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Rajiv Malhotra shares foreword of his book ‘Academic Hinduphobic’

Doniger struck a new alliance to help her make a dramatic comeback: She positioned herself with the Indian Left as their “expert on criticizing Hinduism”

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Cover of 'Academic Hinduphobic'
Cover of 'Academic Hinduphobic' , source: Facebook
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By Akanksha Sharma

Rajiv Malhotra.
Rajiv Malhotra, Wikimedia commons

Rajeev Malhotra’s upcoming book ‘Academic Hinduphobia’ will be available in July, 2016. It is available for pre-order at his official website

Rajiv Malhotra, an Indian-American writer, well known for his books like ‘Breaking India’ has shared the cover of his forthcoming book ‘Academic Hinduphobic’ and ‘foreword’ on social media. The book is a critique of book ‘Erotic school of ideology’ authored by Wendy Doniger.
In the ‘Foreward ’, he wrote: “In the late 1990s, a major controversy broke when I started to critique Wendy Donigerís depictions of Hinduism which most Hindus found vulgar and outright insulting. Some were too embarrassed to face them while many others found it too controversial to go public with their feelings. What started out as my debate with her students quickly turned into public outrage. There were numerous demands for better representation by practicing Hindus in the scholarship about their tradition. Soon after my initial articles, Wendy Donigerís who owned the University of Chicago® Magazine interviewed me and did a large and balanced coverage. It was their leading story. Things flared up between the Indian diaspora and the American academy for several years, with numerous mobilizations and accusations from both sides. The academic study of Hinduism has not been the same since.
He further revealed that “Martha Nussbaum, the prominent feminist, and University of Chicago colleague of Doniger, wrote a scathing book against Hindus and Hinduism with a whole chapter dedicated to me without bothering to interview me even though that was suggested to her. She and Doniger have consistently ignored my requests for a live debate in public.The theater widened across the academic and literary circles of Europe, North America, and India as more players joined in on both sides. In response to what I felt was a one-sided portrayal of the events, three supporters compiled a new book, titled, Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America, and it was published in 2007. The fallout of all this was very significant:Wendy Doniger lost her clout in the American academy and found herself on the defensive. She lost most of the students who earlier thronged at her doorstep for PhDs in Hinduism.”

Related Article: Secularism Western, Dharma Indian solution: Rajiv Malhotra
Wendy Doniger who made plagiarism charges against Rajiv Malhotra in July 2015 was criticized as he wrote “Some years back, Doniger struck a new alliance to help her make a dramatic comeback: She positioned herself with the Indian Left as their “expert on criticizing Hinduism”. Since Indian secularists are uneducated in Sanskrit and are only superficially informed about religious studies, Doniger was a useful ally to supply them “masala” which they could use in their simplistic works.In turn, the well-connected Indian secularist/leftist media and writers helped to reposition Doniger within India as a great authority on Hinduism. Soon she was winning awards in India, even though back home in the U.S. her own academic colleagues had distanced themselves because she was seen as a tainted scholar with a bad reputation.
On the changed perspective of Americans towards Hinduism, Rajiv Malhotra wrote:  “The most significant change was that there emerged a new appreciation among Hindus and a new mobilization of their leaders. It became widely accepted that it was a bad idea to outsource the study of our tradition to scholars whose lenses were programmed with Judeo-Christian and/or Marxist doctrines. In fact, no other major world faith is studied by outsiders with the same authority, power and negative perspective as Hinduism is.”

Akanksha is a student of journalism in New Delhi, currently interning with NewsGram. Twitter: @Akanksha4117

 

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  • Abhishek

    Great! I look forward to this new book.
    It is truly heinous how these people like Doniger and her students have mis-portrayed divine figures of Hinduism including Swami Ramakrishna.
    Kudos to Rajivji Malhotra for his fine work.
    I request liberal students to please read Rajiv Malhotra (esp. his article – Wendy’s children) and Arun Shourie’s Eminent Historians, before deciding if they want to prostitute their brains.

    • archie

      More shameful is we Indian’s have not bothered to “resist” like Rajiv is now doing. I hope this supposedly “Hindu” govt can get its act together.

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  • Abhishek

    Great! I look forward to this new book.
    It is truly heinous how these people like Doniger and her students have mis-portrayed divine figures of Hinduism including Swami Ramakrishna.
    Kudos to Rajivji Malhotra for his fine work.
    I request liberal students to please read Rajiv Malhotra (esp. his article – Wendy’s children) and Arun Shourie’s Eminent Historians, before deciding if they want to prostitute their brains.

    • archie

      More shameful is we Indian’s have not bothered to “resist” like Rajiv is now doing. I hope this supposedly “Hindu” govt can get its act together.

Next Story

Spiritual Ideas Sore At The World Hindu Congress

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new -- when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

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At its best, speeches at the recently concluded World Hindu Congress echoed the soaring spiritual ideals evoked by Swami Vivekananda in Chicago 125 years ago.

