Playing Jekyll and Hyde – The Academic Pathosis of Sheldon Pollock


                          By: Raj Maddali

“She had an evil face, smoothed by hypocrisy; but her manners were excellent.”

— RL Stevenson describing the housekeeper of Mr. Hyde.
Few books in recent Indian history have stirred up such a controversy, polarised debates, stirred up Indian academia and general masses alike. Amongst those books Rajiv Malhotra’s books are pre-eminent.  His latest magnum-opus ‘The Battle for Sanskrit (BFS)’ explores the not-so-noble movements in the field of Indology. He unearths, consistent with his other works, the nefarious personalities involved who are scheming to hijackSanskrit and Samskruti and thereby influence the academic, political, & religious narratives in India.

The central character of this book is Sheldon Pollock who is a leading figure inSanskrit studies. Reading through the book has sparked the author’s curiosity on Pollock. This lead the author to follow Pollock and his works those are available in public domain. Inspired by BFS, these pursuits soon revealed an interesting dichotomy in Pollock’s presentation of his views.  This article is brief compilation of the glaring discrepancies between Pollock’s academic works and his public appearances.

Jekyll & Hyde

Pollock, strange personality he is, displays irreconcilable and incoherent attitudes towards Sanskrit. His academic anthology is diametric to his utterances in his public appearances. One would associate epistemic virtues like honesty, humility, truthfulness, integrity from intellectuals. Instead, Pollock seems to carry obverse facades to suit the setting which we usually associate with politicians.
For the masses, Pollack portrays himself as a genuine and honest scholar who is at pains to rescue & resuscitate the grand narrative of Sanskrit from its indisputable death; he wants to be seen as someone who is at anguish over Indian’s indifference and ignorance at their colossal and magnificent Sanskritheritage; he misses no chance to dish out his frustration at Indian’s own apathy towards Westerner Scholars, like him, who are spending their lifetimes to bring back the glory of Sanskrit.  I call this facet of Pollock as “Jekyll Pollock”.

Contrast this with his academic works, where he demonises Sanskrit for its oppression, racism & divisiveness which still continues to be the tool of Hindu communalism in modern India. He hypothesises that Sanskrit has caused problems wherever it spread therefore it needs to de-fanged by secularising it. I call this academic doppelganger as the “Hyde Pollock”.

Sanskrit – Splendid or Sinister

Mr Jekyll Pollock at Jaipur literary Festival 2015 on Classical Texts sponsored by Murthy Classical Library (MCL), goes at length to praise Sanskrit – that it ‘made bridges’ with Buddhists, Jains and most languages in SE Asia. According to him Sanskrit was a world of ‘cosmopolitan inclusiveness’ and goes onto quote Sanskrit phrase ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’. Again during the same year he appeared for a sales pitchinterview for MCL in NDTV. There he was oozing concern for India’s ‘cultural ecocide’ (cultural suicide) that is leading to ‘dramatic moment of discontinuity’ in Indian competencies to conserve, preserve and nurture its classics.  In an interview to Tehelka in 2011 he praisesSanskrit as ‘expression of 2000 years of some of the most sophisticated consciousness’. In 2014 accepting the Friend of Indian award he voiced his concern at ‘extraordinary luminous tradition we are possibly about to lose’.  For a layman, Jekyll Pollock appears to be a god-send – his missionary zeal to preserve dying language is un-paralleled even within its own scholars.

Hyde Pollock, in contrast, when he is in safe confines of his academic burrows has a different narrative to weave. He denigrates Sanskrit as the ‘principal discursive instrument of domination in premodern India’. He insinuates thatSanskrit promotes political hegemony and it has a strange pernicious influence on all the societies it spread – whether Indian, British or German.  The class oppression finds in roots in the strict grammatical structures & ‘traditional domination as coded in Sanskrit’. He has gone where no Indologist has gone before by claiming that Sanskrit literature directly influenced Nazism.  He believes that the Sanskrit’s history has not been sufficiently been critiqued enough that the ‘stored energy’ (of traditional domination) is still surviving in various harsh forms. He proclaims that it is his ‘compelling project’ to neutralise such forces.

Pithless Rama – Benevolent Samkara

Malhotra devoted an entire chapter to document how Pollock vilified Ramayana and its characters. Hyde Pollock declared that Ramayana supplanted Buddhist Jataka tales and that Valmiki weaved a bardic tale to reinforce political hegemony of Hindu kings which is craftily legitimised by cunning Brahmins. Le motifof Valmiki, according to Pollock,   is no more than to consolidate the doctrine of raj dharma. He lampoons Lord Rama as one with no free will or choice and that Ramayana is cause of all current Hindutva strife in the country.

Malhotra in BFS reveals that Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation (SVBF) USA supposedly had plans to invite Pollock to head the committee to setup a chair of Adi Samkara Chair in Hindu Religion and Philosophy.  Now the interesting aspect of the development is that Adi Samkara was, though, philosopher par excellence, he was deeply rooted in bhakti tradition. He is considered as Shiva incarnate himself, who took birth to restore dharma.  Adi Samkara wrote countless strotrams on various deities. Among them is ‘Sri Raama Bhujanga Strotram’ on Lord Rama where he says – ‘त्वदन्यं न मन्ये न मन्ये न मन्ये’- I will not think of any other God apart from thee.  Traditionalist would not miss the significance of fact that Adi Samkara repeats ‘न मन्ये’ three times.  Further Hyde Pollock’s ignorance is on full display when one reads Adi Samkara’s bhashya on Vishnu Sahasranama. Commenting on name ‘Ramah’, Adi Samkara says ‘स्वेछया रमणीयम् वपुर्वन्हन्वा दाशरधी रामः’ – the one who willingly chose to be an adorable son of King Dasharadha is called Ramah. Now to say that there is no free will in Ramayana is just bogus scholarship.

Again the pattern is unmissable – while Hyde Pollock demonises Rama and Ramayana, Jekyll Pollock seem to have no qualms to head the committee to setup a chair in the name of Adi Samkara whose bhashyas run diametrically opposite to his works.  It is not hard to infer that, currently, Adi Samkara’s followers are blessed with fat purses while poor Rama is still homeless in Ayodhya.

Pandit or Political Demagogue

Impressed by Pollock’s scholarship onSanskrit literature Indians, generous and gullible as they are, elevated Pollock to level of ‘The Pandit’.  With veshti &angavastram to match his Sanskrit skills Jekyll Pollock sealed his position as distinguished scholar in his field. His public utterances are all about passionate pleas to preserve and share the grandSanskrit heritage. His reputation is such that our own Jnanapeeth awardee Girish Karnad, a Brahmin,   reached out to Pollock for background material on Vedic India!

A ‘Pandit’ so fervent about revivingSanskrit should be elated at similar movements in India.  Instead Hyde Pollock finds Samskruta Bharati’s efforts of rejuvenating Sanskrit through   its popular speaking courses as ‘nauseating’. His impatience with ‘BJP/RSS/Hindutva and alphabet soup of forces’   places him on the ‘secular’ side of Indian politics rooting for M3 – Mullahs, Missionaries and Marxists. When he articulates his liberation philology to instigate social activism in India he is not shirking his political ambitions. By attempting to dilute the brutality of British colonialism and manufacture a new narrative of ‘deep orientalism’ Hyde Pollock has metamorphosed himself into a political demagogue.

Conclusion

For laymen who hold academia in high esteem because of their objectivity and integrity, Pollock’s public and academic faces appear as contrapositions.  Malhotra has done an exemplary job of stripping naked Sheldon Pollock of his pretences. He has methodically unveiled the sinister side of Sheldon Pollock who, otherwise, would have been passed off asdemi dieu of Indology. We all Indians are truly indebted to his works. He evokes the same spirit as that of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo who woke up and invigorated India from its slumber. Its time all Indians in general and Hindus in particular, heed to Malhotra’s warning of ‘(Pollock’s) attack on spiritual roots of the culture is not only fundamentally wrong but also counterproductive’.  In light of these

  • Do we want this double dealing, academic rabble rouser to be our curator of our sacred Sanskrit texts?
  • Do we want this naastika who has neither shraddha norbhakti nor adhikara norsamskara to represent Adi Samkara chair?
  • Do we let his political philological demagoguery dictate the Indian political, religious and democratic discourse?

These are the questions every Indian needs to ask about Sheldon Pollock.

PS: It would be interesting to see if Sheldon Pollock would accept if an academic chair were to be setup in name of “Sri Valmiki Chair of Ramayana Studies”.

Bibliography

The Battle for Sanskrit [Abstract]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://thebattleforsanskrit.com
Jaipur Literary Festival 2015. (n.d.). Retrieved from

https://www.youtube.com/watchv=c1dqWohJWnY
Tehelka Interview – Part1 [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXhInNUVZ6U
Tehelka Interview – Part2 [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watchv=Mk8WVyyyst8
shrIrAmabhujanga stotra .. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://Sanskritdocuments.org/doc_raama/raamabhujanga.html?lang=sa
Vishnu Sahasranama With The Bhasya of Sankaracharya:Sankaracharya, R.Ananthakrishna Sastry : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/Vishnu.Sahasranama.with.the.Bhasya.of.Sankaracharya

  1. A. (1999). Sri Vishnu Saharsranaama Strotra Bhashayam (1999 ed., Vol. 7, Samkara Grantha Ratnavali). Tenali, Andhra Pradesh: Sadhana Grandha Mandali. Translated by Sri Varanasi Subramanya Sastri

India Abroad’s Person of the Year 2013. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://issuu.com/indiainny/docs/poy_2013 e=10810770/10966857

Sanskrit Scholar Sheldon Pollock: India Abroad Friend of India Award. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y179Qkz7Uuc Published on Jun 21, 2014 Sanskrit Scholar Sheldon Pollock’s acceptance speech at the India Abroad Person of the Year 2013 event held in New York on June 20, 2014.

