Vedic Ritual Experience

Today on social media, I learnt that University of California, Berkeley in the USA is arranging a conference in September on Prof Ganesh Umakant Thite(also known as G U Thite). The conference is arranged to honor his contribution to Vedic Studies, particularly, Vedic rituals and sacrifices. For those who are interested to know more about it here is the link. On this occasion, I wanted to share my experience with being at Vedic ritual/sacrifice done verbatim and authentic manner, and to my fortune, Prof G U Thite, among other experts, also was present there.

I used to study Indology at Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth(TMV) in Pune few years back. I have written on many Indology topics on this blog in the past. Among other subjects of this Indology course, we also had subjects on ancient literature of India, including Veda and its ancillary literature. We, of course, did not study, Veda texts in detail, as they study during undergraduate and graduate course majoring Sanskrit language. But we got fair idea about that literature and also about socio-religious life during vedic period. That was the time we came to know of many experts in the field of Veda such s Bahulkar, Kashikar, western scholars such as Frits Staal and of course Thite, their work.  The TMV premises also has research center for Vedas. It is called Vedic Sanshodan Kendra, which has a museum of collection of items used in Vedic rituals. They also have been publishing audio recordings of various rituals and sacrifices. There are many institutes and organizations where research on this various topics of Veda is going on since so many years. Apart from preservation that oral tradition, the focus also has been to test and verify applying scientific knowledge.

In 2010, when I learnt about visit to institute where Vedic ritual/sacrifice in authentic manner is going to take place, I immediately planned to accompany. Later I learnt that G U Thite also would be present at the occasion, then it was certainly a bonus. There is a organization called Yogiraj Ved Vidnyan Ashram located near Barshi in Maharashtra. This ritual was meant for getting good rains. They also had made studies on the effect of such rituals, which is what I found interesting. The ritual/sacrifice was called Vajpeya Yagya(Shardiya) Somayag. This ritual spans multiple days. And it had animal sacrifice. There was an area where we saw male goats were lying in dead state and certain portion from their abdomen was being removed. Unfortunately, I could not take any photographs as it was not allowed. During ancient days, somayag was performed for rejuvenation of nature and thus of mankind. It is said that this somayag awakes cosmic, satvik subtle energies which create healthy atmosphere for the life on earth. Somayag offering soma elixir(soma rasa, extract of soma plant which famous herb which supposed to cause elevation of energies) to appease deities of all the 6 seasons. The one I attended was part season of Sharada(hence name Sharadiya Somayag).

We spent there almost entire day watching different activities which were being performed as part of somayag, also lending keen ear to discussions which G U Thite, and others were having on the various parts of the sacrifice. Study of veda, its literature, and specific details of various aspects of that, is such a huge area. Various scholars have spent entire life understanding them.  For instance, G U Thite’s doctorate itself is in sacrifices as mentioned Bramhana text(late ancillary text of main Vedic corpus). What I witnessed that was very very minor piece in the whole scheme, but it certainly gave some glimpse into the past. This ashram also has performed 16 somayag in 2006 at difference places in India, for the good rains. The project was called Saumit Suvrushti Project. They also have published project report containing details of the impact caused by somayag.

The conference by University of California on G U Thite’s work is certainly a commendable one and I certainly relate and appreciate to the extent, despite knowing hardly about the subject. He is going to deliver a keynote on the The Role of Brāhmaṇa Texts in the Development of Vedic Ritual, which is his area of expertise.

 

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S R Ranganathan, Colon Classification

I am avid radio listener. I am generally hooked on the state run(Prasar Bharati) radio channels under All India Radio, in city of Pune. It provides, besides entertainment, many informative programs, which surprise me again and again. This week, it ran a short program on life of S R Ranganathan who was pioneer of library and information science in India. The occasion was that his 125th birth anniversary year was to start on Aug 12. After listening this program, I went down the memory lane, about my encounter with his book on colon classification.

