"Not out of Greece"
In pursuant to the essay "Not Out Of Greece" by C K Raju published in Vol. 47 No. 25 of your renowned journal, I would like to draw your serious attention to the following:
While the claim of the author that the entire scientific database known to the world as Greek Contribution is of a-Greek origin, is far from established, he already brands the supporters of the contrary and usual view as submissive to the colonial mentality. Risking this admonition, I place some factual materials for your (and at the same time, his) perusal.
According to this author, knowledge in the ancient times flowed from the east to the west. Okay. So knowledge of astronomy (and astrology too, for they were yet to be separated) travelled from India to Greece. Again okay. But then, Varahamihira in his Panchasiddhantika classified astronomy into five groups and two of them were Romaka Siddhanta and Yavana Siddhanta. He compared the made-in-India astronomy with these two and called them "durbivrasta" (much astray). He had surely not been suffering from any colonial legacy to attribute superiority to the Greek and Roman knowledge suppliers.
Note further that the Muslim translators' texts were not then going from Baghdad to India. They came to India much later. How did Mr Raju then account for the origin of these texts which a well-known ancient learned of India had acknowledged as of Greek and Roman sources?
Interestingly, the Christian Church appropriated all the Arabic texts and claimed them as of Greek origin while the Islamic scholars just sat callous and observed? What they produced and enlarged upon they allowed going to other authorship without any slight dispute? Over a millennium? And remember, the Arabic treasure in translation involved not only science and mathematics, but also politics, literature and other branches of knowledge. An Arab scholar wrote something valuable in an Islamic land and under Islamic domination, and then he put Plato's or Aristotle's or Ptolemy's name as the author—this is too much of an imagination to digest with my small liver.
If there is no hard evidence in support of the Greek origin of what is now known as Greek contributions, the author also advanced no evidence to the contrary other than throwing doubt and using some invectives. It is a broad subject and demands a wider scholarship, which is beyond my ken. But I want to learn.
A doubt also lurks in my mind. Clearing the Greeks from the fund of ancient knowledge creates a void, which it becomes easy to fill with Indian authorship. You need not then separately discover Pythagoras' theorem etc. in the Indian texts like the Vedas, one by one. Just replace Greece by India and everything remains as they are. The anti-colonial jingoes fit quite well with this stratagem.
It refers to Supreme Court verdict quashing reservation for Jat-community. Vote-bank politics and muscle-tactics adopted in agitations demanding reservation makes Union and state governments usually succumbing for reservation of certain communities even though these communities might not deserve such inclusion in reserved categories. Complete policy of 'Reservation' is in itself a big failure when it could not homogeneously mix people of reserved-categories in the society in stipulated 15 years initially fixed by constitution-makers and now for about seven decades after independence. In present era, policy of reservation is itself responsible for alienating persons of reserved categories from normal society by making them identified separately.
If reservation is to be continued indefinitely, all reserved categories like SC, ST or OBC should be merged into one single category with an annual review of progress or benefits made by different castes/tribes by virtue of Reservation. Communities with maximum postings/admissions may be deleted from reserved categories by taking these as creamy layers, leaving opportunities for reservation for really deserving backward categories. Also since backwardness in reserved categories is due to their generally having large families, benefits of reservations may be reserved for persons/families with upto two children only. Present system makes professional politicians (and their family-members) from reserved categories enjoy fruits of reservation-policy despite their being ultra rich and influential in politics and society.
Black Money and Jewellery
All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation has demanded removal of provision of giving PAN number on purchase of gold jewellery worth rupees one lakh and above expressing doubts of increase in smuggled gold. It is indirect confession of use of black money in purchase of gold jewellery. Earlier also in the year 2012, the then Indian Finance Minister succumbed to political and other pressures while taking back measures of imposing excise-duty on gold jewellery from the Union Budget for 2012-13 which could effectively check use of black money in purchase of jewellery. Idea of re-introducing maximum 14-carrot gold for jewellery rather could reduce demand of gold in India which happens to be biggest consumer of gold in the world with even Reserve Bank of India (RBI) felt worried on increasing craze for gold where gold-import rose by 11-percent in a year against global rise of just 3-percent. Gold prices even can be sharply reduced if India takes some serious and practical steps to curb craze for gold in the country. Reduced gold-prices will be a boon for common people for investment in gold for future safety rather than parking of black money in gold. To effectively check smuggling of gold, import-duty should be reduced but VAT may be imposed on sale of gold apart from imposing excise-duty on jewellery. Even those having agricultural income should be required to file tax-returns with PAN number allotted even though income from agriculture may continue to be remained exempted or with a nominal tax-rate of ten-percent.
Sincere steps should be taken to transform currency-circulation in banking transactions so that surplus currency may be ordinary 'paper' for all practical purposes. India should follow sensible advanced countries by discontinuing circulation of higher-denomination notes of rupees five hundred and above because such currency is used as black money to buy gold and property. All sale-purchases exceeding say Rs 20000, even though payment may be made in parts, must be through banks. In case of cash-payments, currency-tax @ 30-percent may be imposed. All expenses exceeding Rs 1000 must be allowed when made through cheques/ drafts. Payments of essential services like water, telephone, electricity and municipal taxes for bills exceeding Rs 1000 must be made by cheques/drafts only. Drafts/ Pay-Orders/ Traveller-cheques must carry names and address/ account-numbers of purchasers with reduced validity-period of say 45 days to check their misuse as 'benami' drafts for carriers of black money. Government should announce a permanent voluntary-declaration scheme to declare as much income as possible from 'undisclosed sources' on payment of maximum tax-slab of 30-percent. This will catch hold of those purchasing property from unaccounted cash when tax-persons will find 'income from undisclosed sources' in tax-returns of those selling the property.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal, Delhi
Vol. 47, No. 40, Apr 12 - 18, 2015