Al-Biruni on India

M. Shahid Alam

Painting - Ajanta Caves

Speak the truth,
even if it were against yourselves.

Quran (4:134)

It was my master, Abu Sahl, who led me on to it.
“Write what you know about the Hindus,” he said,
“There are people who want to converse with them,
To understand their religion, science and literature.
We only have hear-say, a farrago of materials never
Sifted for accuracy. Give us facts with analysis.”

And so I put my heart to it, starting with Sanskrit.
This wasn’t an easy undertaking, without grammar
And dictionaries. I traveled through their country
Quite a bit, talking to learned Brahmans, and spared
Neither trouble nor money collecting manuscripts.
Often I invited their scholars from far-away places–
Kashmir and Kashi–to come and work with me
In Ghazni. I have endeavored in writing this book
Not to be polemical. I intend this account of India
To be nothing but a simple historic record of facts,
At once comprehensive and objective. I present
To you the theories of the Hindus, exactly as they
See them, supporting my explanations of them
With ample quotations. If any of this strikes you
As heathenish, then try to understand that such
Are the beliefs of the Hindus, and they themselves
Are best able to defend it. This book should suffice
Anyone who wants to understand the Hindus,
And discuss with them their myths, metaphysics,
And mathematics; their astronomy, arithmetic,
And astrology; their codes, customs, and conceits
On the very basis of their own civilization.

First published in Swan, 2004

–M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University. He is author of Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Write to him at

Science Museum Takes Political Stand – for Israel

More on the Zionist Federations PR operation “Israel Day of Science” designed to distract from Israel’s criminal behaviour by implanting a positive image of the state in those that it can.

It is ridiculous for the Science Museum to say it will not cancel the event because that would be taking a political stand.  Do they fail to see that holding an event that promotes Israel is a political stand too?

The Zionst Federation are not a neutral body interested in educating children about science.  They are interested in education children about, what they see as, a positive side to the Zionist state as a PR offensive attempting to control the public mind.  It’s perception management by a lobby group for a foreign criminal state and the Science Museum should not be a party to its manipulation.

The Science Museum, one of Britain’s most prestigious public institutions, was embroiled in a row last night after being accused of promoting Israeli universities whose research was used in the country’s military campaign in Gaza.

Continue reading “Science Museum Takes Political Stand – for Israel”

Cancel ZF Propaganda Effort ‘Israel Day of Science’

On the 16th the following letter appeared in the Guardian calling on two UK science museums to cancel Israel’s Day of Science in light of the attack on Gaza.

Today a letter in defence was published by Clive Margolis.  He believes that Israel shouldn’t be accused of criminality “unless the facts have been put before a court of law and found to be true.” Clive should examine the verdict of the International Court of Justice which, in 2004, found Israeli colonisation of Occupied Palestinian Territory illegal:  “Recalling that the Security Council described Israel’s policy of establishing settlements in that territory as a ‘flagrant violation’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Court finds that those settlements have been established in breach of international law.”   The whole action in Gaza is a crime in defence of 60 years of illegal colonisation and occupation.  Not to mention that many of those refugees bombed in Gaza have been denied their right, enshrined in International human rights law and UN Resolution 194, to return to their homes in Israel from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948.  The smaller war crimes he disputes are of lesser significance and I’m not sure what more evidence he needs than the photographs of White Phosphorus landing on civilians.

The Socialist Worker reports that the Stop the War Coalition and activists in the UCU union in Manchester are mobilising to stop this insulting event from happen at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (Mosi).  Could we be in for more occupations?

Science should not be used as a PR tool to gloss over the crimes of Apartheid Israel.

Quite extraordinarily, the Science Museum in London and the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry have both been made available (on 3 and 5 March respectively) for an event called “Israel Day of Science”. The museums argue they are not sponsoring the event, but have merely hired out their premises. This subtle distinction is unlikely to be appreciated by the many thousands of all ages and faiths who have repeatedly taken to the streets round the country to protest against Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

Continue reading “Cancel ZF Propaganda Effort ‘Israel Day of Science’”

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