tiltbillings wrote: Shaswata_Panja wrote:
No point in raking up History and tarring modern Hindus about it.
No one is tarring modern Hindus. It is, rather, keeping things in historical perspective, especially the "brotherhood" claim.
Brotherhod is there..was there---Hindu families gave their sons as monks to Bauddha Mukti Marga.....Then having done that they used to perform anna dana to these Bauddhik Bhikshuks...now of course we have to see atrocities made by Kings in the name of one mata on other matas and panths are recorded in utost neutrality
Western leftists and Islamophiles like Darymple who write extensively in Guardian or Telegraph (both virulently racist against India) make me suspicious
and pulga you were writing of Harsha of Kashmir write about him destroying Buddhist shrines? Here is the whole truth
Harsha of Kashmir, a Hindu Iconoclast?
Whenever the history of the many thousands of temple destructions by Muslims is discussed, the secularists invariably come up with the claim that Hindus have done much the same thing to Buddhists, Jains and "animists". In particular, the disappearance of Buddhism from India is frequently explained as the result of "Brahminical onslaught". Though extremely widespread by now, this allegation is very largely untrue.
As for tribal "animists", numerous tribes have been gradually "sanskritized", acculturated into the Hindu mainstream, and this never required any break with their worship of local goddesses or sacred trees, which have found a place in Hinduism, if need be in what Indologists call the "little traditions" flourishing in the penumbra of the "great tradition". The only break sometimes required was in actual customs, most notably the abjuring of cow-slaughter; but on the whole, there is an unmistakable continuity between Hinduism and the various "animisms" of India's tribes. Hinduism itself is, after all, "animism transformed by metaphysics" (as aptly written in the introduction to the 1901 census report in a discussion of the unfeasibility of separating Hinduism from "animism").
As for conflict with the Jain and Buddhist sects, even what little evidence is cited, turns out to prove a rather different phenomenon on closer inspection. The very few conflicts there were, were generally started by the sectarian Buddhists or Jains. This way, a few possible cases of Shaiva (esp. Virashaiva) intolerance against Jains in South India turn out to be cases of retaliation for Jain acts of intolerance, if the affair was at all historical to begin with. If there was a brief episode of mutual Shaiva-Jaina persecution, it was at any rate not based on the religious injunctions of either system, and therefore remained an ephemeral and atypical event. Likewise, the well-attested persecution of Brahmins by the Buddhist Kushanas remained exceptional because it had no solid scriptural basis, unlike Islamic iconoclasm and religious persecution, which was firmly rooted in the normative example of the Prophet.
Judging from the evidence shown so far, I maintain that Hindu persecutions of Buddhists have been approximately non-existent. The oft-repeated allegation that Pushyamitra Shunga offered a reward for the heads of Buddhist monks is a miraculous fable modelled on just such an episode in Ashoka's life, with the difference that in Pushyamitra's case, as per the hostile Buddhist account itself (Ashokavadana and Divyavadana), no actual killing took place, because an Arhat with miraculous powers magically materialized monks' heads with which people could collect the reward all while leaving the real monks in peace. Art historians have found Pushyamitra to have been a generous patron of Buddhist institutions.
Next to the Pushyamitra fable, the most popular "evidence" for Hindu persecutions of Buddhism is a passage in Kalhana's history of Kashmir, the Rajatarangini (Taranga 7: 1089 ff.), where king Harsha is accused of looting and desecrating temples. This example is given by JNU emeritus professor of ancient history, Romila Thapar, in Romila Thapar et al.: Communalism in the Writing of Indian History, p.15-16, and now again in her letter to Mr. Manish Tayal (UK), 7-2-1999. The latter letter was written in reply to Mr. Tayal's query on Arun Shourie's revelations on the financial malversations and scholarly manipulations of a group of historians, mainly from JNU and AMU. The letter found its way to internet discussion forums, and I reproduce the relevant part here:
"As regards the distortions of history, Shourie does not have the faintest idea about the technical side of history-writing. His comments on Kosambi, Jha and others are laughable -- as indeed Indian historians are treating him as a joke. Perhaps you should read the articles by H. Mukhia in the Indian Express and S. Subramaniam in India Today. Much of what Shourie writes can only be called garbage since he is quite unaware that history is now a professional discipline and an untrained person like himself, or like the others he quotes, such as S.R. Goel, do not understand how to use historical sources. He writes that I have no evidence to say that Buddhists were persecuted by the Hindus. Shourie of course does not know Sanskrit nor presumably does S.R. Goel, otherwise they would look up my footnotes and see that I am quoting from the texts of Banabhatta's Harshacharita of the seventh century AD and Kalhana's Rajatarangini of the twelfth century AD. Both texts refer to such persecutions."
