ARYANS VERSUS MONKEYS – THE SEQUEL

The following is the series of exchanges that took place with Dr. Karen Carr – whose website was found to have a highly distorted version of The Ramayana – and several eminent personalities and practising Hindus. Some of the emails are related to the exchanges themselves.

From: B Shantanu
To: Karen Carr
Cc: Krishen Kak
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 10:59 PM
Subject: History for Kids etc…

Dear Dr Carr,

I was recently pointed in the direction of your website by one of my acquaintances.

Teaching History to kids is difficult in the best of times (I should know as a father) so efforts like yours are very welcome indeed.

Unfortunately I noticed some errors in a particular section that deals with Ancient Indian History. Specifically, this linkmentions that "The Ramayana is partly about the Aryans trying to invade the people of southern India. It’s an Aryan story, and they show the
people of southern India as bad monkeys – not even human."

You would probably know that the Aryan Invasion Theory (IAT) is now thoroughly discredited and no longer accepted as a true interpretation of events that unfolded in India several centuried ago.

Besides, I am not sure which interpretation of Ramayana you relied upon but the people of South India are not mentioned as "Monkeys" in Ramayana!

Perhaps you have not had the chance to update the section or perhaps you inadvertently overlooked this in the middle of your other \commitments. I do hope though that you will consider revising this in the light of recent research.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Sincerely,
Shantanu


On Oct 22, 2008, at 10:44 AM, Krishen Kak wrote:

Dr Carr, may I invite your attention to http://www.vedanet.com/ -this is the website of Dr Frawley’s institute in New Mexico – and especially to the first few titles on http://www.vedanet.com/index.php?option=com_weblinks&catid=14&Itemid=12
a propos the so-called Aryan invasion. You may find educative too Dr
Frawley’s book on Hinduism.

——————————————–

—– Original Message —– From: Karen Carr
To: "Krishen Kak"
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 11:20 PM
Subject: Re: History for Kids etc…

Hi!

Thanks for writing, and thanks for visiting Kidipede. We’d prefer sources written by scholars with doctorates and peer-reviewed academic publications in the relevant subjects, please. If you send those along, we’ll be happy to consider them. Dr. Frawley does not have this kind of credentials, though he has many admirable qualities.

Karen Carr
Kidipede
2007 NE 25th Avenue Portland OR 97212 USA
http://www.kidipede.com
http://www.historyforkids.org

On Oct 22, 2008, at 9:03 PM, Krishen Kak wrote:

When I was a student at Princeton, one of the first lessons I learned (from Dr Diane Ross, an archaeologist herself) was not to accept something as gospel simply because of who said it. But I should assess all points of view and then decide for myself.

It is a lesson I commend to you.

You are not even prepared to look at Frawley because he doesn’t have your kind of credentials though he is well-versed in both Sanskrit and ancient Indian history learned from indigenous, not Western, sources.

I had not asked you to agree with him, simply to assess what he says and then to decide for yourself. You are not open to this at all. You are yourself not personally familiar with our lore in our own languages yet you head a State university program that propagates to impressionable minds your own second-hand etic understanding of a complex subject.

A simple question I asked like the direct source for your southern- people-are-monkeys statement you now admit this is "not something the Ramayana actually says". If this is so (and it is so), then how do you interpret something not said at all as "a metaphor" for something you imagine it says?

And presumably your earlier statement – passed on to your students – was derived from "experts". Yet you amend it in your email simply on the basis of an email from someone you say is not an expert!

But have you really "modified that page to show that the relationship between monkeys and south Indians is a metaphorical representation, not something the Ramayana actually says"? Here is what your page actually says:.

"The Ramayana is partly a metaphor for the Aryans trying to invade the people of southern India. It’s an Aryan story, and they show the people of southern India as bad monkeys – not even human. How should we feel about this? Should we not perform the play? Should we try to show that Hanuman and the monkeys are people too? How could we rewrite the play from the point of view of the southern Indians?" (http://www.historyforkids.org/crafts/india/ramayana.htm)

It doesn’t need an "expert" to point out that this is quite different from what you now claim in your email.

