Sunday, 23 July 2017

C K Raju responds to Amir Aczel's claims

I recently came across a book by mathematician Late Amir Aczel "Finding Zero". In a book promotion talk he started by mocking that Indians claim the number system comes from India and Zero came from India. In particular he attacks Indian Physicist and Mathematician Mr C K Raju. Mr Raju has authored several book in the history and philosophy of Maths. Including Cultural Foundations MathematicsEuclid and Jesus and more.

I wrote to Mr Raju if he would like to respond to Amir Aczel's claims. Here is the conversation with his response:

Mr Raju,

I have followed some of your work on de-colonization of Maths. In many of your talks you have mention that, most of the time western academia has chosen to ignore you.
I recently came across a work by mathematician Late Amir Aczel "Finding Zero". 

He seems to have met you personally twice. In this talk regarding his book he starts by mentioning those encounters and mostly dismissing your arguments as lacking facts. 

He quite literally slanders you with his 'audience wanted to throw eggs at you' remark.
He seems to be suggesting in his work that the Indian numerals and zero seems to come from east of India, based on his finding of a 7th century temple inscription in Cambodia.
Of course it is easy to see that he is confusing glyps with numbers themselves & does not address the origin of the Saka calendar, nor the origin of the script of inscription in Combodia.

But since he has directly slandered you, could you please respond with your side of the story.

He says, Raju claims "every thing comes from India, Einstein did not invent relativity it came from India, the theorems of Euclid and the Pythagorean theorem, all these theorems come from India, audience was about to throw eggs at him. He pretty much smashed western civilization, he said everything came from India."

He also mentions meeting you in Delhi for an hour where he says you made all sorts of claims without showing any evidence.

Since this is a direct attack on your credibility, would you like to respond. I would also like to carry your response on my Blog with your permission.

Mr C K Raju responds:

Response 1:

The West hasn't exactly ignored me: after all, as you perhaps know, Michael Atiyah the top Western mathematician repeatedly plagiarised my critique of Einstein!  Likewise two goons from Manchester and Exeter serially plagiarised my work on the transmission of calculus. 

Amir Aczel gave me a copy of the book a couple of years ago in Harvard Square, Boston. It has a big photo of me and a couple of pages, some of it clearly false, some of it intended to show that he was informed about zeroism. (Thanks for the video link but I haven't had time to see it, since I am excessively busy right now.) Shortly after that he died.

May respond in due course, but not right now. Western historians have been telling absurd lies for the last 1700 years, glorifying themselves and denigrating others, and there are more important lies to be destroyed.

Response 2:

Saw the video. I didn't know he was such a hopeless liar. This is irresponsible even as a joke. 

It is very clearly on record (in my books Time: Towards a Consistent Theory and Eleven Pictures of Time, that I said that Poincare invented the special theory of relativity, and gave the idea of general relativity, the equations for which Hilbert wrote down. Most recently, I stated this in my TGA acceptance speech posted on my blog, and in the article on Einstein on my website

As someone who has written a book on Einstein, Amir Aczel should have been familiar not only with my claims but their validity.

Since the facts are so clearly on record, and so easily accessible this is an example of how thoroughly dishonest and untrustworthy Western historians are, even when they seem to be saying something in favour of the non-West. They feel that to establish their credibility they must say something bad against the non-West, even if they have to invent it ("C. K. Raju said relativity came from India"). If this is how freely they distort easily accessible facts, you can imagine what all nonsense they say when the facts are in the remote past and not easily accessible. 

BTW when I met him in Delhi, I also met his wife who works in MIT. This naturally led me to mention Noam Chomsky who he and his wife promptly attacked calling him a "self-hating Jew", and anti-Semite. (Both husband and wife were dual citizens of US and Israel.) It is true I was late for the meeting,  but that was because I came from Malaysia the same day and the flight was late.  At that time he set up the meeting since he badly wanted me to take him to Gwalior and get the gates of the temple opened for him to be able to see the Gwalior inscription on zero.

Sad that he mixed up some trivial truths (about my being late) so freely with such grave falsehood (about Einstein), even given his ethnic sympathy for Einstein. 



PS. The audience did not throw eggs, during my lecture in UNSW, Australia, at the pendulum conference, the only one he attended. That invited lecture was published in the conference proceedings and also as follows. 

C. K. Raju, “Time: what is it that it can be measured?” Science and Education15(6) (2006) 537–551.

In my second lecture (see abstract at I did make the point that the continuum was not needed for the calculus, as it developed in India, and I very much stick to that today. It is an important argument for decolonisation of math. He deliberately overlooked the philosophical argument,  in order to caricature the related historical claim as chauvinistic. But the philosophical argument stands, irrespective of the history. I don't think he was such a dud that he just failed to understand it. 