Let us take a closer look at this paragraph by the eminent historian.
Most space of the para and indeed the whole letter is devoted to attacks ad hominem, much of it against Mr. Sita Ram Goel. In his book Hindu Temples, What Happened to Them, vol.1 (Voice of India, Delhi 1990), Goel has listed nearly two thousand mosques standing on the debris of demolished Hindu temples: nearly two thousand specific assertions which satisfy Karl Poper's criterion of scientific theories, viz. they should be falsifiable: every secularist historian can go and unearth the story of each or any of the mosques enumerated and prove that it was unrelated with any temple demolition. But until today, not one member of the well-funded brigade of secularist historians has taken the scholarly approach and investigated any of Goel's documented assertions. The general policy is to deny his existence by keeping him unmentioned; most publications on the Ayodhya affair have not even included his book in their bibliographies even though it holds the key to the whole controversy.
But sometimes, the secularists cannot control their anger at Goel for having exposed and refuted their propaganda, and then they do some shouting at him, as done in this case by Romila Thapar. It is not true that Sita Ram Goel is an "untrained person", as she alleges; he has an MA in History from Delhi University (ca. 1944). And he has actually practised history, writing on Communism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. I never tested Shourie's knowledge of Sanskrit, but as for Goel, he is fluent in Sanskrit, definitely more so than Prof. Thapar herself. Having gone through Urdu-medium schooling and having lived in Calcutta for many years, he is fluent in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, English and Sanskrit, and also reads some Persian, elementary Persian being traditionally included in Urdu-medium education. In Hindu Temples, vol.2, a book of which Goel sent Prof. Thapar a copy, he has discussed the very testimonies she is invoking as proof (esp. in the second edition in which he reproduces Prof. Thapar's reply with his own comment),-- yet she maintains that he has not bothered to check her sources.
Note, at any rate, Romila Thapar's total reliance on arguments of authority and status. No less than seven times does she denounce Shourie's alleged (and unproven) incompetence: Shourie has "not the faintest idea", is "unaware", "untrained", and "does not know", and what he does is "laughable", "a joke", "garbage". But what exactly is wrong in his writing, we are not allowed to know. If history is now a professional discipline, one couldn't deduce it from this letter of hers, for its line of argument is part snobbish and part medieval (relying on formal authority), but quite bereft of the scientific approach.
Reliance on authority and especially on academic titles is quite common in academic circles, yet it is hardly proof of a scholarly mentality. Commoners often attach great importance to titles (before I got my Ph.D., I was often embarrassed by organizers of my lectures introducing me as "Dr." or even "Prof." Elst, because they could not imagine an alleged expert doing without such a title), but scholars actively involved in research know from experience that many publications by titled people are useless, while conversely, a good deal of important research is the fruit of the labour of so-called amateurs, or of established scholars accredited in a different field of expertise. Incidentally, Prof. Thapar's pronouncements on medieval history are also examples of such transgression, as her field really is ancient history.