Nor do you answer why you do not ask students to look at Jesus and
his story the way you ask them to look at Rama’s.

You ask about "international conspiracy". Please take the time to
check out "Invading The Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in
America", edited by Krishnan Ramaswamy, Antonio de Nicolas and Aditi
Banerjee – it is a very scholarly examination, replete with
citations of experts, of attitudes such as yours. Dr NS Rajaram has
already forwarded to you and your university a paper to appear in a
scholarly journal – I am attaching it again for your convenience,

Yours is not scholarship, but politics.

Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: History for Kids etc…
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2008 01:11:43 +0530
From: Krishen Kak
To: Karen Carr, President of Portland University
CC: ^B Shantanu , Vamadeva Shastri, Subhash Kak, Pandita Indrani,
Kalyan Viswanathan, David Frawley,FHDUSA, Rajiv Malhotra
BEF
References:
<[email protected]>
<[email protected]>
<[email protected]>

I don’t believe this! You mean the credentials of the messenger are more important for you than the credibility of the message? And you are prepared to reject the message without even assessing it for yourself though you "entirely organize and run" this PSU program?

Your site cites Edwin Bryant who studied religion in your country. And Thomas Trautman, an American who studied history in London. And Romila Thapar, who is not known for her fluency in Sanskrit. And Virginia Schomp, who is only a graduate and that too in English literature. And Norah Moloney, whose doctoral qualification is in Iberian archaeology. And so on. And then you cite a wikipedia entry (http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/india/history/aryan2.htm) where the politics of aryanism and Western biases are discussed. You seem influenced by Witzel, whose dishonest "scholarship" has been exposed in the California textbook case.

Your own qualifications are more relevant to ancient Greece and Rome. Yet you can write that (so-called) Aryans "show the people of southern India as bad monkeys – not even human"?

From which scholar with a doctorate and in which peer-reviewed academic journals does s/he say this that you (an "associate professor" yourself) propagate it without bothering to cross-check for yourself that "the people of southern India" were actually shown "as bad monkeys – not even human"?

Your own version of the Ramayana (http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/india/literature/ramayana.htm) says nothing of "the people of southern India" being shown as monkeys, let alone bad ones. You yourself say Rama went to see the "king of the monkeys" which is not at all the same thing as "the people of southern India" being monkeys. You make Hanuman the "king of the monkeys". He was not. Since you accept the authority of wikipedia, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanuman to learn who really was the vanara king. You say Rama "was worried if [Sita] still loved him". Who cast the doubt about Sita? Have you even read for yourself the Ramayana in any Indian language?

Contrast this with your account of Jesus (http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/religion/christians/jesus.htm). Why do you likewise not ask children to write a play and act out Luke 22.36, 11.23 , 19.27 , 19.49 , 12.51-12.53 ; Matt 10.34 – 36 ? Plenty of opportunity here too for a lively presentation.

PS
My credentials to comment? I have a doctorate in anthropology from Princeton University. Surely good enough for me to again request that you, as a scholar, check out for yourself the credibility of what Frawley summarizes, and then you make up your own mind?

—————————————————————-

—– Original Message —–

From: Amy Ross

To: Krishen Kak

Cc: Thomas M. Luckett

Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 5:07 AM

Subject: Re: [Fwd: Re: History for Kids etc…]

Dear Ms. Kat,

The president’s office at Portland State University has received your e-mail message with the subject line of "History for Kids, etc…" I have forwarded it to the chair of the History Department, Dr. Thomas Luckett.

Sincerely,

Amy Ross
Executive Assistant to the President
Portland State University
503.725.4959

—————————————————

—– Original Message —–

From: Karen Carr

To: Krishen Kak

Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 1:44 AM

Subject: Re: History for Kids etc…

Hi!

