Jun 06, 2023
Jun 06, 2023
by C. K. Raju
In an article in The Hindu, Peter deSouza misattributes colonial education to Macaulay, thus hiding the fact that colonial education started as 100% church education. This deception supports his thesis that the major problem facing Indian education is saffronisation, as opposed to the demand for its de-Christianisation, advocated worldwide for decolonization. The false history of science used by Macaulay, to assert White/Western superiority, was also just a mutated form of false Crusading history, initially created to assert Christian superiority. This false history (“Euclid” etc.) is today used to smuggle Crusading church theology into (axiomatic) math, even at the level of 1+1=2. The decolonisation of math and science is critical because of the widespread but wrong belief that colonial education is essential for math and science. A key argument here is my epistemic test: that the West, because it stole the calculus, failed to understand it. This “argument from lack of understanding” is needed to change colonial education, and is fatal to the core thesis of Christian/White/Western superiority supported by a false history of math. Hence, without advancing any facts, and without himself understanding why 1+1=2 in axiomatic math, deSouza demonises this key argument for decolonisation, by calling it “crazy”. This article gives a detailed refutation.
In an article in The Hindu "What is wrong with saffronising education" (30 March, p. 8), Peter deSouza emphasized the dangers of saffronisation.
Now, I am not for saffronisation of education or even for any uncritical indigenization. Indians have many achievements but they were not superhuman, they may have erred. Therefore, I assert, for example, we should teach the calculus in the Indian way, not because calculus is Indian in origin, but because the Indian calculus is BETTER.
But the simple thought that the desi could be better may surprise the colonised. Why? Because, for some two centuries now, Indians (and the colonised, generally) have uncritically accepted the false boasts of White/Western superiority, such as Macaulay’s. Those boasts are, however, based on a false history of science which the colonised never checked, and refuse to check today.
My stand is that false Western history must be thoroughly checked against facts, even though childhood indoctrination, through colonial education, inclines us to believe it all on faith, without checking facts. In contrast, deSouza uses a straw-man argument to aggressively assert, on sheer faith, that it is “crazy” to even doubt key aspects of the Western history of math and science. That is, though deSouza expresses lip sympathy for decolonisation, he implicitly favours continuation of colonial beliefs.
Consequently, there are numerous gaping holes in his “argument”, and exposing them might benefit many people who have similar illusions about the “good things” brought by colonialism.
Colonial education due to church, not Macaulay
To begin with, though Macaulay was instrumental in initiating colonial education to India, it is excessively wrong to call colonial education “Macaulay’s system”. Macaulay advocated British education, which in his time was 100% church education—secular education first came to Britain only after the British Elementary Education Act of 1870, long after Macaulay’s death. (That was confined to elementary education, needed for a burgeoning industrial labour force, and did not immediately affect the British universities, which were started by the church during the Crusades, and continued to remain under church control.)
That is, colonial education was church education not Macaulay’s. This is also obvious from the fact that the same education also spread to French, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies in Africa and South America where Macaulay has no significance. Calling it “Macaulay’s system” hides that church involvement, or Christianization. This is especially devious if the topic is saffronisation.
Ignorant politicians in India may routinely confound church education as Macaulay’s—for they focus on symbols, and Macaulay is a symbol of colonial education (only) in India. But for an academic like deSouza to make that “mistake” is like a doctor who misdiagnoses the cause of an ailment. With an incorrect understanding of its causes, the ailment (of colonisation) cannot be cured, and the patient remains perpetually sick, a situation from which the doctor, especially a quack, may profit. It hardly matters whether the quackery is deliberate or due to sheer incompetence.
Either way, that wrong understanding of colonial education, as the doing of one individual (Macaulay), benefits the coloniser. DeSouza drops the names of Fanon and Cesaire, hence is surely well aware that Macaulay is irrelevant to decolonization in Africa. But honestly acknowledging the church origin of colonial education leads naturally to my decolonization thesis that colonial education should first be de-Christianised, or de-churchified. But accepting that would destroy deSouza thesis that the action agenda for Indians should instead focus on fighting saffronisation (and thus indirectly neglect and preserve the existing Christianization of education).
