Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #297 - The Power of Harvard
To understand the nature of power, it is important to understand its agents. To understand why spread of Hinduphobia in US and UK universities is so significant, its important to their true nature.
“History has shown there are no invincible armies.” ― Joseph Stalin
Many centuries back, India’s ascent was predicated on its universities and Ashrams, or schools of learning. The kings, the wealthy and the powerful made substantial investments into their establishment and upkeep.
The influence and power of those institutions was wide and extensive. They were areas of expertise.
That tradition was lost.
The Universities are not mere curriculum and degree spewing establishments. They can, if they are intertwined with the state governing and security structure, become agents of global power and change. Also proliferation of certain agendas.
This aspect is mostly missed out.
When we look at the Hinduphobia sweeping across the US and UK Universities, we somehow miss the central nature of these places.
They aren’t mere colleges. They are arms of the establishment and the global order. So, let us today look at how Harvard is able to establish and influence the world.
Thank you Harshji for a very generous contribution to Drishtikone! Thank you so much, sir. 🙏
How Harvard has shaped the world order
Korean documentary filmmaker and television writer Shin Eun- Jung (1972-2012) was a student activist growing up in Gwangju, Korea. It is a small city in the southwest side of South Korea. That was the time of the 1980s.
There was a bloodbath by the military junta and the only ones who stood up against the dictatorship were people from Gwangju.
“Citizens, government troops are invading. Their guns and swords are killing our beloved brothers and sisters. The time has come! Rise up and fight! We will defend Gwangju to the death. Do not forget us! We will fight to the last.” These words were spoken by 21-year-old university student Park Yong-Sun from the back of a truck in the early hours of 27 May 1980. Park, a member of the publicity bureau of the Popular Leadership Committee of the Gwangju Uprising, had volunteered to alert the people of Gwangju to the imminent invasion by the South Korean military. For the previous 10 days, from 18 to 27 May, the people of Gwangju had defied the military junta of Chun Doo-Hwan, who had seized power in December 1979 after the October assassination of military dictator Park Chung-Hee. (Source)
20,000 troops attacked the city killing many thousands. Many missing..
But this uprising became the basis for South Korea’s movement for democracy. The US regime had joined hands with the Korean dictator, Chun Doo-Hwan and their hands were everywhere on the blood that was spilled in Korea.
The uprising was known as the Gwangju Uprising on May 18, 1980. Thousands of student protesters were massacred. Per Human Rights Watch 2000 citizens perished.
University of Chicago historian Bruce Cumings explains the political upshot of the Gwangju Uprising for a rising generation of Korean dissidents: “Kwangju convinced a new gener- ation of young people that the democratic movement had developed not with the support of Washington, as an older generation of more conservative Koreans thought, but in the face of daily American support for any dictator who could quell the democratic aspirations of the Korean people.” (Verita$: Harvard’s Hidden history)
Her generation has only one dream - a US elite university and specifically Harvard. Harvard was called WGU - World’s Greatest University.
By contrast, Pakistan’s entire budget in FY2020-21 was USD 44 billion! That is the entire country of Pakistan - including its terror-backing Army! (Source)
That is why it is no coincidence that Bernard DeVoto, an American Historian and writer once astutely defined Harvard University as “a republic within the Republic.”
When Shin Eun- Jung searched for “Harvard-educated”, she found that this phrase had close to 400k hits. While folks from other Universities weren’t that lucky.
Harvard however had a dark underbelly. A dark part of its existence - past and present - that no one talks about. As Eun-jung talks about the “reality of Harvard’s long dedication to interventionism, the abiding faith that unleashing U.S. warriors on foes far and wide will make the world a better place.”
Eun-jung’s movie - Verita$: Everybody Loves Harvard won her the award for the Best Director of a Documentary film at the 2011 New York International Film Festival.
Shameful past and recent connections
Eun-jung’s greatest frustration was as to how the Harvard University and its greatest alumni had “intimate connections” with the most brutal and bloody assaults on democracy and human life in recent history.
The Salem Witch trials, the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, the promotion of eugenics, the ties with Nazi ideologues, McCarthyism, and the Hindu genocide in Bangladesh.