With a doctorate in anthropology from Princeton, I imagine you know how to find find peer-reviewed publications that support your assertions. I’d be happy to read them. Or do you think that there’s some sort of international conspiracy against your ideas that prevents them from being published by academic presses?

I have looked, because you’re far from being the first person to write to me on this subject, and I have not found any reputable scholar who denies that there were Indo-European incursions into India. As you say, I am not an expert in early Indian history myself, and I don’t feel qualified to evaluate the evidence on my own. I must therefore rely on these published opinions from academic presses. As you are not an expert on the subject either, I think we ought to both rely on the experts. See for example,

Am J Hum Genet. 1996 October; 59(4): 927–934.Pre-Caucasoid and Caucasoid genetic features of the Indian population, revealed by mtDNA polymorphisms.G. Passarino, O. Semino, L. F. Bernini, and A. S. Santachiara- Benerecetti Dipartimento di Biologia Cellulare, Università della Calabria, Rende (CS), Italy.

If you want to read it on the Web, you’ll find it here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/520921/aryan-invasion-of-India-occurred-Revealed-by-mtDNA-analysis

Your point about the Ramayana is a good one, and, as I wrote to your friend earlier, I have modified that page to show that the relationship between monkeys and south Indians is a metaphorical representation, not something the Ramayana actually says. Thanks for pointing that out! You’ll find other people with this idea here:

http://www.haryana-online.com/Culture/sanskrit_literature.htm
http://www.ibiblio.org/gautam/hind0002.htm

or in this academic article:

• Πανδαιη and Sītā: On the Historical Background of the Sanskrit Epics
• Asko Parpola• Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 122, No. 2, Indic and Iranian Studies in Honor of Stanley Insler on His Sixty-Fifth Birthday (Apr. – Jun., 2002), pp. 361-373

Karen Carr
Kidipede
2007 NE 25th Avenue
Portland OR 97212 USA
http://www.kidipede.com
http://www.historyforkids.org


—– Original Message —–

From: Karen Carr

To: Krishen Kak

Cc: Amy Ross ; Thomas M. Luckett, B Shantanu, Vamadeva Shastri, Subhash Kak, Pandita Indrani, Kalyan Viswanathan, FSD(USA), Rajiv Malhotra, BEF Sharada Nayak

Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 10:15 AM

Subject: Re: History for Kids etc…

Dear Dr. Kak,

I’ll make you an offer: if you’ll read the articles I sent you, and comment on them seriously, then I will read what Frawley has to say, and send you my comments on that. Fair enough?

Karen Carr
Kidipede
2007 NE 25th Avenue Portland OR 97212 USA
http://www.kidipede.com
http://www.historyforkids.org

——————————————————-

—– Original Message —–

From: Krishen Kak

To: Karen Carr

Cc: Amy Ross, Thomas M. Luckett, B Shantanu, Vamadeva Shastri, Subhash Kak, Pandita Indrani, Kalyan Viswanathan, FSD(USA), Rajiv Malhotra, Sharada Nayak, Chaitanya Aggarwal

Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 11:48 AM

Subject: Re: History for Kids etc…

Very ingenious. But I’m not the one in charge of a University program foisting on young people a highly outrageous interpretation of a subject the program head herself admits she is unqualified to make – yet make it she does; herself implicitly acknowledges she does not have an open mind about this subject – but expects her critics to have so; herself, as that program head, is not open to even looking at for herself emic presentations of that subject – but expects her critics to first look at etic ones that, as her monkey metaphor shows, are prima facie false.

You show again your bias – it is who says what you consider scholarship, not what is said. This is faith-based scholarship, not reason-based scholarship. It is clear that to you what Princeton taught me about a scholar’s credo was wrong, and what Portland State University accepts from you – and allows you to propagate – is right.*

I’ll tell you what’s fair. You resign and dissociate yourself from that program. Then we’re both on the same level playing field – neither of us in a position of authority or influence re that program, and both looking at it from outside. Then I’ll accept your condition.

