Academe as Battleground – Part 3
We are all immigrants from somewhere
By Radha Rajan
Harvard, the Alma Pater of both Witzel and Clooney, is a good example of western academe being a creature of the White Church. Glimpses of Christian History narrates the birth of Harvard University, crediting medieval Christendom for the birth of the concept of universities; the narrative, at the very end implies piously that Harvard was pre-ordained by God. Corollary? The Christian God works through history and establishing universities is a part of the bigger plan.
“Universities sprang up in Medieval Christendom. Nothing like them had been seen in history, for not only did they concentrate teachers, they embraced the idea of set coursework whose requirements must be fulfilled before a specific degree was awarded. Students were periodically tested before being certified in their chosen subjects. Universities were modeled on guilds which trained and rated apprentices and journeymen and gathered members for mutual protection. The Christian ideal often tends to clump people together for mutual support in a body.
John Harvard was a wealthy member of the English middle class. The death of most of his family from plague had left him holding the entire Harvard estate. John came to the New World in 1637, apparently to practice his faith in a simpler and more pure style than he felt he could enjoy in the established Church of England. The following year he died of a protracted disease. He willed half his estate and his entire library for the establishment of a college. The prospective school may have received £850, a very large sum by New England standards. God concentrates wealth for a purpose.” Amen.
“Nothing like that had been seen in history” is typical of the scholarship and reportage about Christendom and by extension, about Hindu India’s history that Harvard supports and propagates; and “John came to the New World in 1637” is polite for the wave after wave of marauding genocidal European Christians invading North America. A quick look at the list of publications from Harvard University Press informs us in a trice of Harvard’s White Christian geo-political predilections.
This is how HUP describes Martha Nussbaum’s book on Hindu nationalism –
“While America is focused on religious militancy and terrorism in the Middle East, democracy has been under siege from religious extremism in another critical part of the world. As Nussbaum reveals in this penetrating look at India today, the forces of the Hindu right pose a disturbing threat to its democratic traditions and secular state. Nussbaum’s long-standing professional relationship with India makes her an excellent guide to its recent history”.
This is routine western academic front-end refuse about Hindu nationalism and therefore doesn’t merit further commentary except to take note of the mirthful Martha’s “professional relationship with India” which is pregnant with several unflattering explanations but HUP’s description of a book of German translation of the Rg. Veda is suggestive of western academe fulfilling their God’s will when He created Harvard.
“Edited and translated by Karl Friedrich Geldner
The Rigveda is the oldest Indian and one of the oldest Indo-European texts. It is a collection of 1,028 hymns addressed to the gods, (note the small ‘g’ in gods) composed in highly poetic and notoriously difficult Archaic Sanskrit. Medieval Indian commentaries and especially the modern Western scholarship of the past 150 years have increasingly shed more light on its poetry, religion, and ritual as well as on its contemporary meaning. The Rigveda has been translated in scholarly fashion only once during the twentieth century, and that was into German in 1951 by K. F. Geldner. Geldner’s volumes have long been out of print; they are reprinted here in one useful reference volume”.
Harvard has gone to great and painstaking lengths not to mention the word ‘Hindu’ even once in this descriptive paragraph. It is doubtful if a similar description of the Torah, the Bible or the Koran, by a non-believer without once mentioning the name of the people for whom these scriptures are sacred, could have been possible. Every word in the description above signals intent.
The Rg. Veda is an Indo-European ‘text’
Western scholars of the Rg. Veda are modern while Indian commentaries (not Bhashyakaras, not even commentators, definitely not scholars) are medieval. Medieval comes with a Christian academic baggage because Hindu scholars do not speak of our tradition and heritage in terms of ancient past, medieval times and modern
Harvard is not saying the Rg. Veda has several layers of meaning; Harvard is saying it has an ancient meaning, a medieval meaning and contemporary meaning; the meaning of the Rg. Veda for horse-riding Central Asian invaders/composers (because Rg. Veda is religious ritual in poetry format) is different from the meaning that our Bhashyakaras put on it and the meaning that modern western scholars like Max Mueller, Geldner and Witzel put on it.
Only one worthwhile, scholarly translation of the Rg. Veda has been undertaken in the 20th century and that is by a German. Harvard publishes the translation again and passes the baton of western scholarship of the Rg. Veda to another German, Michael Witzel
Needless to say, Geldner was the son of a Protestant clergyman
All western academic activity is arranged around the fact that White Christians are a nation-less people. The White Christians of America and the European Christians cannot live down the brutal history of the White Church. Staring them in the face is the genocide of Native Americans and the contrast presented by the Hindus of India who have lived contentedly in their janmabhumi. While Parts 1 and 2 of this article detailed the comical research of western academe and its Indian minions on all issues Hindu, we shall proceed to see the diabolic intentions of western academe in the US on all issues concerning Native Americans. Readers will see the pattern of motivated scholarship that emerges; scholarship intended to propagate the White Christian worldview and world order.
