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News :: Education
A Harvard University Professor indulges in slander, violating academic, ethical standards
13 Jan 2007
Sarasvati Research Centre,

3 Temple Avenue, Chennai 600015



13 January 2007



Dear Dr. Steven Hyman, Steve_Hyman (at) harvard.edu



Dr. Steven E. Hyman, M.D.,

Provost of Harvard University.


cc.
Dr. Derek Bok, Interim President, Harvard University
gyanc (at) ebc.ee Mr. Gyaneshwer



Re: A Harvard University Professor indulges in slander, violating academic, ethical standards



I am appending below (Annex) the relevant messages referred to, so that the readers can judge for themselves on how anti-hindu hate can lead a Harvard academic, Prof. Michael Witzel, to go berserk with his posting on an anti-hindu hate yahoogroup called the Indo-Eurasian_Research (a list whose messages are open to public view) screaming "No Aryan Invasion says Brahmin geneticist" and later in the message calls Gyaneshwer, a student of Human Evolutionary Biology working with Prof. Toomas Kivisild, a parrot of Hindutva belief.



This is slander. This is violation of every academic, ethical standard which I hope Harvard University has mechanisms in place to enforce. It is sick that an academic should be trying to find out if a person who writes a scientific article is a Brahmin or not, instead of trying to understand what the article tries to communicate in a scientific discipline. Maybe, Witzel knows a lot about identifying a Brahmin. Maybe, Witzel knows everything that needs to be known in Human Evolutionary Biology.



Witzel goes on to add: "…I was a bit shocked to see the Kaks and Kazanases of the Hindutva world quoted in this paper as reliable sources for a Sanskrit speaking "Saptasindhu" civilization." Why, what is wrong in quoting Kaks and Kazanases? Do they become part of Hindutva just because Witzel claims them to be so? Is Witzel the only "reliable source" for anything related to Hindu civilization? This is academic arrogance and absence of decency in acknowledging the contributions by and respect for other scholars like Dr. Subhash Kak and Dr. Kazanas. By any academic standards, the contributions of Dr. Kak and Dr. Kazanas, who are respected scholars, will exceed anything that Witzel has contributed in his field.



Witzel has consistently tended to use the word, 'hindutva' as a term of abuse, somehow implying lack of objectivity in anyone he tags as 'hindutva,' at the drop of a whimsical hat. In fact, hindutva simply means 'being hindu', -tva being a Sanskrit suffix as in the word, tat-tva (philosophical essence, lit. that is you). I am surprised that a Harvard Professor who claims to be in Sanskrit department does not know this basic Sanskrit semantics.


Witzel of Harvard University has sunk to very low depths even by the low standards of Harvard Hindu-hate groups. See http://www.petitiononline.com/stopIER/petition.html



Is it Harvard University academic ethics to accuse a scholar of being a Brahmin when the issue should be deliberated without any discrimination based on caste (assuming that Brahmin is a caste) or creed or race? Gyaneshwer who posted the message on Hinducivilization yahoogroup about his article which appeared in Bioessays has stated that he is a student of Human Evolutionary Biology working with Prof. Toomas Kivisild in Estonia and his work is the genetic study of South Asian population. That he is an unbiased scholar is clear from his earlier postings when he contested a questionable study related making a claim, 'study shows brahmin genes different'. That is, Gyaneshwer did NOT agree with the newspaper article which reported such a finding.



And, now Witzel is trying to impute motives and casting aspersions on the objectivity of the scholar whose contributions (together with two other co-authors) have been accepted in journals related to his field of study.



Is it too much to expect Witzel to apologise to Gyaneshwer for casting aspersions on the latter and by implication, on the co-authors of Gyaneshwer?



Why is Witzel so pathetically clinging to his pet theory of Aryan Influx into India ? Is he so intolerant that he cannot countenance a contrary view or questioning of his pet views?



In fact, the study referred to by Gyaneshwer has two other co-authors (including Prof. Kivisild):



Gyaneshwer Chaubey 1 *, Mait Metspalu 1, Toomas Kivisild 1 2, Richard Villems 1

1Department of Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu and Estonian Biocentre, Tartu, Estonia

2Leverhulme Centre of Human Evolutionary Studies, The Henry Wellcome Building, University of Cambridge, UK



So, would Witzel also scream claiming that Mait Metspalu and Toomas Kivisild are also Brahmin geneticists?



