Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone - Issue #83: The Gaming of the Academia

Last updated on Aug 1, 2022

Posted on Aug 3, 2020

He was making food for both the sides in Mahabharat. Just enough. Not more, not less. No matter how many died - hundreds, thousands - the food was just enough. The Udupi king was the one who was responsible for the food. How did he get it so right?

Before the Mahabharat started, only one man tried his best to stop the war - Krishna. He was humiliated thrice. Last time very badly by Duryodhana. Yet, even when he was shielding the most marked man in the battle, Arjuna, he had himself decided to not pick up arms.

Many great warriors met their end, many families got destroyed.

Even though no one had worked as hard as Krishna to stop the war, no one was as clear as him about how to win the war when it started.

That is clarity.

When Udupi king was asked how he knew how much to cook everyday? He revealed that every night Krishna would come to him to have boiled peanuts, his favorite food. He would peel them and keep specially for Krishna. The king explained -

He eats just a few peanuts, and after he is done, I count to see how many he has eaten. If he has eaten 10 peanuts, I know tomorrow 10,000 will die, so I cook tomorrow’s food for 10,000 people less. Every day, I count these peanuts and cook accordingly, so it turns out right.

Krishna not just knew the result of the war, he knew who and how many would go when. Yet he fought the war with full intensity and involvement.

How many of us can do that? Know the result and yet give our best with full intensity?

Be Krishna.

(Source: Krishna’s Game of War)


“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” ― Steve Jobs

academic games and historian jokers

Agnes Callard, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago writes something very interesting about the research writings that are done.

This tells you something about academic writing, and how deeply it is shaped—mostly not at a conscious level—by the refereeing process. The simple fact is that “success” in academia is a matter of journal-acceptance, which in turn makes for a line in one’s CV. The number of such citations, taken together with the prestige of the relevant journals, is what counts for getting, keeping and being promoted in an academic job. (Source)

She laments how just a few decades back or in the last century, philosophers who wrote were stars whom people quote, read and talk about even today - even outside of academic circles.

“Why don’t people write philosophy like this anymore?”

Because Academic writing and ‘scholarship’ is gamed. It is a system that needs to be perfected.

This is in the University of Chicago Ivy league circles.

the Indian jokers

In India, the situation is hilarious if not tragic. Let us look at a topical issue and how it related to these spiralling academic standards.

Prof D Mandal was the expert witness for the Sunni Waqf Board who had written a 'cited’ work “Ayodhya: Archaeology after Demolition”. In the deposition to Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi case, he was one of the star historians. Here are some of his statement before the honorable High Court:

  • “I never visited Ayodhya”
  • “I do not have any specific knowledge of the history of Babur’s reign.”
  • “Whatsoever little knowledge I have about Babur is only that Babur was the ruler of the 16th century. Except for this I do not have any knowledge of Babur. I do not have knowledge of anything in 2nd Para of the editorial preface to my book (exhibit 63) in which Romila Thapar has written that Vishwa Hindu Parishad, BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, for the first time, raised the issue of the Babri Masjid being located on the place which was earlier Rama’s birth place. I also do not know whether or not it is correctly written on page 10 of the aforesaid preface that Ayodhya is a site of pilgrimage for adherents of Ramanand school.”
  • “The Communist Party issues a red card, and I am its holder. It is true that I have no faith in religion.”

Another star historian was Archaeologist Shereen Ratnagar. She had written the introduction to the book by Prof D. Mandal. Interesting, huh?! This historian admitted that -

she did not have any “field” experience as far as Babri was concerned

Archeologist without field experience of the subject on hand?! That is like having a pilot who read up “Flying for Dummies” and was flying your aircraft. Recipe for comfort!

A few eminent historians had also come together to write a book on Ayodhya - Historians’ Report to the Nation. It was authored by RS Sharma, M Athar Ali, DN Jha and Suraj Bhan, and was released in May 1991.

When the court cross-examined, Suraj Bhan said that - they had written the book under “pressure” in six weeks and “without going through the record of the excavation by BB Lal.”

So the major blockbuster book by the historians meant to “shock and awe” was just a big flop when questions were asked.

One of the historians - S.C. Mishra from Delhi University - was like the Keshto of Indian history. He declared:

“at present, I fail to recollect when and for what purpose it was levied. I do not remember that the Jaziya was levied only on Hindus.”

He boasted that he had read a lot of books on history. When asked which ones? His reply - “I do not remember the name of any book right now.”

Another eminent historian - Dr Sushil Srivastava of Allahabad University insisted that there was no evidence to suggest that the Mosque was built after demolishing a Temple.

