[8] It looks like Indian politician”s claim of eradication of poverty, or giving job to all, education to all etc., which are not possible. As he has decided that it is not a script related to any languages, he would stick to his stand only.

[9] When he knows that I.M is close to the relatives of the owner of “The Hindu”, the Indus Research Centre has been in a single room etc., why he says that it is “reported”? Definitely, his Indian contacts would have sent details and photographs also.

[10] Asko says Steve and Company ha been adamant to their view point by asking irrelevant questions and they resused to publish his paper also.

[11] How Indians could believe such claims when so many Indian artifacts are smuggled out of IVC even today. Can the non-availability of evidence can negate the fact?

[12] Even Steve”s papers are only hypothesis and theory. How can he impose his hypothesis or theory as final on others?

[13] There was a discussion, but of course, there have been interests working at different angles in India and it could not be pursued effectively.

[14] I, II suggest that there have been other articles. I could not locate immediately from the paper cuttings. Of course, there have been articles of Patricia Norelli-Bachelet, Dravid Frawley, but Wizel was bombarding them. In fact, The Hindu published his article every week, whereas, the so-called rejoinders appeared much later that too in edited form, only in the case of Dr. R. Nagaswamy.

[15] Refer to my earlier article.

[16] Abstract volume of the International Symposium on Indus Civilization and Tamil Language, held at Chennai on February 15th ” 16th 2007, pp.23-28. Ironically, not only the invited International scholars attended the conference, but even I. Mahadevan did not turn up.

[17] Ibid, p.28-29.

[18] Generally, the reporters have been so intelligent in questioning the Politicians and other ideological historians, but why they are not questioning the foreign scholars similarly. Are they afraid or they have some sort mind-set, that they should cause foreigners inconvenient?

[19] Perhaps, he has been so anxious or fond of Hindutva nationalists!

[20] So there has been an ideological war started. Why then Steve dubs it as a guerilla warfare and so on?

[21] Of course, he never responds as vigorous as he has been now, as he is perhaps afraid of getting exposed. In fact, he is accused of posting pro-Christian and anti-Hindu postings in Wikipedia by a trained group comprising ITwalas.

[22] Government of India Proceedings (Part B), Department of Revenue ” Agriculture (Archaeology ” Epigraphy Section), August 1898, File No. 24 of 1898, Proceedings Nos. 7-10 (National Achieves of India, New Delhi).

P. C. Mukheji, Report on a Tour of Exploration of the Antiquities in the Tarai, Nepal, JRAS, 1898.



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Iravatham Mahadevan’s Speech: Authorized Version, spoken version, tapped version and my version

July 14, 2009

Iravatham Mahadevan’s Speech: Authorized Version, spoken version,  tapped version and my version

 

Vedaprakash

 

vedamvedaprakash@yahoo.com

 

Iravatham Mahadevan at last gathered courage to circulate his “authorized version” of his speech (on 08-7-2009) to selective friends with the following bracketed note of warning on 12-07-2009:

(This is the authorized version circulated by Iravatham Mahadevan from his notes which formed the basis for his lecture which was extempore. Hence, the actual sentences may be different between the notes and the talk which has been recorded on tape. But the contents are the same. The opening and closing invocations in Sanskrit have also been omitted.)

Iravatham Mahadevan

Iravatham Mahadevan

Authorised version of Iravatham Mahadevan’s speech[1]: Of course, his authorized version is as follows:

Atithi devo bhava

(A summary of the introductory talk by Iravatham Mahadevan

At The Department of Sanskrit, University of Madras

On July 8, 2009)

Respected Prof Witzel, Respected Prof Dash, ladies and gentlemen,

I am happy to welcome in our midst, Prof.Michael Witzel, Wales Prof. of Sanskrit, Dept. of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University, USA. It is hardly necessary for me to introduce him to this audience of Sanskrit scholars[2]. Dr.Witzel is an eminent scholar in Sanskrit and has specialized in studies relating to the Rig Veda. The subject of his talk this morning is “Origin and development of Language in South Asia: Phylogeny vs. Epigenetics”. I am not a scholar in Indo-Aryan linguistics; my field is Indian Epigraphy. What I understand from the title of the lecture is that the two key words there are related to the Sanskrit root jan ‘to be born, produced’. I shall leave the rest to Prof.Witzel to explain.

I shall however utilize this opportunity[3] to add a few words on the happenings at Prof.Witzel’s lecture in another forum in this city. Some misguided elements[4] had planned to disturb the meeting[5]. But, due to the security precautions[6], the meeting went on peacefully, though some people stood on the main road outside distributing hand bills. What was the problem? These people have differences of opinion on some academic matters. Is that a sufficient reason to show disrespect[7] to a distinguished scholar in Sanskrit visiting institutions of Sanskrit learning to deliver academic lectures? Our culture is Atithi devo bhava ‘respect the guest like god’.

The Indian culture is based on tolerance and equal respect for all religions. The Vedic saying is ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti , ‘truth is one[8], the learned describe it in many ways’.

It is well known that I have serious differences of view with Prof.Witzel relating to the Indus Script. He thinks that the Indus Script is not writing at all. I am convinced it is a system of writing encoding an early form of Dravidian. So, what do I do? Do I take a gun and shoot him down? No! I take my pen and write a refutation of what he has written. That is the only way for academic scholars to react[9].

I claim that the Hindu doctrine of sarva dharma sama bhava is superior to the western concept of secularism. In the West, there was conflict between the state and the church. The church was separated from the state. And thereafter the western democracies have accorded full freedom of speech and freedom of religion to all their citizens. In India, the development of equal respect for all religions is much older. The Buddha rejected the authority of the Vedas and preached agnosticism. The Mahavira denied the existence of God. The religions founded by both of them have flourished in our pluralistic society.

In South India, Sankara preached Advaita, Ramanuja preached a qualified form called Visishtadvaita, while Madhwa was for Dvaita. Each of these great acharyas wrote their own bashyas and went about the country freely propagating their philosophies. After Islam came to India, there have been prophets like Guru Nanak Deva and Kabir synthesizing the best of both religions.

As I mentioned, India is a pluralistic society with many languages and many religions. Our Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of religion and equal treatment for all before law. I proclaim from this dais that those who show disrespect to other religions, other points of view are un-Indian and un-Hindu. By their misguided action, these people do disservice to the tolerant, secular and pluralistic traditions of this great country. Let me assure our honoured guest[10]that such fanatic elements[11] constitute a small lunatic fringe of our society. The heart of India is sound.

Let me conclude this short talk with the words of wisdom uttered by Asoka, the greatest and noblest ruler in our long history. He engraved the following message. I call upon the Sanskrit scholars assembled here to read the edict in the original Prakrit[12], memorize it in your hearts and internalise the message and follow it in your lives.

Asoka’s  XII rock edict (Girnar version): Extracts

“Neither praising one’s own sect, nor blaming other sects should take place on improper occasions. But other sects ought to be duly honoured in every case. For, whosoever praises his own sect, or blames other sects, – all these out of devotion to one’s own sect, with a view of glorifying his own sect – if he is acting thus, he rather injures his own sect very severely. Therefore, CONCORD (sama vayo) alone is meritorious, that they should both hear and obey each others morals.”

I consider this rock edict of Asoka proclaimed 2300 years ago as the original Constitution of India which is still relevant. Let us follow it in word and spirit. Let us fight with all our might all forms of fanaticism, intolerance and bigotry by any section of the society, bringing disgrace to the hoary secular traditions of our country.

(This is the authorized version circulated by Iravatham Mahadevan from his notes which formed the basis for his lecture which was extempore. Hence, the actual sentences may be different between the notes and the talk which has been recorded on tape. But the contents are the same. The opening and closing invocations in Sanskrit have also been omitted[13].)

Taped version available with Sanskrit department: Now, it is clear that the tape has been the main evidence for the entire proceedings[14]. Its copies should be made available to the researchers and others. Prof Dass should take immediate action to take copies and present or he can convert into an audio file and send to others by e-mail, so that it could be downloaded and used. I request the learned readers to read my note at the end of “The Second Conference of Michael Witzel at Madras University”. For convenience, it is reproduced as follows:

Note: This has been prepared based on the notes noted down during the meeting. There are some points to be clarified. And therefore, certain points may be added or amended accordingly later. Here, the entire proceedings have been taped and the tape would give more details. Therefore, anybody wants to check up the proceedings, they could verify from the tape available with the Sanskrit Department, Madras University. Unfortunately, the proceedings were not videographed [also in Sanskrit college], as otherwise, it could have been an evidence to prove the capabilities of Prof Witzel.

Thus, I have clearly mentioned that, “Here, the entire proceedings have been taped and the tape would give more details. Therefore, anybody wants to check up the proceedings, they could verify from the tape available with the Sanskrit Department, MadrasUniversity.”

