Now, here is some additional context.
- When I was researching on Pollock in 2015, I went around many senior scholars in India for leads, help, sources, etc. Did not want to rediscover what was already known to our people.
- Result: Very disappointing. Hardly any serious work had been or was being done, little interest to get off their rear ends and work hard, lots of bombast/ego, pride, emotions, etc.
- But not surprised because i have been through this inertia in India for 25 years on various topics.
- Basically our "scholars" want to get maximize personal benefit with minimum effort/investment of their own.
- Case study: One retired Delhi U prof who is well known as natya shatra "expert" (though scantily published) wanted to save himself the effort of reading Pollock. So he felt that giving me enough chai and a samosa at India Int'l Center cafeteria would allow him to pick my brain while he and his wife would sit and take notes. This would let him beat me by getting a quick blog out of his own. Serious books are unnecessary as per this lot, because it is too much effort. Result is that the western Indologists call the shots when it comes to prescribing books in colleges worldwide even though the subject is Indology.
- I told him he would have to wait for my book to come out first, as leaking out the critical research and responses by me would not be appropriate. In the end he and his wife gave up trying.
- Within a couple of weeks from this "samosa-based research" attempt, his article suddenly appeared in IndiaFacts attacking Pollock and Rohan Murthy. Note that when I met and told him about Pollock, he had only hesard about him tangentially and lacked even the basic idea of what Pollock's work or controversy were about. Now he was writing like an overnight "expert". However, as expected, there was no substance in his article - merely emotional allegations based on how everything wasgenerally wrong with the West. So no need to spend effort reading Pollock.
- Fast forward several months. My tbfs book comes out, gets rave reviews by top Sanskrit scholars in India, there are 25 events, lots of awareness. This man wants to ignore all this material because it is overwhelming to him. He now wants to make it seem that it was unimportant (because he could/did nothing about the topic).
- Next comes a big surprise. Last week there was some meeting in Delhi to create a rival to Murthy Classics Library - an initiative inspired by tbfs and the subsequent petition against MCLI. One of the speakers presents a summary of the Swadeshi Indology movement. Guess who is the top cynic speaking out against "conferences targeting Pollock?" Its our DU friend who last year was desperate to get masala on Pollock so he could put out a very rapid article critical of Pollock. Contradicting his own previous desires/article, last week he argued: we must not attack one man's work. He gives every reason not to be so focused in conferences.
- Of course, our team of three SI scholars argued back and explained the importance of specialized. focused analyses.
Smt. Sonal Mansingh, who is a famous performer and expert on Indian Nritya/Natya responds:
Apropos ur 28th August mail: this Naatya Shastra 'scholar' has threatened to expose classical dancers who according to him, know nothing abt it. He is more aggressive now than before having been brought as Exe Trustee of most prestigious Govt cultural organisation. In any case, Pompous pretentiousness is the hallmark of most scholars & academicians, Indian or non-Indian. Sincerely
Rajiv: Sonal ji, I have always considered the performers (and you are among the foremost of this era) as our exemplars, not the cynical bookworms sitting on the sideline passing comments...