Five core principles of “Integral Political Economy” for our times


By: Shreepal Singh

First Premise:

All Property Belongs to the People. It is the collective ownership of all resources – the natural and the man-made both – by the people of the place where they live. The ownership of all the resources by the inhabitants of a place ‘collectively’ as against ‘individually’ is a natural way always found in the societies that live close to Nature. One living example of such collective ownership of resources is found in the tribal society of aboriginals of Andaman and Nicobar islands in India and one can find many more such examples in, without exception, all the surviving tribal societies. Such common ownership of resources is not only the most natural way of people living near to Nature but also it is the most harmonious way of social life. The superiority of this social way of life – the collective masters of all that is available – is established not only by the fact that such societies are so found naturally but also by the fact that humanity’s most venerable voices have approved such common ownership in their own ways. Gautama Buddha approved of it by ordaining ‘Sangha’ where people lived and enjoyed land and wealth collectively. Almost all founders of religions advocated such collective ownership of resources by establishing convents, ashrams and other religious refuge. Hindu sages declared that all ‘bhumi’ or land belongs to ‘Gopal’ or God. In recent centuries, many thinkers advocated the common ownership of ‘means of production’ or resources by establishing Socialism. We all know that Earth is our common home. All resources are Nature – or God – given means for the use of all living beings on Earth. These resources are held by humans collectively in trust for each one of them and also for other living species on Earth. Resources are in collective hands in trust for the current generation and the succeeding generations of humans and for the use of other species also. This trusteeship is sacred and sanctified by morality, wisdom, common sense and religions, and lately by the environmental science. Its violation is the worst sacrilege of humans against themselves.

Second Premise:

Property Given to Private hands is in Trust. People are made-up of individuals and these individuals are not equal to each other in the matter of their capability. Their individual capability differs in the matter of psychological make-up, mental level, priority of goals assigned in one’s life, education and a host of other individual traits of one’s personality. Every individual among the collective people is not equally capable or inclined to utilize the resources available on Earth either for oneself or for others. Resources are means for people’s sustenance and development by their utilization and augmentation. Resources need to be utilized by people in their own interest. As each one of the collective people is not equal in capability to utilize these resources in the best possible way, these resources are given in trust to private hands or to individuals, who claim to be so capable of utilizing and wish to so utilize, solely for the purpose of utilizing the resources in the best interest of all. Though the resources are handed over to the private hands in trust, the rights of these private hands never ever exceed the supreme ownership rights of the collective community. Each one of the people who professes to be so capable has equal right, claim and opportunity to so utilize these resources. On utilizing these resources, wealth is produced, which in modern time is known as commodity. The net consequence of the production of commodities in good quantity is the rising of the living standards of people who consume those products. For putting one’s energy and efforts into the work of commodity production, the individual needs a motivating gear, which is known in modern time as an incentive. In a sensible utilization of resources, production of commodities is made, or in other words, for the production of commodity resources are needed. In modern time, for producing commodities, an individual (s) needs not only his capability to do so but also resources in the form of raw materials, which are of different kinds and may be termed as “inputs for production”. In modern time, the individual intending to produce commodities has a cost to pay to secure these inputs, which is known as investment. To make the process of commodity production viable, the concerned individual needs not only the returning back of his investment but also an additional amount in the form of profit in lieu of an incentive for his undertaking the whole affair. This incentive – or profit – is always a percentage of his investment and it can range from zero to one hundred. Zero percent profit is difficult to find anywhere and one hundred percent profit may be termed exorbitant, and the reasonable one can be fixed in between anywhere. On an amount of investment made towards the inputs for production, a deduction in the form of profit has to be made out of the amount of wealth produced in the form of commodities and paid to the individual(s) who has undertaken this whole affair, and the balance amount has to be returned to the people as royalty on the resources that belonged to them and were utilized. Taxation is a misnomer and needs to be done away with in our economics. In our economics there is no place for taxation of those who produce commodities for the purpose of the welfare of the people; instead there need to be: firstly, an accounting by those who use resources on such trust; and secondly, returning back to the public (by those trustees who undertook wealth production) the excess amount of wealth, which belongs to the people who owned the resources that were utilized in such wealth production.

Third Premise:

Complete Transparency in Economic Activity. Transparency is justified in all activities where the economic interests of more than one person or a class of persons are involved. Which are those economic activities that need to be transparent? It includes from A to Z, all stages from buying of inputs to selling of commodities, and nothing left in secrecy except the private life of the individual(s) who undertook the whole affair of wealth production. Transparency in economic activities means: letting the people know every part or stage of it or making that detailed information available to the public. The means of bringing this transparency is certainly information technology and putting each head – each act – of each wealth-producer (company or individual) on a website, and under the compulsion of law. In sum and substance, the public must know in each individual case (factory, shop or service) of what has been paid for what – in the inputs – and what has been received back out of those outputs in each case. This is transparancy of the accounting of the social or common resources.

Fourth Premise:

Accountability to the People. Those who hold the resources in their private hands for utilization are the trustees of those resources for certain purpose and they are accountable to the people who own those resources. There is no place for private ownership of resources – whether natural or man-made – in our economics. It is not Communism but it is also not Capitalism either. It is the 21st century’s new economic order. The accountability of those who hold the public resources in private hands towards the people needs to be mandated by law and incorporated in national constitutions in all those countries where people rule themselves. It is the relationship of a master with his servant tasked for a certain job, where the master has a legitimate right to keep an eye on each step of the servant while performing that job. With the onset of 21st century the time has come when the emphasis in democratic country must be shifted from the polity management by holding periodic elections to the economic management by putting in place the legal requirement for accountability through the information technology.

Fifth Premise:

People are Sovereign. The people are sovereign and that means the middlemen – or the representatives of the people – are not the sovereign. In fact, the middlemen are middlemen and, today in the changed circumstances like degradation in moral and related values, a representative of people represents more of himself/herself and less of people who elected him/her. By and large this is the reality today in democratic countries around the world. People are sovereign and, with the technology being available now, they can no longer afford to put their interests – be those political or economic – in the hands of middlemen. These middlemen – or better termed as representatives – need to be tamed and reined in by their masters, by the people through utilization of information technology. It is possible today – and this possibility must be utilized – to elect representatives of people, to recall them, to rate their performance and reprimand them for their poor performance. It is because of this “un-representative” character of these representatives that the democratic institutions throughout the world have degenerated today into a stinking capitalism. Now in 21st century it is possible through technology to turn a theoretical people’s sovereignty into the de facto people’s sovereignty and to save the humanity from further miseries it is the need of the hour to utilize this technological capability.

Sheldon Pollock’s ‘Aesthatization of Power Theory’ demolished by evidence of ‘Pallava Inscriptions’


By: Satya Srinivas

Sheldon Pollock a Western Indologist has attributed Aesthatization of Power (AOP) theory to the spread of Sanskrit and Hinduism by Hindu kings. Rajiv Malhotra in his recent book “The Battle for Sanskrit” explained and debunked Sheldon Pollock’s gross misunderstanding of Raj Dharma as Aesthatization of Power (AOP). As per Sheldon Pollock Aesthatization of Power (AOP) theory below are basic points (Chapter 5 Location 3044):
  1. The King’s core function is protection of the Brahmins
  2. The well-being of Brahmins is so necessary that they perform Vedic yajnas in order to maintain balance in the cosmic order: and
  3. The supposed unlimited power of the king is this implicitly justified no matter how oppresive it may be.
This theory has been debunked by Rajiv Malhotra with below arguements (Chapter 5 Location 3044)
While it is true that great emphasis is placed on protecting the domains of sacredness (associated with Brahmins) and goverance (associated with Kshatriyas), Pollock is silent about the other duties of raj dharma. He simply ignores other shastras such as Arthashastra, which explicitly lays down the reasons for the king to maintain the welfare of all subjects and which offers specific injunctions on how to go about doing so. Ensuring economic welfare and ecological balance are, for instance two key principles of raj dharma as laid out in the Arthashastra.”
I came across application of this fancy AOP theory by a research scholar Mekhola Gomes of JNU, who is in awe with AOP theory and has two research titles based on this theory. 
She is even very unhappy about pulping of controversial book of Wendy Doniger The Hindus: An Alternate Theory.
Currently she is conducting a conference titled “The Aesthetics of Power: Representations of Kingship within the Early Pallava Imperium” on March 21st in IISc Bangalore. A clear extention of Pollock’s AOP theory.
 –
The details are below:
Dear All,

Literary, Arts and Heritage Forum
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED STUDIES
Indian Institute of Science Campus,
Bengaluru - 560 012

is pleased to invite you to a talk on

“The Aesthetics of Power: Representations of Kingship within the
Early Pallava Imperium”

By

​​Mekhola Gomes
Doctoral Scholar, Centre for Historical Studies,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Chairperson : Naresh Keerthi, NIAS

Date:               Monday, 21st March, 2016
Time:               4:30 pm
Venue:             Lecture Hall, NIAS

Abstract:   The period of Pallava rule in Tamil Nadu was a dynamic time in
South Indian history, with innovations in several spheres. These included
the construction of cave-shrines, structural temples, creation of new
iconographies, and inscriptional encomiums. In this talk, I attend to the
changing aesthetics of power in the Pallava kingdom through a juxtaposition
of texts and images. Starting the 4th century CE, inscriptional genealogies
praised Pallava kings in innovative ways. These innovations were elaborated
within and through the construction of royal cave-shrines and structural
temples beginning the 7th century CE.  Through inscriptional panegyrics,
the construction of cave-shrines, and structural temples, the Pallavas
inaugurated a new aesthetics of power. This emergent aesthetics of power
was created within and through a larger field of representation. I will
compare representational strategies of kingship within inscriptions of the
Early Pallavas with visual delineations of power in rock-cut cave- shrines
and stone temples.  I suggest that the Pallavas created a new aesthetics of
power in early south India, through both the textual and visual and it is
only through the interpretation of text and image together that we can
fully appreciate the emergence of this new aesthetic.
-
About the Speaker: Mekhola Gomes is a doctoral scholar in early Indian
history at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Her thesis, explores representations and practices of political power in
the Deccan, between the 3rd and 8th centuries CE. She is co-editing a
forthcoming volume on the epigraphical (re)turn in the study of ancient
Indian history.


