NITK professor prides on obsolete “Modernism” of West to debunk Vedanta-insights

​By : Ashwin Kalyan

I had a very long debate with one of my professors in the Humanities Dept. at National Institute of Technology Karnataka​ (NITK) recently. (I am an engineer btw! ).

I shared Rajiv Malhotra’s recent article on swarajya so that I can type out less!

And this is what he had to say:

“Firstly, its not just Ivy league, I say you go to any reputed south asian department not just in america, anywhere in the world. history is guided by a certain methodology. You need to adopt that methodology to do the right kind of history: whether it is america or india; chicago or JNU or HCU or Pune. Now if you call that methodology western derived, the problem is with the logic of argument. all modern academics source their fundamentals and methodologies to the enlightenment period and industrialisation period of the west, irrespective of whether it is humanities, science or engineering. humanities methodology, to repeat, has the same western knowledge base as that of science and engineering. The ‘experimental’ basis of modern science, what rajiv calls as ‘objective’, is also the gift of the west. Otherwise, we wouldnt have called Ramayana and Mahabharata as Itihaasas. So, the basis of modern science, wherever one does it, is western. It isnt seeped in the Vedas, Puranas, aagamas, Upanishats or Brahmanas. If one were to do the so called ‘pure’ Indian science, one should do the science as per these Indian sources; why are they languishing in western labs ceaselessly following western methodology? Hope you get my argument. There is a fundamental fallacy in the arguments of Rajiv-likes and I am not a stranger to it. Just like there is ONE way of doing science and engineering, whether it is CERN or BARC or NASA or ISRO, there is ONE way of doing history or Humanities. objectivity and subjectivity within the field comes next: that is the question of agreement or disagreement among the experts within the field; and it is possible in any field.”

It is extremely disturbing to know that such ‘self-respecting’ Indians will be guiding students in reputed institutes of India!

Also, it looks like these people are incorrigible.

Reply by Rajiv:

Tell this prof that his mimicry of western thought is outdated as per the west’s own latest intellectuals.

He espouses the west’s MODERNISM. But in the humanities the westeners have rejected that, and moved on to what they call POST-MODERNISM.

He must upgrade himself to the latest western thinking if he is to either agree or disagree with them.

He must understand the difference between modern and postmodern thought in the west. Only then will my statements below make any sense.

Challenging western conventional approaches to history is also being done in the west. This is a project largely based on digesting non-western (incl Indian) ideas.

However, the Indians in the field have been domesticated to parrot OLD methods of the west, while the westerners themselves are rapidly moving ahead in a direction compatible with eastern ideas.

I too started out as a modernist in the hard sciences. But I wanted to reconcile this with Indian philosophy as well as my own meditation experiences. That quest led me to postmodernism where I spent a decade of study. There I discovered how they had digested Indian thought. That is where my Uturn/digestion research began.

A great deal has entered from what they call Buddhist influence, but actually it includes both Hindu and Buddhist.

Many great founding fathers of western ideas were Indic influenced – Hume, William James, Whitehead, Ferdinand Saussure, Derrida, Foucault, to name only a few.

These westerners have huge paramparas in the academy. But they use their ideas to bash Hinduism, when in fact the source has been Hinduism.


Answer: By focusing on ‘caste, cows, curry’ aspects as the defining qualities of Hinduism.

They sideline the intellectual content which they want to digest.

Please have the prof study the philosophy of quantum physics consciousness – he will find it filled with ideas of Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism, Tantra, Madhyamika Buddhism….

Now the cutting edge of scientific research that will digest Hindu-Buddhist ideas as well as practices is epi-genetics. This is where Nobel Prizes will be won in the next 5-10 years.

While it is considered alien and contradicting the western modernism, this field is not only compatible with dharma but is being driven by neuroscience research on meditators using Hindu-Buddhist techniques.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Naina
    Sep 23, 2015 @ 07:39:14

    Ashwin/Rajiv: I wonder if you should recommend to this professor at the Humanities Dept. at National Institute of Technology Karnataka​ (NITK) to take the time to read “The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies,” by Thomas McEvilley.

    At the least, he should watch this video

    And read this article here:



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