*You continue to stress academic credentials as an indicator of academic reliability. And you favour Wikipedia. Well, let’s go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_and_university_rankings and compare the academic credibility of Princeton with that of PSU. The former features in all the rankings there; if the latter is in even one, I couldn’t find it.

——————————————————–

—– Original Message —–

From: Thomas Luckett

To: Krishen Kak

Cc: Karen Carr

Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 7:50 PM

Subject: History for Kids

Dear Krishen Kak,

Please stop including me in the CC field of your exchange with Karen Carr.

Thanks,

Thomas M. Luckett
Associate Professor & Chair

Department of History
Portland State University
PO Box 751 Portland, OR 97207-0751

phone: 503-725-3982
fax: 503-725-3953
http://web.pdx.edu/~brtl/

————————————————————

—– Original Message —–

From: N. S. Rajaram

To: [email protected] ;Karen Carr; Amy Ross; Thomas M. Luckett

Cc: B. Shantanu ; Vamadeva Shastri; Subhash Kak ; Pandita Indrani ; Kalyan Viswanathan ; FSD (USA) ; Rajiv Malhotra ; BEF ; Sharada Nayak

Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 12:15 PM

Subject: Re: [BEF] Re: History for Kids etc… don’t waste time

Dear Mr. Kak:

I have held senior faculty and administrative positions at major universities, not a glorified community college like Portland State. I have learnt that less secure people are the more they fall back on credentials. when NASA or IBM invited me for a seminar nobody asked me about mycredentials (I lectured on neural networks), but were only interested in what I had to say.

we should not lower ourselves by arguing with people who want to be big frogs in a little pond. So let us not waste our time with these people.Prejudice is all they have left.
regards,
NS Rajaram

——————————————————————————-

—– Original Message —–
From: "Krishen Kak"
To: Thomas Luckett

Cc: Karen Carr"^^BEF"
<[email protected] Amy Ross, B
Shantanu, Vamadeva Shastri, Subhash Kak, Pandita Indrani, Kalyan Viswanathan, FSD(USA), Rajiv Malhotra, Sharada Nayak, Chaitanya Aggarwal
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 9:26 PM
Subject: Re: History for Kids

It is Ms Amy Ross of the PSU President’s Office who included you in this correspondence.

Why she did so should be obvious to you since you are the chair of the History Dept of which Karen Carr is a member and, therefore, her political ideology and attitude as reflected in a PSU history program organized and run by her should be of concern to you and your department.

That it is clearly – and astonishingly – not of concern is evident from your email – you mock you own public claims for your department (http://www.history.pdx.edu/).

Karen Carr propagates a people-are-monkeys "metaphor" for Indians. She and you will have received Dr NS Rajaram’s mail in which he responds with "big frogs in a little pond" for academics like the two of you.

Following Dr Rajaram’s advice to not waste our time on academics like you ("Prejudice is all they have left."), I will return unanswered any further communication from Karen Carr or you. It is not at all surprising that with "scholars" like the two of you, your university does not feature at all in any merit-ranking of your country’s universities.


From: Geeta Athreya

To: Karen Carr

Cc: Krishen Kak; B. Shantanu

Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2008 3:26 PM

Subject: Re: The Portland Ramayana

Dear Ms. Carr,

I wonder why Universities in America would teach kids racism and animosity where there was and is none. I am a South Indian — Tamilian to be very precise. Wonder how much you know what it is to be Tamilan born in Madras in Tamilnadu. I have never heard through out my life — I am pretty old — your Aryan invasion into the South story and depicting the South Indians as Bad Monkeys story!!!!! Bad Monkeys?!!! Bad Monkeys?!!! In fact the Monkeys are so good and revered — that recently — there was a story by Discovery Channel how much Monkeys are revered in India and therefore how difficult it is to curtail them in urban areas.

So even if the south Indians were monkeys — in fact all of us were monkeys if you remember Darwin —- A Monkey is a Big Time God in India and quite rightly so !!! Hanuman the Great Monkey God is the one of most powerful concepts ever conceived and you have to be either Indian or imbibed being Indian like Dr. Frawley or Francois Gautier to know, understand and feel all these things.

