American scholar David Frawley, considered a “vedic teacher”, on Friday sparked a row after he criticised Indian education system for not “extensively” teaching students about “ancient India”.
He also drew objection from the member secretary of the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) Gopinath Ravindran to his observation that there was a lack of proper understanding of Indian civilisation. He said many historians of modern India had preferred to adopt western model of interpretation of Indian history.
His remarks came during a lecture on “Textual evidence in the Vedas: Cultural and historical implications”. He was invited by ICHR director Y S Sudershan Rao to speak on the topic, even as a few Council members had reservations.
“How a country views its history reflects how it views and understands itself. A wrong estimation of history can undermine the cultural ethos and soul of a country.Yet few Indians today seem to know or take pride in their historical heritage that is one of the oldest in the world. They seem to know more about western history and culture than their own,” Frawley said.
“The (Indian) youth are not taught extensively about ancient India in the educational system,” he said and recommended that there was need for an “extensive new vedic study and research in India, including considering the ‘mantric and yogic dimension of vedic knowledge.
Deliberating on various aspects of the vedic culture and criticising western interpretation prevalent in India, he also said that there was no evidence in the vedic texts of any Aryan invasion or migration. There was evidence of the development of a great civilisation from the Saraswati region to the sea available in the vedic scriptures.
The ICHR member secretary, however, objected to many observations by the American scholar. He also questioned his view that ancient India was not properly taught in Indian education system.
“India is also a pluralistic country with many traditions. You cannot ignore that,” Ravindran suggested to Frawley.
Many of those attending the lecture, however, took serious exception to Ravindran’s suggestion and comments on Frawley’s lecture, forcing him to cut short his intervention.
Some members had been opposed to inviting Frawley to deliver the lecture.
DH News Service
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