(Recently, Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy made a statement that India should send ten thousand Ph.D Students in important areas of science, technology, engineering and math education, every year to the US over the next 50 years. Here is a counter view being presented by Dr. Kallol Guha from Chicago)
How a given nation will advance in the future, say in the next half century or so depends on the nature and contents of the schooling their younger generation is subjected to. It is the quality and nature of cultural conditioning of the human resources through indigenous education system that is the decisive factor for national development.
Since all forms of higher education in India are in English which 95% Indians do not know, the remaining 5% Anglophonic Indians, who belong to the ruling class, are privy to such education. No special inquiry is needed to realize that the Anglophonic education of India are specifically designed- as per Macaulay’s recommendation – to breed products that looks like dark and brown skin Indian but are thoroughly conditioned to imitate Anglo-American existence in every possible way, including language and features by liberal use of “fair and lovely” cream ! Eternal truth is- Indigenous education – rather than blatant imitation – is the single most meaningful tool for inclusive growth and development of any nation.
The same Mr. Murthy very recently made a statement that during the last 65 years India did not make any new contribution in any field whatsoever. If he does not know the answer why it is so- then the answer lies in the current education system which is designed to imitate and scavenge on the leftovers of the west. Those Indians are taught to shamelessly imitate – the benefactors of Anglo-American Axis powers, whose mother tongue is English – who have succeeded in converting Indian ruling class into their docile, and domesticated poodle and are in control of the major part of the world. How have they done it?
Will they ever accept a prescription of the kind being proposed by Mr. Murthy? Will they ever change their medium of instruction into Chinese because now that language is the largest and linked to ever expanding economy? Will their press give such a wide coverage to a statement of similar kind pertinent to their country? Will a public figure be able to save their career after a statement of this kind? Most important – can any country reach a similar status by adopting an education system that is designed to discard indigenous life and imitate others? It is an education system designed to convert a tiger of the nature to a tiger of the circus. This naïve statement has got such a broad coverage because the mainstream press of Anglo-American patronage is there to manipulate public opinion in favor of everything that breeds western poodle. Why? So that the whole country will become a market of their products as it already is. Another important reason- such education will breed Anglophonic Indian clowns who can’t express their thoughts, neither in their own language nor in the adopted one – let alone contribute something new. This effectively eliminates all possibilities of potential competition.
So Mr. Murthy should know why there has been no new contribution from India in the last 65 years and why there will be none. He should also know why his statement is covered so widely in such a newspaper. Finally Mr. Murthy these 10 thousand proposed Ph. D students who are to be sent USA will be a very reliable poodle of the West ever regretting their Indian feature and skin color and of no benefit to India. Mr. Murthy should also know that when India contributed 35% of world GDP it was then that civilized world rushed to fifteen thousand university like fully indigenized higher institutes of learning all over India where they reverentially acquired higher technical education in indigenous language (s) .
A few days ago a news item in The Hindu newspaper pointed out that under “Make in India” scheme a joint venture with Israel to build fighter jets that was intended to indigenize technology has failed in its mission and it turns out to be a deal of importing products at a higher cost than buying from Russia. This news item – in case Mr. Murthy does not realize -shows failure of India’s Anglophonic Education system. That he proposes to send Indian youth to other countries for Ph. D – instead of building indigenous capacity through thoroughly Indianized education is due to blatant failure of Anglophonic education that is a pathetic imitation of Anglo-American axis powers.
Kallol Guha, Ph D is the President and CEO of St James School of Medicine, headquartered in Chicago area, IL, USA.
New Delhi: A group of 132 eminent Indian academicians, including many well-known Sanskrit scholars, have expressed strong reservations regarding Columbian University Professor Sheldon Pollock, a scholar of philology presiding over the historical project of Murthy Classical library as the general editor.
The Murty Classical Library of India was established by Rohan Murthy, the son of Infosys co-founder N. R. Narayana Murthy, with an aim to publish modern English translations of classical Indian works present in various Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Bangla, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Pali, Panjabi, Persian, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.
The Library started publishing translations in 2015 and since its inception, Professor Pollock has been serving as its ‘general editor’. Professor Pollock is known for his controversial views on Sanskrit language and Indian philosophy.