Nation-less White Christians, in this case the Puritans, had to peddle Euro-American nation building as a noble enterprise, sweeping the invasion and occupation of another nation and the genocide of Native Americans away from sight. This they did by two elaborate charades – scholarly fairy-tale accounts of the numbers of Native Americans in North America, prior to Puritan invasion and the more familiar to Hindus scholarship – you Native Americans are not of this soil; you too are from elsewhere.
The most heartening thing in all this is that western academe’s intent to de-nationalise the Hindus and Native Americans is being challenged more and more by native scholars – Ward Curchill and Vine Deloria Jr., Shrikant Talagheri and S Kalyanaraman among many others.
“The choice ultimately is ours. If we elect, sheep-like, to accept the definitions of entities like Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institution, and Newsweek as to what comprises “proper” or “appropriate” recountings os historical fact and meaning, we will merely have consigned ourselves to more of what has already transpired. If, on the other hand, we move to embrace, absorb and extend the kind of work pioneered by Deloria, Grinde, Williams Stannard and Sale, we equip ourselves to change it in a profoundly positive fashion”. (Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide, p 121)
The “federally-established and maintained” Smithsonian and other ‘entities” as Churchill puts it so heartwarmingly disparagingly placed the numbers of Native American peoples in 1492 when Christopher Columbus entered the continent, at a comical one million. Later, admitting to a “little” error and underestimation by a factor of 100, the Smithsonian upped the number to 2 millions. This gross diminishing of the numbers was necessary to transform the horror and absolute immorality of the total and complete annihilation of the Native Americans by White Christians into a matter of a “little” genocide; sad, yes, unfortunate, also yes but it was only a “little” genocide, nothing more. The bulk died of disease which the White Christians beginning with Christopher Columbus, “inadvertently” passed on to Native Americans who had no immunity from European pathogens. Cotton Mather, the illustrious son of Increase Mather, a Puritan priest and theologian and President Harvard College, gloated, piously of course, over the death by disease of the Native Americans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
“In describing the consequences of indigenous peoples’ “quarrelsome” attitude about being pushed out of their territory around the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631, Puritan leader Cotton Mather rejoiced that “God ended the controversy by sending the smallpox among the Indians…who were before that time exceedingly numerous”. (Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide, p 139) Cotton Mather was the son of Boston’s First Family and a leading intellectual, theologian and academician of the times.
Closely related to this “little” genocide and God-ordained death-by-disease are the attendant academic falsehoods –
Much of the continent was uninhabited and terra nullius or vacant land which the White Christians occupied, obedient to the will of God, tamed and put to productive use
Because it was uninhabited and the land was vacant anyway, there is no wrong attached to occupying and settling it
The Native Americans were a barbaric lot given to cannibalism and human sacrifice
White Christians after diminishing them to convenient and manageable numbers converted the remaining to Christianity to civilize them and teach them to do an honest day’s work
Until the civilizing influence of White Christianity, Native Americans lived by hunting, “jump-killing” the mastodons and mammoths
So if we are responsible for genocide, well native Americans are responsible for rendering extinct the precious fauna of North America
Lest the readers think serious academia is incapable of such mirthful research, they must only bring to mind the kind of scholarly research that has gone into the Aryan Invasion Theory, the language of the Rg. Veda (Witzel’s favorite hobby horse) and the language of the Indus-Saraswati seals. In what the writer saw as a startling repetition of the Aryan Invasion Theory by which White Christians placed the Brahmins, the Rg. Veda and Sanskrit outside national borders, the Smithsonian and other Churchillian entities invented the Bering Strait Theory which put the Native American people outside their national borders to make the point, if we are outsiders then you are outsiders too.
“Thus people accepting the idea that outmoded explanations of human evolution have been modified substantially will continue to hold with the Bering Strait Theory even though to do so is a great inconsistency. But another point must be made which requires a chapter of discussion – and that is whether or not the Bering Strait is simply shorthand scientific language for ‘I don’t know, but it sounds good and no one will check’.
