In  defense  of  polemics     Or     The  use  of  polemics  as  a  defensive  weapon  in   argument   Or   The  necessity  of

 polemics  in  certain    
  You   have   made   the   remark    that     Prof,   PF     characterized   my   text   as   polemical,   there   are   several   points   to   be   made   on   this   remark.   i   feel   i   should   elaborate   on   the   nature   of   this    remark   especially   since   my   dear   friend   NS   Rajaram   (whom   i   consider   to   be   more   of   a   mentor   ,made   the   oblique  remark  to  me  that  i  should  not  encourage  polemical  essays  [n     treatments  of  a  topic  in  the  new  journal  on  the  history  of  mathematics  that   i  plan  to  publish  starting  in  1Q2013    ).    

Categories  of  argumentation  

If   the   only   adverse   remark   that   Prof     PF     made   was   that   my   book   is   polemical   in   nature   I   am   somewhat   perplexed   as   to   his   motivation   for   making   such   an   obvious   statement.   Calling   my   book   a   polemical   book   is   equivalent  to  calling  the  bible  a  theological  work   Whenever   somebody   accuses   me   of   a   certain   characteristic   ,two   ideas   occur    to  me,  especially  when  they  use  a  word  that  is  less  commonly  used.     First   I   confirm   to   my   own   satisfaction   my   knowledge   of   the   word,     in   all   semantic  contexts   “A   polemic   is   a   form   of  dispute,   wherein   the   main   efforts   of   the   disputing   parties   are   aimed   at   establishing   the   superiority   of   their   own   points   of   view   regarding   an   issue.   Along   with   debate,   polemic   is   one   of   the   more   common  forms  of  dispute.  Similar  to  debate,  it  is  constrained  by  a  definite   thesis   which   serves   as   the   subject   of   controversy.   However,   unlike   debate,   which   may   seek   common   ground   between   two   parties,   a   polemic   is   intended   to   establish   the   supremacy   of   a   single   point   of   view   by   refuting  an  opposing  point  of  view.   Polemic   usually   addresses   serious   matters   of  religious,  philosophical,  political,  importance,   and   is   often   written   to   dispute  or  refute  a  widely  accepted  position.      I  agree  i  am  pursuing  a  point  of  view  .  my  POV  is  very  simple  –  that    the   occident   has   shut   out   the   indic   from   any   presence   in   the   scientific   fields   during  the  ancient  era    Surely  that  such  is  the  case  is  not  in  dispute,  and     the   manner     in   which   this   was   done   in   such   a     mean   spirited   and   surreptitious  manner  by  the  Occident,    that  I  maes  the  pilferingofn     But   This   whole   approach   to     discussion,   where   you   are   dubbed   as   being   polemical,   is   basically   another   variant   of   shooting   the   messenger.   The   second   idea   that     occurs   to   me   This     is   that   if   I   said   or   did   what   I   was   accused  of  doing  in  front  of  my  Mother  would  I  feel  ashamed  .  For  example   If   my     mother   found   out   I   was   copying   somebody   else’s   work   without   attribution  she  would  certainly  not  approve,  but  as  far  as  polemic  goes,  she   may   say   I   should   not   argue   with   a   guest     but   it   is   not   something   I   would   shirk   from   doing   in   the   presence   of   my   mother.   So  my   point   is   that   being   polemical  does  not  have  any  ethical  stigmas  attached  to  it    

1. instead  of  being  remorseful  of  the    shameless  acts  they  committed,   they   are   asking   us   not   to   mention   that   these     acts   ever   happened,   not   because   they   themselves   believe   that   they   never   happened   ,   but   because  it  is  not  politically  correct  to  do  so.   2. if   we   did     not   produce   the   vast   amount   of   data   in   support   of   our   contention,  they  would  have  said  that  we  did  not  have  enough  data.   but  now  when  we  produce  an  embarrass  de  choix  (  ah  how  i  love  this   phrase  ,  the  distinguished  French  indologist  now  claims  that  we    have   become  polemical.   Weii  as  my  grand  mother  would  say    I  would  hope  so     3. i  would  like  to  remind    the  gentle  reader,  that    this  would  never  have   arisen  if    they    listened  to  their  mother      ,  as  she  must  have  told  them   a   zillion   times.,   that   copying   from   somebody   else   without   revealing   the   source   is   tantamount     to         thievery.   they   obviously   chose   to   ignore  that  straight  forward  warning  and  proceeded  to  pass  off  many   discoveries   as   if   they   were   their     own   .   and   in   this   they   were   encouraged   by   their   church   to   do   so   especially   if   the   source   was   pagan  and  the  children  of  a  lesser  god.     my   advice   to   those   who   accuse   us   of   polemics     is   very   simple   –   congratulations  on  this  perceptive  remark  on  the  accuracy  of  what  we  are   accusing    you  of,    and  if  you  present  data  negating  our  assertions  ,  we  are   not  unreasonable.  we  will  admit  that  we  were  wrong.   But  do  not  make  the  mistake  of  assuming  we  are  gullible  enough  to  fall  for   this   ersatz   principle   called   polemics   is   bad.   this   reminds   me   of   the   case   of   2   young   men   who     inherited   the   considerable     estate     of   their   parents.   the   only   problem   was     that   they   had   murdered   their   parents,   and   were   therefore  not  eligible  to  receive    a  penny  from  their  estate.  no  problem,  the   boys   immediately   demanded   that   they   be   considered   wards   of   the   state.   the  utter  monstrosity  of  such  an  assertion  is  matched  in  this  instance  by  the   fact   that   they   still   maintain   that  India   copied   from   Greece,   and   when     we   object  to  the  fact  that  they  accused  the  greatest  mathematician  of  india  of   such  a  dastardly  deed  ,  we  are  told  that  the  indic  view  points  are  marred  by     national  pride      .    The  utter    inanity  of  such  an  assertion  further  emphasized   by   the   fact   that     had   we   made   such   an   assertion   were   made   about   Isaac   Newton        ,  that  his  achievements  were  marred  by  the  national  pride  that   the   English   had   in   him,   there   would   have   been   a   collective   ridicule     from  

the   British   public     But   the   indic   would   never   even   think   of   saying   such   a   thing,   What   is     more   S   Chandrasekhar   the   Nobel   laureate   in   astrophysics   wrote  an  English  version  of  Newton,s  principia,  a  bhāṣya  work,  and  a  labor   of  love  if  ever  there  was  one.     So  instead  of  complaining  about  the  polemics  in  the  book    I  would  ask  the   Europeans   to     first   look   to   himself   and   see   whether   his   own   action   are   entirely   blameless   in   the   matter   and   ask   themselves   of   the   magnitude   of   the  crime  they  have  committed  that  would  force  the  indic,  who  is    rarely  if   ever  an  aggressive  character  to  use    such  polemic.     Permit  me  an  analogy.  It  is  not  sex  that  is  objectionable,  but  the  betrayal  of   one’s   marriage   wows   that   is   reprehensible.   In   the   event   that   one   if   the   partners   decides   to   stray   from   his/her   marriage   wows.   So   to   blame   the   use   of   polemic   without   reference   to   the   fact   that   the   allegations   made   in   the   book  have  never  been  challenged  indicates  a  misplaced  and  distorted  sense   of  ethics.     (*part  II  to  follow)      
 

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