The petition contends that “While Pollock has been a well-known scholar of philology, it is also well-known that he has deep antipathy towards many of the ideals and values cherished and practiced in our civilization. He echoes the views of Macaulay and Max Weber that the shastras generated in India serve no contemporary purpose except for the study of how Indians express themselves.”
The signatories further state in their petition that Professor Pollock is not politically neutral and has been a “prominent signatory of several statements which are of a purely political nature and devoid of any academic merit; those statements have condemned various policies and actions of the Government of India,” including two “recent statements released by US academicians condemning the actions of the JNU authorities and the Government of India against separatist groups who are calling for the independence of Kashmir, and for India’s breakup.”
Calling the Murthy Classical Library as a “historical project”, the petitioners have stated that such a project must be “guided and carried out by a team of scholars who not only have proven mastery in the relevant Indian languages, but are also deeply rooted and steeped in the intellectual traditions of India. They also need to be imbued with a sense of respect and empathy for the greatness of Indian civilization.”
They have further appealed the Murthy duo to “invite critics of Sheldon Pollock and the approaches being followed in his project, for open and frank discussions.”
We the undersigned would like to convey our deep appreciation for your good intentions and financial commitment to establish the Murty Classical Library of India, a landmark project to translate 500 volumes of traditional Indian literature into English. We appreciate the motives of making our civilization’s great literature available to the modern youth who are educated in English, and who are unfortunately not trained in Indian languages.
However, such a historical project would have to be guided and carried out by a team of scholars who not only have proven mastery in the relevant Indian languages, but are also deeply rooted and steeped in the intellectual traditions of India. They also need to be imbued with a sense of respect and empathy for the greatness of Indian civilization.
We would like to bring to your notice the views of the mentor and Chief Editor of this program, Professor Sheldon Pollock. While Pollock has been a well-known scholar of philology, it is also well-known that he has deep antipathy towards many of the ideals and values cherished and practiced in our civilization. He echoes the views of Macaulay and Max Weber that the shastras generated in India serve no contemporary purpose except for the study of how Indians express themselves. He has forcefully articulated this view in his career, starting with his 1985 paper, “The Theory of Practice and the Practice of Theory in Intellectual Tradition” (Journal of the American Oriental Society). He sees all shastras as flawed because he finds them frozen in Vedic metaphysics, which he considers irrational and a source of social oppression. Even as recently as 2012, he echoed this view at a talk at Heidelberg titled, “What is South Asian Knowledge Good For?”). He said:
“Are there any decision makers, as they refer to themselves, at universities and foundations who would not agree that, in the cognitive sweepstakes of human history, Western knowledge has won and South Asian knowledge has lost? …That, accordingly, the South Asian knowledge South Asians themselves have produced can no longer be held to have any significant consequences for the future of the human species?”
Therefore, we are dismayed that Pollock has been appointed the Chief Editor and mentor of the entire program.
In his recent book, “The Battle for Sanskrit”, Shri Rajiv Malhotra has articulated that many of the writings of Pollock are deeply flawed and misrepresent our cultural heritage.
Furthermore, Pollock does not claim to be politically neutral. In recent years, Pollock has been a prominent signatory of several statements which are of a purely political nature and devoid of any academic merit; those statements have condemned various policies and actions of the Government of India. He has shown utter indifference and disrespect for democratic values and even the international norms of non-interference in the internal functioning of constitutional representative institutions in other countries.
In addition, we now find that Pollock is a prominent signatory of two recent statements released by US academicians condemning the actions of the JNU authorities and the Government of India against separatist groups who are calling for the independence of Kashmir, and for India’s breakup.
“काश्मीर की आजादी तक जंग रहेगी, भारत की बरबादी तक जंग रहेगी, भारत तेरे टुकडे होङ्गे,
इनशा अल्लाह इनशा अल्लाह”.
“The fight will continue till Kashmir is freed; The fight will continue till India is destroyed; O India, you are going to get shattered by the will of Allah.”
Beside these slogans, the disgruntled youth also went on to condemn the highest court of India by way of hoarding posters and banners describing the action of court as “judicial killing” of a terrorist.
To add fuel to the fire, Pollock by way of signing petitions has demanded that the Government of India should end its “authoritative menace”. However, we do not find him petitioning against his own USA government’s authoritative policies within its borders and around the world.