Therefore, I do not know as to whether IM has read my version to present his version to register his stand to denigrate Indians /Hindus. But, the style, manner and the “edited version” prove so.

IM’s handwritten version and spoken version: It is not known as to why IM should make a great fuss about his speech, when we are actually concerned about the Witzel’s “conferences” and his inability to answer the questions raised by K. V. Ramakrishna Rao. Let us analyse his “warning” issued just like “statutory warnings appearing on liquor, cigarette etc”:

  • This is the authorized version circulated by Iravatham Mahadevan from his notes which formed the basis for his lecture which was extempore.

As IM claims it is not at all an extempore speech, as he was having a written speech and he read it and the 15 or so audience was witness.

  • Hence, the actual sentences may be different between the notes and the talk which has been recorded on tape.

If learned scholars have guts, they need not worry about what they speak as extempore, reading from notes, AV forming his own notes etc. Obviously and evidently IM is afraid of the tap, as it contains the proof that Witzel has been questioned fundamentally by K. V. Ramakrishna Rao and Witzel could not answer. In fact, he accepted confessing that there are no archaeological evidences for his hypothesis. Therefore, the University of Madras should bring out the contents of tape or give a copy to others – say Dr S. Kalyanaraman, as otherwise, I am afraid that the tape might be tampered oor even disappear or they can simply say, the recorder did not record.

  • But the contents are the same.

Having edited and circulated such “edited version”, there is no need to say that “this” is same as “that”!

  • The opening and closing invocations in Sanskrit have also been omitted

Obviously, he was afraid of the slokas or its meaning or he is afraid that Witzel’s friends Steve Farmer et al would dub him as “Hindutvawadi”, “Right-wing activist” etc.

Let the Madras University proceedings be published: The concerned scholars, pundits and others should take immediate action to publish the contents of the tap that contains the proceedings of Witzel’s “conference” held at the auditorium of Marina Campus, organized by Sanskrit department of Madras University on 08-07-2009 held from 11 am to 1.30 pm. It would a record for Indians to expose how the western scholars or vested Indian scholars aid and abet each other and subvert Indian ethos. As the police (plain-clothed one inside) and uniformed outside were also there, there is no meaning in withholding the facts and circulating the AVs.

The “Hindutwa group” should take action: IM has recorded it clearly, as follows using such strong and impolite expressions against some “demonstrators” “misguided elements”, “fanatic elements”, Lunatic fringe of our society” etc. Really, I am surorised as to how In missed the second and third expressioins, though I was carefully noting down his speech.

  • “Some misguided elements had planned to disturb the meeting. But, due to the security precautions, the meeting went on peacefully, though some people stood on the main road outside distributing hand bills”.
  • By their misguided action, these people do disservice to the tolerant, secular and pluralistic traditions of this great country.
  • By their misguided action, these people do disservice to the tolerant, secular and pluralistic traditions of this great country. Let me assure our honoured guest that such fanatic elements constitute a small lunatic fringe of our society. The heart of India is sound.

This has been clearly directed on Ms Radharajan, Haran and Sadanjan and I have mentioned in my version also. In fact, the olice Officer at the gate was seen telling, “Did that IAS officer not know that would hurt the feelings of people?” (Obviously referring to Witzel’s assertion that the horned god depicted in IVC seal and the Gundestrup Cauldron were not Shiva, but some other deity). It is unfortunate that the so-called Hindus, still act and behave like this. When Iravatham Mahadevan like esteemed, elite and venerated scholars and Pundits act against Hindus like this, definitel Witzel like Wales Sanskrit of Professor at Harvar would go on blaspheme Hindu religion and Gods subtly, covertly here.

Michael Witzel

 

Michael Witzel

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao

 

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao

Swami Vivekananda exposed Gutav Oppert[15]: Gustav Solomon Oppert[16] (1836-1908) was a German teaching Sanskrit and Comparative linguistics at the Presidency College for 21 years.  He was born in Hamburg, Germany operating with the missionaries. Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) was to attend the Paris Conference[17] in 1900. First day, Swamiji could not attend, as he was not feeling well, but on the second day, when he entered the Conference Hall, Gustav Oppert was presenting his paper on the origin of Salagrama worship relating to Phallic worship. After his presentation, Swamiji stood up and asked volley of questions and then clarified reciting slokas from Athava Veda and the scholars there dumfounded. Now similar type of situation has been happening.

Witzel has also been a German, a “Wales Sanskrit Professor” at “Harvard University”, conducting “conferences” in India, lecturing on Rigveda and IVC, origin of languages, telling that Sanskri is not so old as compared to the Dravidian and Munda languages. In fact, the language families are related to “phylum”.  Here, I draw attention of the scholars to the origin of “phylum” as pointed out earlier[18]:

From the different connotation ofPhul / pul, and its combination, it is known that phylum is the race, class, division, family originating from a particular phallic orphullon or combination thereof[19].Phuletes = tribes-manPhullon = leaf, female sexual organ

 

Phulon, = race,

phule = tribe

pule = gate

puloros = gate keeper

phusallis = bladder

phallic = male sexual organ

Are the words phul / pul or its equivalents are available in Sanskrit?

I request scholars to clarify.

Vedaprakash

14-07-2009


[1] IM has not sent any copy to me. However, as it is available in the internet and it is circulated to others, I also got a copy and I am using this, as received.

 

[2] However, his sojourns were kept secretive and even such “conferences” were conducted with security as confessed by the hon’ble speaker!

Vedaprakash, The Third Conference of Michael Witzel at Pondicherrry, for details, see at:

http://ontogenyphylogenyepigenetcs.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/the-third-conference-of-michael-witzel-at-pondicherry/

[3] It is unfortunate to understand that he has utilized every opportunity to deceive Indians / Hindus completely misusing his status and instigating others of Sanskrit College, Sanskrit Department, Madras University, Indus Research Centre, Roja Muthaish Library, International Institute for the Ancient Civilizations, and others for his Hindu-baiting and colluding and collaborating with Witzel & Co.

[4] See his audacity of talking about others, when he himself in a disgrace status of colluding with Witzel for non-academic activities. They should come out and challenge. In fact, when Hindus get such opportunity, it is right time to use and expose such anti-Hindu forces.

[5] See these gullible, meek, mild, innocent and incapable Hindus could plan only with “handbills”, whereas, the organizers could use such infra-structure of Sri Chanbdrasekhara Auditoruim of Sanskrit College, full AC auditorium to host just 15 with mufti police, cars plying for Witzel & Co., here and there, giving hefty “TA and DA in lalhs” in covers and above the anti-Hindu to talk about Rigveda to the Sanskrit Pundits.

[6] It is disgrace for IM, as with such brutal influence as an ex-IAS officer to use police force to contain academic proceedings. In fact, you tried to control the inside proceedings also preventing audience ask questions and later allowing one person, but evading Witzel not to answer. The same thing happened in front of IM.

Vedaprakash, The First Conference of Michael Witzel of Havard University, for details, see at:

http://ontogenyphylogenyepigenetcs.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/the-first-conference-of-micheal-witzel-of-harvard-university/

[7] IM : You have only disrespected the real Sanskrit Pundits of India and Madras, Tamilnadu by allowing Wizel and not allowing him to answer has been the highest disrespect shown to the decorum of research, conference and debate.

[8] But what Witzel is propounding is untruth, and your are supporting such untrue elements calling our people as “misguided elements”, “fanatic elements”, “lunatic fringe of our society” etc.

[9] But you have not cared for any academic type of proceedings. You have not given the full-text of the speaker, you controlled the proceedings and prevented not to respond to the questions raised. Therefore, still, it is your duty to get the papers and circulate, as your are circulating your authorized version of your speech.

[10] But you have not responded reciprocally to the Indian audience.

[11] These expressions have been very strong in deed.

[12] Here, I am surprised to note this urge, as to point out that the Sanskriit Pundits should learn Pali lanuage or they do not read and understand Pali language or the Pali language has been totally different from  Sanskrit or the Sanskrit knowing Pundits  could read and understand?………..

[13] This also secularism, MR IM? Wjhen MW was explaining “Father Heaven”, “African Eve” etc., was it secularism or communalism?

[14] Vedaprakash, The Second Conference of Michael Witzel at Madras University, for details, see at:

http://ontogenyphylogenyepigenetcs.wordpress.com/the-second-conference-of-michael-witzel-at-madras-university/

[15] Based on a paper presented by K. V. Ramakrishna Rao,  Gutav Oppert and Swami Vivekananda  – An Historical Encounter at the Paris Congreess of History of Religions, a paper presented at the Rajapalayam Session of SIHC.

[16] He had collaborated with Caldwell etc., in propounding the “Dravidian” race and linguistic hypotheses and theories.

[17] Jean Revilee (Ed.), Actes du Premier Congr’es International d’Histoire des Religions, (Proceedings of the First Congress of History of Religions, Part.1, Senaces generales, Part.2: seanas des sections, 3 fasc)  2 vols, Ernest Leroux, Paris, Part.1: 1901 and Part.2:1992.

