bharat, battling the two categories of pseudos – the hope

09/01/2019

This is in the context of ‘pseudoscience’ in our Indic milieu that our illustrious intelligentsia seem to suddenly become aware of, from time to time – while conveniently & liberally forgetting their own mighty biases and dastardly nonsense.

(warning: this is extra looong: circa 2600 words)

Following is an staccato extract (edited for whatever that passes for coherence, stress & for redaction of personal references; only my responses are there) from a conversation I had on IRC, with an angst-laced eager ABCD student, an year or so ago (his father, an old pal of mine, wanted me to chat with his son for whatever reason, though the two of us are poles apart in many things – um, may be because of that!)  – I standby these opinions.

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[..] Lad, a few points: :-) (actually rather than a smiley, I should be using a sadley here, but then…)

[..] Normally I do not entertain these kinds of chattathons with strangers; however, though I do not know you, I know your dad and as to how he is wired (um, wierd?). Also from what you say, you appear to be a reasonable, sensible youth. So.

[..] Kalidasa says – पुराणमित्येव न साधु सर्वं न चापि काव्यं नवमित्यवद्यम्। सन्त: परीक्ष्यान्यतरद्भजन्ते मूढ: परप्रत्ययनेयबुद्धि: – in case you don’t realize/recognize it, this gem is from Malavikagnimitram. The meaning of it goes somewhat like this: “All poems are not good only because they are old. All poems are not bad because they are new. Good and wise people examine both and decide whether a poem is good or bad. Only a fool will be blindly led by what others say.”

[..] Don’t belittle / rubbish / pooh-pooh the past for no reason; do not reject those ideas wholesale. Do not treat them like Gospel either – but weigh what is said, take what you can, jettison the rest; the kaala and the context matter, always. Same is the case with the ‘current’ and the ‘future.’ Understand that, in the Indic land, the fact that there are NO gospels, actually has institutionalized scientific temper irrespective of what the half-bakers (including your dad) would say. Ask him to read naasadiya sukta from Rgveda first, which he has been promising to do for the past twenty years – after which we have to sit in a deep discussion. He is a classic dodger. ;-)

[..] Another quote that is close to my heart (and ought to be close to everyone’s heart) is “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant” and this is from Harlan Ellison. Your dad is dear to me, we have had a great time together in our youth – but, I feel that being a clueless ‘liberal’ these days, automatically makes one a moron in my dictionary.

[..] YMMV. So, please do not talk about ‘liberal values’ to me. Please do not preach. That particular phrase is content free. At least it is so these days. Sorry.

[..] You know what – Sanatan Dharm is possibly in danger because of two sets of people. Actually they are subsets of the folks (most of us, actually) – those who know NOTHING about their own heritage, do not know any of their Indic mother tongues (your Telugu or my Tamil) really well (I mean reading scientific and literary treatises in them, talking/writing fluently in them; having some real scholarship!) leave alone becoming proficient in the Lingua pan-Indica – Sanskrit! But for some reason, these lousy people keep forming and propagating ghastly opinions for no reason other than their splendid ignorance or borrowed idiocies.They do not know their basics in sciences either! Oh my.

[..] These people, talking nonsensical stuff should be tossed out and/or massacred outright – but there are way too many of them. Sad. Also there are issues involving the need for arguments/discussions and right to hold opinions in a civil democracy, alas. Tragic!

[..] Okay, in spite of them arguments NOT being based on facts or authenticated sources — or those opinion-mongering folks not having their ‘skin in the game’ – somehow Bharat is putting up with these ignorant fellows and their nauseatingly hollow opinions. Freedom of Vexpression. Oh what to do.