After reading the description, I wanted to really check if Pallavas are so imperialistic who otherwise known for their great architecture, political acumen and cultural development.
So I started searching for Pallava’s inscriptions and found a very good website of http://www.whatisindia.com/ online (Founded by Aravind Sitaraman, a Computer Scientist in 1995). The site contains a collection of Pallava inscriptions translation done by  C. R. KRISHNAMACHARLU, Epigraphical Department in 1943.

http://www.whatisindia.com/inscriptions/south_indian_inscriptions/volume_12/preface.html
After going through the collection below are my observations:
Yes there is prashasthi of kings just like how details of a modern day donors are inscribed either in a temple or some charity organization. Not beyond that. And in some cases the kings made offerings whenever there was victory over their opponents which is part of our Hindu tradition of offering to god once the wish is fulfilled.
But attributing the growth of Hinduism due to such prashasthi or Aesthatization of Power (AOP) by Pollock is stretching too far. Apart from that remaining carvings of the temple are mostly about the gods, or carvings based on our purana ithihaasas which clearly talks about genuine divine love of our kings for the Hindu gods and the religion.
Apart from the inscriptions related to kings there were many inscriptions related to donations made by common man such as traders and even maid servants. If the king’s objective behind building temples was to use AOP to spread their kingdom, why will they allow common man’s deeds inscribed.
Simhavishnu or Avanisimha first Pallava monarch who extended his dominions beyond Kanchi in the South.  He has not left any stone or copper-plate inscriptions, but is known only through the records of his successors.” This statement debunks Pollock’s AOP theory completely.
Another statement below supports arguement that kings are not that interested in AOP.
Pallavamalla, also called Kshatriyamalla and Sridhara, revived the practice of quoting regnal years in inscriptions, which had been apparently given up by his immediate predecessors.”
There is a gradual shift of language used in inscriptions from Sanskrit to Tamil, it was not abrupt. Even after the shift, initial part is writtern in Sanskrit and remaining in Tamil.
This supports Rajiv Sir explanation of Vernacularization might have resulted from an attachment to one’s mother tongue or ethinicity.
From his (Pallavamalla ) time onwards Tamil came to be the main language used by the Pallavas in their inscriptions, though a few records continued to be in Sanskrit.  This language was first adopted by Mahendravarman I himself in a few records of his (No. 16, fn. 2); but from the time of Paramesvaravarman I, the practice came into vogue of inscribing a part of the record in Sanskrit and the rest in Tamil.[33]
The inscriptions also speaks about the distribution of powers. All the temples are managed by committies or trusts not by a individiual. So the arguement of nexus of Kings and brahmins is also not that strong. Moreover in one inscription Brahmins were considered as defaultors because of they stood surety for some individuals who did not paid their dues. And loan was given to (note they were not written off) Brahmins to repay those dues. If Brahmins have such influence as mentioned by Pollock why were the dues were not written off.
Some inscriptions show that temples are not just spiritual centers but much more than that. Some talk about social programs like offering food to piligrims, desilting tank in a village etc.
Below are some of the inscriptions examples supporting my above observations.
No. 54.
(A. R. No. 8 of 1934-35).
Padur, Chingleput Taluk and District.
On a slab set up in the street called ‘Mettutteruvu’.
The beginning of this inscription is lost, but from palaeography and the letters Nan traceable in the first line, it may be assigned to Nandivarman III.   It is dated in the 18th year and registers the gift of 96 sheep by the shepherds (kottaanradis) of Amur-kottam for burning a perpetual lamp before the god Peruma[na*]digal ‘who was pleased’ to stand at Vilupperundaya-Visnugriham in Paduvur.
No. 90.
(A. R. No. 190 of 1912).
Tiruvorriyur, Saidapet Taluk, Chingleput District.
On a slab built into the floor of the mandapa in
 front of the central shrine in the Adhipurisvara temple.
On this slab of stone, three records are engraved one in continuation of another in the same hand.  The name of the king in the first record is damaged; the second is dated in the 7th year of Kampavarman[6]while the third belongs to the 6th year of Aparajita.  They appear, therefore, to have been engraved on the slab in the same time; but what necessitated the procedure is not clear.  The last record registers an agreement made in the 6th year of Vijaya-Aparajitavikrama-Pottaraiyar, by the assembly of Manali, hamlet of Tiruvorriyur, to burn two perpetual lamps before the god Mahadeva at Tiruvorriyur, in lieu of the interest on 60 kalanju  of gold received by them from the community of Mahesvaras.
The endowed amount was invested with the assembly as fixed deposit bearing interest at the usual rate of 3 manjadi per kalanju.  The assembly promised also to give two meals daily to the person who came to collect the interest and if they failed in their duty, they agreed to pay a fine of 8½ kanam per day to the court of justice.
No. 95.
(A. R. No. 435 of 1905).
On the same wall.
This inscription refers to a remission of taxes made by the assembly of Tiruttaniyal in the 18th year of Vijaya-Aparajitavikramavarman, on 1000 kuli of land situated to the north of the temple, purchased by Nambi Appi from the cultivators of the village and given over to the dharmigal of the village for providing offerings to and burning two twilight lamps in the temple of Tiruvirattanattudeva in the same village.  The donor is evidently identical with the builder of the temple mentioned in the above inscription.
The dharmigal were perhaps a body that managed the charitable endowments and trust property in the village.
No. 34.
(A. R. No. 109 of 1932-33).
Paiyanur, Chingleput taluk and District.
On a rock near the dilapidated temple of Ettisvara.
This record is dated in the 37th year of Vijaya-Nandivikramavarman who, from the palaeography of the inscription and the high regnal year quoted in it, may be identified with Pallavamalla.  It registers an agreement made by the gana of Payinur to remove annually the silt from the big tank of the village for the interest on 6,400 kadi of paddy received by them by the standard measure por-kal, from Nagan, a merchant of Ulakkuni residing at Mamallapuram. The document is signed by Settanandi, evidently a member of the gana.  The village Paiyanur is very close to Mahabalipuram and the earliest epigraphical reference to ‘Mamallapuram’ is to be found in the present inscription.
It may be pointed out that the epithets ‘Vijaya’ and ‘Vikramavarman’ added to his name by Nandivarman, were invariably adopted by his successors.[10]
No. 42.
(A. R. No. 283 of 1916).
Tondur, Gingee Taluk, South Arcot District.
On a Boulder in a field near the ‘Vinnamparai-rock’.
This inscription[14] is dated in the 6th year of  Vijaya-Dantivikramavarman and it registers a gift of 16 kalanju of gold by Vinnakovaraiyar, probably a chieftain of the locality, to provide, from th interest on the amount, offerings to the goddess Erruk-Kunranar-Bhattari for the merit of Udaradi and Nambi ……… who fell in an  encounter.  The food offered to the god was used for feeding pilgrims and the gold endowed was received by the assembly of Aruvagur in Singapura-nadu.  Certain specified members of the Varigam were nominated to see that the assembly maintained this charity properly.  The village Aruvagur, which is stated to have been situated to the east of the road, may be identified with Arugavur in the Gingee taluk.
No. 47.
(A. R. No. 158 of 1919).
Kiliyanur, Tinivanam Taluk, South Arcot District.
On the south wall of the central shrine in the Vaikunthavasa-Perumal temple.
This inscription is dated in the 3rd year of  Vijaya-Nandivikramavarman who may be identified with Nandivarman III.  It states that a resident of the village Tigaittiral built the temple of Tigaittiral Vishnugriha at Kilinelur in Oyma-nadu and gave 300 sheep for maintaining a sacred lamp and 2 pieces of land (seru) made tax-free, for providing offerings to the god.  In later inscriptions the god is called Virrirunda-Perumal (A.R.  Nos.163 and 168 of 1919).
No. 49.
(C. P. No. 24 of  1910-11).
Velurpalaiyam Plates of Nandivarman III: 6th year.
This copper-plate record issued in the 6th year of Nandivarman  (III) registers a gift of the village Srikattuppalli, to the Siva temple built by Yajnabhatta, at the request of Chola-Maharaja Kumarankusa, for the expenses of daily worship and for a feeding house.  This Chola-Maharaja and Vijayalaya, the founders of the revived Chola line at Tanjore are taken to have belonged to one and the same family.  This is doubtful and he should probably have belonged to the family of Renandu Cholas[17].
No. 39.
(A. R. No. 256 of 1908).
Vayalur, Chingleput Taluk, Chingleput District.
On a slab built into the floor of the mandapa in front of the central shrine in the vanadhisvara temple.
This inscription records a gift of 3 kadi  (of paddy) by five individuals for offerings and a lamp in the temple of Bhatara at Vayalaikka, in the 2nd year of Vijaya-Dantivikramavarman.
No. 103.
(A. R. No. 174 of 1912).
Tiruvorriyur, Saidapet Taluk, Chingleput District.
On a slab built into the floor of the verandah
round the central shrine in the Adhipurisvara temple.
This date of this record of Vijaya-Kampavarman  is not clear.  It might be 11, 13 or 16.  The inscription records an agreement made by the assembly (ur) of Vaikkattur ro provide offerings to the god Mahadeva at Tiruvorriyur, on the day of sankranti, for the interest on 27 kalanju of gold received by them from Pudi Arindigai, wife of Videlvidugu[Ilankove]lar of Kodumbalur[1] in Ko-nadu.  The chiefs of Kodumbalur (in the Pudukkottai state) figure largely in inscriptions as subordinates of the Cholas, but their connection with the Pallavas is not so well known.  A chief of this family is also mentioned in a mutilated record from Kilur[2], dated in the 11th year of Vijaya-Nandivikramavarman, where the donor is stated to be the wife of Sattan maravan and the daughter of Vikrama-Pudi who is probably identical with Videlvidugu Ilanko-Adiaraiyan mentioned in the same record.
No. 105.
(A. R. No. 372 of 1911).
Tiruvorriyur, Saidapet Taluk, Chingleput District.
On a slab built into the floor at the entrance into the second prakara of the Adhipurisvara temple.
The construction of a temple of Niranjanesvarattu-Mahadeva at Tiruvorriyur by a certain Niranjanaguravur of the place and the gift of 20,00 kuli of land by purchase from the assembly of Manali for its upkeep, are recorded in this inscription of Vijaya-Kampavarman dated in the 19th year.  The document was drawn up by Rudrappottar Kumara-Kalan, the madhyastha of the village.  The communities Mandirattar and Kombaruttar are mentioned in II. 29 – 30.
The inscription is stated to have been engraved by Tiruvorriyur-Acharyan alias Paramesvaran, son of Samundacharya.
The pullis are marked in the inscription.
No. 108.
(A. R. No. 345 of 1906).
Uttukkadu, Conjeeveram Taluk, Chingleput District.
On the south wall of the ruined Perumal temple.
This is dated in the 25th year of Vijaya-Kampavarman and registers the agreement made by the tirunamakkilavar of Ulaichcheri in Urrukkadu to burn three lamps and to provide offerings (to the god) for the money and land received by them from Pusali Vamanan, a resident of the village.  The name of the temple is not mentioned in the record, but from the reference made in it to the mahesvaras, it seems to have been dedicated to Siva.
No. 109.
(A. R. No. 82 of 1932-33).
Anur, Chingleput Taluk and District.
On the south wall of the mandapa in front of the central shrine in the Astrapurisvara temple.
This is a damaged and incomplete record of Kampavikra[mavarman] dated in the 25th year.  It registers an agreement made by the sabha of Aniyur to burn a perpetual lamp before the god Vambankattur-Mahadeva for the interest on 40 kalanju of gold received by them from Periya Sridhara-Kramavittan of Arivilimangalam, a member of the alum-gana, evidently of Anur.
No. 110.
(A.R. No. 283 of 1919).
Madam, Wandiwash Taluk, North Arcot District.
On the side of a boulder called Sarukkamparai About a furlong to the south of the village.
This inscription records that in the 26th year of Vijaya-Kamapavarman, Jayavallavan (Jayavallabha) a merchant of Kulattur in Tennarrur-nadu, a subdivision of Palkunrak-kottam purchased land from the urar of the village and presented it as erippatti for the maintenance of a tank, evidently at Madam.
No. 114.
(A.R. No. 152 of 1916).
Kilpulam, Arkonam Taluk, North Arcot District.
On the north, west and south walls of the Kailasanatha temple.
This record registers a gift of land made in the 2nd year of Vayiramegavarman by Mullikkudaiyan Adittanali for conducting the tiruppali (i.e., sribali) ceremony and for offerings during the three services in the temple of Tirukkulichcharattu-Alvar at Palkalam in Damar-kottam, with five persons including one for beating the gong (segandigai) and two for blowing the trumpets (kalam).  The assembly (ur) of Palkalam entrusted the endowed land to Arayanichchingan, a drummer (uvaichchan) residing in the village.