[18] Vedaprakash, Ontogeny, Phylogeny and epigeny or the revival of Race, Racism and Racialism, for full details see at:

http://ontogenyphylogenyepigenetcs.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/ontogeny-phylogeny-and-epigeny-or-the-revival-of-race-racism-and-racialism/

[19] Having understood this meaning, perhaps, the westerners may not criticize the so-called “phallic-worship”!



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The Third Conference of Michael Witzel at Pondicherry!

July 11, 2009

The Third Conference of Michael Witzel at Pondicherry!

The visit of Michael Witzel to Pondicherry had been intriguing as his visit was kept secret[1] and in fact, the so-called conference there, was held as a “closed door meeting”, where only 11 persons were there from the French Institute.

Note: I was not at Pondicherry and I thank friends for giving these details. As they requested their names not to be mentioned, their names are withheld. Here, whatever inputs received from the Pondicherry friends are given without the square brackets [ ], whereas my comments, inferences and implications are given [in the square brackets as shown].

IVC seals were not of religious nature: Witzel initially spoke about his interest in Indus script researches and Rigveda studies. According to him the seals and tablets found at the Indus valley sites cannot be called religious in nature. They have nothing to do with religion, particularly that of India, as popularly believed. The seals do not contain any script and they do not form any language. Thus, his stand shifting from denying the status of “script” with “language” to the IVC signs, symbols and pictograms to the denying of any “religious status” attached to it.

[Why the denial of “religious status” to the IVC seals? Here, the dogmatic persistence of Witzel is revealing, as the fundamentalist Islamist and Pakistani fiends[2] of www.allempires.com were arguing with our Indian friends[3] in the same manner. Of course, those Jihadi-friends want to call it as “Pre-Islamic Civilization” that has nothing to with India and Indian history. In the same way, Witzel argues that Rigveda does not belong to India, the “horned-Lord of animals” is not Indian Siva[4], but some other deity! He would not, however, say to which religion such God or LORD GOD or HORNED GOD belongs to.]

Rigveda and IVC: Any study or view that correlates them with Rigveda is false as Rigveda according to him comes into picture (composed ?!!) after 1500 years. According to him the religion of the Indus civilization is not at all Vedic and it is yet to be decided. The Rig Vedic Sanskrit was entirely different from the Paninian or Kalidasa Sanskrit. Many of the Rigvedic words have been different from that of popular Sanskrit of India.

[Why Witzel has gone to the extent of asserting that such comparison itself is false? We have to analyze his assertions:

  • Any study or view that correlates them with Rigveda is false as Rigveda according to him comes into picture (composed ?!!) after 1500 years.

According his another assertion found elsewhere, he says that Sayana is only 600 years elder to him. N. Mahalingam mentions his age is 66 so Sayana was there in “Karnataka” about 600 + 66 = 666 years ago before Witzel YBW (years before Witzel). Did he imply that Sayana knew IVC seals?

  • According to him the religion of the Indus civilization is not at all Vedic and it is yet to be decided.

So the Indians could immediately remove such chapters from the history books of India immediately.

  • The Rig Vedic Sanskrit was entirely different from the Paninian or Kalidasa Sanskrit.

That Sayana did not know Rigvedic Sanskrit of Punjab and the Indian Sanskrit Pundits and Professors do not know it, but he alone knows it and he could explain by application of some tricks, as he asserted before the Pundits on 6th evening at Sanskrit College, Mylapore, Chennai. That is why perhaps, Mananiya Sankaranarayanan was so thrilled and enthralled to confer him with a title { } placing him only next to Max Mueller!

  • Many of the Rigvedic words have been different from that of popular Sanskrit of India.

That is Indian Sanskrit Pundits or Sanskrit knowing people do not know Rigvedic Sanskrit. And therefore, they are incompetent to study and research about Rigvedic Sanskrit. Perhaps, he may apply for rights of “Rigvedic Sanskrit”. Interestingly, N. Mahalingam exposed the secret[5] by informing the audience that he “recites Rigveda daily, but we India have forgotten Rigveda”. Whether, it is a mere coincidence or otherwise, we do not know and we may have to clarify from Mananiya N. Mahalingam only.]

Witzel Sayana was only 600 years elder to him: “Sayana, the commentator of Rigveda had been just 600 years elder to me”, asserted Witzel and claimed that Sayana from Karnataka, could not have understood the Sanskrit that was spoken in Punjab nearly 2000 years before him. While Punjab was casteless and classless society, Sayana lived in Karnataka with full grown caste system. So his commentary in many places and on many matters is unreliable except for the interpretation and conduct of Vedic sacrifices. Thus for Rigvedic Indians, Rigveda is not Indian, but foreign.

  • Sayana, the commentator of Rigveda had been just 600 years elder to me”, asserted Witzel

That is all. Thus, after Sayana, anybody in India is nothing for him, as he only knows the Rigvedic Sanskrit and nobody else!

  • Witzel claimed that Sayana from Karnataka, could not have understood the Sanskrit that was spoken in Punjab nearly 2000 years before him.

Historically, at many places separated by more than thousands of kilometers and as well as thousands of years gap, the same language was used, written in inscriptions. Pallava script was used in South India and as well as in SEA. Ironically, the so-called Pallava script of SEA region is dated to “Pre-Pallava” period, just like Sri Lankan Brahmi is dated earlier to Indian Brahmi!. Yet, Witzel is making such claims.

  • While Punjab was casteless and classless society, Sayana lived in Karnataka with full grown caste system.

It is not known as to whether he makes such remarks to Rigvedic period, or Sayana period or Witzel period as each is separated from other by 2000 years and 600 years, as determined by himself. Then between 691 BCE and c.1400 / 1409 CE, the caste system would have been evolved. So between these periods, i.e, from the people who dominated in Indian society or invaded into India and others must have been responsible for such non-existence thing to get introduced.

  • So his commentary in many places and on many matters is unreliable except for the interpretation and conduct of Vedic sacrifices.

Thus, just for rituals, we can rely upon Sayana and not for his commentary. So he reveals the fact that the translations of Griffiths, Wilson and others also may not be reliable. And Witzel himself may come out with his translation of Rigveda and that is reliable. Like Roberto de Nobili[6], he is going to give the real Rigveda!

  • Thus for Rigvedic Indians, Rigveda is not Indian, but foreign.

Of course, N. Mahalingam has confessed already. Hereafter only Pakistanis are going to claim Rigveda.

Wizel came to India to collect funds! Harvard University now does not have funds and they are in difficulty. In fact, he has come to India to collect funds. There have been many Indians or Hindus of Indian origin in USA and they have been funding to such type of nationalist / Hindutva studies, but for conducting research, there are no funds.

[Perhaps, this has been more revealing[7] that he has come here to collect funds!

  • Harvard University now does not have funds and they are in difficulty.

Harvard University does not provide funds as he has engaged in the heathenish work or his work is still not enough to satisfy them.

  • In fact, he has come to India to collect funds.

We do not know to whom so far he has contacts and how much they are going to donate to him etc. Or perhaps, indirectly, he wants to collect from Indians and pay to California authorities to pay[8] for CAPEEM proceedings!

  • There have been many Indians or Hindus of Indian origin in USAand they have been funding to such type of nationalist / Hindutva studies, but for conducting research, there are no funds.

Of course, the idiotic communal Hindus do not fund secularists like Witzel or the neo-Nobili who is going to restore Rigveda exactly as it was in Pakistan or Punjab or Central Asia or Africa as Neanderthal and Sayana did not know, but he only knows.]

Witzel debunks N. S. Rajaram’s book: When attention was drawn to N. S. Rajaram’s book on IVC, Witzel openly debunked it. Witzel also pooh-poohed some of the recent studies of Mr. Rajaram in this regard.

His low opinion on Indian manuscripts: Generally he has derisive views on the manuscripts libraries in Bharat and particularly in Varanasi. He told that he is yet to get the copy of the manuscript from Varanasi for which he had paid the money[9], etc. in 1974. It is ironical, because, he was accused of smuggling a valuable Sanskrit manuscript out of India. Perhaps, just suppress his illegal activity,he tried to divert the issue.

[The so-called derisive attitude exposes his ontogenic pyretics rather the real appreciation. It is just like Dr. (Vincent John Adams) Flynn, the Australian Professor who used to come to India and smuggle out pre-Mauryan antiquities including coins and was caught red-handed at Indira Gandhi International Airport and then escaped through Indo-Australian Diplomatic agreement. He has been a very close and good friend of AAA Rizvi, Nural Hassan, Irfan Habib and other "eminent" and "elite" historians of India!]

His stay in Nepal, Kashmir etc: He recollects his stay at Nepal and remembers his stay in Srinagar, in better times during 1976 with Pandit Brahmins[10] and he had the opportunity to observe the sraddha rites performed by them.