[..] BOTH categories do NOT know what research means, what are primary sources & how to read them in context, what does science mean, what is math, how societies evolve, what exactly is scholarship, how one can’t blast off one’s pet prejudice and biases as gospels etc etc… That the so-called gospel is also full of goofs and hilariousness is yet another thingie, but then…

[..] Anyway…

[..] First category of the above: Semi or illiterate people who can see greatness in anything and everything about India – but, since they are clueless, their examples are restricted to ‘there are references to rockets in Vedas’ and some such nonsense. Of course they haven’t read the Vedas either!

[..] However, the number of such people is not very high at all, but the news about them is totally blown out of proportions – This happens because, our Coconut media and Coconut intellectuals who are the torch bearers of the ‘information society’ have deeply ingested/internalized a virulent form of inferiority complex; because of this, they ALWAYS play down even things that are worthy of being celebrated. On the contrary, they take a few examples (of course the existence of these examples cannot be denied) and make THESE silly things, representative of the total science and tech scenario in Indusland!

[..] Au contraire, I know thousands of great scientists and engineers who are hacking away to glory. Believe me, when ISRO (you may have heard of this outfit, it actually has NASA’s scope + more in Indic contexts) does tech kinda thingies – they are not mere demos, they are not deepavali rocketry stuff. There are so many small/big fantastic entrepreneurships all over indusland.

[..] The first category can be easily dismissed away as nutcases, overtly sentimental and comprising of a few lazy people; yes, it suits them fine. However, they are not dangerous folks, but are merely silly. Nobody takes them seriously as they are harmless folks living in their own illusory world. They are only taken seriously by the second category of people, as a decoy, to trivialize the whole narrative.

[..] Incidentally, you would be surprised to know that even in your country [USA] there are these kinds of nutcases – even in the senior levels of scientific establishment. Apparently, every society has a right to have a percentage of nuisancey nutcases, thanks! Even your dad talks about these sad things happening in the higher echelons of sciencia/technologia in USA. He should know better, yeah, considering the fact he belongs to those groupings??

[..] The second category of the aforesaid bunch of ‘entitled’ scum is like this: They are at best semi-literate, that too ‘steeped’ in western mode of ‘education’ – and, they have this borrowed ‘wisdom’ and are true to the attitude of a good Coconut – black/brown on the outside and white on the inside. Their attitude is that ‘nothing was great in India’ or was/is anything fine with histories or Indians were basically scum, without ANYTHING worth to write home about. Sad. These guys ought to read the sources, and know about the origins of calculus, astronomy, binomial classification, metallurgy, architecture, civil works, logic, statecraft, public policy, philosophies, surgery, medicine etc etc… all far, far beyond anushtup chandas, linguistic leaps and exhilarating literature. There are indeed some fine and great things that Indic people can really be proud of. But these half-baked neo-marxist secular liberal postmodern scum (ask your dad, if he knows any ;-)) are unfortunately considered to be the backbone or intelligentsia of the society – and strut about like virile peacocks.

[..] Yes, Ramachandra Guha is one such guy, but he is milder. The worst are of the likes of Irfan Habibs and Amartya Sens. I know your dad is a good friend of the latter, but I can defend my stance. Solidly so. He knows it.

[..] This Second category has in its ranks, the opinion makers and propagandists — and their noise, more like the brayings of asses, drowns out all signals. I really wish there were a way to obliterate and/or exterminate these scumbag memetic phenomena.First category may be blamed for spreading pseudo-science to a very limited extent, but the second category has ALL the pseudos, period. Scoundrels. These folks bring badnaam to all initiatives and great efforts. Good folks get discouraged a lot, because all that the second category does is dissing without having ANY skin in the game. Unlimited irresponsibility, what else?

[..] What?? You sound like one of these scum, am not sorry to say this – am chatting with you ONLY because, you sought me out for ‘advice’ – so, please, PLEASE do your homework. A Wendy Doniger or a Romila Thapar or their ilk may have some opinion – whether evidence based or valid. Do read them too. But do so thoroughly, unlike them. Go to the SOURCES. Look for evidence. Look for deep pramaana. Understand. Via pratyaksha, upamaana, anumaana; if that does not suffice, go for shabda. Learn from the competent folks who have that wisdom of knowledge and experience.