The village Palkalam may be identified with Kilpulam itself.


No. 129.

(A. R. No. 229 of 1925).
Akkur, Mayavaram Taluk, Tanjore District.
On the east side of the base of the mandapa in front of the Tanto Risvara temple.
This inscription states that Kopperunjingadeva who is called Alagiya-Pallavar alias Virapratapar, after imprisoning the Hoysalas and levying tribute from the Pandyas, proceeded to the Chola country along the southern bank of the Kaveri.  Proceeding due east, he worshipped at all the sacred shrines, repaired temples and remitted all the taxes on temple lands.  While camping during this march at a village, probably Akkur itself, in Jayangondasola-valanadu, he found that the tenants had ‘migrated as far as the Ganges’ leaving the lands waste.  Sympathising with their position, he remitted the arrears of taxes due from them, restored their original holdings and invited the emigrants to settle on their original lands.
The present inscription is probably connected with No. 124 above.  Since the defeat of the Hoysalas is also referred to here, this record may be assigned to Kopperunjinga 1.  The defeat on the Pandyas claimed in this record could not have taken place after the accession of the powerful Pandya sovereign Jatavarman Sundara-Pandya I in A.D. 1251.
It may be pointed out here that Kopperunjinga’s fortifications built on the north bank of the river Kaveri against his enemies the Hoysalas are referred to in a record from Tiruvenkadu.[3]
No. 131.
(A. R. No. 69 of 1918).
Vriddhachalam, Vriddhachalam Taluk, South Arcot District.
In the second gopura (right of entrance) of the Vriddhagirisvara temple.
This inscription records a provision made in the 2nd year of Sakalabhuvanachchakravarttigal Kopperunjingadeva for burning a perpetual lamp before the god at Tirumudukunram in Paruvur-kurram, a subdivision of Merka-nadu Irungolappadi-nadu situated in Virudarajabhayankara-valanadu, by Adaippu Tirukkarturai-Udaiyan Kunramuttaraiyan, son of Nerkuppai-Nadalvan Gunamudaiyan, one of the Pallis having the hereditary right of watchman ship in the temple.
The initial date of this chief is fixed in A.D. 1243[4] by a record from Conjeeveram[5], which equates the Saka year 1182 (A.D. 1260) with his 18th year.  The astronomical details given in the record correspond to A.D. 1244, November 13, Sunday.   The chief may, therefore, be identified with Kopperunjingadeva II.
No. 147.
(A. R. No. 323 of 1921).
Tirukkoyilur, Tirukkoyilur Taluk, South Arcot District.
On the north wall of the second prakara in the Trivikrama-Perumal temple.
It is stated in this record of Sakalabhuvanachakravarttin Avanialappirandan alias Kopperunjingadeva, dated in the 5th year, that the kaniyalar of the temple of Tiruvidaikali-Emberuman at Tirukkovalur agreed to burn a twilight lamp in the temple in return for six cows received by them from certain shepherds residing at Melaip-Panippakkam in Idaiyarru-nadu, a subdivision of Tirumunaippadi.
For the cows received the kaniyalar undertook to supply, by the ulagalandannali, 1 nali and 1 uri of ghee monthly to the temple.
The astronomical details given in the record correspond to A.D. 1247, December 29, Sunday.
No. 149.
(A. R. No. 296 of 1913).
Chidambaram, Chidambaram Taluk, South Arcot District.
On the north wall of the third prakara in the Nataraja temple.
This inscription gives an insight into the management of the temple affairs.  It is dated in the 6th year of Sakalabhuvanachakravartti Avaniyalappirandar  alias Kopperunjingadeva. The temple at Chidambaram was at this time managed by a committee consisting of the following members and groups, viz., Jayatungap-Pallavaraiyar, Tillaiambalap-Pallavaraiyar, Mahesvara-kankaniseyvar, Srikaryanseyvar, Samudayancheyvar, Koyilanayakancheyar, Tirumaligaikkuruseyvar and the accountants.
It registers a grant of land made by Sottai-Nayaka alias Kumara-Bhatta of Irayur residing in Ponmeyndasola-chaturvedimangalam for a flower garden called ‘Tirunilai-Alagiya’ for supplying flowers to the god and the goddess Tirukkamakkottamudaiya Periyanachchiyar with an additional plot by purchase from Ponnandi, wife of Ulaichchanan Madevan Tiruchchirrambalamudaiyan of Perumbarrappuliyur, as tirunamattukkani, for the maintenance of the person looking after this garden.
The village ponmeyndasola-chaturvedimangalam must have been so named after the title of Kulottunga-Chola II.[9]  The inscription purports to be an order of Solakon.
No. 151.
(A. R. No. 304 of 1913).
Chidambaram, Chidambaram Taluk, South Arcot District.
On the north wall of the third prakara in the Nataraja temple.
This inscription, dated in the 7th year, contains an order of the officer Solakonissued to the authorities of the temple at Chidabaram, to engrave on their temple walls, the gift of a flower garden made after purchase by a devaradiyar named Pillaiyar Sirridai Arivai and one Irangalmitta-pillaiyar, for providing flowers for the goddess Tirukkamakkottamudaiya-Periyanachchiyar and for the maintenance of two servants looking after the garden.
It may be mentioned that the officers Jayatunga-Pallavaraiyar, Tillaiambala-Pallavaraiyar and Tennavan-Brahmamarayan[1] mentioned here also figure in No. 124 of 1888, a record of the 28th year of Maravarman Kulasekharadeva (A.D. 1296) from the same temple.
No. 157.
(A. R. No. 318 of 1913).
Chidabaram, Chidambaram Taluk, South Arcot District.
On the north wall of the third prakara in the Nataraja temple.
This record, also dated in the 9th year of the chief, registers an order of Solakon makidng a gift of 27 and odd ma of land, by purchase from several individuals, for the maintenance of gardeners working in three different gardens, namely, one, in korrangudi alias Pavittiramanikkanallur, hamlet of Perumbarrappuliyur, and the others called ‘Avaniyalappirandan-tengu-tirunandavanam’ in the same village and ‘Adiravisiaduvan-tirunandavanam’ at Madandayarmanikkanallur. The gift is stated to have been made for the welfare of Kopperunjinga (devar tirumenikku nanraga). The lands purchased were situated in the devadana villages of (given by) Tamilnadu-katta-Pallavaraiyar.[5]
No. 159.
(A. R. No. 312 of 1913).
Chidambaram, Chidambaram Taluk, South Arcot District.
On the north wall of the third prakara in the Nataraja temple.
This inscription, dated in the 10th year, records an order issued by Solakon for the welfare of his master. It pertains to an exchange of 140 – 7/8 kuli of land in Pallippadai alias Vikramasolanallur in which was situated the temple of Pidari Tiruchchirrambala-Makali, for an equal extent of land (i.e., 141 kuli) purchased from the temple of Varanavasi-Mahadeva, according to the sadhana given by Parasavan Tiruchchirrambalamudaiyan alias Kanakasabhapati-panditan who had the kani-right of the former temple. This land was made tax-free by order of the officer Solakon, for the welfare of Kopperunjingadeva. The inscription reveals the existence of a committee called ‘Nilavaravu-kuttap-perumakkal’ which was probably in charge of land income. Some of the temple authorities mentioned here also figure in the time of Rajraja III and Jatavarman Sundara-Pandya in a few records of the village[6]. The documents connected with this transaction were ordered to be preserved in the temple treasury.
The Pidari temple is stated to have been situated on the southern side of the ‘Vikkiramasolan-tengu-tiruvidi’, along which the god (at Chidambaram) was taken in procession of the sea during festival days.
Vikkiramasolanallur is here called Pallippadai, but in No. 275 of 1913 belonging to Jatavarman Sundara-Pandya I dated in the 14th regnal year it bears the alternative name of Akkan-Pallippadai. From this it may perhaps be inferred that the remains of the elder sister (akkan) of Vikrama-Chola were interred here and that the village called after the king as ‘Vikkiramasolanallur’ was founded at this locality.
No. 180.
(A. R. No. 317 of 1921).
Tirukkoyilur, Tirukkoyilur Taluk, South Arcot District.
On the north wall of the second prakara of the Trivikrama-Perumal temple.
This inscription of the 13th year records a gift of 16 cows by Suliyamalagiyan alias Lakesvaradevan, son of Nachchi alias Tiruvengadapperumal Manikkam, a maidservant of the temple of Tiruvidaikkali-Nayanar at Tirukkovalur in Kurukkai-kurram, a subdivision of Miladu alias Jananatha-valanadu[2], for providing one alakku of ghee daily by the measure Ulagalandan-nali to the god Tiruvidaikali-Nayanar.
The astronomical details given in the record are regular for A.D. 1256, January 3, with the emendation Purva-Bhadrapada for Sravana.
No. 204.
(A. R. No. 196 of 1930).
Kunnattur, Sriperumbudur Taluk, Chingleput District.
On the west wall of the central shrine in the Tirunagesvara temple.
In this record dated in the 17th year, it is stated that the assembly in charge of the central shrine in the temple of Tirunagisvaramudaiya-Nayanar at Kunrattur in Puliyur-kottam alias Kulottungasola-valanadu, a subdivision of Jayangondasola-mandalam, received 3 palankasu from Piraiyanivanudalar, the daughter of Ponnalvar, a servant attached to the temple and agreed to burn a twilight lamp before the imae of dakshinamurti set up by her in the temple. It may be pointed out here that in this inscription no distinction is made between the territorial divisions ‘kottam’ and ‘valanadu’.
No. 232.
(A. R. No. 498 of 1921).
On the north wall of the mandapa in front of the central
shrine in the vaikuntha-Perumal temple in the same village.
This is also dated in the 27th year and it records a gift of 4 cows to supply monthly 1 nali of ghee by the measure Arumolideva-nali for burning a twilight lamp in the temple of Sri-Vaiku(nda)nthadeva at Tiruvennainallur, by Perungakon Sivanandan, a shepherd residing at Kayirurpattu.
No. 246.
(A. R. No. 191 of 1904).
Tiruvakkarai, Villupuram Taluk, South Arcot District.
On the south base of the 1000-pillar mandapa
inside the second prakara of the Chandramaulisvara temple.
This present inscription which is not dated gives the surnames Kadavan Avaniyalappirandan, Sarvanjan, Khadgamalla[7], and Kripanamalla to Kopperunjinga II. It records that the chief constructed a sluice, with a feeder-channel, to the tank at Olugarai. In the Sanskrit version appended to the epigraph the channel is stated to have been named ‘Tribhuvananripanatha.’ The village Olugarai is in French India about 2 miles from Pondicherry. It was also known as Kulottungasolanallur (A. R. No. 175 of 1904), evidently after Kulottunga-Chola I.
No. 258.
(A. R. No. 503 of 1926).
Omampuliyur, Chidambaram Taluk, South Arcot District.
On the west and south walls of the central shrine in the Pranava-Vyaghrapurisvara temple.
The date of this damaged inscription is lost. It gives an instance of how the temple came to the rescue of persons placed in financial difficulties. The record states that certain Brahmans of Ulagalandasola-chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeya in Merka-nadu, a subdivision of Virudarajabhayankara-valanadu ‘on the northern bank’, had stood surety for some tenants who went away without paying the dues on their lands. The duty of paying the arrears of dues devolved upon these persons, who when pressed for payment tried in vain to transfer the lands to others. Finally they requested the trustees of the temple, evidently at Omampuliyur, to advance them money by taking at least a portion of the land as tirunamattukkani. The trustees thereupon sold some ornaments in the treasury which were perhaps not in use, and with the proceeds, assisted the Brahmans by buying the land for the temple.
In this inscription Omampuliyur is called Ulagalandasola-chaturvedimangalam.

