A Historians Dharma

by admin Mar 10, 2006 1 Comment

Filed under: Dharma,Knowledge

After seeing the response to the Aryan Invasion Theory post, I thought it would be a good idea to get some expert opinion on the issue. So I emailed Indian Historian, Dr. Nayanjot Lahiri, asking her if she would be interested in doing a blog interview on AIT, here is her response:

My schedule simply doesn’t permit this currently. Have to finish teaching and essay corrections!
All the best,
Nayanjot Lahiri

Now since I had no expectations on this, I was more than happy that I even got a response, and I was ready to give up on the idea. It was then I came across, William Dalrymple, through this article, “Indian historians are navel-gazing, so there is an extraordinary gap for firangees like myself�, and reading this excerpt from the article:

Dalrymple blames the historians for this lacuna in Indian history. He believes that the Indian historian is so embroiled in his petty inter-departmental or ideological disputes that he doesn’t write or explore anything new.

I wondered if this could be the expert I was looking for? A little digging around and I found that he had another article on this issue—“India: The War over Historyâ€Â?. So I decided to send William an email, asking him if he would be interested in doing an interview on AIT. This was his response:

I am a medievalist rather than an expert in ancient India so I am afraid I won’t be much use to you. What I can tell you is that there no respectable, serious academic who takes the Aryans-out-of-India theory seriously: only slightly frightening religious nut cases- the Indian equivalents of Flat Earthers and anti-Darwinian Creationists. It seems to be a classic case of religious sentiment and patriotic fervour overcoming academic logic. What a shame Nayanjot Lahiri won’t help… NL knows this stuff better than anyone and I do think academics have a duty to explain themselves to ordinary, interested folk. I’d go back and ask, v politely, NL to reconsider… W

It was this response that made me think of a Historians Dharma. To quote William Dalrymple, “academics have a duty to explain themselves to ordinary, interested folk�. Isn’t it the Dharma of a Historian to provide the answers, regardless of who is asking? What do you think?

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