This was in the year 2007. I was working at Saba Software, Human Capital Development and Management(HCDM) software company. I was handling project related localization(L10N) and internationalization(I18N) of their software. This project gave me world exposure to world of languages, one my favorite subjects, further, from technical perspective. We happened to get a consultant from Canada, Steven Forth, travel to Pune to work with me to define strategy on L10N and I18N. During discussions with him, I came across words such as taxonomy and ontology which are related to categorization and classification. Incidentally, around the same time, due to my association with Indology course, and subsequent exploration in Indian philosophical systems, particularly, Nyaya and Vaisesika Darshan(also called Indian Logic), I had encountered similar terminologies.

Steven Forth, being avid reader himself, ventured into Pune city for shopping for books. I accompanied him and we went to then landmark Maney’s book stall(which is now closed). Among other books, he also bought S R Ranganathan’s book titled Colon Classification. During my discussions with him about that book, I was surprised to know about this Indian mathematician and information scientist, who has done such a pioneering work, of which, I was completely unaware of it. All of his work, was achieved way back in 1950s and even earlier. I am sure many of us are not aware of it. Subsequently, I also bought that book.  He is considered as father of library science in India, also rest of the world. His birthday(Aug 12) is observed as National Library Day in India. Subsequently, I learnt that his thoughts around classification came from concepts of classification and world view of Nyaya and Vaisesika Darshan. He also was instrumental formulating five laws of library science which are:

Law#1: Books are for use.
Law#2: Every reader his / her book.
Law#3: Every book its reader.
Law#4: Save the time of the reader.
Law#5: The library is a growing organism.

I am particularly fascinated by his thinking on information classification. I am still exploring this field. I am sure many of these concepts are useful in this age of big data analytics. His information retrieval concepts might be relevant for digital age of today where there is explosion of data. They all apply principles of information science. I intend to write a series of blogs here on his work subsequently. Today I wanted to introduce about this lesser known personality(outside small circle of library science fraternity) from India and his pioneering work on the occasion of his 125th birthday.

Open Debate on Vedic Science and Technology

When I was school going child, we used to have sometime open debates arranged, and we were asked to participate. Of course, topic of the debate would be known before hand. One of the speakers would be making a point and other would need make counter-point. This is a typical attack and defend style open debates. Everyone used to enjoy them. Since those school days, I never across such a thing again, until recently.

Couple of years back, due to my association with subject of Indology and my groups and people in Pune with similar interest, I got a notification about open debate program. The topic was vedic science and technology. The debaters were Shreenand Bapat and Satish Kulkarni. Shreenand Bapat was my teacher during my Indology course. He is known for his intense views, and most of the times corroborated with proofs. I was thrilled and attended the debate with keen interest. The house was packed. Looks like many of them had not witnessed, like me, an open debate. Plus it is always nice to watch two groups/people fight!

So this debate was organized by famous Marathi magazine Prasad, dedicated to Indian heritage. Satish Kulkarni was the first one to go with his points. He is technologist by profession and has been very passionate about exploring ancient Indian science and technology. He runs an organization focused on this effort. His organization’s name is Pradnya Vikas Shikshan Sanstha. He, obviously, was taking the audience through various examples what kind of evidences exist in Vedic literature and other sources, and kind of effort he has been involved in reconstructing them. Shreenand Bapat came in later with his counter points. He had more practical approach and advised not to day-dream about the superiority of Indians in science and technology due to the fact that we don’t get many materialistic evidences.