At any rate, knowledge of Sanskrit is not the issue, for the Rajatarangini is available in English translation, as Romila Thapar certainly knows: Rajatarangini. The Saga of the Kings of Kashmir, translated from Sanskrit by Ranjit Sitaram Pandit, with a foreword by Jawaharlal Nehru, Sahitya Akademi, ca. 1960. With my limited knowledge of Sanskrit, I have laboriously checked the crucial sentences against the Sanskrit text, edited by M.A. Stein: Kalhana's Rajatarangini or Chronicle of the Kings of Kashmir (1892), republished by Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi 1960. I could not find fault with the translation, and even if there were imperfections in terms of grammar, style or vocabulary, we can be sure that there are no distortions meant to please the Hindu nationalists, for the translator was an outspoken Nehruvian. If I am not mistaken, he was the husband of Nehru's sister, Vijayalakshmi Pandit.
S. Subramaniam's account:
Let us check Prof. Thapar's references, starting with the review article on Shourie's book by S. Subramaniam: "History sheeter. Bullheaded Shourie makes the left-right debate a brawl", India Today, 7-12-1998. This article itself is quite a brawl: "Shourie has nothing to say beyond repeating the Islamophobic tirade of his henchman, the monomaniacal Sita Ram Goel who is referred to repeatedly in the text as 'indefatigable' and even 'intrepid'. Goel's stock in trade has been to reproduce ad nauseam the same extracts from those colonial pillars Elliott and Dowson and that happy neo-colonialist Sir Jadunath Sarkar."
It is, of course, quite untrue that Shourie's book is but a rehashing of earlier work by Goel. As can be verified in the index of Shourie's book, Goel's findings are discussed in it on p.99-100, p.107-108, and p.253-254; that leaves well over two hundred pages where Shourie does have something to say "beyond repeating the tirade of his henchman". Goel may be many things, but certainly not "monomaniacal". He has written a handful of novels plus essays and studies on Communism, Greek philosophy, several aspects of Christian doctrine and history, secularism, Islam, and of course Hinduism. His writings on Islam are much richer than a mere catalogue of atrocities, and even the catalogue of atrocities is drawn from many more sources than just Elliott and Dowson. I am also not aware that he has repeated certain quotations ad nauseam; to my knowledge, most Elliott & Dowson quotations appear only once in his collected works. Finally, Goel's position is not more "Islamophobic" than the average book on World War 2 is "Naziphobic"; if certain details about the doctrines studied are repulsive, that may be due to the facts more than to the prejudice of the writer.
So, practically every word in Subramaniam's evaluation is untrue. No wonder, then, that he concludes his evaluation of Shourie's latest as follows: "But serious thought of any variety has been replaced by spleen, hysteria and abuse." That, of course, is rather the case with Shourie's critics, including Subramaniam himself who keeps the readers in the dark about Shourie's arguments as well as about his own rebuttals. If Romila Thapar refers to his review, it can only be for its "treating Shourie like a joke", but by no means for its demonstrating how history has now become a scientific discipline; all it demonstrates is the bullying rhetoric so common in the debate between the scientific and the secularist schools of Indian history. As a reader (one K.R. Panda, Delhi) commented in the next issue (India Today, 21-12-1998): "The review of Arun Shourie's Eminent Historians ironically hardly mentioned what the book was about. It read more like a biographical sketch of the author with a string of abuses thrown in."
Harbans Mukhia's account:
In his guest column "Historical wrongs. The rise of the part-time historian" (Indian Express, 27-11-1998), JNU professor Harbans Mukhia surveys the influence of Marxism in Indian historiography, highlighting the pioneering work of D.D. Kosambi, R.S. Sharma and Irfan Habib in the 1950s and 60s. He argues that this Marxist wave began without state patronage, in an apparent attempt to refute Shourie's account of the role of state patronage and of the resulting corruption in the power position Marxist historians have come to enjoy. This is of course a straw man: Shourie never denied that Kosambi meant what he wrote rather than being eager to please Marxist patrons. The dominance of Marxist scholarship started with sincere (though by no means impeccable) scholars like Kosambi, followed by a phase where the swelling ranks of committed Marxist academics got a hold on the academic and cultural power positions, and then by a phase where being a Marxist was so profitable that many opportunists whose commitment was much shallower also joined the ranks, and hastened the inevitable process of corruption.