His friend Steve Farmer writes whatever wants and supports with his biased attitude. When certain reports appeared in India media[11] as early as in 2005, he jumped and cried “defamatory”[12], but he could not understand the feelings of Indians. If the so-called anti-Indian groups[13] aid and abet with MW, he could not understand with all his wisdom and knowledge whether their interests had been right or left or middle.

Note: I shall add, if I get more material about his Pondicherry visit, as it has more interesting details.

Vedaprakash

11-07-2009


[1] As the first and second conferences were held in guarded and secretive manner preventing others from attending, as the organizers with vested interests, his visit to Pondicherry and his activities there were perhaps, totally unnoticed.

 

[2] Kindly refer to www.allempires.com where they have vehemently opposed and even prevented us posting comments etc.

[3] K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, Devapriya Solomon, M. Nachiappan, AlokaParyetra, Jayachandran, Vedaprakash, and others.

[4] This has been his main emphasis at the Sanskrit College conference, which was seriously questioned by K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, but Witzel escaped from answering!

Vedaprakash, The First Conference of Michael Witzel of Harvard University, dated 07-07-2009 appearing in different sites and discussion groups.

http://ontogenyphylogenyepigenetcs.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/the-first-conference-of-micheal-witzel-of-harvard-university/

http://ontogenyphylogenyepigenetcs.wordpress.com/the-second-conference-of-michael-witzel-at-madras-university/

[5] Vedaprakash, The First Conference of Michael Witzel of Harvard University, dated 07-07-2009, see para.2.

[6] Perhaps, the poor Indians / Hindus still do not know how these Christians conduct “dialogue”. Many times, they conduct such tricks but later declared that they had dialogues with the heathen Hindus and won them in their conferences and dialogues. How MW has been stressing that he has been the only authority in Rigveda and the implication has been exactly this.

[7] None could believe that these Harvard professors fly here and there, enjoy Five-Star Hotel benefits with executive comforts, yet they claim their University does not provide funds! Here, in Chennai, in spite of his stand, the Chennaivasis / Chennaiwalas / Madarasis treated him well and even defended him e.g, Iravatham Mahadevan, N. Mahalingam, Sankaranayanan, etc.

[8] The California Department of Education and the State Board of Education have agreed to pay US $ 175,000 to the California Parents for the Equalisation of Educational Materials (CAPEEM) – the organisation formed by Hindu American parents – to fight the case against the California State. http://capeem.org

[9] Actually, he was accused of smuggling a rare manuscript out of India, but he cleverly blames that he was not given manuscript, though he paid moneyt in 1974!

[10] Michael Witzel, The Brahmins of Kashmir,http://www.scribd.com/doc/7738420/The-Brahmins-of-Kashmir-by-Michael-Witzel

[11] Kanchan Gupta, Harvard Don Denigrates Hindus, The Pioneer dated 25-12-2005.

Sandhya Jain, http://www.hindustan.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2665

[12] Farmer notes, “Defamatory article directed against WW…………that appeared in the right-wing new Delhi newspaper, The Pioneer, on Christmad Day, 2005. The author is Kanchan Gupta, a colunist closely associated with the Hindutva right in India (And what interesting tales can be told about him!)

[13] The manner in which these issues play out is enlightening. Harvard professor Michael Witzel’s supporters in the California textbook battle include two evangelical bodies: Dalit Freedom Network and Dalit Solidarity Forum in the USA. DFN president Joseph D’Souza also heads the All-India Christian Council; he appealed to a US Congressional Committee to get ‘Scheduled Caste’ status for India’s ‘Dalit’ Christians. The manner in which these issues play out is enlightening. Harvard professor Michael Witzel’s supporters in the California textbook battle include two evangelical bodies: Dalit Freedom Network and Dalit Solidarity Forum in the USA. DFN president Joseph D’Souza also heads the All-India Christian Council; he appealed to a US Congressional Committee to get ‘Scheduled Caste’ status for India’s ‘Dalit’ Christians.



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Bhagwan Singh versus Michael Witzel!

Michael Witzel: rattled rat at IIC

 

Bhagwan Singh

22 July 2009

I was really sorry for Prof. Michael Witzel. After all, he was our honoured guest! Dr. Singh should not have pounced on him so mercilessly, playing the cat and the rat game – the cat looking ascetically resigned tossing the rat, the rat pretending to be dead, breathlessly looking from the corner of his eye to judge the cat’s next move, running for his life, only to be pounced upon and tossed up again. The Chair kept smiling all through at this plight of the powerful brainy Harvard Professor of Sanskrit!

Frankly, I enjoyed the wild play. Prof. Witzel was in a state of trauma: nervous, edgy, twitching his lips, dropping his eyelids recurrently, looking askance to avoid his interlocutor, constantly using his hanky to rub his nose, murmuring something inaudible to explain his errors, occasionally seeking help from his votaries who were present in good number, but more ignorant than their demi-god, and hence themselves dazed. Singh smiled all the way, his smile mischievous, eyes sadistically aglitter, untrue to his true nature, but true to the occasion.

Rgveda

 

The occasion was a lecture on the Rgveda by Prof. Michael Witzel, at the India International Centre, on 10 July 2009. Presided over by Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, it was attended by scholars of different hues and expectations. No one suspected that Witzel with his claim to be a ranking Vedic scholar knew so little that he could not answer a single query. Indeed, he appeared blank as far as the Rgvedawas concerned. He rose nervously to speak on the Veda, but actually spoke on the Aryan migration from Afghanistan to Punjab !

The lecture merely reiterated what Prof. Witzel has written years ago: that north-western India was populated by Munda speaking people when Indo-Aryan speakers arrived on the scene. Old Indo-Aryan was influenced by the substrate Proto-Munda. He proposed a time bracket of 1500-1250 BC for composition of the Rgveda and suggested Book IV and Book VI were the oldest, advantage Book IV.

Witzel painted Rgvedic society as nomadic pastoralist, illiterate and with little interest in agriculture and sedentary life. There was virtually nothing in his speech that was not lifted from nineteenth century archives. He showed no awareness of recent researches in archaeology, anthropology, literature or historical linguistics, and presented even Kuiper with his pathological distortions.

Many archaeologists and professors of history attended the lecture, including your writer, Vedic scholar Bhagwan Singh. When the floor was thrown open for discussions, Bhagwan Singh introduced himself as the author of The Vedic Harappans, and said that his data contradicted each and every statement made by Witzel; he sought permission to exchange notes on a few issues. With the Chair’s permission, Singh said:

- You have reordered the Rgvedic strata, rating IV and VI to be the oldest and the rest belonging to intermediate and late stages. I have no objection to your sequence, but find your chronology miserably on the lower side. There is a reference to white pottery in one verse in Book IV (4.27.5). White pottery is a distinctive feature of Hakra Ware dated to 3000 BC. This goes against your dating of 1500-1250 BC for the Rgveda.

 

Witzel was dumbstruck. He murmured something inaudible, avoiding the audience, looking sideways. He tried to explain that the sequence arranged by him was based on the number of verses in a book, the smallest being the oldest. It caused Kapila ji and others to smile openly. I could not make out the reason and reminded him that Book IV is shorter than Book VI; but the shortest book is Book II! So here again, he was caught on the wrong foot.

He hesitantly managed, “There is no evidence of chariot or horse in India earlier than the mid-second millennium.”

-         But Professor, the aśva in Rgveda, whatever could it have been, was brought from sea bound areas, even the aśva in the horse sacrifice, mentioned in Book I, hymn 163.

 

Prof. Witzel had no choice but to bite his lips in desperation.

-         You say that the wheel and chariot were invented by Aryans when they were in Central Asia , but in the Book IV itself, Bhr.gus are given the credit for manufacturing wheels (4.16.20). Chariot and wheel was therefore not Aryan, but a Dravidian invention.

Witzel pretended that the inventors might have been Aryans and manufacturers Dravidians! He now forgot the antiquity of Book IV, which according to his suggestion, could have been written in Central Asia, older even than Book VI, composed entirely in Northern Afghanistan ; Dravidian speakers must have been there as well.

-         You talk of substrate effect of Proto-Munda and suggest no role of Proto-Dravidian at the early stage. But Kipper had concluded that three ethnic groups participated in a cultural process. The three are conspicuously present in the Rgveda, Bhr.gus Dravidian, Angirasas Mundari, besides the Sanskrit speakers.

Prof. Witzel mumbled something for a minute; his nervousness was apparent in his evasive gestures.

Kapila ji must have taken pity at his visible discomfort. She invited others to raise doubts, if they had any. Someone at the extreme end of the hall asked a question on the distorted reading of the Sankhyayan Śrautasutra, which had exposed his culpability half a decade back. Witzel responded by referring to an article written by him, without telling us what his defence was!

After a few worthless queries, the debate shrunk back to Michael Witzel, Kapila Vatsyayan, and Bhagwan Singh.