Business of poaching in India – The Religious Kind


By George Thundiparambil

(I have seen both the worlds and I know better. My comment from
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Ms. Kamini Dandapani’s blog post is a revelation of how gullible and naive Hindus are and can still be, and how easily they can be deceived by the chameleon-like activities of professional Christians.
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I say “professional” because the processes of cultural appropriation are invariably done by the clergy who are trained and assigned according to their skills to do what they are doing and devote 24/7 in propagating their religion.
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Apparently Ms. Dandapani has also probably never heard of “Christian yoga”, “Christunatyam”, etc. It is most likely that she also doesn’t know what Christianity exactly is. For that one has to study it with the eyes open.
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Sadly, the vulnerable situation the Hindus find themselves in (dwindling numbers, dis-empowered in their own country of origin, etc.) may be attributed to the characteristic Hindu naivety as exemplified by Ms. Dandapani.
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Cultures who similarly thought in these lines are no longer on this earth to talk about their culture.
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Long after Hindus and Bharatanatyam are gone and buried, with the earth and dharma destroyed and burnt, Ms. Dandapani can find relief now in the thought that there will be Christian padres left to conduct the last carnatic concert on the prophesied doomsday.
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I am not saying this because of any irrational hatred I nurse for Christians or Christianity – most of my beloved relatives are still Christian, carrying on out of convenience or ignorance or arrogance.
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There is much evidence on my side if one cares to stick out her neck and look around. Christmas and Easter were once pagan festivals in Europe around 1500 years ago, but none of the pagans remain to talk about them.
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How many people living on earth know that these were pagan festivals that had nothing to do with Christians or Jesus. The birthday of Jesus (Christmas) was celebrated by all early Christians on January 7th and is still celebrated by many Eastern Christians on that day.
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The date changed when the “faith” came to Europe. They changed the date to usurp the winter solstice celebration of the pagans and fixed it on December 24th, one of the dates in the traditional festival. Easter was the festival of the pagans at the spring equinox, associated with the moon goddess Aster. Now both festivals are patented and celebrated all over the earth by the Christians.
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In 1599, the Goan bishop of that time, Alexis Menezes, originally a Portuguese, chaired an acculturation program among the Eastern Christians of Kerala, known in history as the Diamper Synod, where they were asked not to follow Hindu arts, crafts, customs, rituals and festivals and made a long list of prohibited things.
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After the second Vatican Council in 1962, when the church made a series of U-turns to accommodate a discontented people and new knowledge, they made provisions for the regional churches to start appropriating local customs to make it more attractive for the laity and to facilitate proselytizing among peoples like the Hindus.
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Christianity in its core is not at all different from Islam, perhaps a bit more stringent.
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Medieval European Christianity was much more evil than the modern-day Taliban.  One only has to open the history books to find out.
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The Church liberalism is only a show for people living in the West, because otherwise they cannot wield the influence they still have, like having a seat at the UN and in all countries as diplomats.
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It was the fascist Mussolini who made Vatican a state.
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Inside the Indian churches, the Christians systematically tarnish the Hindu religion and on the outside, are taking over one Hindu institution after the other (like Kalakshetra).
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Many Christian orders have shed their white cassocks and wear saffron robes. Earlier they had shed their customary black for white cassocks when they found that Hindus ran away seeing the black outfit. The white cassock was adopted only for India.
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For me, who has seen both the worlds, Christianity in all its forms is sheer contamination of the mind and environment and distilled evil.
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If Ms. Dandapani has any doubt, I am at her disposal to clear that.

“India” is to be replaced with “South Asia” for students in California!


A small group of South Asia studies faculty recently asked the California Board of Education to change the History Social Science Frameworks (Syllabus) so that the word “India” will be removed and replaced with “South Asia.” They believe that India did not exist before 1947 and want a stereotypical and concocted generalization like “South Asia” to be used for almost all discussions of Indian history before 1947. (Note: the picture above is a satirical depiction of how absurd it would be if every country were changed to its mere geographical location – no other country is being changed thus, only India to ‘South Asia’)

If you thought the California textbooks were problematic, they are going to get far worse now, and they won’t be any change for another ten years if you don’t act fast! Please sign in support of the open letter to the board initiated by several scholars below. If you are a student, teacher or parent, please do mention that when you sign. Finally, please remember this concerns the future of India and all its people, and please do not be abusive in your comments!

DEAR CALIFORNIA BOARD OF EDUCATION,

You seem to have been taken for a ride! You cannot seriously expect California’s educational system to be respected anywhere in the world if you go ahead with your recent decision to delete all references to “India” in middle school history lessons and replace this word with the geo-politically motivated  Cold War era relic of a phrase “South Asia.” Would you presume to deny the reality of India’s existence and history, and its deep significance to Indian American students in California, simply because a few misinformed professors of “South Asia Studies” wrote you a letter recommending you re-educate California’s children in this bizarre manner?

We have examined the “South Asia studies” professors’ claim. They want the History-Social Science Frameworks that determine what children are taught in California for the next ten years to remove most references to “India” before 1947 because, they believe, India gained independence from Britain only in 1947, and there was no India before 1947! That, at least, is the conceit of their claim.

If this is indeed correct that “India” is not an accurate term for “India” before 1947, how is it possible that the word “India” has been in usage in some form or another from the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans? Did Columbus go searching for “South Asia”? Are the islands of the Caribbean Sea called the “West South Asian-es” instead of the “West Indies”? Were the indigenous peoples of the continents that came to be called the Americas misnamed as “American South Asians”? Was it the British East “South Asia” Company that led colonial trade and exploitation? Was it the “South Asian Ocean” which constituted the center of the world’s largest trade network before the rise of modern Europe? Do you write, perhaps, with “South Asian” ink? When you have to choose between Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and Indian food do you tell your family and friends, let’s have “East Asian,” “East-East-Asian,” “Middle North American,” and … “South Asian”?

We hope you recognize that the California Board of Education and the South Asia studies faculty who have misguided you into this bizarre direction are on the threshold of becoming an object of ridicule and pity! The rock solid truth is that has India existed, in some administrative and territorial form or the other, and as a civilizational presence noted by observers and travelers from all around the world, for well over two thousand years of recorded history. The Europeans who ruled over it for the past four hundred years called it, very clearly, “India,” and so did its people. Before they came, there were terms like “Hindustan” and “Bharat,” which hundreds of millions of ordinary people in India use widely to this day (as opposed to “South Asian” which is used by a tiny, elite cult-like complex of academics and activists). We must, therefore, ask: what gives a few professors  unable to distinguish between high-theory speculations in the university classroom and the reality lived and fought for by over a billion people, nearly one-sixth of the human race, the right to try and decimate one’s right to one’s own name? Is it not intellectual arrogance?