Even Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsangchanalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), focused essentially on the need for unity and patience among Hindus while fighting obstacles, of which, he said, there would be many. The burden of excavating implied accusations in Bhagwat’s speech fell to his critics.

At the plenary session, the moderator requested speakers to address issues of conflict without naming the speakers or their organisations in the interest of harmony. Other speakers sought to unite the followers of all the great religions that took birth in India — Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Some of the speakers from Bhagwat to Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission, framed the issues before Hinduism in a moral paradigm. Ashwin Adhin, the Vice President of the Republic of Suriname, began his speech in chaste Hindi, later quoting cognitive scientist George Lakoff: “Facts matter immensely. But to be meaningful they have to be framed in terms of their moral importance.”

Hinduism
Buddhism relates sins to the characteristics one adopts. Pixabay

The dissonances, between the spiritual and the mundane, were to emerge later on the fringes of the seminars which were part of the Congress. Many of the delegates appropriated to themselves the mantle of a culture besieged by proselytising faiths. There were speakers who urged Hindus to have more children to combat their ‘dwindling population’. Posters warned Hindus of the dangers from ‘love jihad’ (Muslim men ‘enticing’ Hindu women).

In one of the sessions on the media, filmmaker Amit Khanna noted that religion had always played a prominent part in Indian cinema, starting with the earliest mythologicals. “Raja Harishchandra”, the first silent film, he said, was made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. He sought to reassure the audience on the future of Hinduism. “Over 80 percent of Indians are Hindus,” he said adding: “Hinduism has survived many upheavals for thousands of years. Hinduism has never been endangered.”

Other speakers, lacking spiritual and academic pedigrees, drew on an arsenal of simulated anguish and simmering indignation.

The nuances of history pass lightly over the ferociously devout and it took little effort to pander to an aggravated sense of historical aggrievement.

Hinduism
Swami Vivekananda used to stress upon the universal brotherhood and self-awakening. Wikimedia Commons

At one of the debates, the mere mention of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, elicited sniggers and boos. The speaker hinted at ‘Nehruvian socialism’ which had made the Indian economy a non-starter. He concluded with a coup de grace, to a standing ovation: “Nehru did not like anything Indian.”

The poet Rabindranath Tagore, who composed the Indian national anthem, had spoken of his vision of a country where the “clear stream of reason had not lost its way”. At some of the discussions, even the most indulgent observer would have been hard put to discern the stream of reason.

The image of a once great civilisation suppressed by a century of British rule and repeated plunder by invaders captured the imagination of many in the audience. Hanging above it all, like a disembodied spirit, was the so-called malfeasance of Nehru, the leader who had won the trust of Hindus only to betray them in the vilest manner.

These tortured souls would have been well advised to adopt a more holistic approach to Hinduism, and history, looking no further than Swami Vivekananda, who once said: “The singleness of attachment (Nishtha) to a loved object, without which no genuine love can grow, is very often also the cause of denunciation of everything else.”

Hinduism
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Historians have informed us that Nehru preferred his father’s intellect over his mother’s tradition but he was never contemptuous of religion. While he undoubtedly felt that organised religion had its flaws, he opined that it supplied a deeply felt inner need of human nature while also giving a set of values to human life.

In private conversations some delegates spoke of how their America-born children had helped persuade them to drop their pathological aversion to gays and lesbians. Despite their acute wariness of perceived cultural subjugation, the irony was obviously lost on them that Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code,(which criminalises gay sex) recently overturned by the Indian Supreme Court, is a hangover from the Victorian British era-embodied in the Buggery Act of 1533.

In the face of the upcoming elections in the US, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi’s decision to speak at the conference was a political risk. With a newly energised political Left, even the perception of being linked with “fascist” or sectarian forces could be political suicide in the critical November elections. Despite vociferous appeals to disassociate himself from the Congress, Krishnamoorthi chose to attend.

“I decided I had to be here because I wanted to reaffirm the highest and only form of Hinduism that I have ever known and been taught — namely one that welcomes all people, embraces all people, and accepts all people, regardless of their faith. I reject all other forms. In short, I reaffirm the teaching of Swami Vivekananda,” Krishnamoorthi said.

Given the almost pervasive abhorrence of anything remotely Nehruvian among a section of the delegates, it was a revelation to hear the opinion of Dattatrey Hosable, the joint general secretary and second-in-command in the RSS hierarchy. Speaking on the promise of a newly-resurgent India, Hosable said in an interview to Mayank Chhaya, a local journalist-author-filmmaker: “A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new — when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Also Read: Triple Talaq Now Banned in India

The quote is from Nehru’s famous Tryst with Destiny speech delivered to the Indian Constituent Assembly on the midnight of August 14, 1947 — proof, if any is needed, that the force of Nehru’s ideas can transcend one’s disdain of him. (IANS)