Church tradition of false history
Not only colonial education, but the false history of science used by Macaulay was also created by the church. False history was a traditional tool of the church for propaganda during its many religious wars. After the church married the state, in the 4th c., it asserted Christian supremacy and privilege as a key part of its dogma. To support that belief in Christian supremacy, the church fought a violent religious war with “pagans”, in the Roman empire, destroying every last “pagan” temple (exactly the way every last Hindu temple was destroyed in Goa under Portuguese rule). As the saying goes, in any war the first casualty is truth. Hence, as part of its propaganda during this war, church historians like the 5th c. Orosius systematically used false history as a propagandist tool. This is clear from the very title of Orosius’ book, History Against the Pagans. The church very much understood that lies and propaganda have (soft) power, and false history remained a key weapon in the armoury of the church since then.
False history was hence also used as a key tool of propaganda during the next violent religious war which the church fought against Muslims—the Crusades. This time the church invented a simple false history to put down Muslims. This false history involved attributing an early Greek origin to ALL (scientific) knowledge in Arabic books captured during the Crusades.
Specifically, contrary to the tale of the church at war with science, a false church history of science went viral during the Crusades when scientific knowledge in captured Arabic texts was all indiscriminately attributed to the early Greeks. Why Greeks? Because the early Greeks were regarded as the sole “friends of Christians” since Eusebius (the first church historian). This misattribution of world knowledge in Arabic books to Greeks hence enabled that knowledge to be deemed a Christian inheritance. Knowledge obtained from the religious enemy was prima facie “heretical” knowledge. And the common church practice was to burn heretical books. But the church needed that knowledge to win the Crusades. This trick of false history enabled that (world) knowledge in Arabic books to be declared a theologically correct Christian inheritance, and those books were translated and taught in the first European universities. Theological correctness was critically important for the church, especially during the Crusades, a protracted religious war lasting for centuries. A false history of science was the quick and easy solution.
Like all church beliefs, that fake Crusading history of science was based on faith and very slender “evidence”. Since false history was the key to church propaganda, it developed further, during the Inquisition, and pre-colonial and colonial times, when any kind of dissent was brutally suppressed. This false history eventually ended up attributing the origin of all key knowledge (especially in math and science) to “Christians and friends”: the Greeks”, and after “Greeks” to “post-renaissance” Europeans. This remains the stock history of science today, with some minor modifications. As a key aspect of current colonial education, this false and utterly chauvinistic history is used to instil a sense of inferiority among the colonised, to make it easier to rule them.
From church prejudice to racist and colonial prejudice
The connection between Christian prejudice and colonial prejudice may not be obvious.
First, that false assertion of Christian supremacy was the basis of the most heinous crimes against humanity known to mankind—the genocides of the native populations of three continents: the two Americas and Australia. These crimes were directly incited by popes who issued “moral” exhortations through edicts, on grounds of Christian supremacy. These were approved also by the Western legal system. But those genocides only fetched the free land; free labour was also needed to create wealth. Hence, popes used the same doctrine of Christian supremacy also as the initial moral justification for slavery in Europe and America.
But, after the transatlantic slave trade, many Black slaves converted to Christianity. On what moral basis could they still be enslaved? Hence, to preserve the profits from slavery, the doctrine of Christian supremacy mutated to the doctrine of White (racist) supremacy. This mutation was achieved using the Biblical “curse of Ham” (more accurately “curse of Kam”), which characterized Blacks as “inferior” even if Christians (hence fit to be enslaved). Strangely this connection between the doctrines of Christian supremacy and White supremacy seems little known today.
But, after the American war of independence, British profits from slavery sharply declined, and were overtaken by the profits from colonialism. To suit these circumstances, the doctrine of White supremacy further mutated to the doctrine of Western (civilizational) supremacy. This mutation happened since, on the Aryan race fantasy, many believed the colonised were the same race as the coloniser, therefore the doctrine of White superiority could not be used. (The Aryan race fantasy was invented just to keep alive tales of Greek glorification, when it was first publicly suspected that the Greek and Latin languages seemed derived from Sanskrit.) Acceptance of Western supremacy, or mental subordination to the West, is the key lesson taught today by colonial education.
To summarise, the essence of the false church history of science was that all science was the work of “Greeks”, then “post-Renaissance” (actually post-Crusade) Europeans. Racist and colonial historians recycled that false church history as secular proof of White and Western supremacy, respectively, by relabelling the very same people (“Greeks”, “post-renaissance Europeans”) as Whites and Western respectively. This “adjustment” of false history accompanied the mutation of the doctrine of Christian supremacy to the doctrines of White (racist) and Western (civilizational) supremacy.