In the first episode of the Story of India by the BBC South India is almost referred to as the Mother of the World because in the beginning there was probably only the South– and we are referring to times when the Indian peninsular broke away from the Africa landmass.

The Ramayan is a fabulous text. It is in several languages and is a much revered text. You would do well to teach your kids that in India today it is a well loved story and text. It is also quite complicated– so do not try to interpret and read into it knowing little. For example it is erroneously concluded that Ravan the King of Lanka was a so called Dravidian and therefore was against Aryans. It is nothing of that sort. Ravan’s father was a Brahmin and therefore for all practical purposes Ravan was the Brahmin !!!! ( and if you know what that means) and Rama was the Kshatriya, helped by the monkeys. But you ignorant of the World– Ramayana has not only the monkeys, it has eagles, bears, squirrels, other birds all helping Rama. All Indian mythology is always like this. A composite environment– with water, wind, sun, earth, animals, birds people all coexisting, performing their roles and living according to their DHARMA. Ms. Carr go research on the word DHARMA– there is no equivalent to it in the world.

Believe me I have no animosity towards you or your university. I only say " Forgive them they know not what they say". I am always amazed how Universities — particularly– in the West research on people and conditions round the world and sometimes when I come across these texts or books– I feel like saying — Why on earth would you waste your time writing about something which you study for a short period of time and then write your thesis? It makes no difference to us who actually live these things — I have come across books written about my community or caste — and I can only laugh. Well if you consider us so important go ahead and write books about us — in the end they will all get destroyed anyway when the Great "Pralaya" ( flood) comes . Only spoken words remain– that is why the Vedas have survived. Now don’t ask me what the Vedas are !

Jai Hanuman,

Yours sincerely,

Geeta Athreya.

Annexed is a blurb about a website for kids with absolute rubbish. How to refute the nonsense indulged in by Ms. Karen Carr to teach falsehoods to kids under the aegis of Portland State University, Portland, Oregon and Archaeological Institute of America?

A good initiative is to provide for a fair account of the Hindu traditions. See website of Hinduism Today at http://www.hinduismtoday.com/education/

Clearly more needs to be done to remove the evils in the genre of what Mahatma Gandhi called the drain-inspector’s report of Katherine Mayo.

Following Gandhi, one may say that Karen Carr’s is "the report of a drain inspector sent out with the one purpose of opening and examining the drains of the country to be reported upon, or to give a graphic description of the stench exuded by the opened drains."

Contrast the statement of Karen Carr with what Jules Michelet (1798-1874), the famous French historian said about the Ramayana :

The year 1863 will remain cherished and blessed. It was the first time I could read India’s great sacred poem, the divineRamayana…. This great stream of poetry carries away the bitter leaven left behind by time and purifies us. Whoever has his heart dried up, let him drench it in theRamayana. Whoever has lost and wept, let him find in it a soothing softness and Nature’s compassion. Whoever has done too much, willed too much, let him drink a long draught of life and youth from this deep chalice…. Everything is narrow in the Occident. Greece is small — I stifle. Judea is dry — I pant. Let me look a little towards lofty Asia, towards the deep Orient. There I find my immense poem, vast as India’s seas, blessed and made golden by the sun, a book of divine harmony in which nothing jars. There reigns a lovable peace, and even in the midst of battle, an infinite softness, an unbounded fraternity extending to all that lives, a bottomless and shoreless ocean of love, piety, clemency. I have found what I was looking for : the bible of kindness. Great poem, receive me !… Let me plunge into it ! It is the sea of milk.[i]


[i] Michelet, La Bible de l’humanité, volume 5 of Œuvres (Paris : Bibliothèque Larousse, 1930), p. 109-110.

