~ By Naveen Chandra Ph. D., Retired Geoscientist and Educator
Plagiarism is not desi problem as contended by Sharma, a Christian, parading as a Hindu. Jesuits of 16th Century invented it when they stole from Hindu scriptures and published it as their own without mentioning the source. An American with the help of a Telugu person had the Sumati Satakam translated and then he published it as his own without mentioning the source. He also made money and fame. It now looks from what I read on the Net, Andrew J. Nicholson himself lifted passages from old Rishi’s books and published as his own without mentioning the source. Sharma says Malhotra plagiarised from Nicholson. At least now Malhotra can refer to the original source of Sanskrit version and not mention Nicholson at all. In the light of these new revelations Malhotra seems to be the victim and deserves to defend himself in BS in a full-fledged article not in the comment section.
Some Terminological inexactitudes of Sharma:
- The Indians outside NJ are not loud enough in defending Dharma. Well what decibel level will reach the ears of Sharma? We in Toronto, Canada are thriving well as supporters of Dharma. Bold a weekly magazine is serializing Being Different in every issue. Is that loud enough? Ignorance, insolence and arrogance seem to mark Sharma’s writings.
- What he mentions as facts referring to Mr. Young are not facts at all in view of the fact that Nicholson himself seems to have plagiarized.
- Sharma doesn’t clarify what Mr. Young really does in the Dalit project. There is a similar project in Janagam taluq of Warangal district in Telangana where they convert Hindus into Christians with the personnel from Houston and financed by Texas Churches.
- Western Academicians are jealous of little achievements they make especially in History. They want to make History science- a far cry from reality. History is interpreted and reinterpreted to suit the convenience of the talker. Trump, a Republican Presidential candidate proves my point when he says John McCain was not a war hero. As a matter of fact non academicians have written excellent history books and better ones than the Professors.
- This respect for University Professors as expounded by Sharma is not justified when applied universally. William L. Shirer’s short memoir on Gandhi is not an academic book but a masterpiece of history writing. I certainly do not share Sharma’s adoration and respect so misplaced in many cases.
- Sharma exalts Young as Professor this Professor that- does he deserve this? He stooped so low as to go to social media about the unproven plagiarism of Malhotra. Is that the forum to air these differences? It looks more like Tyler Swift using social media to get at Kate Perry. There are no doubt academic platforms where they can be hashed out. That is cheap for a Professor especially one from Christian Seminary. But who said seminaries are beyond doubt with all that sexual abuse that allegedly goes on inside?
- Malhotra according to Sharma reinterpreted the data of Nicholson who himself allegedly plagiarised from Rishis, so how can this be plagiarism?
- Michael Danino put Sharma in right place by exposing the intellectual dishonesty, intellectual unpreparedness, ignorance etc.. If Sharma was allegedly telling lies about Danino can you take his word about Malhotra?
- Now he mentions Hindu jihad. How Business Standard permitted this phrase is beyond my comprehension. Christians have Crusaders among whom a presidential family stands out, Moslems have their Jihad but Hindus have only Geeta. What sustained Hindus after 1200 years of domination of Muslim Dynasties, Christian Rule (British) and Nehru’s 60 years is the treasure trove of metaphysics, literature, arts, science, mathematics, political science, yoga, an inner belief system that could not be conquered etc.. My children who grew up in the West with western traditions often marvel how Hindus were not all converted. The reason is there is a strength innate that will not succumb to physical forces.
From what I have explained above it seems Mr. Malhotra was a victim undoubtedly.
In view of these factors I strongly urge the Business Standard magazine to invite Mr. Malhotra to write a rejoinder not in a comment section as you have insulted Professor Danino with but in the main body of the magazine. That is only fair. Sharmas of this world who masquerade as Hindus like some Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh should listen their opponent defending himself. It is democratic and it is fair.
Rebuttal to Mihir S. Sharma
If some foreigners monopolize writing about your history and worse discredit it falsely (Don’t some historians funded by organizations bend the truth for the advantage of that sponsor?) then it is natural to reply pointing out the good things about your history. Why is it bigotry? In a book like Indra’s Net where all the references are listed in one form other, there is no blatant attempt at taking credit for research done by others. Mr. Sharma should know better than attributing willful plagiarism to Mr. Malhotra.If Rajiv Malhotra, alone and unsponsored, decided to take on these bullies more power to him. It is not true that Indians outside NJ are unconcerned about the monopolization mentioned by Mr. Sharma. Mr. Rajiv Malhotra should be commended for taking on this thankless job and it is a pity more Indians are not coming to his help.
The facts ignored by Mr. Sharma are more telling than the facts he cares to mention. For example what exactly this so called Professor RF Young do? Does he incite Dalits in India? Does he have an agenda to break up India? Does he misrepresent Hinduism ad nauseum without telling truth? Look at the words “Mr. Malhotra appeared to have lifted” etc…If Mr. Sharma quoted here the exact passages allegedly plagiarized, he would have done truth a real service than believing Mr. Young. If plagiarized passages are used to tell another story how can this be plagiarism? Rajiv Malhotra is giving a new interpretation according to Mr. Sharma to the passages taken from another book and he is accused of intellectual deception? Come on Mr. Sharma, even Mr. Molotov did not stoop to such low levels of spinning.
