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Frontline 25 years later

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  • Steve Farmer
    The first edition of Frontline for 2010 just came out, in celebration of the magazine s 25th birthday. The giant issue looks back at the biggest stories in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2010
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      The first edition of Frontline for 2010 just came out, in celebration
      of the magazine's 25th birthday. The giant issue looks back at the
      biggest stories in India from the last 25 years and attempts to take stock of
      India's current global economic, social, and political position.

      One essay by K.N. Panikkar, entitled "The Hindutva Ride," covers that
      sorry story from the last two decades (see also closely related
      stories in that section):

      http://www.frontline.in/stories/20100115270104200.htm

      Another article, by Parvathi Menon, looks at the most important stories
      in the magazine from the last 25 years involving Indian history and
      political manipulation of historical research. It's nice to see that Menon
      prominently includes among those stories the cover article that
      Michael and I wrote nine years ago on Hindutva manipulations of
      history. ("Horseplay in Harappa" is now widely used in university
      classrooms, and I still get an average of 600 downloads a month
      from it on my website alone -- one of a dozen sites or so sites
      that carries reprints of it.)

      Menon's story, with the snippet on our article:

      http://www.frontline.in/stories/20100115270111800.htm

      > “Horseplay in Harappa”, the title of Frontline’s Cover Story
      > (October 13, 2000) by Indologists Michael Witzel and Steve Farmer,
      > laid to rest Hindutva claims that the Indus Valley was of Vedic
      > vintage. They demonstrated as false the claims of the historians
      > N.S. Rajaram and Natwar Jha that they had deciphered the Indus
      > script and that its language was Vedic Sanskrit. The two claimed to
      > have found a horse seal, which they said established the early Vedic
      > origins of the Indus civilisation. Witzel and Farmer proved that the
      > “horse” was actually a not-so-clever manipulation of a digital image
      > of a broken Indus seal depicting a unicorn bull.

      I'm not an Indologist but a comparative historian, and Rajaram and Jha
      are/weren't historians of any sort, but oh well. :^)

      Menon, by the way, has covered Hindutva distortions of history via
      textbooks in India for a long time. See this prescient article from
      early 2000: <http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1706/17061090.htm>.
      Later, of course, after the ultimate failure of the Hindutva textbook
      in India, they took the movement on to California, in 2005-6. They were
      stopped in that case in good part due to actions of many researchers
      on this List, which is itself about to celebrate its 5th birthday.

      Cheers and Happy New Year! 2009 was a rough one....
      Steve
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