Thursday, March 17, 2016

Disrespectful behaviour of Columbia University Sanskrit scholar Sheldon Pollock towards Goddess Saraswathi

After reading the article, Why Sheldon Pollock matters,, in today's (17th March 2016) The Hindu, I thought of getting some exposure to Sheldon Pollock (unknown to me prior to this article). I came across a Tehelka interview of his in 2011. I was aghast to hear him say something about Goddess Saraswathi appearing in his dream and saying something to him. I don't even want to mention it here (readers who want to know about it can see point 2 here:

That was enough for me to stop getting further exposure to Sheldon Pollock. I mean, this was a very disrespectful thing to say in a public interview. I am sure many Christians would have found a similar statement made publicly in the context of the Virgin Mary to be as offensive as most, if not all, Goddess Saraswathi worshipping Hindus would feel about this statement of Sheldon Pollock.

Does academic freedom and freedom of speech allow one to say anything in public? Is that what writers like Ananya Vajpeyi want to happen in India? I am certainly against such disrespectful stuff being said publicly about revered deities in India like Goddess Saraswathi. It does not matter if the gentleman concerned is a Sanskrit scholar from a top USA university (Columbia) or that some of his works (editor of Murty Classical library of India) are funded by Indian IT billionaire (or is it just multi-millionaire) Narayana Murty. I mean, Narayana Murty is an IT guy (btw I too am a former Indian IT guy). He may not mind Sheldon Pollock saying some inappropriate stuff about Hindu goddesses. But many Indians surely do (including me).

USA is a different country with its own laws. I don't want to comment about Sheldon Pollock holding a funded chair (funded by Narayana Murty) in Columbia university, and the work that he does/promotes when holding that chair.

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