Anyway, the only real argument which Mukhia develops, is this: "To be fair, such few professionals as the BJP has in its camp have seldom leveled these charges at least in public. They leave this task to the likes of Sita Ram Goel who, one learns, does full time business for profit and part time history for pleasure, and Arun Shourie who, too, one learns, does journalism for a living, specializing in the investigation of non-BJP persons' scandals".
It is not clear where Mukhia has done his "learning", but his information on Goel is incorrect. Goel was a brilliant student of History at Delhi University where he earned his MA. In the period 1949-56 he was indeed a "part-time historian", working for a living as well as doing non-profit research on the contemporary history of Communism in the framework of the Calcutta-based Society for the Defence of Freedom in Asia. He did full-time business for profit between 1963, when he lost his job after publishing a book critical of Nehru, and 1983, when he handed his business over to younger relatives. Ever since, he has been a full-time historian, and some of his publications are simply the best in their field, standing unchallenged by the historians of Mukhia's school, who have never gotten farther than the kind of invective ad hominem which we find in the above-mentioned texts by Romila Thapar, S. Subramaniam and Mukhia himself.
As for Shourie, Mukhia is hardly revealing a secret with his information that Shourie "does journalism for a living". The greatest investigative journalist in India by far, he has indeed unearthed some dirty secrets of Congressite and casteist politicians. His revelations about the corrupt financial dealings between the Marxist historians and the government-sponsored academic institutions are in that same category: fearless and factual investigative journalism. Shourie has an American Ph.D. degree in Economics, which should attest to a capacity for scholarship, even if not strictly in the historical field. When he criticizes the gross distortions of history by Mukhia's school, one could say formally that he transgresses the boundaries of his specialism, but such formalistic exclusives only hide the absence of a substantive refutation. Thus far, Shourie's allegations against Harbans Mukhia's circle stand unshaken.
Kalhana's first-hand testimony:
Now, let us look into the historical references cited by Romila Thapar. Of Banabhatta's Harshacharita, concerning Harsha of Kanauj (r.606-647), I have no copy available here, so I will keep that for another paper. Meanwhile, I have been able to consult both the Sanskrit original and the English translation of Kalhana's Rajatarangini, and that source provides a clinching testimony.
Harsha or Harshadeva of Kashmir (r.1089-1111) has been called the "Nero of Kashmir", and this "because of his cruelty" (S.B. Bhattacherje: Encyclopaedia of Indian Events and Dates, Sterling Publ., Delhi 1995, p.A-20). He is described by Kalhana as having looted and desecrated most Hindu and Buddhist temples in Kashmir, partly through an office which he had created, viz. the "officer for despoiling god-temples". The general data on 11th-century Kashmir already militate against treating him as a typical Hindu king who did on purely Hindu grounds what Muslim kings also did, viz. to destroy the places of worship of rival religions. For, Kashmir had already been occupied by Masud Ghaznavi, son of Mahmud, in 1034, and Turkish troops were a permanent presence as mercenaries to the king.
Harsha was a fellow-traveller: not yet a full convert to Islam (he still ate pork, as per Rajatarangini 7:1149), but quite adapted to the Islamic ways, for "he ever fostered with money the Turks, who were his centurions" (7:1149). There was nothing Hindu about his iconoclasm, which targeted Hindu temples, as if a Muslim king were to demolish mosques rather than temples. All temples in his kingdom except four (enumerated in 7:1096-1098, two of them Buddhist) were damaged. This behaviour was so un-Hindu and so characteristically Islamic that Kalhana reports: "In the village, the town or in Srinagara there was not one temple which was not despoiled by the Turk king Harsha." (7:1095)
So there you have it: "the Turk king Harsha". Far from representing a separate Hindu tradition of iconoclasm, Harsha of Kashmir was a somewhat peculiar (viz. fellow-traveller) representative of the Islamic tradition of iconoclasm. Like Mahmud Ghaznavi and Aurangzeb, he despoiled and looted Hindu shrines, not non-Hindu ones. Influenced by the Muslims in his employ, he behaved like a Muslim.
