Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What ails Hindus - from 2004


As I see it the Hindus do have a serious problem- their knowledge of their own texts and culture is pretty shallow. The number of dvijas learning the vedas these days has dwindled. They have to depend on the same Indologist, about whom they have been warned, to understand the veda. The knowledge of the purANas and itihAsas is likewise abyssmal. The knowledge of the tantra is likewise dismal. Thus the Hindus while alerted and angry have still not overcome the effects of Macaulayism. This makes it easier for a Courtright or Doniger to make up fables about the R^igveda or the jaiminIya brAhmaNa or the kAmasUtra, and the Hindus may not be able to pick right from wrong. For example Malhotra had to depend on Witzel, a well-known detractor of Hindus, rather than his own knowledge of the R^igveda or jaiminIya brAhmaNa to pick out the flaws of Doniger. This phenomenon put the Hindus in a relatively compromised situation.

The other problem is after Macaulayitis what?

I feel that Macaulayitis is not really reversible in full, so it has to be factored into any future consideration. A corollary to this is that HIndus should have translations of Sanskrit texts and expositions of the Sanskrit material in English. Have Indian scholars contributed positively to this? One heroic attempt comes to mind: the purANa translation effort. But why are the vedic saMhitas like maitrAyaNi, kAThaka etc lying unattended? Why are the ongoing efforts by Hindu scholars in translation not being popularized. Instead we see proliferation of the highly distorted translations of the Arya Samaj group.

100 years ago Tilak rued the fact that Hindus had very poor access to information. His words uttered then have full force even now. I believe the Hindu upheaval has to go hand in hand with improved Hindu education.