[Advaita-l] On the need to counter false narratives about Ramayana and Mahabharata by Sheldon Pollock et al

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 20 12:43:06 EDT 2018

Sheldon Pollock teaches at Columbia University, where a century ago a famous Indian went and shaped his thoughts culminating in his call "to put dynamite to Vedas", i. e. completely eradicate Sanaatanadharma. That is the objective of this Colombia Clique and Pollock is its most effective practitioner. The amount of poison that he has spread is huge, with papers like The Hindu giving huge space to people like Ananya Vajapeyi (if a person with a family name like that can spew anti-Vedic poison, one can understand the potency of Pollock) who study Sanskrit only to denounce Veda and Dharma (this woman went to Pundits to learn about Dharma Shastras and then vehemently criticises those very same Pundits in English newspapers for their belief in Dharma). This group has spread so much misinformation and such misinterpretation of the classics, puranas, itihaasa and Sanskrit literature that ordinary people started thinking like that. Sometime back we had a member talking ill of Sanaatanadharma - it could be an example of the effect of this relentless campaign of spreading poison. 
Rajiv Malhotra has written a book "Battle for Sanskrit" making Pollock the central figure. One of the consequences is "Swadeshi Indology". They held two conferences till date, developing a counter "narrative" (typical language used by the post-modern school from which Pollock draws heavily). 
It would be interesting to note that the philosophy underlying this post-modernism (or, rather, post-structuralism) develops through Foucault (brilliant philosopher) to Jacques Derrida (again, brilliant - I do like his work even as I am aware of his fundamentally unviable and irresponsible position), who reminding one of Nagarjuna, arrives at the position of no-thesis. These guys only "deconstruct" what others propose and offer no thesis of their own. These deconstructions are very interesting to read, just like batching about others is a lot of fun. Both are equally wrong, but the former now has a respectable position in academia. They don't offer a thesis because their insidious methods, which are far removed from reasoning and rigour, can be applied to deconstruct anything - including their own thesis. To crudely present what respected academic work in this line amounts to: if you like Congress, you have a crush on Sonia Gandhi and if you vote BJP, you are a homosexual pining for Modi.  
While Foucault and Derrida let India and her Dharma be, their methods of Discourse Analysis are applied by this Pollock-group. Only,  the ones they bitch about are us. 
These are the new Buddhists with similar methods and positions.  
Regards N Siva Senani 

  On Tue, 20 Mar 2018 at 9:18 PM, Raghav Kumar Dwivedula via Advaita-l<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:     1. Sheldon Pollock, a supposedly great scholar of sanskrit has this to
  say - “The Mahabharata is a really dangerous mythic formation where the
  political other is your brother. War becomes civil war. The Mahabharata
  is the most dangerous political story in the world because its a deep
  meditation on the fratricide of civil war.”

  *Implication:*: The Mahabharata legitimizes war and is the most
  dangerous book ever written. Of course, the central lessons of Mahabharata
  that one’s actions generate good or bad *karma* (and not just being born
  in the same family), the umpteen attempts made by various actors to avoid
  war, the complex sub-plots which show the angst of various characters as
  they try to determine the right course of action…all this is irrelevant.
  3. Sheldon Pollock claims that “The Ramayana is a story of othering. The
  struggle for the political is displaced on the other – the strange
  *rakshasa* people, who are inversions of us, who are outsiders. The
  Ramayana was a language of othering, which somehow we need to (I wouldnt
  say unmask) understand so that we can neutralize its power.”

  *Implication:*: The Ramayana is just a political text which teaches us
  to hate the ‘other’. We should ignore the fact that *rakshasa *does not
  denote any physical attributes, but is a term used to describe normal
  people with bad qualities – excess of arrogance, lust for power etc.

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