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The left continues to slander the scholarship of Vikram Sampath, despite the author giving due citations: All you need to know

A yet another propaganda attack against Vikram Sampath falls flat while the left continues to engage in targeting based on rhetoric, less on substance.

The concerted attack on Vikram Sampath over his scholarship of Swatantryaveer Savarkar and his two-volume magnum opus on the freedom fighter seems never cease to exist. This time, the slandering is a new invention, accusing Sampath of ‘plagiarism’ over his lecture ‘The Revolutionary Leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’ which he gave at the India Foundation way back in 2017.

It started when associate professors of History and Communication from three universities in the USA, namely – Ananya Chakravarti, Rohit Chopra and the infamous Audrey Truschke wrote to the Royal Historical Society, UK making a case for Plagiarism against Sampath. In the letter dated February 11, 2022, the professors have accused Sampath of allegedly ‘borrowing from essays, lifting sentences without attribution and merely paraphrasing material’ from certain essays and thesis dissertations. Not only do their claims completely fall flat when they themselves find required references been cited in the index, but their attempts to ‘dismantle’ Sampath’s scholarship have also put their own academic credentials in question.

Here, The accusation of Sampath over alleged plagiarism comes in two parts – One where the professors claim that the author has not quoted the works of Scholars Vinayak Chaturvedi and Janaki Bakhale in his speech to the Indian Foundation. The Second – on another hand, is a hard-hitting claim of Vikram Sampath not crediting a thesis by a deceased undergraduate student Paul Schaffel from Wesleyan University in 2012. A Simple deconstruction of the letter of accusations reveals that the case against Sampath is rather weak, and is yet another exercise in tainting him over his scholarship of the revolutionary leader Savarkar.

Over citation of works by Chaturvedi and Bakhale

The recent attempt of accusing Sampath over his works is regarding the speech he gave at an India Foundation Event on March 18, 2017. The letter accuses him of ‘borrowing’ the central theme of Dr Vinayak Chaturvedi’s essay “A revolutionary’s biography: The case of V D Savarkar”. The cabal also accuses Sampath of ‘plagiarising’ from Dr Janaki Bakhale’s work. The professors while running his published speech on a plagiarism-detecting website, allegedly found a 50% resemblance of the content with Chaturvedi’s work and thence concluded that the work of Sampath was compromised.

While any speech however based on facts cannot be counted as an academic exercise, Vikram Sampath has explicitly mentioned Dr. Vinayak Chaturvedi in the questioned speech. Vikram Sampath without mincing his words gives credit to Dr. Chaturvedi and acknowledges his work repeatedly during the lecture. He has also mentioned his work in the list of referenced articles so published.

Moreover, publishing a full list of referenced articles while publishing his speech as an article in the India Foundation Journal, Sampath has also given due acknowledgement to Dr Bakhle for her research. In 2019, when Sampath came with his first Volume of the biography of Savarkar, she was herself to write a critical review of Sampath’s book without any allegations of plagiarism.

Yes, Vikram Sampath does credit Paul Schaffel

The letter also accuses Vikram Sampath of incorrectly sighting Paul Schaffel in his bibliography of ‘Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past’ (Volume I of the Svarakar biography). In the attached reference, Savarkar is clearly seen narrating an incidence independent of Schaffel’s writing. As he is not quoting Paul Schaffel directly, he has made sure to acknowledge the latter’s undergraduate thesis in his bibliography of works referenced. Thus, the allegation of plagiarism of incorrect referencing does not hold water, as the author has made sure to credit every source in an equally voluminous and thorough bibliography of references.

(Excerpt from the letter) There is no point in crediting Paul Schaffel while narrating a similar incidence in history, where the scholar has not been directly quoted as seen above.

Continued harassment of Sampath

This is not the first time when scholars and historians who are not necessarily sympathetic to the left have been targeted over their popular yet academically rooted scholarship. The generation of Vikram Sampath, Sanjeev Sanyal, J Sai Deepak and many others has made many strides as their narratives and perspectives of history are being widely accepted by scholars and the masses equally. The letter has been also called out for its tone, which sounds a yet another complaint about The Royal Historical Society’s felicitation of Vikram Sampath as a member.

Seems like the left will continue to expose itself while engaging in targeting based on rhetorics, less on substance. Meanwhile, there is much space and acceptance for new-age historians, thinkers and policy experts who are reclaiming and defining the ideas of India in many an intellectual churn.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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