There should be some limits to slander and certainly, some academic ethics which should be enforced on pseudo-scholars like Witzel occupying chairs at a prestigious university like Harvard University.



Thanking you for your consideration,



Yours truly,



S. Kalyanaraman, Ph.D.,

Director, Sarasvati Research Centre,

Former Sr. Exec., Asian Development Bank,

3 Temple Avenue, Chennai 600015 kalyan97 (at) gmail.com January 13, 2007

(Note: I am the owner of the Hinducivilization yahoogroup which is mentioned by Witzel. I do NOT know how he got access to a message on this private group. He is NOT a member of that group).



Annex



Our new paper on Indian caste system and Aryan invasion theory Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:10 am

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hinducivilization/message/10395



Gyaneshwer has been a member of the Hinducivilization yahoogroup since March 2006. He has posted three earlier messages related to his field of specialization.



April 3, 2006 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hinducivilization/message/1089 Gyaneshwer responded to a newspaper (Deccan Chronicle) article on the subject "Study shows Brahmin genes different". Gyaneshwer wrote, in response: " Just I have seen this article. I don't know when and where it has published. I am a student of Human Evolutionary Biology currently working with Prof. Toomas Kivisild in Estonia. My work is the genetic study of South Asian population. Before this I worked with Dr. Lalji Singh in CCMB Hyderabad. In this article it has given that " The team collected blood samples from 300 unrelated men from 12 populations spanning the Hindu caste hierarchy and analysed them at the molecular genetics laboratory, CCMB in Hyderabad" this is completely fake. Nothing is true about this. Concerning caste system of India I must say that it hs originated in India in-situ. We are working in this area and with in few months we would be able to resolve genetically the complex caste system. The AIT is is nothing, it has superimposed on us by British people. "



June 16, 2006 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hinducivilization/message/3300 Gyaneshwer wrote: " Recent Genetic study Dear Friends, Please see the following article where all the language group of india is shown uniform and deep genetically
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/7/151
http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2164-7-151.pdf "



August 20, 2006 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hinducivilization/message/5651 Gyaneshwer wrote: " new genetics paper on caste system Dear All, Please find our recent paper on India caste. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2156/7/42 "



http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/114030416/ABSTRACT?

BioEssays, Vol. 29, Issue 1, Pages 91-100, Published online 22 Dec. 2006



Phylogenetics and systematics



Peopling of South Asia: investigating the caste-tribe continuum in India

Gyaneshwer Chaubey 1 *, Mait Metspalu 1, Toomas Kivisild 1 2, Richard Villems 1

1Department of Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu and Estonian Biocentre, Tartu, Estonia

2Leverhulme Centre of Human Evolutionary Studies, The Henry Wellcome Building, University of Cambridge, UK

email: Gyaneshwer Chaubey ( gyanc (at) ebc.ee)



*Correspondence to Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Tartu University and Estonian Biocentre, Riia 23, Tartu, 51010, Estonia.



Funded by:

This work was supported by Estonian Basic Research grant SF0182474 (to RV) and Estonian Science Foundation grant 5574 (to TK)



Abstract

In recent years, mtDNA and Y chromosome studies involving human populations from South Asia and the rest of the world have revealed new insights about the peopling of the world by anatomically modern humans during the late Pleistocene, some 40,000-60,000 years ago, over the southern coastal route from Africa. Molecular studies and archaeological record are both largely consistent with autochthonous differentiation of the genetic structure of the caste and tribal populations in South Asia. High level of endogamy created by numerous social boundaries within and between castes and tribes, along with the influence of several evolutionary forces such as genetic drift, fragmentation and long-term isolation, has kept the Indian populations diverse and distant from each other as well as from other continental populations. This review attempts to summarize recent genetic studies on Indian caste and tribal populations with the focus on the information embedded in the socially defined structure of Indian populations. BioEssays 29: 91-100, 2007.



No Aryan invasion, says Brahmin geneticist



Dear all,

several times we have discussed the misuse made of genetics papers with regard to the influx of Indo-Aryan speaking, pastoral populations into South Asia (and Old Iranian speaking ones into Greater Iran).

Now we have an overview, co-authored by some respected Estonian geneticists, of earlier papers on this topic. It provides some genetic criticism of papers both for and against any influx, -- of course, as always based on *modern* population genetics.

< http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/114030416?SRETRY=0 >

Of course, as we know, the 3000 year error bars involved for dates about 1500 BCE put the "Aryans" (= speakers of Old Indo-Aryan languages, to be precise) in the same time bracket as any Persian, Greek, Saka or Hun soldiers in India.