Coupled with this belief is the idea that American Indians (‘Native Americans’ because today the name ‘American Indians’ means Americans of Indian origin or PIOs) were not original inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere but latecomers who had barely unpacked before Columbus came knocking on the door. If Indians had arrived only a few centuries earlier, they had no real claim to land that could not be swept away by European discovery. Ales Hrdlicka of the Smithsonian devoted his life to discrediting of any early occupancy of North America and a whole generation of scholars, fearfully following the Master, rejected the claims of their peers rather than offend this powerful scholar”. (Vine Deloria Jr. Red Earth White Lies, Chapter 4, Low Bridge – Everybody Cross, p 68, Fulcrum Publishing Golden, Colorado, 1997)
The Bering Strait is an inter-continental bridge connecting Asia to America. As Deloria puts it scathingly, Native Americans, according to this school of scholarship, waited for low tide and then hopped to America from Asia via this bridge. Now this “bridge” is a land mass the size of a sub-continent which has since the days of the crossing-over, conveniently disappeared under the sea. Deja Vu. Readers must recollect the lost continent of Lemuria which too is an intercontinental landmass which if it had existed would have proved yet another of western academe’s de-nationalsing-the-Hindus scholarly research. The Christian God, it would seem must attend speedily to this bit of neglected history. He has to bring Lemuria and Berengia to the surface again to validate Harvard and the Smithsonian.
The sense of rootedness to the soil is a primordial urge and once the White Church expanded the White God’s domain through genocide, slavery and colonialism, the Church’s flock became a nation-less people. On every territory they now find themselves, they are only genocidal invaders, interlopers and settlers. The driving objective of western academe is “What is not for me will also not be for you”. Today, the Hindus of India and the non-Christian and non-Muslim peoples of Asia alone continue to live on their nation. Citizenship of a non-national country is not the same as nationhood. It is at best living in a rented house or living in a house that has been seized after killing the owner. Western academe has two objectives – to justify the predatory expansion of the White Church and to de-legitimize the claim of the indigenous peoples to their national territory and sense of nationhood.
Native American scholars are not only turning the ignoble and blatantly manufactured theses emanating from these portals but are also exposing the politics behind this kind of scholarship. Scholars like Kalyanaraman and Talagheri are undertaking corrective scholarly studies but have not ventured to expose the politics of western academe and their Indian stooges. It may be left to others to strip western academe of its veneer of exalted academic standards to reveal the naked Christian agenda of its research and researchers. The bulk of academic studies tampering with the sense of Hindu nationhood must be evicted from our own academe lock, stock and barrel. Nation and nationalism, rootedness to the soil and its religion, society and polity deriving from the culture which in turn derives from the religion rooted to the soil are emerging as central concerns in countries threatened by the brazen intrusion of the White Church into their nations and the serious threat posed to Hindus by jihadi Islam.
“At this juncture, the whole planet is locked, figuratively, in a room with the socio-cultural (I would add western academic) equivalent of Hannibal Lecter. An individual of consummate taste and refinement, imbued with indelible grace and charm, he distracts his victims with the brilliance of his intellect, even while honing his blade. He is thus able to dine alone upon their livers, his feast invariably candlelit, accompanied by lofty music and a fine wine. Over and over the ritual is repeated, always hidden, always denied in order that it may be continued. So perfect is Lecter’s pathology that, from the depths of his scorn for the inferiors upon whom he feeds, he advances himself as their sage and therapist, he who is incomparably endowed with the ability to explain their innermost meanings, he professes to be their savior. His success depends upon being embraced and exalted by those upon whom he preys. Ultimately, so long as Lecter is able to retain his mask of omnipotent gentility, he can never be stopped. The spirit of Hannibal Lecter is thus at the core of an expansionist European “civilization” which has reached out to engulf the planet. (Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide, p 93)
The only way to halt the march of European Civilization is for the natives of every nation to start the process of re-claiming their nations from the Abrahamic religions. In India, Hindus must begin to not only question motivated west-driven scholarship but also expose the geo-politics behind such scholarship. Iravatham Mahadevan, Pollachi Mahalingam, the University of Madras Departments of Sanskrit and Vaishnavism, Sri Vaishnava scholars, our epigraphists, historians and linguists and the small idiots who think the likes of Witzel and Clooney, Doniger and Nussbaum must be defeated in polite academic exchange, must see themselves described by Ward Churchill. Churchill calls these willing and unwitting allies and useful idiots, the “sympathetic biographer” who attempts to explain Lecter in academic and sublime literary terms. “The biographer thus reveals not only a willing complicity in the subject’s crimes, but a virulent pathology of his or her own. Such is and has always been the relationship of “responsible scholarship” to expansionist Europe and its derivative societies”. (Ward Churchill)
Hindu nationalists and Hindu scholars can learn a thing or two from Ward Churchill, Vine Deloria Jr. and David Stannard about how to conduct ourselves on the White Christian formulated academic battleground.
Radha Rajan, 11th August, 2009.