What is even more absurd and self-contradictory in their recommendations is their suggestion (which is one of the changes you seem to have accepted) that “India” be removed in all references to the past, but then used again in phrases like “ancient Indian religion” – the new phrase being used to replace the term “Hinduism.” Is this the kind of logic and rigor that students of California, the high-tech capital of the world, are going to be taught? Are teachers going to be expected to tell their students, “Ok, class, in ancient South Asia (not ancient India), the people practiced the religion of ancient India (not Hinduism)”?

How are the hundreds of Hindu American children who came to Sacramento these last few months to speak of the pain and hurt caused by decades of racism and ignorance in your schoolbooks going to feel now? Can members of your board, or these professors of South Asian studies, stand face to face with these bright young students and debate them? Can any of you explain why you think it is a good idea to erase a whole people’s sense of their own past?

It is time to end the discriminatory treatment that Indian origin and Hindu students have faced in American classrooms. If you accept the logic of the South Asia faculty who want all references to India before 1947 changed to the vague “South Asia” because it was technically “not India” till it declared independence, then you should be prepared to apply the same logic rigorously to all nations mentioned in California’s history textbooks. Do go right ahead and replace all lessons about all nations before they declared independence to some sterile geographical category. So all references to “America” before 1776 could be changed to “Northern Western Hemispherical Landmass” perhaps!

We hope you recognize the complete absurdity, irony and indeed cruelty of what you are about to do. Education and civil rights ought to march hand in hand. Please do not go down in history as the board that stole the right of a billion people to their own name, not in the 21st century, and not in California. We urge you to reject all the changes pushed by the South Asia faculty group that attempt to erase India and Hinduism from California’s schools. Let “India” remain “India” and “Hinduism” remain “Hinduism,” and respect reality at least that much.

 

Vamsee Juluri

Professor of Media Studies, University of San Francisco

Yvette Rosser, Ph. D.

Independent Researcher & Expert on History Textbooks

Ramesh Rao

Professor of Communication, Columbus State University

Vishal Misra

Professor of Computer Science, Columbia University

Madhu Kishwar

CSDS

Ramdas Lamb

Associate Professor, University of Hawaaii

Kausik Gangopadhyay

Associate Professor, IIM Kozhikode

(The petition is available at this link)

https://www.change.org/p/academia-don-t-replace-india-with-south-asia-in-california-history-textbooks?recruiter=372905288&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

84,000 Translating the Words of the Buddha


Source:     http://84000.co/about/vision/

It is said that the Buddha taught more than 84,000 methods to attain true peace and freedom from suffering. Of these teachings, only 5% have been translated into modern languages. Due to the rapid decline in knowledge of classical languages and in the number of qualified scholars, we are in danger of losing this cultural heritage and spiritual legacy.

84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, a registered global non-profit initiative, aims to translate all of the Buddha’s words into modern languages, and to make them available to everyone, free of charge.

Our Vision

100 years To provide universal access to the Buddhist literary heritage translated into modern languages.
25 years To make all of the Kangyur and related volumes of the Tengyur available in English, and provide widespread accessibility in multiple platforms.
10 years To make a significant portion of the Kangyur and complementary Tengyur texts available in English, and easily accessible in multiple platforms.
5 years To make a representative sample of the Kangyur and Tengyur available in English, and establish the infrastructure and resources necessary to accomplish the long-term vision.

Scope of Our Work

84000’s primary focus will be the Tibetan texts included in the Kangyur and Tengyur (the translation of canonical texts from Pali and Chinese being the province of other organisations).

Our main efforts will be commissioning translations of these texts, particularly those that have not yet been translated. In the initial phase of the project, the emphasis will be on translation into English. Other modern languages, including Chinese, will be included when resources are available.

Translations will be made according to broad, consensual guidelines. Where possible, the translations will be aimed at an educated but non-specialist readership, providing the clear and comprehensive detail required by both scholars and practitioners. Brief introductions, notes, bibliographies, glossaries and other reference material will be included with each text.

After expert review, the translations will be published in the online reading room, free of charge. The online reading room database will provide access to 84000’s translations as they become available, and will reference other existing translations. Print editions will be made available if funding permits.

Scarcity of Existing Translations

To date, less than 5% of the classical Tibetan texts and only 15% of the classical Chinese texts have been translated into modern languages.

Even though much work on canonical texts has already been done, particularly in the last 30 years, the collections are so vast that the percentage remains small. There are some 2,200 classical Chinese canonical texts in 55 massive volumes; while the two Tibetan collections, the Kangyur and Tengyur contain more than 5,200 texts in 325 volumes.

In the case of the Tibetan texts, most of the efforts made by translators, scholars and teachers have gone into works that belong to the non-canonical, indigenous literature of each lineage that have been the traditional basis for study. There are compelling arguments for enlarging the attention given to the works in the Kangyur and Tengyur, which are the common source of all the Tibetan lineages, and an important heritage to be shared with Buddhists everywhere.

Rapid Disappearance of Traditional Knowledge:

Oral lineages of detailed understanding and spiritual practice based on these texts have endured for centuries in traditional Buddhist cultures in Asia, until the present day.

Because of the enormous social, cultural, and political upheavals of the last hundred years, very few people alive today have received the long and intense education, training, and study necessary to understand and interpret the texts. For some texts, the oral interpretive tradition has already been lost.

The number of such scholars and masters is ever dwindling, and it is vital that their unique knowledge of the texts, and of the classical languages in which they are written, be supported in the work of translation.

Survival Risk of Classical Tibetan:

Classical Tibetan is a language of the Tibeto-Burman family, related to other languages of the Himalayan region (and perhaps, very distantly, to Chinese). While the language itself is unrelated to Sanskrit or any other Indic languages, its written script, based on an Indian prototype, was developed in the 7th century for the purpose of translating the sacred Buddhist texts brought to Tibet from India.

The number of people who learn, understand, and use classical Tibetan is rapidly declining, and the language is facing a serious threat to its survival. Translation serves the dual benefit of uncovering the timeless wisdom recorded within these texts, and spurring greater interest in this ancient language.

Demand for Buddhist Texts:

The past few decades have seen a steadily burgeoning interest in the study and practice of Buddhism in the West, as well as a resurgence of interest in some Asian societies that are traditionally associated with Buddhism. Many people find it difficult to deepen their studies or practice because of the lack of Buddhist texts available in languages that they can comprehend.

Prevent Further Losses:

The world saw the destruction of thousands of works in Sanskrit during the political upheavals in India between the 11th and 13th centuries. But the majority of them had been translated into classical Chinese and Tibetan, in which they were preserved until modern times. The upheavals in China and Tibet during the 20th century came perilously close to a second catastrophic destruction; fortunately, most of the literary heritage, including the canonical works, survived, even if other important texts were lost.

Today, it is in our hands to protect these endangered texts from further loss, and to safeguard this precious legacy for future generations.

Completing the Legacy:

Many of the texts in the Tibetan Buddhist collections no longer exist in any other language. When they have been translated, these texts will complement the Pali Canon and Chinese Tripitaka to form the broadest possible base of Buddhist textual collections.

These collections will serve as an important foundation for comparative research across the three main existing schools of Buddhism––the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

New insight into the evolution of Buddhist philosophy and narratives over the centuries and across different cultures will be revealed, benefiting both the secular––the academic researchers and general public; and the religious––Buddhist teachers, students and practitioners.

Over the centuries, translation has played a crucial role in the survival and revival of Buddhism.

Buddhist traditions that still exist in some parts of the world, such as Japan, China, Korea, Tibet, Bhutan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Burma, have survived in large part because our ancestors compiled and translated many of the original texts into their own languages.

SURVIVING BUDDHIST TEXTS:

The first collections of the Buddhist texts were compiled in Pali and Sanskrit. The Pali texts had been taken to Sri Lanka and survived; most of the Sanskrit texts were lost in the Muslim invasions that destroyed the Buddhist culture of northern India between the 11th and 13th centuries. Fortunately, by then most of the texts had already been translated into classical Chinese and Tibetan.

The three major collections of sacred Buddhist texts that have survived are:

  • The Pali Canon or Tipitaka
  • The Chinese Buddhist Canon or Chinese Tripitaka
  • The Tibetan Kangyur and Tengyur

The classical Chinese translations started in the 1st century when Chinese pioneers and Indian scholars began to introduce Buddhism to China. The classical Tibetan translations followed later during the unparalleled state-sponsored cultural transfer of the Buddhist teachings into Tibet from the 8th century onwards .

The Tibetan collection contains a large number of texts not found in the Chinese canon, particularly tantras, and there are some Chinese texts that do not exist in Tibetan.

To ensure the continued survival of these timeless texts, and to make the profound meanings they contain accessible to all, they need to be translated into the languages used in the world today.