kalyanaraman

[quote] Kidipede – History for Kids began in 1995 as a community service learning project for sophomores at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Since 2000, however, it has been entirely organized and run by Karen Carr. Dr. Carr holds a PhD in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is an associate professor of History at Portland State University. Her interests lie especially in the Greek and Roman worlds, which is where this site began; we have been gradually expanding into other periods in response to audience demand. If you would like to help with this expansion by writing a page, or a whole section, we’d be delighted. We’d even pay you if we used your page. We’d also be willing to pay for peer review. If you’ve got a PhD in a relevant area, or similar experience (ABD is fine), and would be willing to do peer review, let us know. [unquote]

http://www.historyforkids.org/whoweare.htm

History and Science for Middle School kids… Ramayana Project for Kids…

"The Ramayana is partly about the Aryans trying to invade the people of southern India. It’s an Aryan story, and they show the people of southern India as bad monkeys – not even human. How should we feel about this? Should we not perform the play? Should we try to show that Hanuman and the monkeys are people too? How could we rewrite the play from the point of view of the southern Indians?"

http://www.historyforkids.org/crafts/india/ramayana.htm

AIA Society

History Department
Portland State University
P.O. Box 751
Portland, OR 97207-0751 FAX (503) 725-3953

Further to this, I find that there have been some exchanges with Ms. Carr, with copies to the Amy Ross" >, Executive Assistant to President of the Portland State University who endorsed a copy to "Thomas M. Luckett" <> Chair, Department of History of the University. It is surprising that the latter, Luckett, did not want to get copied with the correspondence even though the Office of the President of the University had marked a copy to him. So much for the state of enforcement of academic ethics.

Surely, the University is answerable to the millions of people who adore Ramayana and consider Rama as an avatara of the paramaatman. Such insulting statements as Ms. Carr makes should not go unchallenged.

Kalyanaraman 16 November 2008


From: Shree Vinekar
Date: Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 12:33 AM
Subject: Fwd: Geeta Athreya’s letter on Portland State University’s version of Ramayana

Dear Ms. Athreya:

Thank you for writing the letter to Ms. Carr. You are absolutely correct that the characters in Ramayana are symbolic of the global comprehension of the philosophic and spiritual worldview of that time. It is a lofty literature-poetry and not meant for the concrete narrow minded Westerners who are bigots hiding behind their Ph.D.’s from Universities that teach without "knowing" and create their own versions supported by cartels of Mutual Admiration Societies in the West (West, maning Christian-European Culture). They lack the depth, capacity to abstract, cultural nuances and meanings, and also have a "don’t care" attitude. Nevertheless, the leaders in our culture like you have the duty to at least give a corrective feedback. The idiotic and stubborn defensiveness as well as a defiant, rude attitude of "Dr." Carr gives more insight into her character than her scholarship or her methodology for elucidating historical facts which incidentally are only tangential (non sequitur) to her assertion of South Indians being called "bad monkeys" (contrary to the authentic versions of Ramayana which depicts them as his friends and allies on the ‘good’ side, so even the bad monkeys is her own nonfactual distortion, she will be able to cite a reference unlike Paul Courtright who could not come up with one reference for his "limp phallus" or "homosexual, or eunuch Ganesha"). Changing this version of hers means to her losing her face and that is humiliation for her. She needs the props of her academic-peer-review type of credentials of false "pride" even in a cheap University (compared to Princeton) like hers to propogate the falsehoods created by people of her ilk, may be in the last three centuries. She will call it her academic freedom. That is nothing but crap stirred up by these cross-cultural proctologists (and many such are cropping up in the US recently, Courtright, Singh, James, etc.) The British never comprehended and did not want to comprehend the true Indian culture, and if they did, they wanted to assign it a place in their own system to suit their colonial motives. I have described this in my writings as the Monkey Business of Oxford scholars and later emulated by Harvard, University of Chicago, and Emory and others in the US. The many American and even some German scholars are of the same lineage. If you are interested, I would like you to read three part article on "Demystifying Shri Hanuman" on www.swaveda.com and I will be honored if you send me your comments. Thanks for reading,

Sincerely,

Shree Vinekar, MD, DLFAPA, LFAACAP, MACP (No Ph.D.)