The debates of such nature are usually never black or white. They act as a tool to ignite the fire in all the involved to study harder in the quest of true knowledge. Any form or extreme approach, opinion, views and perception will cause this quest to get handicapped. All of us have learnt to not take anything for granted and evaluate all possibilities. Shreenand Bapat’s presentation focused more on war technology and also references to some entertaining statistics and scientific achievement(rather non-achievements), while the debate was about ‘shashtra’ wherein the expectation was to talk more about fundamental science. I felt Satish Kulkarni made good effort to present his work in front of us. Of course, he could have done it better in terms of accuracy, references and obviously he was not as fluent as Shreenand Bapat. The most important thing in his approach was that he had made efforts to conduct experiments based on references in ancient literature. The positive take-away for me out this debate was that community outside Indology is taking interest in such topics, without being ‘nationalistic’, using modern techniques and methodologies, they are trying to reinterpret and rediscover what might be hidden. Mankind is the only beneficiary in such an endeavor.

I had covered a conference which took place in Pune on the same theme sometime back. You might be interested in that. I must state that India has a tradition of argumentation. In fact the whole philosophical systems was evolved out of points and counter points, dialog and scope for arguments. This is covered, as many of you must have read, in Amartya Sen’s famous book Argumentative Indian. Prof V N Jha, the famous expert on Indian intellectual traditions, also believes that the tradition evolved through systematic argumentation and inquiry. Plus the format used had 3 different sections-purva paksha(point, पूर्वपक्ष), khandana(counter point, खंडन) and siddhanta(thesis, सिद्धांत). To conclude, I liked the debate and it has underlined the need to not ignore the ancient knowledge system and the need to evaluate rationally and re-purpose. I am, myself, particularly interested in Indian Logic system as it is referred to one of philosophical systems called Nyaya Darshan, and its applications towards problems of computer science and information technology. Such deliberations need to happen and should keep happening.

Digging out the past

I always have been very curious about history as a subject. In 2004, I came to know of a course in Indology in Pune accidentally, which I eventually took up. I plan to share my experience with that course later. During M A Indogloy course, I happened to visit few archaeological sites. This blog is sharing of that experience. This course is famous for its field trips. Since the course is about studying India’s past, and while evidences of that are scattered all over, it is natural that the course has focus on field trips. The course also had earned a nickname Hindology(हिंडॉलॉजी, कारण सारखे हिंडणे फिरणे सुरु असते). The course had a subject on archaeology. We managed to be part of couple of excavations underway by Deccan College at couple of sites, and experience them first hand. I wanted to share that experience on this blog.

Our first outing to archaeological site was to a place Jorwe near Sangamner on Pune Nashik highway, to understand center of Jorwe culture which is part of chalcolithic age. The archaeological excavation was done long time back by famous Dr H D Sankaliya in 1950. The excavation activities are no more right now, but we were able to go around the village, different mounds where excavation was carried out, as we got a guided tour with help of our teachers. We were told that red colored pottery, coarse pottery, circular houses, were found. Evidences of clay hearths were also found. It was like traveling back in time relating what we learnt and read in the classrooms about this site.

Few months later, we went to Bhon near Shegaon, where archaeological excavation was on by Dr Deotare from Deccan College. We stayed there for 3 days. Dr Rajguru, famous geo-archaeologist also visited the site, and he was with us for a day. We were fortunate to hear him talk about the significance of the site from geology perspective. The site is on the banks of river Purna is at least 2300 years old site. The team had discovered Buddhist stupa which was constructed in bricks, dating back more than 2000 years. At this site, we took part in trenching, scraping activities. We also played part in pottery pieces classification at the pottery yard, where we saw painted grey ware(PGW), northern black polished ware(NBPW), black red ware pottery. The terracotta ring wells were also found and excavated there. After whole day’s labor, in the evening we all would gather to record our findings, classify, categories and tag them appropriately. We spent 3 days at the site and was very different experience working on the field with fellow archaeologist and learning from them a lot.

Our third visit to archaeological  site was to a place called Inamgaon near Pune. The excavation work here at this site, was carried out way back in 1970. The excavation work went on for 14 seasons, which lasted till 1980. This site is important from the its connection with Jorwe culture. The interesting thing there was evidences found about practice of burring dead persons, that too inside the houses. Also more than 200 megalithic burial circles were found there. This was a one day trip for us. We got opportunity to go around the excavation site, look around the mounds. We also could spot various stone artifacts still scattered around.