84000 Translators

No. of Teams: 33  teams
No. of Translators: 173 translators
No. of Reviewers: 24 reviewers

Abhidhanottara Translation Project:

Dr. David B. Gray, Santa Clara University
Peter-Daniel Szanto, University of Oxford
Shaman Hatley, Concordia University of Montreal
Olga Serbaeva, University of Zurich

Annie Bien and team

Annie Bien, Columbia University
Geshe Dorji Damdul, Tibet House
Dr. Paul Hackett, Columbia University, International Buddhist College
Dr. Robert Thurman, Columbia University
Dr. Shrikant Bahulkar, University of Pune
Dr. Bo Jiang, Columbia University
Leslie Kriesel, Columbia University Press

Anne Burchardi and team:

Dr. Anne Burchardi, University of Copenhagen
Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche, Danakosha Dharma Center
Dr. Ulrich Pagel, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

Bhaiṣajyavastu Translation Team:

Dr. Fumi Yao, The University of Tokyo
Shayne Clarke, McMaster University
Gregory Schopen, University of California
Masahiro Shimoda, The University of Tokyo

Blazing Wisdom Translation Group:

Virginia Blum, Drikung Kagyu Institute
Khenpo Sonam Tobgyal Rinpoche, Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist Temple
Tulku Sherdor Rinpoche, Blazing Wisdom Institute
Meghan Howard, UC Berkeley
Hans C.Schmidt, Blazing Wisdom Institute

Bruno Galasek and Team:

Bruno Galasek
Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche, Ewam Choden Tibetan Buddhist Center

Buddhavacana Translation Group:

Gregory Forgues, University of Vienna
Rolf Scheuermann, University of Vienna
Casey Kemp, University of Vienna
Dennis Johnson, University of Vienna Library
Honza Dolensky, University of Vienna
Xie Zhuoran, University of Vienna
Khenpo Konchok Tamphel, Songtsen Library

Dharmachakra Translation Committee:

Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery
Khenpo Trogpa Tulku
Khenpo Urgyen Tenpel
Lama Tenzin Sangpo
Karma Ozer Lama, Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery
Dr. Andreas Doctor, Rangjung Yeshe Institiute/Kathmandu University
Dr. James Gentry, Harvard University
Dr. Joseph McClennan
Dr. Mattia Salvini, Mahidol University
Dr. Thomas Doctor, Kathmandu University
Ven. Ani Jinpa (Eugenie De Jong)
Alex Yiannopoulos
Anders Bjornback
Anna Zilman, Rangjung Yeshe Institute
Benjamin Cassard, Rangjung Yeshe Institute
Benjamin Collett
Catherine Dalton, Rangjung Yeshe Institute/UC Berkeley
Guillaume Avertin
Heidi Koppl
Miguel Fares Sawaya, Rangjung Yeshe Institute
Nika Jovic
Ryan Damron, UC Berkeley/Rangjung Yeshe Gomde California
Timothy Hinkle
Wiesiek Mical, Kathmandu University
Zachary Beer, UC Berkeley

Dharmasagara Translation Group

Raktrul Ngawang Kunga Rinpoche (Pema Dorjee), Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute
Rebecca Hufen, University of Hamburg
Jason Sanche, Siddhartha’s Intent
Shanshan Jia, University of Hamburg
Arne Schelling, Siddhartha’s Intent

Dr. Gareth Sparham

Four Reliances Translations:

David Rawson, Sera Jey Monastic University
Geshe Yama Rinchen, Sera Jey
Karma Samten, Sera Jey
Russell Shipman, Waikato Compassion Meditation Centre

Gangtok Translation Group:

Thomas Cruijsen, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
Khenpo Chowang, Sikkim Institute of Higher Nyingma Studies
Tashi Tenzing, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology

Garchen Buddhist Institute:

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, Garchen Buddhist Institute
Khenpo Nyima Gyaltsen, Jangchubling Monastery
Ven. Lama Gape, Garchen Buddhist Institute
Khenpo Könchog Mönlam, Jangchubling, Dehradun
Khenmo Trinlay Chödrön, Tibetan Meditation Center
Ven. Lobsang Norbu Shastri, Central University of Tibetan Studies (CUTS)
Ven. Könchog Tharchin, Tibetan Meditation Center
Ven. Master Jian Deng, Chung Tai Chan Monastery
Khenpo Gawang, Pema Karpo Meditation Center
Khenpo Samdrub, Gar Drolma Choling Buddhist Center
Ina Bieler, Garchen Buddhist Institute
Samantha Hung, Dipa Foundation / UCLA
Dr. Kay Candler, St. Joseph’s University
Prof. Dr. Sumanapala Galmangoda, Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies
Mr. Stephen K. Hayes

Karen Liljenberg and team:

Karen Liljenberg, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London
Dr. Ulrich Pagel, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

Karma Gyaltsen Ling:

Maurizio Pontiggia (Lama Tsering Wangchuk), Thessaloniki Buddhist Center ‘Karma Gyaltsen Ling’
Chryse Tringos-Allen, Perrotis College, American Farm School
Dr. Ariadni Gerouki, Thessaloniki Buddhist Center ‘Karma Gyaltsen Ling’

Nalanda Translation Committee:

Scott Wellenbach
Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Naropa
Larry Mermelstein
Jacqueline Connaughton
Jessie Litven
Ryan Jones
David Birch
Andy Karr
Linda Lewis
Robert Vogler

Padmakara Translation Group:

Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, Association du Centre d’Etudes de Chanteloube
Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche, Association du Centre d’Etudes de Chanteloube
Dr. John Canti, Padmakara Translation Group
Dr. Gyurme Dorje, University of London
Greg Seton
Charles Hastings

Peter Roberts and team:

Dr. Peter Alan Roberts
Emily Bower, Shambhala International Community
Guilaine Mala
Yeshe Tulku, Sakya Monastery
Geoff Picus

Prof. Peter Skilling

Ratnaśrī Translation Group

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang, Drikung Kagyu Institute
Acharya Khenpo Konchok Tamphel, Songtsen Library
Khenpo Konchok Sherab, Songtsen Library
Acharya Shanta Kumar Negi, Private Office of His Holiness Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang
Dr. Kay Candler, St. Joseph’s University ELS

Robert Mayer and team:

Dr. Robert Mayer, University of Oxford
Dr. Cathy Cantwell, University of Oxford
Khenpo Gyurme Tsultrim, Shechen Shedra
Ven. Changling Rinpoche, Shechen Monastery
Lopon P. Ogyan Tanzin, Central University of Tibetan Studies (CUTS)
Lama Kunzang Dorje, Jangsa Gompa
Prof. Vesna Wallace, UC Santa Barbara

Robert Miller and team:

Robert Miller (Ven. Lozang Zöpa), Lhundrub Chime Gatsal Ling
Diana Finnegan (Ven. Lhundup Damchö)
Haiyan Hu-von Hinüber, Konfuzius-Institutan der Universität Freiburg
Matthew Wuethrich
Maurice Ozaine, Konfuzius-Institutan der Universität Freiburg
Geshé Tséwang Nyima, Drepung Loseling
Geshé Rinchen Ngödrup, Sera Je Monastery

Sakya Pandita Translation Group

(Tsechen Kunchab Ling and International Buddhist Academy):

Ven. Khenpo Kalsang Gyaltsen, Tsechen Kunchab Ling
Ven. Dr. Khenpo Ngawang Jorden, International Buddhist Academy
Rev. Dr. Chodrung Kunga, Vassar College/Tsechen Kunchab Ling
Ven. Lama Jampa Losal, International Buddhist Academy
Dr. C. Upender Rao, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Yangchen Dolkar Tsatultsang, International Buddhist Academy
Ven. Jampa Tenzing Bhutia, International Buddhist Academy
Ven. Tashi Sangpo, International Buddhist Academy
Ven. Ngawang Tenzin Gurung, International Buddhist Academy
Christian Bernert, Institute for Buddhist Studies
Emma T. Cobb, University of Vienna
Julia C. Stenzel, International Buddhist Academy

Sarasvatī Translation Team:

Dr. Shenghai Li, Harvard University
Zhuo Siyu, Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT)
Steven Rhodes, Shambhala Publications

Sonam Tsering and team:

Sonam Tsering, Columbia University
Norzin Dolma

Tenpa Tsering and team:

Tenpa Tsering, Central University of Tibetan Studies (CUTS)
Khentrul Gyurme Dorje, Mindroling Monastery Clement Town
Davis A. Baltz, Sarnath International Nyingma Institute

The Norwegian Institute of Palaeography and Historical Philology (PHI):

Jens Braarvig, University of Oslo
David Welsh
Fredrik Liland, University of Oslo
Andrew Skilton, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

Tibetan Classics Translators Guild of New York:

Dr. Geshe Lozang Jamspal, International Buddhist College
Dr. Toy-Fung Tung, John Jay College
Natalie Hauptman, Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center
Irene Cannon-Geary, Columbia University
Norman Guberman
Thomas Kyle Fischer, Burke Library, Columbia University

UCSB Buddhist Studies Translation Group:

Jake Nagasawa, University of California, Santa Barbara
Erdene Baatar Erdene-Ochir, University of California, Santa Barbara
Jaakko Takkinen, University of California, Santa Barbara
José I.Cabezón, University of California, Santa Barbara

University of Calgary Buddhist Studies:

James B. Apple, Ph.D., University of Calgary
Shinobu A. Apple,Ph.D., University of Calgary

University of Toronto:

Prof. Frances Garrett, University of Toronto
Khenpo Kunga Sherab, University of Toronto
Dr. Gareth Sparham, UC Berkeley
Ben Wood, University of Toronto
Amanda Goodman, University of Toronto

University of the West:

Dr. Joshua Capitanio, University of the West
Victor Gabriel, University of the West
Dr. Miroj Shakya, University of the West

Vikramashila Translation House:

Samantha Hung, Dipa Foundation / UCLA
H.H. the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Drikung Kagyu Institute
Khenpo Nyima Gyaltsen, Kagyu College
Nubpa Rinpoche, Rinchen Ling Monastery
Khenpo Konchok Monlam, Kagyu College
Tracy Howard, Columbia University
Meghan Howard, UC Berkeley
Ven. Konchog Tharcin, Tibetan Meditation Center
Ven. Master Jian Deng, Chung Tai Chan Monastery
Kay Candler, St. Joseph’s University

 

US and UK had planned to attack India in B’desh war: Lessons from history


By: Rakesh Krishnan Simha

Washington DC, December 3, 1971, 10:45am.

US President Richard Nixon is on the phone with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, hours after Pakistan launched simultaneous attacks on six Indian airfields, a reckless act that prompted India to declare war.

Nixon: So West Pakistan giving trouble there.

Kissinger: If they lose half of their country without fighting they will be destroyed. They may also be destroyed this way but they will go down fighting.

Nixon: The Pakistan thing makes your heart-sick. For them to be done so by the Indians and after we have warned the bitch (reference to Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi). Tell them that when India talks about West Pakistan attacking them it’s like Russia claiming to be attacked by Finland.

Washington, December 10, 1971, 10:51am.

A week later the war is not going very well for Pakistan, as Indian armour scythes through East Pakistan and the Pakistan Air Force is blown out of the subcontinent’s sky. Meanwhile, the Pakistani military in the west is demoralised and on the verge of collapse as the Indian Army and Air Force attack round the clock.