From: Yamuna Harshavardhana
Date: Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 6:14 AM
Subject: Re: Monkey business of Ms. Carr creating Portland State University’s fraudulent version of Ramayana
To: S. Kalyanaraman

Dr. Kalyanaraman

She has changed the contents of the page now.

It was earlier this:

http://www.historyforkids.org/HYPERLINK "http://www.historyforkids.org/crafts/india/ramayana.htm"crafts/india/ramayana.htm

It is now this:

http://www.historyforkids.org/HYPERLINK "http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/india/literature/ramayana.htm"learn/india/literature/HYPERLINK "http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/india/literature/ramayana.htm"ramayana.htm

However, there are several mistakes — intentional or otherwise — and also she has again called Hanuman the ‘villain’ in the ‘read these books’ section whereas the authors of the book merely call the book ‘Hanuman’ and the book has been well received by HIndus and others.

Dhanyavaadah

Yamuna


From: Yamuna Harshavardhana
Date: Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 8:31 AM
Subject: Ramayana on Kidipede — Dr. Karen Carr
To: Amy Ross, Thomas Luckett, Karen Carr

To

The President, Portland State University

My name is Yamuna Harshavardhana. I am a Hindu and Indian with a fair amount of knowledge of our ancient literature. In fact, I too am a writer for children on the same subject as Dr. Carr with my writings including stories from The Holy Bible. However, I should own that I have no qualification in this field but that of having read the scriptures and re-told them in the best light possible by me.

With this introduction, I request you to take time to look into what is happening to the image of your University’s history department.

You could see a series of messages between Dr. Karen Carr and several scholars and practising Hindus about the way Ramayana is presented on her website Kidipede here: http://sites.google.com/site/hindunow/motivated-distortions

There are several fallouts of such writings:

For Hindus:

False propaganda of our history and image. VERY FALSE in the light of recent scientific knowledge where the Aryan invasion has been proven utterly false. In fact, the very term ‘Aryan’ has no racial mention anywhere in the ancient Indian literature.

Promotion of hatred between peoples. VERY BAD as history is meant to be a subject to learn about the negatives of the past and avoid them in the present for a better future. However, Dr. Carr is only continuing and perpetuating colonial ideas and attitudes.

For you:

A projection showing how ignorant your Institute can be. Remember there are people who have assimilated the epics of India like no academic can: they breathe these epics in everyday activities and it is not merely a matter of study alone. Dr. Carr, by her own admission, is not a scholar on the Ramayana. So, she has to follow standards. The Wikipedia, for example. Better not to allow for imaginative interpretation where there is none present previously. Safe for her and for you.

That you are have a Christian Proselytist agenda. Certainly, there is a lot of ground to show that you are as the presentation of Jesus is VERY VERY DIFFERENT from the way Rama is presented.

That you are racist. That you still see ‘other’ people in different light. Her sympathies with ‘bad monkeys’ show that she is unable to see people as people but only as those with different external — and purely cosmetic — appearances.

For the others:

A poor exposure to the rich and ancient epic of India, the oldest in the world and held in high esteem by the Hindus.

A later dawning of the truth would again debase your University.

It is, therefore, clear that you stand to gain by learning quickly from what is presently happening. You can erase out all that by doing the following:

Replace the pages with such objectionable content gleaned from not so well accepted sources with the accepted versions. It is seen that the earlier page has been replaced by another one — better but not totally correct, not yet.

Get the ideas of what the practising Hindus have to say about their heritage and history before throwing in your views about an alien and completely different culture and people.

Apologise openly and honestly for the mistakes done. That would matter a lot to a billion people on the globe and they would all applaud your honesty and be more than willing to suport your site/University in future.

Thanks. May truth prevail. May peace prevail. May we work toward a beautiful world.

Sincerely,

Yamuna

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