And this is said explicitly in the text which Romila Thapar cites as proving the existence of Hindu iconoclasm. If she herself has read it at all, she must be knowing that it doesn't support the claim she is making. Either she has just been bluffing, writing lies about Kalhana's testimony in the hope that her readers would be too inert to check the source. Or she simply hasn't read Kalhana's text in the first place. Either way, she has been caught in the act of making false claims about Kalhana's testimony even while denouncing others for not having checked with Kalhana.
Romila Thapar on Mahmud Ghaznavi:
It is not the first and only time that Romila Thapar is caught tampering with the sources. In her article on Somnath and Mahmud Ghaznavi (Frontline, 23-4-1999), she questioned the veracity of Mahmud's reputation as an idol-breaker, claiming that all the references to Mahmud's destruction of the Somnath temple (1026) are non-contemporary as well as distorted by ulterior motives. It's the Ayodhya debate all over again: when evidence was offered of pre-British references to the destruction of a Ram temple on the Babri Masjid site, the pro-Babri Masjid Action Committee historians replied that the evidence was not contemporary enough, but without explaining why so many secondary sources come up with the temple demolition story. Likewise here: if there was so much myth-making around Ghaznavi's Somnath campaign, even making him the norm of iconoclasm against which the Islamic zeal of every Delhi sultan was measured, what momentous event triggered all this myth-making?
Anyway, in this case the claim that there is no contemporary evidence, is simply false. Though she does mention Ghaznavi's employee Alberuni, she conceals that Alberuni, who had widely travelled in India and was as contemporary to Ghaznavi as can be, has confirmed Ghaznavi's general policy of Islamic iconoclasm and specifically his destruction of the Somnath temple. Alberuni writes (Edward Sechau, tra.: Alberuni's India, London 1910, vol.1, p.117, and vol.2, p.103) that the main idol was broken to pieces, with one piece being thrown into the local hippodrome, another being built into the steps at the entrance of the mosque of Ghazni, so that worshippers could wipe their feet on it. Mahmud's effort to desecrate the idol by all means shows that his iconoclasm was not just a matter of stealing the temple gold, but was a studied act of religious desecration.
He thereby smashed to pieces yet another pet theory of the Romila Thapar school, viz. that the Islamic iconoclasts' motive was economic rather than religious. It is precisely the primary sources which leave no stone standing of the edifice of Nehruvian history-writing.
� Dr. Koenraad Elst, 5 July 1999.
Why Pushyamitra was more "secular" than Ashoka
Let us elaborate one example of pro-Buddhist bias in modern indologist scholarship. It has to do with a story of alleged Hindu persecution of Buddhism by Pushyamitra, a general in the service of the declining Maurya dynasty, who founded the Shunga dynasty after a coup d'�tat. This story serves as the standard secularist refutation of the "myth" that Hinduism has always been tolerant.
Thus, the Marxist historian Gargi Chakravartty writes: "Another myth has been meticulously promoted with regard to the tolerance of the Hindu rulers. Let us go back to the end of second century BC. Divyavadana, in a text of about the second-third century AD, depicts Pushyamitra Shunga as a great persecutor of Buddhists. In a crusading march with a huge army he destroyed stupas, burnt monasteries and killed monks. This stretched up to Shakala, i.e. modern Sialkot, where he announced a reward of 100 gold coins to the person who would bring the head of a Buddhist monk. Even if this is an exaggeration, the acute hostility and tensions between Pushyamitra and the monks cannot be denied." (Gargi Chakravartty: "BJP-RSS and Distortion of History", in Pratul Lahiri, ed.: Selected Writings on Communalism, People's Publishing House, Delhi 1994, p.166-167)
We need not comment on Chakravartty's misreading of Divyavadana as a person's name rather than a book title. Before considering the context, remark the unobtrusive bias in the assumption that the supposedly "undeniable" conflict between the king and the monks proves the king's intolerance. The question of responsibility is evaded: what had been the monks' own contribution to the conflict? When Shivaji had a conflict with the Brahmins (see Jadunath Sarkar: Shivaji, Orient Longman, Delhi 1992/1952, p.161, 165-167), all secularists and most Hindus blame the "wily, greedy" Brahmins; but the Buddhist monks, by contrast, are assumed to be blameless.