Thus, it is crystal clear that Pollock has shown disrespect for the unity and integrity of India. We submit that such an individual cannot be considered objective and neutral enough to be in charge of your historic translation project.
We petition you to reconstitute the editorial group of your project with the following ideals in mind:
There must be a fair representation of the lineages and traditional groups that teach and practice the traditions described in the texts being translated. This would ensure that the sentiments and understanding of the millions of Indians who practice these traditions are not violated.
The project must be part of the “Make in India” ethos and not outsourced wholesale to American Ivy Leagues. Just as your visionary role in Infosys showed the world that Indians can be the top producers of IT, so also we urge you to champion the development of Swadeshi Indology. This would entail developing an entire ecosystem of India-based research, translations, journals and conferences. These would be run by leading Indian academicians as well as traditional practitioners.
There must be a written set of standards and policies for the entire project, pertaining to the translation methodologies, historical assumptions and philosophical interpretations that would be used consistently in all volumes.
How will certain Sanskrit words that are non-translatable be treated?
What will be the posture adopted towards the “Foreign Aryan Theory” and other such controversial theories including chronologies?
What will be assumed concerning the links between ancient texts and present-day social and political problems?
Will the theoretical methods developed in Europe in the context of the history of ancient Europe, be used to interpret Indian texts, or will there first be open discussions with Indians on the use of Indian systems of interpretations?
We urge you to invite critics of Sheldon Pollock and the approaches being followed in his project, for open and frank discussions. We are convinced that this would lead to a dramatic improvement in your project and also avoid any adverse outcome.
Scholars and Intellectuals
Prof. K. Ramasubramanian, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay.
Prof. Ramesh C. Bhardwaj , Professor and Head, Department of Sanskrit, Delhi University
Dr. Kapil Kapoor , Former Pro Vice Chancellor, JNU, New Delhi.
Dr. Girish Nath Jha, Professor of Computational Linguistics and Chairperson, Special Center for Sanskrit Studies, JNU, New Delhi. Professor & Concurrent Faculty, Center for Linguistics, School of Language Literature & Culture Studies, JNU, New Delhi.
Prof. V. Kutumba Sastry, President, International Association of Sanskrit Studies, Former Vice Chancellor, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi
Dr. C. Upender Rao, Professor and Chairperson, Special centre for Sanskrit Studies, JNU, New Delhi.
Prof. Madhu Kishwar, Senior Fellow, CSDS, New Delhi
Prof. R. Vaidyanathan, IIM Bangalore, Finance & Control UTI Chair Professor
Shri N. Gopalaswami, Former Chief Election Commisioner of India, Head of the HRD ministry’s committee on Sanskrit Promotion, Chairman, Kalakshetra, Chennai
Prof. Ramesh Kumar Pandey, Vice Chancellor, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi.
The author’s prescription of a remedy for the plight of Dalits is “Fight for their kids to Learn English”. Why? So that they can speak to judges in court and courts in India operate in English. The New Indian Express apparently finds such articles fit for publication in their media. It is amusing to conjecture whether same media would publish an article arguing in favor of using the mother tongue as medium of instruction (English as a second language) at all levels of education in India, which is a common practice in countries having a keen sense of self-respect and national dignity.
National development is induced not by foreign investment and showy infrastructure, but by participation of the general population in inclusive growth, which is only possible through use of people’s language. Hence Dalits would not remain Dalits if during the last 68 years they had access to all levels of education in their mother tongue or in a closely related language. Since 1947- it is not just the Dalits but common masses remained isolated from the source of all technical knowledge since it can’t be accessed in mother tongue. Hence India remains underdeveloped despite limited economic progress. Whatever economic progress has come about, not because of but in spite of a brand of Governance; both at the center and state level. Progress made can only be ascribed to the incredible talent, tenacity, perseverance, and entrepreneurship of common Indians that has little to do with English. India’s contribution to world GDP – before she came in contact with ENGLISH- was between 23-35% and was reduced to 2% by the grace of ENGLISH. India’s high GDP coincided with the influx of foreign students in pursuit of higher education in one of the fifteen thousand higher institutes of education spread all over present day India, where mother tongue or a closely related language was used as a medium of instruction.