-         The problem with you, Professor, is that you are not familiar with the content of Book IV even. Hymn 57 of Book IV gives a graphic depiction of advanced agriculture, with a plough almost similar to the one that was common in India up to the mid-twentieth century, drawn by a pair of bullocks and driven by a ploughman in service. And in one of the Ŗics, the poet talks of milking the earth as a cow, year after year. It testifies to advanced agricultural activities with sedentary population and belies the myth of nomadism, pastoralism, and barbarity.

 

The Chair could not hold her laughter; Witzel shook in dismay.

The last nail was hammered by Kapila ji herself. In a jocular vein, she said, “The theme of the lecture was Rgveda. Vedic poetry is known for its sublimity and rare beauty. I expected Prof. Witzel to speak something on it, but he did not say even a word on the theme.”

Witzel agreed that the Hymns on Uşā are really beautiful.

I interjected, “not only Uşā Sūktas professor, the entire Rgveda.Some of it could never be surpassed, such as the Nāsdīya Sūkta, with such expression as tama āsīt tamasā gūlhmagre, darkness was entrapped within darkness.

 

All in all, it was an interesting evening, if not for the presentation by Prof. Witzel, then for his discomfiture.

Prof. Bhagwan Singh is a Marxist scholar who accepted the archaeological evidence against the theory of Aryan invasion of India

 



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Rebuttal of Sproat, Farmer, et al.’s supposed “refutation” by Rajesh Rao

July 13, 2010

Rebuttal of Sproat, Farmer, et al.’s supposed “refutation”

[Updated: July, 2010]

This article is reproduced here, with due acknowledgements, as it has bearing on the Dravidian researches going on here in Tamilnadu.

Particularly, Asko Parpola had delivered his lecture at Coimbatore and Chennai, but full details are not provided to general readers, as these issues affect them socially and politically.

In 2004, Steve Farmer, Richard Sproat, and Michael Witzel published a paper in “Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies” (entitled “The Collapse of the Indus-Script Thesis: The Myth of a Literate Harappan Civilization”) claiming that the Indus valley civilization was illiterate and that Indus writing was a collection of political or religious symbols.

The publication of our paper in Science elicited hostile reactions from them, ranging from off-the-cuff dismissive remarks such as “garbage in, garbage out” (Witzel) to ad-hominem attacks (labeling us “Dravidian nationalists”) and a vicious campaign on internet discussion groups and blogs to discredit our work. Their first knee-jerk reaction was to call the two artificial control datasets in our study “invented data sets” (Farmer). This was followed by Sproat and others on a blog claiming to have constructed “counterexamples” to our result. Sproat has even attempted to publicize his claims using an article in Computational Linguistics and a web page entitled “Why Rao et al.’s work proves nothing”(!), despite the fact that our work has now been published in journals like SciencePNASPLOS One, and IEEE Computer.

Here, we respond to their arguments in a point-by-point fashion. First, their arguments:

(1) Two datasets, used as controls in our work, are artificial.

(2) Counterexamples can be given, of non-linguistic systems, which produce conditional entropy plots like those presented in our Sciencepaper.

(3) Conditional entropy cannot even differentiate between language families.

(4) The absence of writing material and long texts is “proof” that the Indus people were illiterate.

We view arguments (1)-(3) as arising from a misunderstanding of our approach and an overinterpretation of the conditional entropy result. Some of these arguments are made with a narrow computational linguistics point of view without considering other properties of the Indus script and the Indus civilization (see below). The last argument has been controverted by several other researchers as discussed below.

Here is the point-by-point rebuttal:

(1) As stated in our Science paper, the two artificial data sets (which Farmer et al. call “invented data sets”) simply represent controls, necessary in any scientific investigation, to delineate the limits of what is possible. The two controls in our work represent sequences with maximum and minimum flexibility, for a given number of tokens. Though this can be computed analytically, the data sets were generated to subject them to the same parameter estimation process as the other data sets. Our conclusions do not depend on the controls, but are based on comparisons with real world data: DNA and protein sequences, various natural languages, and FORTRAN computer code. All our real world examples are bounded by the maximum and the minimum provided by the controls, which thus serve as a check on the computation.

(2) Counterexamples matter only if we claim that conditional entropy by itself is a sufficient criterion to distinguish between language and non-language. We do not make this claim in our Science paper. As clearly stated in the last sentence of the paper, our results provide evidence which, given the rich syntactic structure in the script (and other evidence as listed below), increases the probability that the script represents language.

The methodology, which is Bayesian in nature, can be summarized as follows. We begin with the fact that the Indus script exhibits the following properties:

  • The Indus texts are linearly written, like the vast majority of linguistic scripts (and unlike nonlinguistic systems such as medieval heraldry or traffic signs);
  • Indus symbols are often modified by the addition of specific sets of marks over, around, or inside a symbol. Multiple symbols are sometimes combined (“ligatured”) to form a single glyph. This is similar to later Indian scripts which use such ligatures and marks above, below, or around a symbol to modify the sound of a root consonant or vowel symbol;
  • The script obeys the Zipf-Mandelbrot law, a power-law distribution on ranked data, which is often considered a nec­essary (though not sufficient) condition for language (see our PLOS One paper);
  • The script exhibits rich syntactic structure such as the clear presence of beginners and enders, preferences of symbol clusters for particular positions within texts etc. (see References), not unlike linguistic sequences;
  • Indus texts that have been discovered in Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf use the same signs as texts found in the Indus region but alter their ordering. These “foreign” texts have low likelihood values compared to Indus region texts (see our PNAS paper), suggesting that the script was versatile enough to represent different subject matter or a dif­ferent language in foreign regions.

Given that the Indus script shares the above properties with linguistic scripts, we claim that the similarity in conditional entropy of the Indus script to other natural languages provides additional evidence in favor of the linguistic hypothesis.

We have recently extended the result in our Science paper to block entropies for sequences of up to 6 symbols (see IEEE Computer paperfor details):

IndusBlockEntropies-RajeshRao

IndusBlockEntropies-RajeshRao

The language-like scaling behavior of block entropies in the above figure, in combination with the other properties of language enumerated above, could be viewed in a Bayesian framework as further evidence for the linguistic nature of the Indus script.

The above figure also addresses objections raised by some (e.g., Fernando Pereira) who felt conditional entropy (which considers only pairwise dependencies) was not a sufficiently rich measure.

Let us now consider the nonlinguistic systems that have been suggested:

  • Mark Liberman, Sproat, and Cosmo Shalizi in a blog constructed artificial examples of nonlinguistic systems whose conditional entropy was similar to the Indus script but their examples have no correlations between symbols – these examples do not exhibit the entropy scaling property exhibited by the Indus script and languages in the above figure, let alone other language-like properties like those exhibited by the Indus script.
  • Two natural nonlinguistic systems that have been suggested, medieval heraldry and traffic signs, are not even linear, nor do they exhibit other script-like properties such as those listed above.
  • The Vinca markings on pottery are linear but scholars have established that the symbols do not appear to follow any order – the system thus can be expected to fall in the maximum entropy range (MaxEnt) in the above figure.
  • The carvings of deities on Mesopotamian boundary stones are also linear but the ordering of symbols appears to be more rigid than in natural languages, following for example the hierarchical ordering of the deities. This system can thus be expected to fall closer to the minimum entropy (MinEnt) range in the above entropy scaling figure than to natural languages.

We therefore believe that the new result above from our IEEE Computer paper, showing that the block entropies of the Indus script scale in a manner similar to natural languages, when viewed in conjunction with the other language-like properties of the script as described above, adds further support to the linguistic hypothesis.

(3) Sproat has endeavored to produce a plot where languages belonging to different language families have similar conditional entropies, thereby claiming that the conditional entropy result “proves nothing.” This claim is once again based on an overinterpretation of the result in our Science paper. We specifically note on page 10 in the supplementary information that “answering the question of linguistic affinity of the Indus texts requires a more sophisticated approach, such as statistically inferring an underlying grammar for the Indus texts from available data and comparing the inferred rules with those of various known language families.” In other words, conditional entropy provides a quantitative measure of the amount of flexibility allowed in choosing the next symbol given a previous symbol. It is useful for characterizing the average amount of flexibility in sequences of different kinds. We do not make the claim that it can be used to distinguish between language families – this requires a more sophisticated measure.

(4) With regard to the length of texts, several West Asian writing systems such as Proto-Cuneiform, Proto-Sumerian, and the Uruk script have statistical regularities in sign frequencies and text lengths which are remarkably similar to the Indus script (Details can be found inhttp://indusresearch.wikidot.com/script). These writing systems are by all accounts linguistic. Furthermore, the lack of archaeological evidence for long texts in the Indus civilization does not automatically imply that they did not exist (“absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”). There is a long history of writing on perishable materials like cotton, palm leaves, and bark in the Indian subcontinent using equally perishable writing implements (see Parpola’s paper below). Writing on such material is unlikely to have survived the hostile environment of the Indus valley. Thus, long texts may have been written, but no archaeological remains are to be found.