Centuries later, it was exactly that false history of science which Macaulay used as “proof” of Western superiority. He also used that assertion of “superiority” to sell church education. He slightly modified the church line, “we are superior, imitate us”, by saying “the West is superior in science so the colonised must imitate Western (church) education”. This was yet another marketing lie, a trick which the colonised never understood. Actually, Macaulay’s real purpose was to use church education as a tool to indoctrinate people, make them mentally submissive, hence suppress revolts, whether in Britain or in India. Hence, this church education came to India in a big way after the revolt of 1857.
To continue to cover up the church’s massive and long involvement, in both Western education and false history, deSouza mischievously misattributes that education system to Macaulay (a simplistic secular symbol). That misdirection by misattribution is the hallmark of a church trickster.
Those inter-related claims of Christian/White/Western supremacy are promoted through colonial education even today. Hence, the first priority of the colonised and racially oppressed, in any part of the world (not only in India), should be to contain the damage due to centuries of false history (and the related indoctrination) still strongly present in our current (colonial) education system. They must check that false history against facts (not mere authoritative opinions). This is the starting point of my decolonisation proposals, which deSouza carefully avoids mentioning, for obvious reasons.
Concrete examples of false history in school texts
Against this background let us take some concrete examples to clarify the issues. Thus, consider the terminology of the “Pythagorean theorem” which term is repeated 32 times in the Indian class X text. Because of that childhood indoctrination by repetition, the colonised believe that falsehood about Pythagoras, and explode in outrage over saffronisation whenever the Pythagorean proposition in the sulba sutra is mentioned. But no evidence is ever provided (or exists) for even the existence of Pythagoras, or for his connection to that theorem.
Because of deep childhood indoctrination, nobody asked for that evidence, until recently. Talk of saffronisation is just a tricky way to distract people from that lack of evidence even for prominent “Greeks” like Pythagoras taught by colonial education. Those beliefs are being challenged due to decolonisation. DeSouza’s real concern is to preserve the faith-based belief in these deep-seated church falsehoods in our school texts.
Anyway, why credit Pythagoras? Why not the ancient (Black) Egyptians who built huge pyramids (which are still standing)? Or Indians and the sulba sutra-s? Because the core aim of Crusading/racist/colonial fake history was to glorify “the Greeks”, and declare others as “inferior”, as our school text does. This mutated to racist and colonial history, which declared “Greeks” (as White and West respectively) as superior, and all others as inferior. Hence, though even the false history of the Greeks, such as “Euclid” admits he was supposedly from Alexandria in Africa, where the default skin color is black, the “Greeks” are invariably shown as Whites in our school texts, and any mention of Blacks is censored. Censorship is important means of proof for faith-based proofs in history to work. Dissent must be silenced.
Since Egyptians and Indians and many others had obvious chronological priority over the Greeks, in many matters including geometry, the other propagandist trick is to fall back on the usual polemic of “superiority”. Hence, the Indian 9th standard school text says—you guessed it—that “the Greeks” did a “superior” kind of geometry. (Generic “Greeks” are OK, since any Greek will do!) All others did an inferior kind of geometry, or so the school text states.
But the slightest examination of that boast of purported “superiority” of Greek geometry shows it is based on a plethora of further brazen lies, e.g. that non-Greeks lacked proof in math (Indians did define proof and this proof WAS used in Indian math). Or that others lacked reasoning. (Indian proofs definitely used reasoning, as in reasoning that the earth is round.) Or that “Euclid” provided a proof of “Pythagoras theorem” (no evidence for Euclid). Or that, regardless of the person “Euclid”, the “Euclid” book provided a special and “superior” kind of axiomatic proof (no axiomatic proofs in the “Euclid” book). It is through such a complex chain of brazen falsehoods in school texts that the sense of inferiority among the colonised was instilled: using church propagandist history, inculcated through colonial/church education. DeSouza’s real anxiety is to quell the rising awareness of those falsehoods, and increasing demands for evidence for such false church-origin history, present in our school texts for centuries.
