White scholarship – have you heard it? Must not because this is a phrase I am just inventing. You might have heard about white supremacy or selective scholarship; white scholarship, I am saying this because many scholars who have fair skin colour deliberately disrespect the views and beliefs of ‘others’ with the narrow lense that they put on their eyes to view the things which they don’t even understand in most of the cases known to the wider audience. Recently, a scholar, having a Doctorate and boasting of her ‘scholarship’ claimed that Sri Rama, the icon in India and God of Hindus, was called by Sita ‘a misogynistic pig and uncouth’. She did add the caveat that it was her ‘loosely translating version’ of the Valmiki’s Ramayana’s original episode of Agni Pariksha. The scholar, namely Audrey Truschke, who is best known among the well-wishers of Aurangzeb for her selective historical myopia, should know that a loose opinion of Virgin Marry may ask the scholars that how a virgin could be a mother? Are we really being responsible for deliberately making these loose comments on social platforms where billions exist?
With the scholarship, there must be a sense of responsibility which MUST develop parallel to the knowledge. However, if that doesn’t come with scholars like Audrey Truschke, this must be seen as a deliberate attempt by her to ‘instigate hatred upon herself’ for the reasons best known to her. And the most absurd part of this episode with the failure of the purpose of literature was that she did not even acknowledge when the true scholars who have studied the original Sanskrit edition called her out for her ‘intended loose translation’. Does scholarship of literature tell you to be adamant and egoistic? I doubt.
Scriptures and ancient text linked to any religion should be scrutinised with true spirit and merit. If you have your grounds and conviction, one must stand firm on something found out to be new, unique, good or bad. However, ‘loosely’ doing such things only show that the scholar concerned is not a scholar with conviction – trying to save the stand with the prefix ‘loosely’ only calls out such scholar’s intentions.
by a contributor to LN