The story is given in two near-contemporaneous (2nd century AD) Buddhist histories, the Ashokavadana and the Divyavadana; the two narratives are almost verbatim the same and very obviously have a common origin (Avadana, "narrative", is the Buddhist equivalent of Purana; Divyavadana = "divine narrative"). This non-contemporary story (which surfaces more than three centuries after the alleged facts) about Pushyamitra's offering money for the heads of monks is rendered improbable by the well-attested historical fact that he allowed and patronized the construction of monasteries and Buddhist universities in his domains. After Ashoka's lavish sponsorship of Buddhism, it is perfectly possible that Buddhist institutions fell on slightly harder times under the Shungas, but persecution is quite another matter. The famous historian of Buddhism Etienne Lamotte has observed: "To judge from the documents, Pushyamitra must be acquitted through lack of proof." (History of Indian Buddhism, Institut Orientaliste, Louvain-la-Neuve 1988/1958, p.109).
In consulting the source texts I noticed a significant literary fact which I have not seen mentioned in the scholarly literature (e.g. Lamotte, just quoted), and which I want to put on record. First of all, a look at the critical edition of the Ashokavadana ("Illustrious Acts of Ashoka") tells a story of its own concerning the idealization of Buddhism in modern India. This is how Sujitkumar Mukhopadhyaya, the editor of the Ashokavadana, relates this work's testimony about Ashoka doing with a rival sect that very thing of which Pushyamitra is accused later on:
"At that time, an incident occurred which greatly enraged the king. A follower of the Nirgrantha (Mahavira) painted a picture, showing Buddha prostrating himself at the feet of the Nirgrantha. Ashoka ordered all the Ajivikas of Pundravardhana (North Bengal) to be killed. In one day, eighteen thousand Ajivikas lost their lives. A similar kind of incident took place in the town of Pataliputra. A man who painted such a picture was burnt alive with his family. It was announced that whoever would bring the king the head of a Nirgrantha would be rewarded with a dinara (a gold coin). As a result of this, thousands of Nirgranthas lost their lives." (S. Mukhopadhyaya: The Ashokavadana, Sahitya Akademi, Delhi 1963, p.xxxvii; in footnote, Mukhopadhyaya correctly notes that the author "seems to have confused the Nirgranthas with the Ajivikas", a similar ascetic sect; Nirgrantha, "freed from fetters", meaning Jain) Only when Vitashoka, Ashoka's favourite Arhat (an enlightened monk, a Theravada-Buddhist saint), was mistaken for a Nirgran- tha and killed by a man desirous of the reward, did Ashoka revoke the order.
Typically, Mukhopadhyaya refuses to believe his eyes at this demythologization of the "secular" emperor Ashoka: "This is one of the best chapters of the text. The subject, the style, the composition, everything here is remarkable. In every shloka there is a poetic touch.(...) But the great defect is also to be noticed. Here too Ashoka is described as dreadfully cruel. If the central figure of this story were not a historic personage as great and well-known as Ashoka, we would have nothing to say. To say that Ashoka, whose devotion to all religious sects is unique in the history of humanity (as is well-known through his edicts) persecuted the Jains or the Ajivikas is simply absurd. And why speak of Ashoka alone? There was no Buddhist king anywhere in India who persecuted the Jains or the Ajivikas or any other sect." (The Ashokavadana, p.xxxviii)
This just goes to show how far the idealization of Buddhism and Ashoka has gotten out of hand in Nehruvian India. When the modern myth of Ashoka as the great secular-Buddhist ruler is contradicted by an ancient source (one outspokenly favourable to Buddhism and Ashoka) which shows him persecuting rival schools of thought, the modern scholar (a Hindu Brahmin) still insists on upholding the myth, and dismisses the actual information in the ancient source as a "great defect". Moreover, the non-persecution of other religions, claimed here for Ashoka against the very evidence under discussion, was not unique at all: it was the rule among Hindu kings throughout history, and the Buddha himself had been one of its beneficiaries.