Church distortion of math
Worse, it is not a matter of history alone; the false history of math is interlinked with a bad philosophy of math. That is, the church dogma infected and distorted math itself. Thus, everyone used reasoning: as in “there is smoke” so “there must be a fire”. This is normal reasoning, or reasoning from facts, since it begins with an empirical observation that “there is smoke”. Likewise, ancient Indians reasoned that the earth is round from the empirical observation that far off trees cannot be seen, or ships disappears over the horizon. In contrast, the Bible (Daniel 4:10-11) speaks of a tall tree that could be seem from “the ends of the earth”. This illustrates the problem that church dogmas are contrary to facts or observations, and rest on pure faith. This is true of most church dogmas, such as heaven, hell, God, virgin birth etc.: they are not compatible with empirical observations.
This created a special problem, during the Crusades. Then the church had a political requirement for “reason”, for a church theology of reason to counter the prevailing Islamic theology of reason (aql-i-kalam). But normal reasoning which begins from facts was not acceptable to the church, since facts are contrary to numerous church dogmas. Therefore, the church developed formal reasoning or axiomatic reasoning which begins from assumptions (or axioms) instead of facts. (Axioms are assumptions or postulates, NOT “self-evident truths”, as even the NCERT class IX text clarifies.)
Aquinas’ angel theorem, is the first recorded case of the actual use of axiomatic proof (reasoning MINUS facts), for there are no facts about angels. Specifically, axiomatic reasoning began with the political compulsions of church theology, not math.
But this church technique of axiomatic reasoning was falsely attributed to the “Euclid” book, a Crusading myth whose falsehood was exposed over a century ago by Bertrand Russell and David Hilbert. Thus, the myth of “Euclid” not only glorified the Greeks, it enabled church theology to be smuggled into math through a misinterpretation of the “Euclid” book. Centuries of church hegemony over the European mind affected all aspects of Western ethno-knowledge. Colonial education globalised it. From this point of view, these myths of Euclid and Pythagoras serve a clear political function. On the stock trick of “misdirection by misattribution”, they hide the key fact that axiomatic proof in present-day mathematics actually originates from the political requirements of church theology.
So, a key aspect of church theology has been smuggled into colonial math education and globalised by using a false history of Greeks. Few understand this church trick (even after it is explained), because colonial education has made them illiterate in math. And fewer suspect that math could be used as a vehicle for church and colonial propaganda, which is why the propaganda is so effective.
In this connection, I should clarify, my long-standing demand is to teach a religiously neutral math, Indian ganita or normal math, in general, is secular and practical, unlike colonial mathematics (or Western ethnomathematics, or formal math) which introduces a Christian religious bias even in 1+1=2, as again briefly explained later in this article.
But it is not even a matter of propaganda alone: that propaganda has political value. The subsequent colonial globalisation of axiomatic mathematics has a little-noticed consequence for the politics of knowledge in math: it puts the West in total control of mathematical knowledge. Thus, Western mathematicians lay down the axioms (or assumptions of mathematics as currently taught) and pronounce on the validity of the proofs of theorems. Thus, the assumptions, such as the axioms of set theory, usually involve a metaphysics of infinity which cannot be tested against empirical observations. (For example, Cantor’s continuum hypothesis that the cardinality of the real numbers is the second infinite cardinal.)
Most people do not understand either math or this politics of knowledge in math. They naively say of math that “it works”. On the myth that math is universal, they confound normal with formal math, or axiomatic math brought by colonialism. To be sure, the ancient normal math of 1+1=2 works, but it is simply not the same as the inferior axiomatic math of 1+1=2 brought by colonialism. But few understand the difference, because colonial education actually made them mathematically illiterate. For example. Bertrand Russell took 378 pages to prove 1+1=2 in cardinals, and few understand what is there on that page 378. Those 378 pages do not add an iota of extra practical value to the applications of arithmetic in a grocer’s shop.
Axiomatic math gives power to the West without adding an iota of practical value to pre-existing normal math.
More precisely, most normal math can be and has been axiomatized. This axiomatisation does NOT add any use-value, though it makes the simplest math (such as 1+1=2) enormously difficult. It supposedly adds epistemic value, but ONLY on the superstitions of Crusading theology. Hence formal mathematicians invariably dodge any public discussion of that supposed epistemic value. However, it enables the West to control that mathematical knowledge. For example, though the calculus originated as normal math, in India, today it is taught using axiomatic real numbers proposed by the West, built using another metaphysics of infinity called set theory. This is asserted to be essential to calculus and forced down the throat of students, though it is absolutely not needed, for any practical application such as sending a man to the moon.