Nixon: Our desire is to save West Pakistan. That’s all.

Kissinger: That’s right. That is exactly right.

Nixon: All right. Keep those carriers moving now.

Kissinger: The carriers—everything is moving. Four Jordanian planes have already moved to Pakistan, 22 more are coming. We’re talking to the Saudis, the Turks we’ve now found are willing to give five. So we’re going to keep that moving until there’s a settlement.

Nixon: Could you tell the Chinese it would be very helpful if they could move some forces or threaten to move some forces?

Kissinger: Absolutely.

Nixon: They’ve got to threaten or they’ve got to move, one of the two. You know what I mean?

Kissinger: Yeah.

Nixon: How about getting the French to sell some planes to the Paks?

Kissinger: Yeah. They’re already doing it.

Nixon: This should have been done long ago. The Chinese have not warned the Indians.

Kissinger: Oh, yeah.

Nixon: All they’ve got to do is move something. Move a division. You know, move some trucks. Fly some planes. You know, some symbolic act. We’re not doing a goddamn thing, Henry, you know that.

Kissinger: Yeah.

Nixon: But these Indians are cowards. Right?

Kissinger: Right. But with Russian backing. You see, the Russians have sent notes to Iran, Turkey, to a lot of countries threatening them. The Russians have played a miserable game.

If the two American leaders were calling Indians cowards, a few months earlier the Indians were a different breed altogether. This phone call is from May 1971.

Nixon: The Indians need—what they need really is a—

Kissinger: They’re such bastards.

Nixon: A mass famine. But they aren’t going to get that…But if they’re not going to have a famine the last thing they need is another war. Let the goddamn Indians fight a war.

Kissinger: They are the most aggressive goddamn people around there.

The 1971 war is considered to be modern India’s finest hour, in military terms. The clinical professionalism of the Indian army, navy and air force; a charismatic brass led by the legendary Sam Maneckshaw; and ceaseless international lobbying by the political leadership worked brilliantly to set up a famous victory. After two weeks of vicious land, air and sea battles, nearly 100,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered before India’s rampaging army, the largest such capitulation since General Paulus’ surrender at Stalingrad in 1943. However, it could all have come unstuck without help from veto-wielding Moscow, with which New Delhi had the foresight to sign a security treaty in 1970.

As Nixon’s conversations with the wily Kissinger show, the forces arrayed against India were formidable. The Pakistani military was being bolstered by aircraft from Jordan, Iran, Turkey and France. Moral and military support was amply provided by the US, China and the UK. Though not mentioned in the conversations here, the UAE sent in half a squadron of fighter aircraft and the Indonesians dispatched at least one naval vessel to fight alongside the Pakistani Navy.

However, Russia’s entry thwarted a scenario that could have led to multiple pincer movements against India.

Superpowers face-off

On December 10, even as Nixon and Kissinger were frothing at the mouth, Indian intelligence intercepted an American message, indicating that the US Seventh Fleet was steaming into the war zone. The Seventh Fleet, which was then stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin, was led by the 75,000 ton nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise. The world’s largest warship, it carried more than 70 fighters and bombers. The Seventh Fleet also included the guided missile cruiser USS King, guided missile destroyers USS Decatur, Parsons and Tartar Sam, and a large amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli.

Standing between the Indian cities and the American ships was the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet led by the 20,000-ton aircraft carrier, Vikrant, with barely 20 light fighter aircraft. When asked if India’s Eastern Fleet would take on the Seventh Fleet, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Vice Admiral N. Krishnan, said: “Just give us the orders.” The Indian Air Force, having wiped out the Pakistani Air Force within the first week of the war, was reported to be on alert for any possible intervention by aircraft from the Enterprise.

Meanwhile, Soviet intelligence reported that a British naval group led by the aircraft carrier Eagle had moved closer to India’s territorial waters. This was perhaps one of the most ironic events in modern history where the Western world’s two leading democracies were threatening the world’s largest democracy in order to protect the perpetrators of the largest genocide since the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. However, India did not panic. It quietly sent Moscow a request to activate a secret provision of the Indo-Soviet security treaty, under which Russia was bound to defend India in case of any external aggression.

The British and the Americans had planned a coordinated pincer to intimidate India: while the British ships in the Arabian Sea would target India’s western coast, the Americans would make a dash into the Bay of Bengal in the east where 100,000 Pakistani troops were caught between the advancing Indian troops and the sea.

To counter this two-pronged British-American threat, Russia dispatched a nuclear-armed flotilla from Vladivostok on December 13 under the overall command of Admiral Vladimir Kruglyakov, the Commander of the 10th Operative Battle Group (Pacific Fleet). Though the Russian fleet comprised a good number of nuclear-armed ships and atomic submarines, their missiles were of limited range (less than 300 km). Hence to effectively counter the British and American fleets the Russian commanders had to undertake the risk of encircling them to bring them within their target. This they did with military precision.

In an interview to a Russian TV programme after his retirement, Admiral Kruglyakov, who commanded the Pacific Fleet from 1970 to 1975, recalled that Moscow ordered the Russian ships to prevent the Americans and British from getting closer to “Indian military objects”. The genial Kruglyakov added: “The Chief Commander’s order was that our submarines should surface when the Americans appear. It was done to demonstrate to them that we had nuclear submarines in the Indian Ocean. So when our subs surfaced, they recognised us. In the way of the American Navy stood the Soviet cruisers, destroyers and atomic submarines equipped with anti-ship missiles. We encircled them and trained our missiles at the Enterprise. We blocked them and did not allow them to close in on Karachi, Chittagong or Dhaka.”

At this point, the Russians intercepted a communication from the commander of the British carrier battle group, Admiral Dimon Gordon, to the Seventh Fleet commander: “Sir, we are too late. There are the Russian atomic submarines here, and a big collection of battleships.” The British ships fled towards Madagascar while the larger US task force stopped before entering the Bay of Bengal.

The Russian manoeuvres clearly helped prevent a direct clash between India and the US-UK combine. Newly declassified documents reveal that the Indian Prime Minister went ahead with her plan to liberate Bangladesh despite inputs that the Americans had kept three battalions of Marines on standby to deter India, and that the American aircraft carrier USS Enterprise had orders to target the Indian Army, which had broken through the Pakistani Army’s defences and was thundering down the highway to the gates of Lahore, West Pakistan’s second largest city.

According to a six-page note prepared by India’s foreign ministry, “The bomber force aboard the Enterprise had the US President’s authority to undertake bombing of the Indian Army’s communications, if necessary.”

China in the box

Despite Kissinger’s goading and desperate Pakistani calls for help, the Chinese did nothing. US diplomatic documents reveal that Indira Gandhi knew the Soviets had factored in the possibility of Chinese intervention. According to a cable referring to an Indian cabinet meeting held on December 10, “If the Chinese were to become directly involved in the conflict, Indira Gandhi said, the Chinese know that the Soviet Union would act in the Sinkiang region. Soviet air support may be made available to India at that time.”

Interestingly, while the cable is declassified, the source and extensive details of the Indian Prime Minister’s briefing remain classified. “He is a reliable source” is all that the document says. There was very clearly a cabinet level mole the Americans were getting their information from.

Intolerable hatred

On December 14, General A.A.K. Niazi, Pakistan’s military commander in East Pakistan, told the American consul-general in Dhaka that he was willing to surrender. The message was relayed to Washington, but it took the US 19 hours to relay it to New Delhi. Files suggest senior Indian diplomats suspected the delay was because Washington was possibly contemplating military action against India.

Kissinger went so far as to call the crisis “our Rhineland” a reference to Hitler’s militarisation of German Rhineland at the outset of World War II. This kind of powerful imagery indicates how strongly Kissinger and Nixon came to see Indians as a threat.

An Indiana University study of the conflict says: “The violation of human rights on a massive scale—described in a March 30 US cable as “selective genocide”—and the complete disregard for democracy were irrelevant to Nixon and Kissinger. In fact, the non-democratic aspects of Pakistani dictator Yahya Khan’s behaviour seemed to be what impressed them the most. As evidence mounted of military atrocities in East Pakistan, Nixon and Kissinger remained unmoved. In a Senior Review Group meeting, Kissinger commented at news of significant casualties at a university that, ‘The British didn’t dominate 400 million Indians all those years by being gentle’.”

Nixon and Kissinger phoned Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and asked for guarantees that India would not attack West Pakistan. “Nixon was ready to link the future summit in Moscow to Soviet behaviour on this issue,” writes professor Vladislav M. Zubok in A Failed Empire. “The Soviets could not see why the White House supported Pakistan, who they believed had started the war against India. Brezhnev, puzzled at first, was soon enraged. In his narrow circle, he even suggested giving India the secret of the atomic bomb. His advisers did their best to kill this idea. Several years later, Brezhnev still reacted angrily and spoke spitefully about American behaviour.”

Cold Warriors

Another telephone conversation between the scheming duo reveals a lot about the mindset of those at the highest echelons of American decision-making:

Kissinger: And the point you made yesterday, we have to continue to squeeze the Indians even when this thing is settled.

Nixon: We’ve got to for rehabilitation. I mean, Jesus Christ, they’ve bombed—I want all the war damage; I want to help Pakistan on the war damage in Karachi and other areas, see?

Kissinger: Yeah

Nixon: I don’t want the Indians to be happy. I want a public relations programme developed to piss on the Indians.

Kissinger: Yeah.

Nixon: I want to piss on them for their responsibility. Get a white paper out. Put down, White paper. White paper. Understand that?

Kissinger: Oh, yeah.

Nixon: I don’t mean for just your reading. But a white paper on this.

Kissinger: No, no. I know.

Nixon: I want the Indians blamed for this, you know what I mean? We can’t let these goddamn, sanctimonious Indians get away with this. They’ve pissed on us on Vietnam for 5 years, Henry.

Kissinger: Yeah. 

Nixon: Aren’t the Indians killing a lot of these people?

Kissinger: Well, we don’t know the facts yet. But I’m sure they’re not as stupid as the West Pakistanis—they don’t let the press in. The idiot Paks have the press all over their place.

(Source: http://in.rbth.com/articles/2011/12/20/1971_war_how_russia_sank_nixons_gunboat_diplomacy_14041 )

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