Of course, the story of the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski is quite well-known. While at Harvard, he was subjected to various psychological experiments, which many say may have contributed to his murderous self.
No. 7 Divinity Avenue is a modern multi-story academic building today, housing the university’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. In 1959 a comfortable old house stood on the site. Known as the Annex, it served as a laboratory in which staff members of the Department of Social Relations conducted research on human subjects. There, from the fall of 1959 through the spring of 1962, Harvard psychologists, led by Henry A. Murray, conducted a disturbing and what would now be seen as ethically indefensible experiment on twenty-two undergraduates. To preserve the anonymity of these student guinea pigs, experimenters referred to individuals by code name only. One of these students, whom they dubbed “Lawful,” was Theodore John Kaczynski, who would one day be known as the Unabomber, and who would later mail or deliver sixteen package bombs to scientists, academicians, and others over seventeen years, killing three people and injuring twenty-three. (Source)
Then there is the shameful past of slavery and its centrality in shaping of the University and its thinking.
In his biographical portraits, Harvard librarian John Langdon Sibley explained “the frequency of slaveholding officers and alumni” by “reminding readers that owning black people was a habit of ‘most prosperous men.’” University President Increase Mather owned an enslaved individual, and often made him run errands for the college. University President Benjamin Wadsworth “owned an enslaved black man named Titus.” The Harvard community has grappled with our connections to slavery in the past. More recently, this has taken the form of the lawsuit filed by Tamara K. Lanier. The lawsuit concerns daguerreotypes commissioned by Harvard biologist Louis Agassiz that were used to scientifically support polygenism — a theory that races have distinct origins, used as a scientific basis for ideas of white superiority. Lanier also requested in her suit that the University acknowledge its role in “perpetuating and justifying the institution of slavery.” (Source)
What is intriguing is that Harvard itself is “looking into its own slavery-ridden past.” (Source)
Starts with a lie
The lies on Harvard start from the door itself.
This we are told is the statue of John Harvard, the founder with 1638 engraved under it.
Now, here is the issue. Everything about the statue is a lie. [Btw, do you see the polished left shoe? A silly story goes that polishing it leads to admission to the University]
Under it is engraved the Harvard motto - Veritas. Veritas means Truth.
The real story is that as the University started and evolved, it had a very clear Christian ideological basis.
The story of the Harvard arms is writ deep in the past. Veritas, which is Latin for “truth,” was adopted as Harvard’s motto in 1643, but did not see the light of day for almost two centuries. Instead, in 1650, the Harvard Corporation chose In Christi Gloriam, a Latin phrase meaning “For the glory of Christ.” Veritas eventually was discovered in old college records by Harvard President Josiah Quincy III, and re-emerged in 1836 when it appeared on a banner celebrating the College’s 200th anniversary. The word briefly lived on in the Harvard seal from 1843 to 1847, when it was booted off in favor of Christo et Ecclesiae, or “For Christ in the Church.” In time, Veritas would become the one word most closely associated with Harvard. But it took an 1880 poem by writer and Professor of Medicine Oliver Wendell Holmes to revive it for good. The poem urged Harvard to “let thine earliest symbol be thy last.” If ubiquity is any measure, Holmes’ poetic wish came true. Veritas was Harvard’s oldest idea for a motto and, after centuries of neglect, is here to stay. (Source)
The initial motto was not just Veritas, but “Veritas pro Christo et Ecclesia” (Truth for Christ and Church).
Plummer Professor of Christian Morals Peter J. Gomes discusses the Christian history of the University and how it can not be taken away.
In response to those who criticize the role that Christianity plays in a university that is officially unaffiliated, Gomes says, “What annoys some people is that the symbols are still very evident...We have a divinity school, I’m the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals. The Christian identity cannot be, and in my opinion, should not be, eradicated. We founded the place, we’re here, and I’m grateful that we’re surrounded by other entities, but I don’t apologize for the fact that there’s a church in Harvard Yard.” (Source)
But Harvard’s religious leanings or predisposition is not what is that important. It is Harvard’s ability to lead, fashion and structure the global geopolitical dynamics.