Because colonial education established Western control of mathematical knowledge today, correcting the bad philosophy of math is far harder than correcting its false history in our school texts. So, let us stick to the easier bit about false history.
Can we correct fake history brought by colonialism?
Now, colonialism is a global problem, unlike saffronization which is local to India. Thus, to decolonise education, I have emphasized that we start by dismantling the centuries of false church history by demanding serious evidence for that fake history of math and science brought by colonialism. This demand for evidence for colonial history is deeply threatening to closet-sympathisers of colonialism like deSouza.
Axiomatic math is motivated by the false church history of Euclid. So, the first step is to demand evidence for Euclid. Recall that my Rs 2 lakh challenge prize for Euclid has gone abegging for a decade. The NCERT‘s amazing official stand is that we MUST believe the story because many tertiary Western texts state it. (That is the summum bonum of colonial (=con-all) education: blindly trust the West so as to be conned more easily.) The authors of that NCERT text, the much-celebrated Jayant Narlikar, and the former Director of NCERT, Pervin Sinclair shamelessly fail to provide evidence for Euclid when asked: they were appointed to undo the saffronisation attempted by the first NDA government; they did it. Having successfully smuggled back the church myths of Euclid and Pythagoras, and related church superstitions, why bother about evidence now? While I hold no brief for Dinanath Batra, an ill-informed school teacher, he is a straw man who does not figure in our school texts. Evidently, Narlikar, who authored those texts, causes far more real damage to the education system, and the resulting indoctrination of minds. Journalists don’t dare to make fun of the false history promoted by these worthies, or even support the demand for evidence.
In fact, the colonised who create a huge ruckus about “saffronisation” at the very thought of challenging Pythagoras, are deeply content with and supportive of this false church history in our school texts, despite the lack of any evidence for Pythagoras or Euclid. Those falsehoods have been present for centuries, and have indoctrinated generations.
Did Einstein understand relativity?
It is to support and further the blind acceptance of all sorts of faith-based church history, that deSouza, peddles the Christian fanatic view that anyone who contests false Western history is “crazy”.
Without naming me, he picks on my claim that Einstein did not understand relativity. Now I have argued that Einstein plagiarised relativity from Poincaré, and that Einstein hence made a core mathematical mistake regarding relativity, and persisted in that mistake till the end of his life. My point about Einstein is standing uncontested in reputed publications. Why? Because Einstein’s mistake (proving his lack of understanding of relativity) is too elementary to contest. The Poincaré-Einstein issue is well known to scholars. What is crazy about the claim that “in a dystopian society it is the scum which rises to the top”?
To the contrary, plagiarism is rampant in the dystopian West. Since the colonised are conditioned to believe only in Western mathematical authority, the West repeatedly continues to exploit it. For those who conflate Western mathematical authority with truth, I keep pointing out that the world’s leading mathematician, Michael Atiyah, endorsed my point, by plagiarising my mathematical correction to Einstein, and its consequences for physics, in the course of his Einstein centenary lecture. And the American Mathematical Society, while forced to acknowledge my earlier published work, has collectively done and is doing its best to cover-up that plagiarism. Utopian West, eh? A West which has long provided organized institutional support for plagiarism from the colonised? We know better, Mr deSouza!
Since deSouza is too ignorant to argue from historical facts, or mathematics, he uses the technique typically used by ignorant priests: to demonise the opponent. The only thing crazy here is deSouza’s fanatical belief that, like a priest on the pulpit, he can pass any abusive judgment on my claim about Einstein’s lack of understanding of relativity, without himself having the slightest understanding of relativity or its history or the underlying math.
It seems this church propagandist is masquerading as an academician, because he wants all false church/Western history to be blindly accepted and preserved to preserve colonisation.