What ideas are original in the world? Didn’t some academicians brand MKG as communist in 1940’s and that went unchallenged? Didn’t some brand NM as communist following their President which also went unchallenged? While William Shirer was giving credit to all countries in fighting Hitler in his non academic book, some academicians were shying away from impartial reporting. What does it tell about some academic professors? Mr. Rajiv Malhotra in my opinion is historical journalist like Shirer. The point is did he at any time deviate from telling the truth?
As I said above even among academicians a very small minority are besides being the worst enemies of historical truth, are manufacturers of propaganda to suit the sponsor’s policies and ipso facto this reflects in their journals. If such is the case of academic journals why bother about Harper Collins who do not sell lies under the garb of academic journalism. Mr. Sharma do you really believe Hindus are jihadists? Your hyperbole is totally misplaced. Hindus discourse in their living rooms may be sometimes vehemently but are not comparable to others in committing violent acts. The true victim in this unfortunate incident is Mr. Malhotra who being branded plagiarist however falsely has permanent damage to his reputation. Branding someone as right wing also is very unhelpful and hitting below the belt.
Indeed thus we reach a deeper question: how far can we trust those academic historians who are not objective in reporting? Cataloguing who wrote what first is not history writing, we want the voices of victims heard through the corridors of time and declare some history writing by Professors is 1000% bogus.
Mr.Sharma you seem to forget USSR is no longer. Communists were defeated and Berlin wall came down, perhaps in India the Historians like Mr. Sharma have forgotten or are ignorant. Gone also are all the lies the communists told the world just like one day all the lies told by these small minority of academicians like Mr. Sharma and Mr. Young will be blown away by the winds of time. In final analysis history will not be written by government funded academic institutions as they have a stake in it but in the court of public opinion. In Andhra Pradesh some Chief Ministers used government machinery to evangelize Hindus into becoming Christians by threats, by bribes and by other illegal means. People know this. We don’t need an academic historian of tunnel vision like Mr. Sharma to tell us the truth. We masses know the truth. Money from Vatican. money from Texas, money from various Western Governments pours in to convert Hindus into Christianity by misrepresenting Hinduism and Indian sepoys like Mr.Sharma support them. There is some truth to the conspiracy theory in looking at the diminishing Hindu population in India with simultaneous increase of Christians and Moslems. Sharmas of the world may behave like ostriches in Sahara but truth will dawn even on them one day. Who is bigot? Sharmas of this world are. Who believed in crackpot theories like Marxism? Sarmas of this world did. So shut up your sanctimonious crap and see the truth.
Let me come to the burning question: Is Sharma jealous of Rajivji?
A Rebuttal to Siva Viswanathan
Kali’s Child by Jeffrey Kripal was criticized by Gayatri Spivak, Alan Roland, William Radice, and even members of the Ramakrishna Mission (Swami Tyagananda and Parivrajika Vrajaprana) but it is still accepted as historical research by the West. Kripal, a westerner, having had no chance to meet Ramakrishna (deceased by then) created an analysis on Ramakrishna based on temporal telescopic psychoanalysis dubious but acceptable to West. Yet, when an Indian, Narhar Achar’s writes about paleo astronomy it is not worthy of the same acceptability. There is an inherent bias and double standard that often follows the narrative of “writings that criticize Hinduism are acceptable yet writing that glorifies Hinduism is not”.
The book Madhorubagan by Perumal Murugan was first protested by all the village people of Tiruchengode about a story that is based on unproven events that allegedly took place more than hundred years ago. When that did not work the political protests erupted resulting in the author’s renunciation of his writing.
The book Hindus: An Alternative by Wendy Doniger, was taken out of publication by Penguin of India.
Mr. Vishwanathan fails to address the lack of accessibility that Ivory tower academia has to the common person. According to his premise only people with university degrees and papers should be permitted to criticize the historical texts. Are academics the only people who should be allowed to contribute to the body of historical knowledge? What about public participation and discourse? Universities are in partial or fully funded (in the case of Canada) by the public purse as such isn’t it the right of every tax payer to examine what is being discussed in academia no matter how many degrees they may have? I am committed to the belief that history books written by non-academics are often far superior to those written by some Professors.
The idea that scholarship is the sole property of a degree holder is passé, in a digital world where a free flowing exchange of ideas is constantly happening academia must learn to adapt and harness this energy. I will quote a Telugu verse written by the late Vishwanatha Satyanarayana about Mallampalli Somesekhara Sharma a historian par excellence without degrees, “You suffer because you are born in this evil period when scholarship without degrees is not recognized”. The same author also said nobody is owner of ideas a sentiment shared by Mark Twain.