Following year, we went to Junnar excavation site where archaeological excavation was on by Dr Vasant Shinde and Srikanth Jadhav from Deccan College. There were evidences of large brick structures which were used as graininess during the Satavahana period. We were at the site for half day, were able to interact with Dr Shinde and Jadhav about the significance of the site. Junnar also has regional office of Archaeological Survey of India which we visited, and that is these were camping during the excavation. Junnar has largest concentration of rock cut caves which are Buddhist caves, as well as Jain caves.

These above mentioned experiences were related to visits to archaeological excavation sites. Besides, that during the course, we had plenty of opportunities to visit and study many ancient and historical landmarks such as Bhimbetka caves in Madhya Pradesh. I will write more about them later. You want to look at other blogs of mine on Indology. Stay tuned till then!

 

अमळनेरची शंभर वर्षीय भारतीय तत्वज्ञान संस्था

आपण सर्वानी Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Indian Institute of Management(IIM) बद्दल ऐकले असते, आपल्याला चांगलीच माहिती असते. पण आपण कधी Indian Institute of Philosophy(IIP), म्हणजेच भारतीय तत्वज्ञान संस्था याबद्दल ऐकले आहे का, आणि ती जळगाव जवळ अमळनेर ह्या गावी आहे ह्याची माहिती आहे का? मला नक्कीच खात्री आहे, की खुपच कमी लोकांना त्याबद्दल माहिती असेल. तुम्हाला आश्चर्य वाटेल ही तत्वज्ञान क्षेत्रातील भारतातील सर्वात जुनी अशी संस्था आहे आणि ह्याला ह्या वर्षी १०० वर्षे पूर्ण होताहेत. साधारण १०-१२ वर्षांपासून, म्हणजे २००४ पासून,  मला तत्वज्ञान क्षेत्रात रस निर्माण झाला, ह्याचे प्रमुख कारण म्हणजे मी त्यावेळेस भारतविद्या(Indology) शिकत होतो, तेव्हा आम्हाला भारतीय तत्वज्ञानाशी संबधित काही विषय होते. त्यानंतरही मी काहीबाही वाचून तत्वज्ञानाच इतिहास, वेगवेगळे वाद, प्रवाद, भारतीय दर्शन आणि पाश्चिमात्य तत्वज्ञान यांची तुलना इत्यादी विषय समजावून घेऊ लागलो. तसेच पुणे विद्यापिठाचा तत्वज्ञान विभाग, आणि यांच्या तर्फे आयोजित केली गेलेली संमेलने, कार्यशाळा, इत्यादीतून भाग घेवून वेगवेगळे विषय समजावून घेऊ लागलो. २००६ मध्ये पुणे विद्यापिठाच्या तत्वज्ञान विभागाने परमर्श ह्या त्यांच्या त्रैमासिकाचे जुने अंक विकायला काढले असे समजले. ते मी घेतले, तेव्हाच मला अमळनेर मधील ह्या संस्थेबद्दल समजले.