Back in sixties Vinoba Vhabe the Gandhian and the bearer of the Sarvodaya Movement, once asked Prime Minister Nehru- “Will Anglophonic Education improve agriculture? If yes, then why not teach English to the bulls?” Alas, he is not around to see that net result of 68 years of English Education is a degraded schooling that breeds uncultured Anglophonic Indian ruling class having no sense of self-respect, no sense of pride in self-identity, and no sense of identity crisis. They are in fact looked down upon by the very elements whom they are schooled to imitate and serve and who in turn considers India as “Appendage of the West”.
Just recently someone observed that over 68 years India has not made any new contribution in any field whatsoever. That such Anglophonic higher technical education in so called “prestigious” institutes like IIT and AIIMS are nothing but scavengers of Anglo-American leftovers is not an accident. That “Make in India” has failed to induce transfer and indigenization of technology through foreign collaboration is a natural outcome of exclusively Anglophonic “Education”.
Of course the author – as a product of the Anglophonic school – is not likely to be aware of what India was and what Anglophonic education has done to the nation. Hence he recommends Anglophonic education to Dalits so that they understand the language of judges, which is other than people’s language. Schooling of Anglophonic Indians has conditioned them to think that courts should not use peoples language. It is the people who should learn the court’s language. A condition enforced by the victor over the vanquished.
It is not by chance that middle class Indians have been culturally conditioned to send their kids to English medium schools for “Good Education” where students learn to look down upon anything indigenous and adore everything that belongs to those whose mother tongue is English, including their feature and skin color.
But that such ideas are given a platform by the Anglophonic media is by no means an accident. Because media needs their “freedom of press” to breed naïve of this kind. Why? Because they are here to protect the interest of their Anglo-American patrons whose focus is not on the welfare of Dalits but what is under the ground, in the forest and hills, and in the rivers of India. So the media is all out to use all kinds of technology to manipulate and control public opinion and make them act against their own interest. Because media knows- people fight for something they love, they love something they respect, and they respect something that they at least know. So English schooling will make sure that Dalits like all other masses of India do not know who they actually are and English can be effectively used to make sure that Dalits and masses of Indians who are in fact tigers of the nature can be converted to the tigers of the circus.
Kallol Guha, Ph D is the President and CEO of St James School of Medicine, headquartered in Chicago area, IL, USA.
“A common perception in India is that Indians need English to succeed. But is it the other way around in reality?”
The sky high vision and aim of becoming a world power that we carry with respect to our nation, are based on an extremely shaky education system which considers mimicking western theories the best way to impart knowledge.
With such a rich culture which is renowned worldwide, you would imagine that Indian students of social studies and humanities would carry with them enviable knowledge of Indian traditions, language and vedic sciences. But unfortunately, all our education system offers to them is western ideas and western thoughts.
Our Anglophonic education system is majorly responsible for a continuing colonized mindset that regards English as a mark of superiority. As the African and Asian nations tread the path of development, their share in the global GDP will see a surge in the coming decades. The economic influence of the English-speaking nations is set to dip in the near future.
With Spanish giving a tough competition to English in the US, English is looking for an emerging economic power that would save its status as the global language. In order to rope in Indian audience and viewers, a number of US and UK news channels have now started covering news from the Indian perspective.
India adopted a three-language for its education system in 1960s, when the Indian economy looked up to US and UK. With English taking the center-stage in this policy, the regional languages started losing ground. Despite vast changes in the economy and India’s global standing, we never thought of re-visiting our language policy for education to save our indigenous languages.
Some of the most renowned scientists in the world have taken birth in non-English speaking nations, thereby ruling out the perception that English is necessary for professional success in the field of Science and Mathematics. Though knowledge of English, like any other language, is certainly a handy skill to have, it is a myth that English is ‘necessary’ for professional success.
There are innumerable examples to break this myth. The onus of breaking this myth for the Indian youth lies with the Government which needs to ensure that there are ample employment opportunities for those who chose to give English a miss, and rather concentrated on other skills.
The first step in this regard would be ensuring that there is high quality educational material in indigenous languages for the students at all levels. The UGC initiated Bharatvani project is a major step in this regard. Proposed to be developed as the largest language portal in the world, the Bharatvani project aims at delivering knowledge in almost all Indian languages, with the help of multimedia formats. It plans to aggregate multimedia content from the government, writers and other non-governmental organizations and put it on a common platform. UGC also plans to rope in publication houses and different universities to make it a success.