Epistemic test and decolonisation
Thus, this aspect of lack of understanding of stolen (or transmitted) knowledge is critical to my decolonisation thesis. This is my epistemic test: those who copy, like cheats in an exam, fail to fully understand what they copy. The simplest example of the epistemic test applied to the history of science, is the case of Gerbert (pope Sylvester II), regarded as the most learned man in Europe, who imported Indian arithmetic from Cordoba, but foolishly got an abacus constructed for these “Arabic numerals”, showing that he failed to understand the efficiency of Indian arithmetic algorithms (today taught in primary school).
Indian calculus is better, just because the West not only stole calculus, but Newton et al. failed to understand it, and the West later developed an inferior understanding. This inferiority of Western understanding of calculus is critical to counter Macaulay’s boast of Western “superiority” in math and science; it counters it in a way which all the church tricks of false history cannot meet. Hence, deSouza attacks this critical argument as “crazy” using the case of Einstein as a proxy for Newton.
The Western lack of understanding of calculus is explained in my PHISPC volume, which was the 50th in the series of over 100 volumes, which series of “some volumes” deSouza praises (presumably since the late D. P. Chattopadhyaya, an editor, once was a Congress minister). Now, the subtitle of my PHISPC volume was “On the transmission of calculus from India to Europe in the 16th c. CE”. Hence, it pointed out the following in great detail.
That (1) the calculus was stolen from India from Cochin by Jesuits (some from Goa, like Matteo Ricci) in connection with the (astronomy and) trigonometric values needed for the European navigational problem, including calendar reform. Since the charge is that of theft, my volume used a standard of evidence used in criminal law: motivation, opportunity, circumstantial and documentary evidence. Today our school texts falsely assert that Newton (and Leibniz) “discovered” the calculus. This assertion of “discovery” uses the genocidal “doctrine of Christian discovery” on which theological principle it is also amusingly asserted that Vasco da Gama “discovered” India itself (with the help of an Indian navigator he hired in Africa to show him the sea route from Africa to India, known from thousands of years earlier).
However, while most land in the Americas and Australia is owned today, by the genocider, on the legality of that vile Christian doctrine of “discovery” (Columbus “discovered” America”) stealing knowledge is not as easy as stealing land, as the case of Einstein proves. Hence, in my PHISPC volume, I applied the same epistemic test as proof of theft. (2) On the same epistemic test, just because the calculus was stolen from India, Newton and all Europeans up to the time of Marx failed to understand how to sum its infinite series, as Indians did. Actually, neither silly notions like Newton’s“ fluxions” nor the real numbers taught today are of any practical (or epistemic) use. To teach calculus properly we need to revert to the Indian method.
This “argument from lack of understanding” is fatal to the core thesis of Christian/White/Western superiority supported by that false history of math. It shows that the colonizer remained inferior and intellectually challenged since under the weight of church hegemony. (Of course, that is obvious in other ways: only mentally challenged people could believe, as the West officially did until the dismantling of apartheid, that the color of the skin makes one “superior”.)
The point here is that real numbers were invented just because Europeans widely acknowledged their failure to understand calculus. (They could still obtain practical value without full understanding, because they understood the practical aspects of the Indian calculus, namely the numerical solution of differential equations.) This European epistemic failure to understand is proof that the West stole the calculus, hence that there is a need to change its teaching. This proof is based on the same epistemic test that those who steal knowledge often fail to understand it.
Theology and the artificial difficulty of colonial math
The problem is that real numbers are metaphysics (=unreal) since based on the prohibition of the empirical in axiomatic math, a prohibition invented to suit church theology of reason which mostly concerns reasoning about the non-existent (God, heaven, hell, angels etc.), or non-physical, often called metaphysical.
The complexity of the resulting metaphysics of infinity in math (tied to church dogmas of eternity) has made the most elementary math impossibly complicated. To demonstrate this, in JNU, I offered my Cape Town challenge with a prize of Rs 10 lakhs for anyone who could prove 1+1=2 in REAL numbers from first principles (without assuming any results from axiomatic set theory). (Note that “real numbers: do not follow Peano’s axioms as a senior mathematician foolishly suggested after the Cape Town debate.) Since “real” numbers are taught in the NCERT class IX school text this should be known to everyone in a university.
However, I am willing to offer this same prize of Rs 10 lakhs, to prove 1+1=2, with the stated caveats, also to deSouza, just to demonstrate his total ignorance. I will extend the time to claim the prize to one whole week. Of course, he must be able to explain the proof of 1+1=2 on his own, regardless of where he might copy it from: the Western technique of written submission won’t do, since it allows people to claim more knowledge than they really have.