It is at the end of the Ashokavadana that we find the oft-quoted story that Pushyamitra offered one dinara for every shramanashirah, "head of a Buddhist monk". (Mukhopadhyaya: The Ashokavadana, p.134) Not that he got many monks killed, for, according to the account given, one powerful Arhat created monks' heads by magic and gave these to the people to bring to the court, so that they could collect the award without cutting off any real monk's head.
At any rate, the striking fact, so far not mentioned in the Pushyamitra controversy, is that the main line of the narrative making the allegation against Pushyamitra is a carbon copy of the just-quoted account of Ashoka's own offer to pay for every head of a monk from a rivalling sect. Hagiographies are notorious for competitive copying (e.g. appropriating the miracle of a rival saint, multiplied by two or more, for one's own hero); in this case, it may have taken the form of attributing a negative feat of the hero onto the rival.
But there are two differences. Firstly, in the account concerning Pushyamitra, a miracle episode forms a crucial element, and this does not add to the credibility of the whole. And secondly, Ashoka belongs to the writer's own Buddhist camp, whereas Pushyamitra is described as an enemy of Buddhism. When something negative is said about an enemy (i.c. Pushyamitra), it is wise to reserve one's acceptance of the allegation until independent confirmation is forthcoming; by contrast, when a writer alleges that his own hero has committed a crime, there is much more reason to presume the correctness of the allegation. In the absence of external evidence, the best thing we can do for now is to draw the logical conclusion from the internal evidence: the allegation against Pushyamitra is much less credible than the allegation against Ashoka.
Mukhopadhyaya can only save Ashoka's secular reputation by accusing the Ashokavadana author of a lie, viz. of the false allegation that Ashoka had persecuted Nirgranthas. Unfortunately, a lie would not enhance the author's credibility as a witness against Pushyamitra, nor as a witness for the laudable acts of Ashoka which make up a large part of the text. So, Mukhopadhyaya tries to present this lie (which only he himself alleges) as a hagiographically acceptable type of lie: "In order to show the greatness of Buddhism, the orthodox author degraded it by painting the greatest Buddhist of the world as a dreadful religious fanatic." (The Ashokavadana, p.xxxviii).
However, contrary to Mukhopadhyaya's explanation, there is no hint in the text that the author meant to "show the greatness of Buddhism" by "painting the greatest Buddhist as a religious fanatic". By this explanation, Mukhopadhyaya means that the writer first made Ashoka commit a great crime (the persecution of the Nirgranthas) to illustrate the greatness of Buddhism by sheer contrast, viz. as the factor which made Ashoka give up this type of criminal behaviour. There is a famous analogy for this: the cruelty of Ashoka's conquest of Kalinga was exaggerated by scribes in order to highlight the violence-renouncing effect of Ashoka's subsequent conversion to Buddhism. But in this passage, Buddhism plays no role in Ashoka's change of heart: it is only the sight of his own friend Vitashoka, killed by mistake, which makes him revoke the order. And it was his commitment to Buddhism which prompted Ashoka to persecute the irreverent Nirgranthas in the first place.
Buddhism does not gain from this account, and if a Buddhist propagandist related it nonetheless, it may well be that it was a historical fact too well-known at the time to be omitted. By contrast, until proof of the contrary is forthcoming, the carbon-copy allegation against Pushyamitra may very reasonably be dismissed as sectarian propaganda. Yet, we have seen how a 20th-century Hindu-born scholar will twist and turn the literary data in order to uphold a sectarian and miracle-based calumny against the Hindu ruler Pushyamitra, and to explain away a sobring testimony about the fanaticism of Ashoka, that great secularist avant la lettre. Such is the quality of the "scholarship" deployed to undermine the solid consensus that among the world religions, Hinduism has always been the most tolerant by far.
I think I have iven ample evidence ..Now I will go through the 2 BPS pdfs and then make my observations ..I will also give the page number where I encountered Joshi's assertions on the Upanishads..on a lighter note the only Joshi Indians know of is the sometime left-arm orthodox off-spinner Sunil Joshi