Saturday, July 18, 2015


Did Andrew Nicholson borrow ideas from Indian writers without acknowledgement? -- Vishal Agarwal

Vishal Agarwal: Did Andrew Nicholson Borrow Ideas from Indian Writers Without Acknowledgement?

Decades before Nicholson, the Indian philosopher Surendranath Dasgupta has said exactly the same thing in his History of Indian Philosophy vol III.

In the 17th century, the 'Prasthanabheda' of Madhusudana Saraswati clearly dilineates the boundaries of Hindu thought and one can see a unifying tendency. I can send a soft copy.

Then, the Prapanchahridaya (which does not mention Ramanuja or later scholars) gives a detailed description of Hindu scriptures sequentially, including of works that are now lost.

We also have of course the Sarvadarshanasamgraha, and the anaonymous (attributed sometimes to Shankaracharya) Sarvasiddhantasamgraha.

One only needs to look at standard editions of Bhikshu's commentaries on Samkhyasutras (Sacred Books of the Hindus Series gives a translation too) or Brahmasutras (with prefaces) to conclude that there is really nothing unique in Nicholson's book.

Or even take a look at the 'Suchipatra' of Kavindracharya's library that was set up during Shah Jehan's reign in Varanasi. The list clearly shows attempts made by Kavindracharya to collect the entire gamut of Hindu scriptures at one place, which he would not have done if the Hindu traditions were not linked or unrelated.

There is large scale plagiarism in the works of western Indologists who copy from lesser known Indian authors and these allegations have been made in the past too. An example is that Renou as well as Batakrishna Ghosh (he did his PhD from Germany) had copied from the works of Pandit Bhagavad Datta without acknowledging properly (or giving merely lip service in the reference sections - which is a far cry to the profuse attributions in 'Indra's Net').

I have a soft copy of Nicholson's PhD thesis (different from the book). I also have softcopies of most of the titles listed above. Please write to me offline.

Frankly, when I first read Nicholson's book a little after it was awarded at the Oberoi Foundation (how come he accepted the award from a 'Hindutva' outfit) in 2010, it reminded me of S Dasgupta and I merely thought that Nicholson had presented in more detail what Dasgupta had said decades earlier.

Vishal Agarwal

Like · Comment · Share · 13 hrs

No comments:

Post a Comment