IIP

अमळनेरची भारतीय तत्वज्ञान संस्था श्रीमंत प्रतापशेठ यांनी १९१६  मध्ये स्थापन केली. तीला अर्थात ह्या वर्षी १०० वर्षे होत आहेत. मध्ये काही वर्षे त्याचे नाव प्रताप तत्वज्ञान केंद्र असे होते. सध्या त्याचे नाव Pratap P. G. Research Center of Philosophy असे आहे. त्यांच्या वेबसाईटवरून त्याचा इतिहास समजतो तो साधारण असा: श्रीमंत प्रतापशेठ ज्यांनी १९१६ मध्ये ही संस्था सुरु केलेली, ते उद्योगपती तर होतेच, पण तत्वज्ञान विषयात त्यांना रस होता, आणि तळमळ देखील होती. संस्थेची कारकीर्द मोठी आणि उज्वल आहे. संस्था सुरु झाल्यानंतर काही वर्षातच तिचे नाव सर्वदूर पसरले आणि ५० वर्षात त्या क्षेत्रात संशोधन करणारी आणि शिक्षण देणारी  संस्था असा तिचा नावलौकिक झाला. संस्थेने आतापर्यंत भारतीय तत्वज्ञान विषयावरील तसेच East-West Philosophyच्या तुलनात्मक अभ्यासावरील देखील पुस्तके प्रकाशित केली आहेत. शंभर वर्षाच्या काळात ज्या काही भारतीय विचारधारा, तसेच नामवंत विचारवंत होवून गेले, त्यातील जवळजवळ सर्वजण ह्या संस्थेशी संलग्न होते. मलकानी, रासबिहारी दास, के. सि. भट्टाचार्य, भारतन् कुमाराप्पा, डी. डी. वाडेकर, टी. आर. व्हि. मूर्ती, दयाकृष्ण, डी. वाय. देशपांडे, थोर समाजसुधारक साने गुरुजी असे सर्वजण येथेच होते.  तत्वज्ञानच्या क्षेत्रातील पसिद्ध, अग्रगण्य अशी त्रैमासिके ‘Philosophical Quarterly’ आणि  ‘तत्वज्ञान मंदिर’ ही इथूनच निघत. १९९३ मध्ये उत्तर महाराष्ट्र विद्यापीठाने तिचे पालकत्व घेतले.

२००६ मध्ये मला संस्थेबद्दल समजल्यानंतर, अमळनेरला आणि ह्या संस्थेला भेट द्यायची मनीषा बाळगली आहे, पण अजूनतरी काही जमले नाहीये. गेल्या वर्षी माझी अमळनेर मधीलच इंग्रजीचे प्रोफेसर असलेले ज्योती राणे यांची ओळख झाली. त्यांनी मला मलकानी यांनी १९९४५ मध्ये लिहिलेले श्रीमंत प्रतापशेठ यांचे चरित्र मला मिळवून दिले. मलकानी हे तर संस्थेचे प्रमुख म्हणून कित्येक वर्षे कार्यरत होते. त्यांनी ह्या पुस्तकात, संस्थेची देखील माहिती आणि सुरवातीचे दिवस याबद्दल लिहिले आहे. त्यांच्या बद्दल आणि संस्थेबद्दल त्यांनी अगदी प्रांजळपणे आणि कोणताही आडपडदा न ठेवता लिहिले आहे. श्रीमंत प्रतापशेठ आणि त्यांचे गुरु सावळाराम यांच्या पुढाकाराने संस्था सुरु झाली. समाजातून त्यावेळी देखील अशा संस्थेची गरज काय, असा विरोध देखील त्यांना सहन करावा लागला. पण ह्या दोघांच्या ठाम जिद्दीमुळे संस्था चालत राहिली आणि नावारूपाला येवू लागली.