As regards the argument for literacy from the point of view of cultural sophistication of the Indus people, we believe Iravatham Mahadevan has addressed this adequately in his op-ed piece below (see also Massimo Vidale’s entertaining article).

References

  • Final version of the Science paper (including Supplementary Information), 2009:

o        http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/rao/ScienceIndus.pdf

  • IEEE Computer review article with new block entropy result:
    Probabilistic analysis of an ancient undeciphered script, 2010:

o        http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/rao/ieeeIndus.pdf

  • PLoS One paper: Statistical Analysis of the Indus script using n-grams, 2010:

o        http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009506

  • PNAS paper: A Markov model of the Indus script, 2009:

o        http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/rao/PNASIndus.pdf

  • Asko Parpola’s point-by-point rebuttal of Farmer, Sproat, and Witzel:

o       Parpola A (2008) Is the Indus script indeed not a writing system? in Airavati: Felicitation volume in honor of Iravatham Mahadevan(Varalaaru.com publishers, Chennai, India) pp. 111-131.

http://www.harappa.com/script/indus-writing.pdf

  • Massimo Vidale’s “The collapse melts down: a reply to Farmer, Sproat and Witzel”:

o        http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=9163376

  • Iravatham Mahadevan’s “The Indus non-script is a non-issue”:

o       http://www.hindu.com/mag/2009/05/03/stories/2009050350010100.htm

  • Syntactic structure in the Indus script:

o       Koskenniemi K (1981) Syntactic methods in the study of the Indus script. Studia Orientalia 50:125-136.

o       Parpola A (1994) Deciphering the Indus script. (Cambridge University Press), Chaps. 5 & 6.

o       Yadav N, Vahia MN, Mahadevan I, Joglekar H (2008) A statistical approach for pattern search in Indus writing. International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics 37(1):39-52.

http://www.harappa.com/script/tata-writing/indus-script-paper.pdf

o       Yadav N, Vahia MN, Mahadevan I, Joglekar H (2008) Segmentation of Indus texts. International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics 37(1):53-72.

http://www.harappa.com/script/tata-writing/indus-texts.pdf



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Michael Witzel and Rajaram: Interesting encounters!

April 19, 2010

Michael Witzel and Rajaram: Interesting encounters!

As I am an Indian and poor man, I could not have gone there to watch fun, but our Sanskrit Professor at Harvard have done a nice coverage to that event and I thank Michael Wizel and present the details as follows:

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id=”message_view_subject”>[Indo-Eurasia] Rajaram, in Boston, requires withdrawal of Horseplay in HarappaSunday, 18 April, 2010 8:45 PM

 

From:
“Michael Witzel” <witzel@fas.harvard.edu>

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Cc:
“Michael Witzel” <witzel@fas.harvard.edu>

 

 

Dear List,

since it is the weekend, a few amusing details about our old friend,
NS Rajaram’s, talk at MIT last week (4/10) and his subsequent
interview in the local Indian immigrants’ (NRI) newspaper Lokavani
“Voice of the People’ — sponsored by a clueless US immigration lawyer.

Along with one or two of my students, I went to MIT to have some fun.
And fun it was. Some very emotional people (among the c. 40
listeners) objected to our snickering at his “ideas” (see below).

Rajaram indeed repeated all the fantasies and unscientific nonsense
that he has propagated since he abruptly turned, overnight (why?),
from a mathematician at some US colleges and a (very occasional, but
hyped) collaborator of NASA-Houston, into a “historian” back in his
home town of Bangalore in India.

No need to repeat all of this as we have discussed it on and off over
the past decade. (Just read his interview, below)

Only a few highlights.

I thought to challenge his many fantasies (see Lokavani), but as
there was little time and chance, I merely pointed out the obvious:
that his “scientific” dating of the Vedic civilization BEFORE the
Indus civilization (2600-1900 BCE) is impossible precisely on
*scientific* grounds: before 2000 BCE, there were no horses
(caballus) in India, nor had spoke-wheeled chariots been invented by
then. Both are of course prominent in the “preceding” Vedic texts.

Rajaram and friends (e.g., an *always present* loud associate of a
local temple) took up the usual secondary and tertiary ‘arguments’
and ways out: that there were “Indian” horses with seventeen ribs in
the Rgveda (of course *not* a genetic trait of horses [that have
16-18 ribs]),and the Narmadicus horses (well, dead for hundreds of
thousands of years, — along with their 3 toes (!) ). Fun.

Or quoting a Graham Han**** film (Kathy?) … No comment.

More funnily, one young women, objecting emotionally to the husband
of my student, showed him the finger and called him an *******.
Remember the same from our Dartmouth, Mass. meeting of June 2006?
(Where Rajaram is now invited by the miniscule setup of a “Center of
Indian Studies”, at U. Mass., Darthmouth). See my detailed June 26,
2006 report:

<http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/Indo- Eurasian_ research/ message/4278>

She also wanted to ‘correct’ my Sanskrit pronunciation of shaanti and
told us the familiar Hindutva standby that we were not entitled, as
non-Indians, to talk about Indian culture. When I told her that, in
that case, she was not entitled to talk about American culture, we
only got blank, non-comprehending stares, even after explaining it
for a 2nd time. — Fun.

But back to Rajaram. More fun: He came up to me after his 2 hour (!)
talk to “greet” me, and I told him to stop lying about me (…
forgetting, by the way, about his monthly missives to my president
and provost to throw me out of the University.. .).

**He then required me to withdraw our 2000 paper “Horseplay in
Harrappa” in the Indian magazine Frontline**
that completely destroyed his credibility, even in the then Hindutva-
led (BJP) circles.

I told him: no way.

He also told the audience that his 2nd volume on the “decipherment’
of the Indus signs would come out now. Cannot wait for more
decipherments such as “mosquito”.. .

And, that he has now shifted to a maritime interpretation (along with
David Frawdley) of the Rgvedic texts. (Good luck with traveling in
the night time sky = samudra!) And to South East Asian maritime
input on Vedic civilization — a pet idea of their part-time fellow
traveller, Koenraad Elst, in Belgium.

And, even more remarkably, researching now a connection between the
late 1st millennium CE Vedanta philosophy and … physics. On that
point, he was challenged by MIT/Harvard students, of course…

For all of this (in Rajaram’s words) see the link and mssg. quoted
below.

At any rate, apart from the loss of our time, it was good weekend
entertainment.
Hope you, too, enjoy his pronouncements. …

Cheers, Michael

His interview in Lokavani: <http://www.lokvani. com/lokvani/ article.php? article_id= 6418>

For convenience, it is reproduced here:

In Conversation With Dr. Navaratna Rajaram
Ranjani Saigal 04/13/2010

 

(This article is sponsored by Attorney Rachel C. Tadmor)
Dr. Navaratna S. Rajaram is a mathematician and scientist who after more than twenty years as an academic and industrial researcher turned his attention to history and history of science. He has authored several acclaimed books on ancient history including Sarasvati River and the Vedic Civilization, Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilization (w/ David Frawley); and The Deciphered Indus Script (w/ Natwar Jha). He is best known for showing the connections between Vedic Mathematics and Indus archaeology and proposing a decipherment of the 5000 year old Indus script jointly with the late Natwar Jha. He is currently visiting faculty at the University of Massachusetts , Center for Indic Studies at Dartmouth.

He spoke to Lokvani about his work and the need for technically minded Indians to learn more about India and its history.

What motivated , a mathematician by profession to do research in Indian history and Indology?

I was always interested in history and history of science. My maternal grandfather Sri R. Vyasa Rao wrote Sri Krishna Caritra in Kannada (my mother tongue) based on Sri Bankima Chandra Chatterji’s Bengali masterpiece of the same name. My study of the work taught me that there advantages to looking at history from a scientific point of view. I had long planned to bring out an English version of that work, which finally happened a few years ago in my English Search for the Historical Krishna. It is not a translation though but a new work that uses a lot of data which was not available to Sri Bankima Chandra.

How did you learn the techniques required to do research in History? Do you consider your “non-training” in the colonial-Eurocentric approach to history an advantage?

I don’t think you need any special training in history except a capacity to look at all claims with skepticism and never to accept anything on authority or reputation. The same is true of science also. In that sense my training in mathematics (and math physics) prepared me well for history.

Why is the Aryan Invasion theory which we now know is a myth important to Indian historians? Why are so many scholars afraid debunking the Aryan theories?

It was important because it was an attempt by outsiders, even those hostile to us, to tell us how we should see ourselves and our heritage. Now that the Aryan myth, not just the theory is dead, we need to move to a new phase– to understand what drove Europeans and even some Indians to hold on to it long after science and history had discredited it. European scholars like Leon Poliakov and Stefan Arvidson (in The Aryan Myth and Aryan Idols) have done it from a European perspective.