Shaping of the World Order
Some of that is shared by Daniel Golden in his book Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America’s Universities.
Perhaps the most prestigious institution Golden examines is Harvard University, probing its cozy relationship with the CIA. (While Harvard has recently come under scrutiny for its relationship with the agency after it withdrew an invitation for Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow -- after the agency objected to her appointment -- this book was written before the Manning incident, which occurred in September.) The university, which has had varying degrees of closeness and coldness with the CIA over the years, currently allows the agency to send officers to the midcareer program at the Kennedy School of Government while continuing to act undercover, with the school’s knowledge. When the officers apply -- often with fudged credentials that are part of their CIA cover -- the university doesn’t know they’re CIA agents, but once they’re in, Golden writes, Harvard allows them to tell the university that they’re undercover. Their fellow students, however -- often high-profile or soon-to-be-high-profile actors in the world of international diplomacy -- are kept in the dark. “Kenneth Moskow is one of a long line of CIA officers who have enrolled undercover at the Kennedy School, generally with Harvard’s knowledge and approval, gaining access to up-and-comers worldwide,” Golden writes. “For four decades the CIA and Harvard have concealed this practice, which raises larger questions about academic boundaries, the integrity of class discussions and student interactions, and whether an American university has a responsibility to accommodate U.S. intelligence.” (Source)
The Harvard faculty’s penchant for backing dictators like Shah of Iran (he was called for commencement and honorary degree in 1968) and others while manipulating government’s violent campaigns in other countries - like Vietnam for example, led to a situation in 1969. Students were involved in anti-war protests and movement that was raging throughout the US.
Now remember the JNU protests and the global pontification to India? Ok, guess what Harvard University did?
Eight US Presidents have been the alums of the Harvard University. No other university has had that distinction.
John Adams (1791-1801),
John Quincy Adams (1825-29),
Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-81),
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09),
Franklin Roosevelt (1933-45),
John F. Kennedy (1961-63),
George W. Bush (2001-09),
Barack Obama (2009-17).
If one looks at the Supreme Court justices in US, then one finds that Harvard Law School is big there as well. Currently it shares equality with Yale in terms of numbers, but earlier in 2012, 6 out of 9 were from Harvard!
Stephen Breyer - Harvard
Neil Gorsuch - Harvard
Elena Kagan - Harvard
John Roberts – Chief Justice - Harvard
Samuel Alito - Yale
Brett Kavanaugh - Yale
Sonia Sotomayor - Yale
Clarence Thomas - Yale
Amy Coney Barrett - Notre Dame
In the national governing and security establishment, people like McGeorge Bundy, Robert McNamara, Samuel Huntington, and Henry Kissinger have been at the helm of affairs for a long time.
Investments from two of the top families in the world - JP Morgan and Rockefellers - were instrument in the establishment and running of Harvard University’s work. The 1909 report of Board of Overseers of Harvard College shares this detail.
But their role was not just in giving grants but also in terms of being on the Board of Overseers.
Morgan’s son, J.P. Morgan Jr. (class of 1889), served on the Board of Overseers, and Morgan’s grandson, Henry S. Morgan (class of 1923), also served on the same board for more than four decades from 1935 until he died in 1982. David Rockefeller (class of 1936), John D. Rockefeller’s son, served on the Board of Over- seers from 1954 to 1966, completing his Harvard career as Chairman of the Board of Overseers from 1966 to 1968. (Verita$: Harvard’s Hidden history)
The entire operations, decision making and visioning is done by two groups - the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers. While the former does include folks from outside the University, the latter comprises of only Harvard Grads. These two are called the Governing Boards.
This is how Harvard has been and still crafts the world order and global economics.
In India, the greatest political charlatan P Chidambaram has been a Harvard alum. A man who plundered India like no other.
Watch this movie by Eun-jun to know more.
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video corner: Bertrand Russell
Today when we look back, people like Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, and historian, mathematicians look like folks who were truly great. But given how the British were acting as savages in the countries they ruled, it is quite interesting to see how Russell was nostalgic about those days of “solid times.”
So normalized was the superiority of the West and British that all that seemed like the good time.
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