When pressed for evidence in support of his statement, he dismantled his entire facade.

He could not read or write Persian, could not read Arabic and had no sound knowledge of Sanskrit either. In his efforts, he was ‘helped’ by his father-in-law S.R. Farooqui. (Source)

Oh and as if that wasn’t enough, he confessed to a lot of other things:

“I have no knowledge of Epigraphy. I have no knowledge of Numismatic. I did not acquire any specialization in archaeology. I did not acquire any knowledge about survey of land…”

He threw the whole kitchen sink of his abject ignorance at the Allahabad High Court!

This is just way too embarrassing, so will end with this one more specimen - R.C. Thakran from Delhi University. When the judges asked where he learned the “facts” from. “Newspapers and magazines" he replied. He had not really read “a book by any historian in this regard.”

Since he was on a confessional spree, he also clarified that he was a ‘table archaeologist’ rather than a ‘field archaeologist’.

Like I am the world’s greatest table fast bowler with the most amazing swing bowling ever seen in the history of cricket!

Moral of the theory: You may get away with fraud in academia by intimidating your students using the power of your ecosystem, but don’t expect outsiders to take you on face-value.

(Sources for this piece - Babri demolition: How HC verdict discredited ‘eminent’ historians and Opindia piece on these Eminent Historians.)

the glory of a bhakt and the bigoted vilification

On August 5, 2020 Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will do Bhoomi Pujan for Ram Janmabhoomi temple at Ayodhya. But before that, they will visit the Hanumangarhi temple, When asked why - the temple priest said the following:

“Without Lord Hanuman, no work of Lord Ram can begin. That is why Modi ji and Yogi ji are coming and will do special pooja at Hanumangarhi temple and then will lay the foundation for the construction of Ram temple at Janmabhoomi Sthal with the blessings of Hanuman ji,” he added. (Source)

That’s the power and profundity of Bhakti and Bhakt. A Bhakt is no different from his / her isht. And in some case, as in the case of Shri Hanuman, he leads the work for the isht himself!

It is this profound understanding and way of life that those who hate the idea of India, Dharma and Hinduism attack when they use bhakt as a pejorative.

Breaking Dharma: Vilification of Bhakt, Bhakti and Guru - Drishtikone

Breaking Dharma: Vilification of Bhakt, Bhakti and Guru - Drishtikone

Over the last few years, the left (and the their ideological allies, the Congress and its bedfellows the regional so-called secular parties) – in order to spite their political rivals, the BJP – have used a word as a pejorative – “Bhakt”. Which means devotee. Clever ploy to use Dharmic terms in a negative way…

father of Indian chemistry

Prafulla Chandra Roy, CIE, FNI, FRASB, FIAS, FCS - who was he? It was his birthday on Aug 2.

He was one of the greatest chemists India has produced and has been known as the ‘Father of Indian Chemistry’. He was a great researcher, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was born on Aug 2, 1861 in the eastern portion of the Bengal Presidency of British India (now in present-day Bangladesh). He received his DSc degree from Edinburgh University in 1887 and taught chemistry at Presidency College for few years. In 1892, he set up Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals as an individual initiative and transformed it into Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Works Pvt. Ltd. by 1901. He authored many books; the most famous one is History of Hindu chemistry- from the earliest times to the middle of the sixteenth century AD. He died on June 16, 1944, at the age of 82. He is the first non-European to receive coveted Chemical Landmark plaque by The Royal Society of Chemistry, in 2011 on his 150th birth anniversary. (Source)

Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray had discovered the compound clioquinol (iodochlorhydroxyquin) which is an antifungal drug and antiprotozoal drug. Hydroxychloroquine is a less toxic derivative of chloroquine and was discovered in 1945 and was a part of the efforts to lessen the toxic effects of chloroquine.

He was such a fierce nationalist that he used to tell his students at Presidency College that “Science can wait, SWARAJ cannot”.

why an Ahmadi American citizen was murdered in Pakistan?

Recently, an American citizen was killed in Pakistan’s court. He had been charged with blasphemy. A charge that is awaiting every Ahmadi Muslim person in Pakistan. No, not because some bigot may call them so and kill them. But because it is so deemed by Pakistan’s Constitution itself.

Man Killed in Pakistani Court on Blasphemy Charges Was US Citizen | Voice of America - English

A member of the Ahmadi minority Muslim sect who was shot and killed during his hearing on blasphemy charges in a Pakistani courtroom Wednesday was a U.S. citizen, the U.S.