[..] No, I am NOT one. Anyway.

[..] Both categories need to be summarily dealt with (sadly so, because they cannot be executed outright! Am no ahimsaic!) – though they form some 95% of us. As a society we can move forward ONLY when 1) the recidivism or the ‘search for a unbelievable past’ based on zilch knowledge and is therefore unverifiable/unsubstantiated and 2) the liberally ‘progressive’ inferior-complex laced damning of anything in the past, again based on zilch knowledge and shameful lack of homework/slog/awareness – and looking at Indic systems thru the jaundiced eyes of the abrahamic faiths (including marxism) and imperialist oculus mundi – can BOTH be suitably dealt with…

[..] But, as I see it – it is easy to dismiss the first category and move on – but it is very difficult to manage with the sophisticated nonsense of the so called intelligentsia & ‘public intellectuals’ – who are funded, have enough freetime and are good with angrezi, oh my – and so have all the limelight.

[..] But, I am sanguine that – in spite of both these categories, our Bharat will rise – because I personally know of a bunch of people, who know their histories and science and who are prepared to do hard, painstaking, scholarly work, undertake solid slog – rather than surviving like the ‘liberals’ on borrowed opinions and half-baked knowledge and arrogance that can come only from despicable, deplorable & convenient illiteracy.

[..] Tell your dad so. ;-) Ask him to get out of the ‘armed chair opinion dropping liberal’ mode. Ask him to digest folks like  SN Balagangadhara &, Dharampal, or at least Nicholas Dirks, to start with. You also go thru’ them.

[..] Yes. I like to think of myself as a reasonably tech savvy and bharatiya tradition respecting doer guy, who has done some decent things and who has studied some bits of indic philosophies and sciences. These rightwing leftwing schism nonsense does not appeal to me much anymore.  Don’t try to straight jacket me please.

[..] Yes again. I was actually a solid ‘leftwinger’ once, but I have since moved on. You think you are a left winger, because you think it is fashionable, yeah? All that freakin campus liberal politics, yeah?? I saw your photo. You have a belly, too much beer or what? IMO, anyone who has a potbelly CANNOT call himself a socialist or a leftwinger or a communist. Period. ;-)

[..] Do something about it please. It is jarring in an energetic youth like you. If YOU do not respect YOUR body, who will respect you? Especially when you want to represent/lead the proletariat and assorted working classes eking out a living?? ;-)

[..] Don’t give me this nonsense about ‘obesity running in the family’ – I have seen your grandpas. Both sides. They had sense; they did not overeat. Your dad is a bacchanalian, who advises others not to indulge in them. ;-)

[..] Yes. I do NOT have a pot belly and do not intend having one. Sorry to bust your barb. You can verify my bodily facts easily. But let us move on.

[..] :-)) Not at all, relax! Ok. I do subscribe to the fantastic ideas of varnashrma dharma, which is based on gunas; but please do not miscoceptualize it saying, it is about birth based, immutable divisional nonsense; it never was. Jatis (I would hate to use the word ‘Caste’ which is a ‘discovery’ of the Westerners) are endogamous groupings, and though they have a lot of issues with them which need to be set right and course-corrected, they were one of the major reasons why ‘Hinduism’ has survived so far, the onslaught of Abrahamic hordes and many a massacre, of the indic culture and its people.

[..] You may have heard about (if not, please do) the venerable and valorous Syed Ata Hasnain who talks about the necessity of the youth being ‘Scholar Warriors’ – in fact, I really feel that, far beyond that, all of us, in our own ways, need to be a great admix of Scholar Warrior Entrepreneur Doers – which is what is the dharma of varna all about; what do you think?

[..] YES. I am striving to be in that fourfold synchronized path. More on that, may be later. IMO and infact, am quite convinced that – not only you, ALL of us have to develop our tetrafacetedness thusly. Yes.