PPS. He wanted to visit me in Malaysia, when he was in Cambodia, and when his book was attacked, and people pointed out that the Maya too used something like zero, he asked for my help.


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Patrick French on Hindutva

Recently Patrick French was invited to CNN-IBN coverage of Indian multi-state elections. During the course of the debate in which Mr French's contribution was scant he made these statements regarding the the Congress Party.

"The thing that the BJP does get, that the Congress does not get, is that India now has dynamic electoral politics. A lot if it has to do with the fact that the average Indian is only 26 years old. You have got young voters who are willing to shift around and back the BJP and I think the big problem that the Congress has made ... is the Idea that we are secular and we are saving India from Fascism, and I think until this recognition that most of the people that you spoke to in UP who are voting for the BJP were not doing it for reasons of Hindutva. They were doing for reasons entirely separate from that"

Mins 41- 42

Anybody with any sense of comprehension will conclude that Patrick has used Fascism and Hindutva interchangeably. 

Congress accuses BJP of 'X'.  It does not recognise that people are not voting the BJP for 'Y'. If he is not saying that X is same as Y then what is he trying to say here.

On my pointing out this fact to Patrick that he considers Hindutva to be Fascist ideology, he accused me of Xenophbia which I think was nothing but an excuse to avoid scrutiny. 

I pointed another of his writings to him. His article in BBC. Published on 6 Dec 2012.

In this article he says.

writing a few months after the events in Ayodhya, the historian Sarvepalli Gopal feared "secularism would be strangled and India would be heading for a fascist take-over… The siege to the basic concepts on which free India has striven to build herself has become more intense"

To this he said to me that he only quoted Sarvepalli Gopal and then went on in the article rebutting him. But even in this article he does no draw any distinction between Fascism and Hindutva. Instead after quoting Mr Gopal he immediately says this.

"In the year following the demolition, there were reasons for fear.

Across the nation several thousand people, most of them Muslim, were killed in riots; a series of bombs exploded in Bombay (now Mumbai), orchestrated by a Dubai-based crime and terror mafia; and minorities (including Hindus in far-away Karachi) became the target of persecution."

I don't see any rebuttal in this. Instead I see another linkage drawn between fascism attributed to Mr Gopal and Hindutva which Patrick mentions in the context of Hindu identity politics.

"Back in 1992, two political impulses appeared to be on the rise: self-assertion by disadvantaged castes and the use of Hindu identity as a mass rallying cry for voters."

"Hindutva has faded away as a significant electoral force. There will always be vociferous people who believe that Hindus are a voiceless majority facing insidious persecution from "pseudo-secularists" - but their influence is declining"

Then he says "Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians who are strongly associated with Hindutva, such as Lal Krishna Advani and Narendra Modi, now spend much of their time trying not to look like extremists."

I don't think there can be a clearer link drawn in one statement between Hindutva and Extremism and if you can comprehend the larger context of the article then the linkage with Fascism.

He then repeats the term Fascism. "Contrary to the fears expressed in 1992, the people of India show little sign of wanting either a religious state or a fascist take-over." Please note he says this again in the context of declining(in his view) political currency of Hindutva when he states "At the ballot box, Hindutva consistently plays badly."

So this is saying that Hindutva and Ramjanma bhoomi movement was a movement leading to religious state or fascist takeover.

So as I have shown Patrick french draws linkage between Hindutva and Fascism, never directly saying that Hindutva is Fascism in one sentence, but drawing a linkage with broad play of words, leaving no doubt in a readers mind that, Hindutva is an extremist ideology, is what Patrick is saying. Which of course, in his view has lost political currency, hence there is no fear of a fascist takeover any more.

The question is why have I gone through the trouble of explaining how Patrick makes these links. Whats wrong if he does and if that is his opinion? The reason why I went though the trouble of explaining this is because he denies that he draws any such linkage. He in fact claims that he has spoken against drawing such a linkage. When I point point out how he does he gets angry and accuses me of xenophbia and dishonesty. Well article from 2012 and the recent TV debate seems to suggest otherwise and readers will decide who is being dishonest and why. 

If he says he never meant to draw a linkage then it is only fair to expect from him a clear statement on how Hindutva is different from Fascism. Is it still extremism in his view?

PS: Please be aware that I do not make any claim of knowing what Hindutva ideology is. I don't subscribe to it nor do I oppose it. But what I do understand about it is that it is clearly not fascism which is a supremacist ideology of exclusion of others. Hindutva as is being claimed by the proponent seems to be an ideology of assimilation. Is it by force is it by persuasion? I do not fully know hence I am so far neutral on it.

Also Ram Janma Bhoomi movement in my view was far more complex to be given a short thrift as 'hindu extremism'.