That is, colonial education, which supposedly came for science, has made even 1+1=2 impossibly difficult for most people. This forces them to rely on Western authority as the sole guide to truth. Creating that epistemic dependence greatly suits the politics of colonisation. It is to preserve that faith in Western authority that deSouza calls it crazy to doubt Western understanding, a position he takes on mere fanatical faith, for he himself has no understanding of even 1+1=2, and therefore, is totally unqualified to judge lack of understanding.
This artificial difficulty introduced into calculus through Western ethnomathematics, and its metaphysics of infinity, closely allied to Crusading church metaphysics of eternity, has made the simplest math enormously difficult, without adding an iota of practical value to the calculus. While that difficulty of formal math is a means of power for the West, it also negatively affects technology development even in the US.
That it creates an internal conflict like the one between slavery and the export of the poor from Europe to Americas, resulting in the American civil war and the emancipation of slaves.
Summary and conclusions
To summarise, deSouza misattributes colonial education to Macaulay. This hides the fact that colonial education came as church education, and that the same education reached French, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies where Macaulay never reached. This deflects the decolonisation objective of dismantling church education.
DeSouza is dead silent about the tons of false history of science also concocted by the church, and used by Macaulay to sell church education to Indians. This deflects the objective of cross-checking and doing away with that false history. That would also get rid of the feeling of inferiority it was designed to create among the colonised.
Though deSouza says he is against that sense of inferiority, his contradictory stand is that key aspects of Wester history, must be accepted on faith, and that it is “crazy” to assert that Einstein did not understand relativity. DeSouza knows no relativity or math, and neither offers nor cites any argument from history or math to refute the claim that Einstein plagiarised special relativity from Poincaré, hence did not understand it. The clincher is Einstein’s wrong understanding of the functional differential equations forced by relativity. DeSouza obviously hopes that a large number of people equally ignorant about Einstein and relativity, but who have heard great stories about Einstein, would believe him. That is, he seeks to bury truth under propaganda.
This claim of deSouza militates against a key aspect of decolonisation—the decolonisation of math and science. To change the teaching of calculus, it is necessary to accept the false history of calculus. Of course, the theft of the calculus is one thing: proved in variety of ways, such as opportunity (the Jesuits in Cochin), motivation (the European navigational problem), the circumstantial evidence (e.g., Fermat’s challenge problem), the documentary evidence (Matteo Ricci’s letter etc.). But what difference does that theft make today?
The difference it makes is that because the West stole calculus it failed to understand it fully, so that its present-day teaching is faulty. The same epistemic test which applied to Einstein also applies to Newton: knowledge thieves don’t fully understand the knowledge they steal. The net result is that the calculus we teach today is an inferior sort of calculus which should be changed.
This idea that knowledge of math brought by colonial education is not superior but inferior is a deeply damaging argument for the coloniser. It is this argument which deSouza is seeking to counter as the last-ditch defence of colonialism. But since he knows no math, he does it using the classic priests’ strategy of demonisation. DeSouza has met me, and can hardly be ignorant of my work, known to many people in his former institution, CSDS, and in Goa. (And if he is really so ignorant, the fact of his ignorance needs to be hammered home, so that people know he has only quack remedies to offer.)
DeSouza’s focus is to preserve false church history: hence he uses a straw-man argument by picking on an ill-informed school teacher Dinanath Batra who once was in the news, but has since been side-lined for the almost a decade now. No element of Batra’s writings is in current school texts. False church history (e.g., Euclid and Pythagoras) is. Furthermore, recently, a former education minister, Javadekar, boasted that “not a single full stop or comma has been changed” in school texts: colonial education stays intact. The New Education Policy has since been announced; it is about commercialisation, not saffronisation. If he simply ignores all these obvious facts, it must be for a purpose: education is NOT deSouza’s real concern. So, what exactly is deSouza’s concern?
Clearly this particular hullabaloo about saffronisation only distracts from and preserves the false church history of Euclid and Pythagoras in our school texts, about which there is growing awareness that it totally lacks evidence. It also distracts from changing the teaching of calculus and the argument that Newton didn’t fully understand calculus, leave alone invent it.
More by : C. K. Raju