What ideas are original? Light bulb, radio, telephone, airplane, television, Facebook are few examples of original ideas (almost all invented by non-academic people) whose originators should be recognized and awarded. History does not belong to this category. History is written subjectively because facts are suppressed. For example people like Winston Churchill are often venerated by historians and even media personalities, but of course citizens of previously colonized countries do not feel the same way. If relatively contemporary history is so controversial (Trump’s position on John McCain “war hero status “is another example), just think of trying to write history that happened 5000 or 10000 years ago. The main problem is lack of objectivity of some Professors of History especially Indian History. Some don’t even recognize Indian History before Moguls. An acquaintance of mine, once argued with me about how there was no Calendar in India before British. I quoted to him a verse from Telugu Mahabhagavatam written in 1500’s that establishes concepts of Rasi, equinox, solstices, month, Sasi kalas, number of days in a month, number of 6 days in a week etc.. which are essential for a calendar. Now this was a translation by Potana from Vyasa who wrote the original work in Sanskrit obviously many hundreds of years before. So as you can see from these two examples, there is always ample room for a lack of objectivity when we consider the vast expanse of history, contemporary and ancient.
History is an evolving field of study and as such changes with new data. Aryan Invasion Theory does not hold water anymore but some stubborn JNU professors want to retain this outmoded theory. Now some like me feel rather uncomfortable with this illogical position of JNU. Malhotra may not be a scholar but neither is the writer of the Rise and Fall of Third Reich and Gandhi, a Memoir, but that did not stop those books becoming classical historical documents. There are signs that “Being Different” will be a classic.
I like to address the issue of plagiarism which is purely western idea. I want to prove that it did not exist in Sanskrit where some verses in one book were found verbatim in another book. I will give an example by comparing two verses in Kathopanishad to two verses in Bhagavatgeeta.
The third and fourth lines of verse I-ii-18 in KU (are the same as the second line of 2-20 in BG. The third and fourth lines of I-ii-19 of KU are the same as the second line of 2-19 in BG.
(na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
nāyaḿ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ‘yaḿ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre).
(ya enaḿ vetti hantāraḿ
yaś cainaḿ manyate hatam
ubhau tau na vijānīto
nāyaḿ hanti na hanyate)
The red lines are common to both texts. According to Western “scholars” either Vyasa plagiarized or the writer of KU, we don’t even know who it is. In our Vedic tradition ideas are not owned by anybody. Many Sanskrit works don’t even have names for authors. Malhotra was right about quotations in Sanskrit and he is not illiterate (personal attack on Malhotra, a common feature found in these exchanges not worthy of professors). Knowledge can be compared to an ocean that is for everybody to share, just as in the ancient times when the village well was not owned by anyone but was available for the use of every one.
With colonial expansion of the British private ownership became the quintessential way of life. They destroyed the steel industry of India (and textile industry of India, industries that had been at the forefront of technology and quality since Chandragupta times 350 CE) in order to instill a dependency on Indians and other colonized nations and by conning us into purchasing their substandard goods. Before British came here the GDP of India was 23% of the world, when they left it was 2%. We can see this argument very effectively communicated by Dr. Shashi Tharoor’s, in his recent argument advocating for Indian Reparations.
The British made plastic surgery their own copying from a Pune potter who treated five British soldiers when their noses and ears were cut by soldiers of Tipu Sultan, following a procedure invented by Susruta in 500 BCE (Gentleman’s Magazine,1794,London). The British destroyed ancient Indian knowhow, ancient Indian knowledge, cultural and scientific advances, Indian history and Indian religion, giving us the title of heathens and savages. We believed in the “master’s” word. This is colonial slavish mentality . Even today when they write they do so with a colonial mind. Malhotra is fighting this and making Indians proud because we have a great heritage in metaphysics, literature, grammar, languages, medicine, surgery, sciences, mathematics, yoga, architecture, dance, music, metallurgy, political science, trades (64 kalas) etc. For the benefit of Mr. Vishwanathan let me mention some names from the glorious past Vyasa, Valmiki, Kalidasa ,Panini, Patanjali, Chanakya, Brahamagupta, Susruta, Charaka, Aryabhatta, Varaha Mihira, Bhaskara, Adi Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Nagarjuna, Bharata, etc.. Late David Edwin Pingree (David Edwin Pingree was a University Professor, and Professor of History of Mathematics and Classics at Brown University, and one of America’s leading historians of the Exact Sciences in antiquity) said we have nothing – only Mesopotamia has everything and the historian Romila Thapar agrees.
Malhotra is fighting against the likes of Pingree and Romila. He is fighting colonial mentality and western Universalism. It is not his fight alone. It should be my fight, your fight and every Indian’s fight. This is just not the fight of Diaspora but Indians and Hindus everywhere even in India.
You lament the demise of the University and I don’t. Shut down JNU history department, we can save some money. Also Jindal History we can save some more money. Evaluation of historians should be in the realm of tax payer. This snobbish mentality of exclusiveness of scholarship is not tangible anymore.