As a follow-up to my #InternetMahabharata, I want to reflect--briefly--on the actual #Mahabharata, its increasingly overlooked importance, and the #Hindutva undermining of the epic. Thread:
Let me start with the personal - I love the Mahabharata. It is an incredible, awesome tale. In fact, many have asked what started me on the road of studying India. The answer is the Mahabharata. I took a class on the epic in college, and I was hooked for life. #Mahabharata
What makes the Mahabharata so fascinating? A lot of things - It's a window into social, cultural, and religious practices ~2,000 years ago (roughly when it was written). It is almost unbelievably detailed and intricate. It's a profound meditation on moral questions. #Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is many things to many people and tells us a lot about premodern India. One thing that the epic is not, however, it proof of modern Western science in ancient India. This is not a bad thing. #Mahabharata
In fact, seeing the Mahabharata as offering proof of modern technology in ancient India cheapens the epic. It flattens an incredible piece of literature/ethical treatise/religious work to serving as a salve for the 2018 anxieties of Hindu nationalists. #Mahabharata
Hindu nationalism is a modern idea with modern roots (and largely modeled on Western movements). The Mahabharata is neither modern nor Western. If you were ever looking for something distinctively Indian, the Mahabharata is it. #Mahabharata
I am saddened that so many in modern India find this great epic shameful and so twist its interpretation so far that they wring out what is important about the text and the story. #Mahabharata
For me, I continue to study and read the Mahabharata (and yes, I read it in Sanskrit as well as in other languages). I do not seek a reflection of myself and my reality in the epic. I want to know and understand its world. #Mahabharata not #InternetMahabharata

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More from @AudreyTruschke

Sep 18, 2018
I'm going to quickly answer a series of objections that come up *literally* every time I post about the misogynistic filth (and other genres of hate) that are lobbed at me regularly for doing my job as a scholar. #thread
Objection: I'm playing the victim.

Reality: I'm accurately describing a phenomenon in which I am not at fault. Nobody deserves the hate mail I receive, absolutely nobody. Also, I'm not asking people to feel sorry for me. I am raising awareness.
Objection: Just block people who attack you.

Reality: I have blocked thousands of Twitter accounts. These is not a few bad apples but rather a society-wide phenomenon of permissibility of vile speech against women. We need to confront our demons because we can't outrun them.
Read 8 tweets
Apr 17, 2018
Working hours are over, and I'm back for round two on this little gem. I call it #InternetMahabharata. Thread:… #Mahabharata #epic #academichumor
The gods watched the Kurukshetra War as it unfolded, which is to say that they followed the fighters on Twitter. But they had to make sure that they followed all of the fighters, because they kept dying off, meaning their accounts were suspended. #InternetMahabharata #Mahabharata
Ekalavya tried to sign up online for Drona's workout class, but it was full. He asked Drona to give him special permission to join, but Drona said no. Ekalavya said, no problem, he decided to workout using pirated YouTube videos of Drona instead. #InternetMahabharata #Mahabharata
Read 10 tweets

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