[..] If you want to know more, from the SOURCES, be my guest. You can stay with me for a few weeks and we can debate anything and everything, including that jingbang idea rehash: blockchain, indic philosophies the way I understand them, watch films,  listen to music including your Evanescence and Linkin Park whatever, I like them too – and jog around the lake when we are tired – and cook and eat.

[..] Keep in touch, if you really want to. Take care.

[..] It was a pleasure, discussing with you. You are a sweet chap, willing to learn. Unlike your dad. (tell him so, he will be proud of you!)

[..] Nonno, I never get irritated about these things. As I said in the very beginning, NO question is offlimits here, nothing is personal. So am not offended at all. In fact, you know what? I like you. I like folks who pay attention. Bharat needs youth like you, to be the torch bearers of a futuristic social order, which is not cut-off from its traditions. We need healthy, bright folks who do not operate sub-optimally and from a subservient/inferior position mindset driven by uncalled-for guilt…

[..] No sir, normally I can be very mean, but I mean it here. It would be great if you set a correct example to your adolescent dad, by coming back to India – as part of a well thought out, happy process – not from a sentimental-nonsense angle at all!

[..] Yeah! Of course your dad is also welcome back (he does not need my permission!) if he sheds all that negativism. I know his calibre, don’t I? He was my senior and of course was a bloody bright guy. If he comes back, we can even jointly do a different kinda start-up that I have been threatening to do anyway. My hugs to him and your mom. bfn.

[..] No, am not interested in visiting your country; last couple of times I visited Boston, I hated my time at MIT. My opinion on quite a few departments/schools there, have taken a severe beating- not merely based on a single data point, but based on my engagement/association for a little more than two years; your dad knows the whole gory story. In any case, I have no energy or motivation as of now; sorry. bye.

[..] :-))) …here/s wishing you the same – great times are ahead, youngman, make the best of it! :-))

[..] ’nuff said. Thanks. Take care.

[..] NOW stop keying in more text. Or else &^%#

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3 Responses to “bharat, battling the two categories of pseudos – the hope”


  1. A related comment from a fellow-reader of the blog:

    Dear Sir,

    If you have some time kindly go through the article from the below link.

    https://www.vikatan.com/news/india/146698-indian-science-congress-finished-with-ridiculous-statements-from-scientists.html

    I’m really interested to know you comments on it.

    My response:

    Sir, I will reread it and respond later. Thanks for passing it by.

    Blowing things out of proportions is the agenda of the Vikatan scum, but…

    __r.

    Current response:

    Vikatan is primarily a porn mag which carries paid items which pass for news, with pretensions of being scholarly and investigational. It is Antiscience. Also anti reality.

    Please read the essay (in the same context) written by our Principal Scientific Adviser Prof VijayRaghavan – at https://scienceandindia.blog/2019/01/05/the-indian-science-congress-the-gorillas-are-outside/

    h/t justexperience.blogspot.com

  2. RC Says:

    என்னளவில் தங்களின் அழகான பதிவு இது.உயர் பள்ளி முதல் கல்லூரி வரையிலான பிள்ளைகளுக்கு தினப்பொழுதும் கண்ணில் படும் அளவில் இருக்கவேண்டிய எழுத்து.நன்றி. /Scholar Warrior Entrepreneur Doers/ நன்றி.

  3. SB Says:

    Sir,
    quote :Scholar Warrior Entrepreneur Doers
    Unquote;
    An excellent thought brought out intentionally, echoing exact thoughts expressed by Swami Vivekananda (Date of birth : 12th Jan 1863). Thought of pulling in the quotes delivered to Belur Math Sanyassins by SV (one of masterpieces )but unable to quote same verbatim.

    Bacchanal…still friends with his Father?

    Can’t afford forgetting the episode of Mr.Nambi Narayan in this context and you may have thought of giving your readers some perspective thereof.

    Thanks a lot.

    Regards
    SB


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