The murderer of the Ahmadi American citizen has become a local celebrity. People, police, and VIPs are taking selfies with him - the ‘Killer Selfies’

Naila Inayat नायला इनायत

@nailainayat

Killer selfies continue. https://t.co/DaAnAhNi5r

3:34 PM - 3 Aug 2020

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan passed in September 7, 1974 declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims. This was further strengthened by Ordinance XX promulgated under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq on 26 April 1984 which barred the Ahmadis from practising Muslim observances. The ordinance resulted in amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code to add the sections 298-B and 298-C. Subsection B prevents Ahmadis from using certain Muslim epithets, descriptions and titles, while subsection C prevents Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslims. It comes with a punishment of 3 years imprisonment and fine.

Ironically, it is said that the real brain behind Pakistan and its partition from India was an Ahmadi man named Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan. He was considered to be one of the biggest political intellectuals of undivided India, at par with Ambedkar. Khan Wali Khan (the son of Badshah Khan) mentions this in his book Facts are Facts. Sir Khan was the President of the UNGA (17th session). He also served as a judge in the International Court of Justice, the Hague, the only Pakistani ever to reach such heights. After the Lahore anti-Ahmadi riots of 1953, he and many other Ahmadis were forced to leave Pakistan.

Interestingly, the Furqan Force which participated in the attack on Kashmir in 1948 was also constituted of the Ahmadis. Read about it in the section What about the persecuted Ahmadis in Pakistan? in this article on Citizenship Amendment Act.

How the Pakistan State targets Ahmadiyya and other Muslims with the full backing of its Constitution

The Pakistan State targets Ahmadiyya and other Muslims with full backing of the Constitution. Given Pak’s #Islamophobia, how can it ever be a ‘voice for Muslims’?

The foundation for the persecution of the Ahmadis was put in place by the guy who is celebrated as a “Secular and progressive Muslim” in Pakistan - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He betrayed them even after the Ahmadis had worked hard to bring him to power.

How the Fanatic Zulfiqar Bhutto Betrayed the Ahmadis - Drishtikone

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was sworn in as a Prime Minister in 1970. He was greatly helped and backed by the Qadianis (Qadayyanis or Ahmadiyyas or Ahmadis). The Ahmadis were hoping to reap rewards after having backed Bhutto unflinchingly.

But even when an American citizen has been killed in broad daylight - powered by the force of Pakistan’s Constitution and its inherent bigotry and fanaticism - you will not find anyone in the global media or even Indian media call it out!

nota bene

Sovereign Wealth Funds for Infra: Union minister Nitin Gadkari endorsed industry suggestion that India should create one or two sovereign wealth funds to finance big-ticket infrastructure projects both within the country and in other chosen countries. As per the suggestion, the government will put in initial seed capital and then will try to attract funds from outside particularly from countries where the return on capital has been very low and even negative, essentially to create a large corpus. (Source)

Chinese espionage: The Chinese Army’s secret unit ‘61398’, known for cyber espionage, is eyeing information related to India’s defense and research, the security agencies sounded an alert on Monday. According to a report of the security agencies, this secret unit of the People’s Liberation of Army (PLA) has intensified its activities against India. (Source)

Oxygen level test for Gym: Exercising in gymnasiums and yoga classes has been prohibited for people with an oxygen saturation level below 95%, according to standard operating procedures (SOPs) released by the health ministry on Monday, two days before the reopening of gyms and yoga schools shut because of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown. (Source)

Cruise COVID: Covid-19 has been detected on at least two cruise ships – one in the Arctic and one in the Pacific – just weeks after cruising holidays restarted. At least 40 passengers and crew from the MS Roald Amundsen have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and authorities are trying to contact trace hundreds of passengers from two recent Arctic voyages the ship took. (Source)

COVID bands: Singapore will make some incoming travellers wear an electronic monitoring device to ensure that they comply with coronavirus quarantines as the city-state gradually reopens its borders. From August 11, the devices will be given to incoming travellers, including citizens and residents, from a select group of countries who will be allowed to isolate at home rather than at a state-appointed facility. Similar measures using electronic wristbands to track peoples’ movements during quarantine have been used in Hong Kong and South Korea. (Source)

why building Ram temple matters?

Ram, was just a king, he asks. So, why was he worshipped? And how is he relevant even now?

Sadhguru explains the relevance and the greatness of Shri Ram. Why is he considered a manifestation of the divine - the Maryada Purushottam!

Sadhguru underscores why is what’s happening in Ayodhya on Aug 5th central to the Indian ethos.

Ram Mandir is the resurrection of the damaged Indian spirit.

If you have to watch one video for correct understanding of Ram, watch this!

Why Building The Ram Temple Matters - Sadhguru

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