But Indian scholars seem to be still reluctant and even timid to face it and hesitant to call a spade a spade and expose these Aryan theories for what they are. It is residual inferiority complex.

Why is colonial-Eurocentric approach towards understanding Indigenous culture still strongly followed in intellectual history circles ?

Inferiority complex that is programmed into Indian humanities and social science programs. This is a colonial hangover or ‘dhimmitude’ towards their former masters. Colonialism may be dead but the mindset of the colonial subject is still there in the intelligentsia. This is by no means limited to India.

Why do western professors studying the history of an Indigenous culture place no value on the multiple sources of literature and  philosophies which guide the lives of the millions in the culture they study that have evolved through the ages some of which totally contradict their writings?

It is precisely because they contradict their long-held positions! It also strikes at the root of their presumption of superiority. But here the problem lies more with Indians than with the Western scholars. A clear message should be sent out that we judge everything on its merit regardless of whether source is indigenous (Indian) or Western, and no special consideration will be shown to anyone. After all this how we judge people and their work in other fields. A theorem in mathematics must be proved, no matter who states it. Why should it be any different in history or any other subject?

What is the danger in allowing  colonial-Eurocentric works go unchallenged?

We must reject all shoddy work, Western or Indian. But because West had a monopoly on such scholarship without competition, it generated a lot of shoddy scholarship. My objection is that it has given rise to shoddy scholarship and nationalistic responses that are also shoddy in scholarship. Now that the field is opening up, we must try to lift the standards of scholarship. But people with a stake in the status quo will fight it.

You have worked on  deciphering the Harappan Script and that claim has been vociferously opposed by professors following the Eurocentric approach. Are professors  closing the doors on Academic research and shutting the window to knowledge by closing their mind and not allowing their students to  look at rational thinking?

I don’t want to make too much of the vitriolic reactions of a handful of frustrated scholars — both Western and Indian — to the solution that Jha and I proposed. Several people, both in India and the West have received our work favorably and others have offered constructive criticisms. Actually the script doesn’t tell us much more than we already know– that the Harappan civilization was Vedic and also the Rig Veda came before Harappan archaeology (of the Indus Valley).

THIS IS THE REAL ISSUE– THE VEDIC-HARAPPAN IDENTITY. The rest is just diversion. Once this basic reality is accepted, it means the collapse of the academic discipline called Indo-European Studies.

As far as the script is concerned, it is just one piece of the puzzle, not the whole solution. Jha and I and David Frawley also have much more now that relate to the Vedic-Harappan equation. Jha and I had made progress towards a successor to our book The Deciphered Indus Script that would place greater emphasis on the Vedic symbolism and the identity of the Harappans. But we decided that in the prevailing climate a book would not get a reasonable hearing and be subjected to diversionary attacks and misinformation campaign. So we decided to wait until the climate turned more normal.

Unhappily, Jha died a few years ago but I and some of my colleagues are working on books on the subject. Now that these hostile academics and their followers have discredited themselves, we may bring out our books in the next few years. But for the desperate diversionary attacks by some scholars — both Western and Indian — worried about their positions and reputations, much of this work would have been available by now. So they succeeded in delaying progress by about a decade, that is all. My regret is that Jha, who made such a major contribution is no longer here to share it.

How do you hope to create a shift in the study of indigenous cultures which are currently being dominated by some powerful academics at prestigious universities?

Ignore their unsupported claims and demand that they give evidence and proof. Look at evidence without being swayed by prestige or reputation.  Above all, don’t give them  any support– financially or in terms of students. Their programs are dwindling, and it would be unwise for a young man or woman to try to make a career or gain fame following in their footsteps.

What advice do you have for our readers?

For young readers, first, study the past but don’t live in the past. See if we can bring ancient wisdom like Vadantic metaphysics to apply to problems of modern physics like quantum reality. Incidentally, this is my current area of interest. Next don’t waste time studying nineteenth century ideas like Aryan and Dravidian, etc. They are dead, no matter what their advocates may claim. (They will also be dead.) Except for details we have pretty much solved the problem of Vedic and Harappan origins and their mutual relationship. So start looking at proto-Vedic and pre-Vedic ages. This will call for a thorough understanding of natural history from the Ice Age to the present and of population genetics.

For everyone– don’t support these hostile programs just because they are at ‘prestigious’ universities or because some of these people have big reputations, at least according to themselves. Most of these are in decline and let them die a natural death. Don’t prolong the agony by giving them any life support.

On the other hand support and organize programs that stress an indigenous perspective like yoga, vedanta and science others that have a rational basis and are scientifically and intellectualy exciting.

Thank you for your time

Thank you



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The First Conference of Micheal Witzel of Harvard University!

July 11, 2009

The First Conference of Micheal Witzel of Harvard University!

Vedaprakash

vedamvedaprakash@yahoo.com

It has been again Sanskrit College, Chennai. The date is July 6, 2009 on the eve of Gurupurnima[1]! There is a meeting arranged by the Sanskrit College inviting the Sanskrit Professor of Harvard University. However, the websites[2] declared it as a “conference”!

Dr N. Mahalingam gave the welcome address introducing the speaker Michael Witzel (hereinader mentioned as MW) as the suitable person to address the gathering at the Sanskrit College. He is 66, born in Germany and got Ph.D at the age of 29 and thus, the Sanskrit College Committee member Mahalingam went on eulogizing the so-called Sanskrit Professor of Harvard University. He says Witzel daily recites Rigveda but we Indians have forgotten Rigveda[3]. As he and been expert in different fields and “his knowledge has expanded widely”. Rigveda has 4,32,000 sounds……Tilak dated it to 8000 BCE, but its date could even go before it, though the western scholars do not accept. The British declared that Rama and Krishna were not historical persons. L. D. Swamikkannu Pillai meddled with Indian chronology at the behest of the British, But Prof Srinivasa Raghavan of Vivekananda College with his astronomical methods fixed date of many important historical events. Both Sanskrit and Tamil are the ancient languages and every person, who knew Tamil, knew Sanskrit also some 200 years ago. After the British period only difference had cropped up in the name of Sanskrit and Tamil. Tolkappiyam has been the most ancient extant Tamil work, One American writer – Frank Joseph has written book on Lost Lemuria, who locates in South East Asia region that submerged some 54,000 YBP. Thus, recently, there had been a lot of research that brought out many important facts. He requested Witzel to go into these details in his linguistic study of the ancient languages.

Next Dr Sankaranarayanan introduced the topic of the subject o be dealt with by MW. He was the right person to talk there on two accounts –

  1. He was the Sanskrit professor from the Harvard University and
  2. He had chosen the topic on “Rigveda and its language”[4](perhaps, culture and civilization also).

After listing out his membership, briefing his academic profile etc., asserted that he was the right person to talk about the topic. He pointed out about MW’s work “Kataranyaka”, a rare work. Earlier it was part of Indian drama and was there in every village, but now it disappeared. Taittreya Upanishd should be read to understand it. He asked MW to present a copy of the book to the KSRI library. Reciting a sloka on Max Mueller that says that Max Mueller was a Mokshamular, he changed it by inserting MW’s name, thus making him another such specie coming from Harvatika! The date of Rigveda cannot be decided as to whether it was 1000 BCE or 1500 BCE etc. It cannot be said definitely as belonging to pre-Harappa, Harappan or proto-Harappan period. Sanskrit was new, though it was old. The word “Sanskrit” was never used to denote a language till 600 CE. It was always used as adjective, till Dandi used it to denote a language. In fact, the language of Indian should be mentioned as “Bharati”, as the language of England is English, France French, the language of Bharat should be Bharati! Amarasimha says, “Brahmi Bharati”. In a partigular type of yagna, “Bharati” is invoked several times…….. It has to be noted that the Sanskrit inscriptions were found throughout India unlike other Indian languages. MW would then talk about the culture. “Culture” connotes properly cultivated behaviour…… There should be inward perfection for good culture…….., as external perfection may not exhibit true character………. Then, comes “civilization”, as it is “civilized status with civilized behaviour……….

The compere intervened to announce as MW was preoccupied and there was shortage of time, there would not be any question answer session. He says that the e-mail of MW would be given and he would answer any question raised by the audience.

Michael Witzel then started his “conference”: “I am happy to be here……tomorrow is Gurupurnima…and we have to remember our teachers…I studied in Allahabad during 1935-37 under my teachers…..Now, here, I will not talk politics and whatever I say, you may not agree with me, but still you ask questions, I may not answer….You may have other opinion also.  As India has many sampradhayas[5], you can treat my views as another sampradhaya……….you may not agree with me, but kindly listen to me. If you have anby questions, I shall answer.

