Friday, November 5, 2010

Prof. Michael Witzel: a liar or dimwit or both?

Michael Witzel of Harvard thought that he can get away with accusing Balagangadhara of Hindutva. Upon reading Balagangadhara's response, one can assess the status of Michael Witzel: liar or dimwit?

1. Neither Michael Witzel nor Steve Farmer answers my request for clarifications but simply take off on polemical tones. I do not see what purpose is thereby served. Globally speaking, both their letters seem to indicate that they are convinced that either I am aligned with the Hindutva movement or that I am a Hindutva man myself or both. Of course, because we have not met each other so far, there is only one way for them to divine my political preferences: through my writings. Witzel claims that he has read them, whereas Farmer keeps silent about the issue. It is a matter of public record that I claim that ‘Hinduism’ (as a ‘religion’) does not exist in India. Consequently, from my writings on the subject, no one can accuse me of supporting a stance that wants to found India on hinduness’ or on ‘hindudom’ or on ‘Hinduism’ (whether conceived as a ‘religion’ or called as ‘sanatana dharma’). So, from where could anyone draw conclusion that these
two have drawn?

Consider the following possibility: let us assume that in some of my writings, I reach the same conclusion as some or another ideologue from Hindutva. (Of course, neither Farmer nor Witzel shows that this is the case. But that is not the issue.) In other words, let us assume that, with respect to some or another issue, I arrive at the same conclusion as people from the Hinudtva movement do. The question is: what does that indicate, or prove or is an evidence for? After all, Witzel, Farmer and others reach the same conclusion as the Hindutva people do, when you ask them about the sum of two integers (say adding two to itself); or (assuming the presence of relevant knowledge in both) about the chemical composition of water and any number of such allied stuff. They would also (probably) agree with respect to current geography, Capitals of different nations, and so on and so forth. Why is
this agreement between them and the Hindutva not suspect? Why does some or another alleged agreement that I could have with the Hindutva make me a Hindutva man?

There is only one answer possible in this case: there exists a unique theory (‘the Hindutva theory’) from which one can derive certain conclusions. It is not possible to derive the same conclusion from any other theory that we know (or can invent). Consequently, one can argue backwards: if someone, anyone, supports a specific conclusion (‘the Hindutva conclusion’) then that is because such a conclusion is derivable only from the ‘Hindutva theory’. Only a fool could entertain making such a claim today, if ever. Assuming that Witzel and Farmer are not fools, they appear reasonably intelligent to me, how then could they ‘see’ Hindutva in my writings? A more charitable assumption would be: Witzel either has not read my writings (he lies when he says he has) or has not understood them at all (which makes him dim witted). Choose your poison.

The conclusion is simple with respect to their global tone: they just do not know what they are talking about. To me, ignorance of some subject is a reason to keep quiet about that subject; to them it is an occasion to be pretentious and abrasive. I suppose it takes all kinds of people to keep the world going...


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