But stop.

When I got this paper a few days ago I was a bit shocked to see the Kaks and Kazanases of the Hindutva world quoted in this paper as reliable sources for a Sanskrit speaking "Saptasindhu" civilization.

Now see this message by the main author, Gyaneshwar Chaubey, sent to the chauvinistic Hindu Civilization list today. It seems that he is neither 'a lord of knowledge' (Jnaanes'vara) nor a reciter of the 4 Vedas (Chaubey < Caturvedin), but a parrot of Hindutva beliefs:

QUOTE : " we have genetically disproved the Aryan Invasion theory "


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hinducivilization/

> Message #10395
>
> Our new paper on Indian caste system and Aryan invasion theory
>
>
> Dear All,
>
> Please find our recent research article on Indian prehistory.
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/114030416/ABSTRACT?
SRETRY=0
> It has been published in the prestigeous journal Bioessays, a > Cambridge U.K.
> based journal with a high impact factor. > In this article we have genetically disproved the Aryan Invasion > theory which > says that the Central Asian has come to India 3,500 years ago and
> established > the caste system. While in our analysis we found that there is > negligble effect
> on the genepool of India 3,500 years ago. Most of the Indian maternal > or > paternal lineages of India has autocthonous(in-situ) origin which has > originated just after out of africa migration 50-60,000 years ago. > Here we also adressed the social stratification in the caste system of
> India > i.e. how the tribals who live as a hunterer gathrer adopted the > agriculture and
> assimilated in the caste system. >
>
> With best regards
>
> Gyaneshwer
> ---------------------------------
>
> Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:10 am

Grammar and spelling apart (the excitement shows!), -- our Lord of Knowledge does not seem to know that genetic impact can be minimal but language persists. Ever heard of the Hungarians who arrived from the Volga some 1100 years ago? They now have SE European genes but still
speak their Uralic language. Unfortunately, they gave up their own religion about 1000 years ago, but have maintained some tales (and don't forget their multi-source music).

I don't mind if (current) genetics do not show an "Aryan" influx into India. After all, I have always maintained that the immigrant *Indo-Aryan speaking* pastoralist group, out of Afghanistan and Central Asia ( ~~ BMAC area), can have been very small, but that it set off, a la Ch. Ehret, a cultural wave across NW India and beyond, -- all of which has little or *no* connection with genes.

So how does Chaubey know that "there is negligble effect on the genepool of India 3,500 years ago" -- which rather means 1500 BCE or 1500 CE. In other words, no "Aryans" and no C. Asian Turks ever entered. And, forget about Greek, Saka, Kushana, Arab, genes...

But, not to worry, Chaubey has turned the Bioessays paper into "genetic proof" that the "Aryan invasion" has NOT happened.


Which term is 19th cent., now purely political, and anyhow none of us maintains an "invasion" as such !


Echoes of commissioner Metzenberg in CA, December a year ago.

O politics, o mores!

Michael

Michael Witzel
Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University
1 Bow Street , 3rd floor, Cambridge MA 02138
1-617-495 3295 Fax: 496 8571
direct line: 496 2990
< http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm>;
< http://groups.yahoo.com/group/compmyth>;
< http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/>;
< http://users.primushost.com/~india/ejvs/>;



http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/5853



Small correction below:

On Jan 12, 2007, at 10:39 PM, Michael Witzel wrote:

> Dear all,
> ....
> Of course, as we know, the 3000 year error bars involved for dates > about 1500 BCE put the "Aryans" (= speakers of Old Indo-Aryan > languages, to be precise) in the same time bracket as any Persian, > Greek, Saka or Hun soldiers in India.
....

INSTEAD OF :
> So how does Chaubey know that "there is negligble effect on the > genepool of India 3,500 years ago" -- which rather means 1500 BCE or > 1500 CE. In other words, no "Aryans" and no C. Asian Turks ever > entered. And, forget about Greek, Saka, Kushana, Arab, genes...
>
READ:

So how does Chaubey know that "there is negligble effect on the genepool of India 3,500 years ago" -- which rather means 3000 BCE or 500 CE. In other words, no "Aryans" and no C. Asian Huns (Turks) ever entered. And, forget about Greek, Saka, Kushana, (Arab), genes...

Cheers, Michael



http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/5854


--
Let noble thoughts come from all sides.
aa no bhadraah krtavo yantu vis'vatah

S. Kalyanaraman

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