“My study is based upon the inter-disciplinary approach…….the so-called Aryan invasion is outdated. It is a political discussion, but I would not talk about it. My discussion is based on the facts from the Rigveda….the scientific data derived from it…I do not think any genetic expert is here, but my study is based on such scientific principles also. There could be scope of misunderstanding about my theory with limitations, but we have to come to consensus……no doubt Rigveda has antiquity, it is an ancient hymn collection of bronze age. It is bronze age text and not of iron age or stone age…….

“Another point may be agreed by you that the Rigveda was composed by the Rishis. It was composed with a particular type of poetics and alankara using specific syntax. The text was composed accordingly. Rigveda has geographic limits (showing a map covering north-east Punjab area and some parts of Haryana)………..In Afghanisthan also there is a Sarayu, but not that of Ayodhya.

“Rigvedic Sanskrit is not Paninian Sanskrit or Kalidasa Sanskrit. And not even Atharvavea Sanskrit. Linguistics has changed several times during the course of times and accordingly the words too connote differently during different times…..(he explained with certain words)…..”Gachathi” has different connotations…….(his speech is not clear and he was not keeping the mike properly, though repeatedly he was asked to keep it as the audience was not able to listen to him)

“Different languages were spoken in India….Para-munda in the northern India covering Punjab, Kashmir areas…….Munda in MP….(showing a map). Rigveda has a pluralistic language and it could be understood with certain tricks…..If Sanskrit is read differently, we could understand Avestha also.

“Let us take the expression “Father Heaven”…..it has same pronunciation in different languages. Pitram-pitrem-pitrea-piter and so on. Similarly hasti-haesti-asti-esti-sti-is (he/she/it is) comes like this. So also “They are” can be explained. This pattern is found in he evolution of languages as in IE-EIE-IIr…(showing a PP diagram). Thus, we have two categories of languages……

  1. pre-Vedic – proto-Iranian and
  2. Rigvedic –Avesthan

“Jed-sa-zd-ai etc.

Mazdai-zdai-sede-

This has been the linguistic sampradhaya………(he was obviously skipping the explanation). On the top of the Himalayas, certain words are used and they are not used on the plains. And these words were coming from tropical climatic areas…….The poetic-alankara used has been close to the Greek……..

“Coming to the Soma plant, it is located in Central Asia near Tajikistan and it came to Iran from Central Asia and then to India. In the words, Yama-yam…also such migration could be noted. People were living in more populated and less populated areas / clusters. The higher level of religion was dominated by the Brahmins and Kshatriyas……then comes Daas / Dasyus and they were accommodated accordingly………City formation had been there accordingly…..Recent archaeological evidences of Haryana also show such pattern.

“Different language groups existed thus in different areas (showing a map through PP). Dravidian languages were spoken in the Southern area (showing the four states – Tamilnadu, AP, Kerala and Karnataka), “Former Dravidian areas” (showing Maharastra), Indus (Sindhu area), Language-X (UP), Khasi (Assam), ……..”Former Austro-Asiatic Areas?” (was shown in between the UP and MP from IVC / Rajasthan to Orissa)…..

“The Sanskrit speaking people were moving with cattle having interaction with others……Thus the names of the Kings mentioned have been local names……At the end of Rigveda, it is interesting to note what happened………

“Coming to the so-called Siva or Pasupathi (showing the IVC seal[6], M-304), actually it is not known what is this deity. How the IVC people called him, we do not know. He – the horned god – is surrounded with four animals and there has been another figure where “a hunter killing a water buffalo in front of a seated horned deity” (Kenoyer[7]). There has been another seal where “a man fighting short horned bull” (Kenoyer[8]). You can see similar figure from Denmark also (showing the photo of Gundestrup Cauldron[9], though he did not mention so). Here also he is surrounded with four different animals If you compare both (showing both figures side by side with IVC seal inverted), we can say, he is not Siva, but some other deity….. This is Mahishashuramardhini. It is not known how the Mahishashuramardhini appears in Hinduism later. Think about it.  Is there any link?

“The people followed both burial and crematory practices…………..

“There is another figure where inside a female, a human figure is shown (showing a seal), perhaps spirit. Its significance has to be studied.

“Now genetic methods are applied to find out the details. Suppose, if your saliva is taken and tested, details would be known to tell who is your father, mother etc. But I do not know how many of you know genetics……Recently, some Indian scholars have brought out data on such genetic studies about the people of India. Their data represented show that the south Indian tribals and Kashmir Brahmins belonged to the same stock. But still, you can find some groups are left out or fall outside the pattern represented. Who are those people? They are from Assam, Nagas and others.

“The picture about the IVC and the Rivedic people has been complicated. Data and information can be obtained from different fields, but they have to be studied together carefully.

“So I stop here and I would like to answer two three questions, if any one of audience would like to do so”.

At that time, K. V. Ramakrishna Rao came to the podium and asked the following specific questions by way of clarification. Meanwhile, seeing him Iravatham Mahadevam started insisting that the questions should be short[10]. Anyway, introducing himself, he asked the following questions:

  1. There has been a Bongozkai inscription dated to circa 1450 BCE which specifically mentions about a treaty in which the people invoked the so-called Vedic gods or the Rigvedic gods as mentioned by you according to your sampradhaya[11]. How you correlate and corroborate them linguistically, archaeologically, and chronologically with your sampradhaya?
  1. You have shown two pictures one from IVC and another from Denmark and telling that the so-called deity represented is not that of Rigvedic, though the deity is surrounded by the animals. How could you differentiate it from your sampradhaya and Indian sampradhaya?

Micheal Witzel started answering, but he could not even name the so-called Vedic gods mentioned and Rao was naming as – “Indrasil, Mitrasil, Varunasil, Nasattyas”. He accepted that they were Vedic gods, though the Mittanic people were invoking them after their gods and the language used was like Vedic Sanskrit only. Of course, there is chronological gap.

Rao was asking about the correlation – pointing out how the Soma drinking, Rigvedic Sanskrit speaking people migrating from Central Asia to Iran to India could mention about such deities, how the Mittanis?

N. Mahalingam intervened and telling that there should not be discussion and Mahadevan was urging to wind up. But Rao was responding that it was important because Indians had been told about such stuff again and again for the last 60 years. He insisted that his e-mail should be given as promised and his full text of the paper also made available for discussion. When Iravatham Mahadevaninterved that it was not possible, Rao requested that at least Michael Witzel could send a copy through e-mail. Micheal Witzel was seen nodding his head and he gave his visiting card to Rao.

Of course, he did not answer the second question. In fact, one person from the audience reminded about this, but the organizers did not care.

The compe’re again intervened and proceeded to thanksgiving.

Then, Dr Deviprasad, the Principal of Sanskrit College talked to point out that the Rigvedic culture cannot be separated from the Indian culture. It is the Indian tradition that worships trees, rivers and mountains even by deification. Of course, the westerners interpret differently. He added that Michael Witzel had not completed his speech and in fact, he might take few hours to complete his talk!

Thus the meeting / Conference was over!

While coming out I saw Haran and another were distributing four-page handout about Michae Witzel (while entering I saw Haran and Radha Rajan were arguing with the police). So when I enquired with the police, the organizers had given a complaint asking for protection of the speaker. When I told them that those who had come there were educated and elite and not of such category as apprehended. I told that the speaker was telling that Siva is not Indian god and so on. The officer retorted, “Is it so? How then that IAS officer Iravatham Mahadevan was keeping quite? He knows everything”. The police informed that they had not obtained permission to stage demonstration against the meeting. The officer added that every body has a right to demonstrate, but they should have obtained prior permission.

Note: This has been prepared based on the notes noted down during the meeting. There are some points to be clarified. And therefore, certain points may be added or amended accordingly later.

Vedaprakash

07-07-2009


[1] Can it be considered as “Teacher’s Day”, the real “Teacher’s Day?

 

[2] Some “Asiatic” website. In fact, it declares that Micheal Witzel would be participating in three conferences to be held in India!

[3] Is not the shame for Indians to confess so. Who has told Indians not to recite Rigveda daily?

[4] In fact, the full title of his paper or talk was not known, as nothing was mentioned about it.

[5] Sampradhaya is used as equivalent to tradition, traditional way of practice etc., but it might be using in the sense of “methodology”.

[6] Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 2000, p.112, fig.6.18.

[7] Ibid, p.114, fig.6.24.

[8] Ibid, p.115, Fig. 6.25, a.

[9] Myles Dillon, Celts and Aryans, Indian Institute of Advanced study, Simla, 1975, Picture.7. It is mentioned asa the Horned God (Cernumnos?) as Lord of Animals (Pasupathi).

[10] When he asked Asko Parpola last year, why his paper was prevented by Michael Witzel, whether he was presenting the same paper that he presented at Tokyo, though Asko Parpola started to answer, Iravatham Mahadevan prevented Parpola to tell the details under the pretext of shortage of time and declaed to wind up the meeting!

[11] As the expression “Sampradhaya” was used by MW repeatedly to assert his interpretation over others and insisted that his way of interpretation should be accepted by the Indian Pundits, obviously he was using such expression.



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