१९८६ मध्ये, Indian Council for Philosophy Research(ICPR) ने IIPच्या Philosophy Quarterly त्रैमासिकाची लेख-लेखक सूची तयार केली. ज्यात १९१९ पासून १९६६ पर्यंतच्या लेखांची माहिती आहे. १९७३ मध्ये पुणे विद्यापीठाच्या तत्वज्ञान विभागाने प्रकाशनात खंड पडलेल्या या मासिकाची सूत्रे हातात घेवून ते पुनर्जीवित केले आणि तिचे नामकरण Philosophy Quarterly असे केले. तेव्हापासून प्रकाशित झालेल्या लेखांची सूची विद्यापीठाने १९९९ मध्ये प्रकाशित केली, निमित्त होते, ते या त्रैमासिकाची २४ वर्ष पूर्ण होणे, तसेच विद्यापीठाची ५० वर्षे झाली होती. १९७९ मध्ये विद्यापीठाने काही वर्षे बंद पडलेले तत्वज्ञान मंदिर हे त्रैमासिक देखील, त्याची  IIPकडून सूत्रे घेवून ते पुनर्जीवित केले. तिचे नामकरण परामर्श असे केले. २००५ मध्ये, त्यांनी परामर्शची लेख-लेखक सूची, २५व्या वर्षपूर्तीनिमित्ताने, तयार केली. त्यात त्यांनी तत्वज्ञान मंदिर त्रैमासिकाचे १९१९-१९५२ पर्यंतची सूची दिली. ही त्रैमासिके भारतातील, महाराष्ट्रातील उच्चविद्याविभूषित, विद्वान, पंडित, संशोधक, तत्वज्ञानप्रेमी व अभ्यासक या सर्वांच्या अंतरंगाचे दर्शन घडवणारी महत्वाची नियतकालिके आहेत. माझ्या दृष्टीने तरी ह्या १०० वर्षे झालेल्या संस्थेचे हे महत्वाचे कार्य म्हणता येईल.

अमळनेरला जाऊन संस्थेला भेट ह्या वर्षी तरी द्यावयास हवी. ह्या वर्षी १०० वर्षे पूर्ण होताहेत, त्या मुळे नक्कीच तेथे बरेच कार्यक्रम असतील. सर्वानी मिळून भारताच्या ह्या ऐतिहासिक वारशाचे जतन करावयास हवे.

(This blog is a loose translation of my original English blog on the same topic)

Indian Institute of Philosophy

We all have heard of Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Indian Institute of Management(IIM), but ever heard of Indian Institute of Philosophy(IIP)? I know you may not have. But surprise, this is one of the oldest philosophy related institutes in India, and this year it is celebrating its 100 years. Since 2004, during my days of studying Indology, I got dragged into world of philosophy more formally, as the course had few subjects on Indian systems of philosophy. Subsequently, I studied and read about various aspects of western philosophy, comparative aspects. Also attended many workshops and seminars dealing with various issues in this topic, mainly arranged by University of Pune’s Department of Philosophy and also Center of Advanced Studies in Sanskrit(CASS). In 2006, this department had announced sale of past issues quarterly magazine Paramarsh. I bought them and also learnt about IIP for the first time.

IIP

IIP is located at a place called Amalner, near Jalgaon in Maharashtra. It was founded by Shrimant Pratapseth in 1916. It is now called as Pratap P. G. Research Center of Philosophy. The website of this center says this, about its history: “Indian Institute of Philosophy was established in July 1916 at Amalner by Shriamnt Pratapseth an industrialist with pious motives and determination. It has a long span of distinctive activities in the sphere of Indian Philosophy. In about 50 years, this institute became a famous centre for learning and research in philosophy. The institute published a number of books on Indian Philosophy and Comparative studies in East-West Philosophy. The Scholars and fellows associated with this institution during this long period were originators of practically all philosophical movements in contemporary Indian thought; amongst them are Prof. G.R. Malkani, Prof. Rasbiharidas, Prof. K. C. Bhattacharaya, Prof. Bharatan Kumarappa, Prof. D.D. Wadekar, Prof. T.R.V. Murti, Prof. Dayakrishna, Prof. D.Y. Deshpande. Shri Sane Guruji, a great social reformer, literary figure and thinker of Maharashtra was at this institute for some time. In the long period of the institute, philosophical journals viz. ‘Philosophical Quarterly’ and ‘Tattwadnyan Mandir’, were well established as standard periodicals of the country. These journals soon became well-known in world’s philosophical thought. In June 1993, this institution was taken over by North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon (Maharashtra).”

In 1986, PQ author-subject index was published by Indian Council for Philosophical Research(ICPR), for the articles published during 1919-1966. In 1973, Department of Philosophy(Pune University) took over Philosophical Quarterly(PQ) and renamed it as Indian Philosophical Quarterly(IPQ). In 1999, during the golden jubilee of Pune University, and silver jubilee of IPQ itself, published author subject index IPQ. In 1979, Department of Philosophy(Pune University) revived and took over Marathi quarterly Tattwadnyan Mandir of IIP.  In 2005, it published author-subject index of Paramarsh for period of 1979 till 2004, covering history of 25 years of that magazine. That index also had index of articles of Tattwadnyan Mandir since its inception ie. 1919 till 1952. In my opinion, these magazines are the most important contributions of IIP, among producing many stalwarts in the field of philosophy.

I wished to visit this place for long time, but I have still not managed to do so. Last year I happened to get introduced to professor of English at another college in Amalner, she helped to fetch me a copy of book written by Prof G R Malkani, who was long in-charge of the IIP. This book is about life sketch of founder of the IIP, Shrimant Pratapsheth, also early history of the institute itself. It is very old book, published in 1945. The life sketch of the founder by the author is quite candid. The book also traces how it had humble beginning, the ups and downs, during his leadership. In one of the days, I plan to visit them, and look around it, and their activities and publications, as part of centenary celebrations. This is India’s heritage and needs to be learnt about preserved, I believe.

Murty Classical Library and Sheldon Pollock

Sometime back when I had learnt about the announcement of Murty Classical Library(MCL), it was seen as great news for Indian intellectual tradition. Despite efforts of various organizations in this regard, there was still a huge gap and lot was desired to be done. I know organizations such as Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute(BORI) being on such organization. It was also delightful to see folks who have been pioneers of Indian IT industry giving back to the society in this way. It is now very well know that Rohan Murty developed interest in Sanskrit and other Indological aspects during his study days at Harvard. There are many like him who have started this journey of discovering, re-discovering India’s past, specifically in intellectual tradition. I have talked of my own association and journey in this field which started about a decade back. I have been writing on this blog on those topics.

mcl-sheldon

I am part of a Google group called Indian Intellectual Tradition which is started by Prof V N Jha sometime back while he was director at Center for Advanced Studies of Sanskrit in University of Pune. The other day I was surprised to see plethora of emails and message flooding the group message board on the topic of MCL and someone named Sheldon Pollock who was appointed as head of MCL. Members were protesting the appointment sighting background of Sheldon Pollock. I spoke to Prof Jha on this topic and also researched a bit about Sheldon Pollock. It seems that his views and approach towards Sanskit language is debatable and biased. So these members and experts were concerned about the quality and authenticity of the translations which will get produced.

Experts also have been not quite happy about the MCL being setup outside India. The logic is simple. India is a place where you will find experts in the field for which the MCL wants to work, plus it would be lot cheaper to do it here in India. As some one said, this exactly opposite of the reasons of why Indian IT industry flourished which was to bring in the cost advantage. So why not ride on that and set up the MCL here in India. We keep seeing western Indological experts getting caught into debates once in a while due to radical views, research, book they publish. Incidents involving authors such as James Laine, Wendy Doniger, are still fresh. Sheldon Pollock case seems different. Instead of opposition from some political or religious faction, the opposition is coming from research community in India. There petition filed against this which I have signed. I request you to take a look at it and consider signing it.

What Harvard educated Rohan Murty did by donating and funding a center at Harvard, is something many other Indian western educated entrepreneurs have done in the past-way of giving back to USA for their success. We see many doing same for Indian universities also, like donations by first generation Indian-American entrepreneur Kanwal Rekhi to IIT Bombay. But MCL was different case, as it involved work in the area of Indian intellectual tradition which can be naturally be done best by Indians. Not doubt, in this world of globalization, experts are available all over. The approach could have been to involve them, but under expert and head from India, with neutral and unbiased approach. As Prof V N Jha says many time, Indian intellectual tradition is characterized by inclusiveness, difference of opinion, deliberation, debates for advancement. Why not follow that when we talk of work involving preservation of the same?