A MUST READ FOR ALL NEW INDIAN ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE (IAS) OFFICER EXAMINATION CANDIDATES
Sunday, July 19, 2015
IT IS TIME TO UNITE BEHIND RAJIV MALHOTRA AND COUNTER ATTACK THE DEATH THROES OF THE WESTERN INDOLOGY CARTEL CONSTRUCTED BY THE UNITED WHITE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES OF THE FORMER COLONIAL POWERS BACKED BY THE US CHRISTIANDOM
Indian–American researcher, author, speaker. Current affairs, inter-civilization, science
Dear Andrew Nicholson,
I am glad you have entered the battlefield so we can get into some substantial matters. Since this is an extended article, I want to go about it systematically, starting with the following clarifications: I used your work with explicit references 30 times in Indra’s Net, hence there was no ill-intention. But I am not blindly obeying you, contrary to your experience with servile Indians; hence your angst that I am ‘distorting’ your ideas is unfounded. My writing relating to your work can be seen as twofold:
Where I cite your work.
Where it is my own perspectives.
You are entitled to attribution for ‘A’ but not for ‘B’.
Regarding ‘A’, I am prepared to clarify these attributions further where necessary. But, as we shall see below, I am going to actually remove many of the references to your work simply because you have borrowed Indian sources and called it your own original ideas. I am better off going to my tradition’s sources rather than via a westerner whose ego claims to have become the primary source. This Western hijacking of adhikara is what the elaborate Western defined, and controlled system of peer-reviews and academic gatekeepers is meant to achieve, i.e. turning knowledge into the control of western ‘experts’ and their Indian sepoys.
Regarding ‘B’, let me illustrate by using the very same example you cite as my ‘distortion’ of ‘your’ work. You wrote in your book that Vijnanabhikshu unified multiple paths into harmony. This is correct. That comes under ‘A’. But I add to this my own statement that Vivekananda does the same thing also. This is important to my thesis that Vivekananda built on top a long Indian tradition, and not by copying ideas from the West as claimed by the neo-Hinduism camp. This is ‘B’ – my idea. Your complaint is that by asserting this about Vivekananda, I am distorting you. You fail to distinguish between ‘A’ and ‘B’ because you assume that you are the new adhikari on the subject and anything in addition to or instead of your views amounts to a distortion. I see this as a blatant sign of colonialism.
You are carrying the white man’s burden to educate the Indians even about our own culture. Please note that Vijnanabhikshu is an important person in our heritage and there are numerous commentaries on his work. Yours is not any original account of him. You got this material from secondary sources. But by complying by the mechanical rules of ‘scholarship’ you got it into western peer-reviewed publications, and hence you claim to be the new adhikari. Furthermore, nor was Vijnanabhikshu the first to unify Hinduism. I have sources of the unification of various Hindu systems that go back much further in time and you do not seem to be aware of these. My point is that Vivekananda stands on the shoulders of many prior giants within our own tradition. I cited you to the extent it worked for me but did not stop there; I took it further than you have.
Sir Williams Jones started this claim to be the ‘new pandit’ in the late 1700s when he was a top official for the East India Company. Today that enterprise is dead in one sense, but has revived and reincarnated into new forms. You do not seem conscious that your position is not only arrogant but also puts in the parampara of Sir William Jones.
I re-examined your book lately and find too many ideas taken from Indian texts and experts that are cleverly reworded in fancy English. Let’s take a look at bhedabheda Vedanta. My teacher of this system has been Dr Satya Narayan Das, head of the Jiva Institute in Vrindavan, who spent considerable time with me while I was writing Being Different where I first explained my understanding. He is considered one of the foremost adhikaris today in this system, and adhikar in our tradition is not a matter of producing publications (with lots of quotation marks and obedience to other rules), but mainly requires actual experience of what is being said. Without the inner experience of the states of consciousness being discussed, it is at best secondary knowledge.
This experience is not a simple matter for western Indologists who spend hours going through other western interpretations and Sanskrit dictionaries. By complying with the procedural requirements of citations, etc. they suddenly claim to have become the new original and primary source. This system needs to be questioned, and I have written extensively about the syndrome I call the peer-review cartel. (You can read my debate on this a decade back on Rediff.com)
Therefore, I intend to delete most of the references to your book for bhedabheda, because it is clear that you lack the adhikara as per our system. I do wish to credit you in some respects but nowhere close to what you demand. It amazes me that there is nothing original in your explanation of bhedabheda, as your knowledge is obtained from reading Indian texts, western interpretations and sitting at the feet of Indian pandits to learn. Unfortunately, western Indology does not recognize what the pandit teaches you as his work, because it is oral and not written in a peer-reviewed (hence western supervised) publication. So the whole protocol of claiming something to belong to you as the author is a sort of technology of thievery. Fortunately, Indians have started claiming back their bio-heritage such as Ayurveda from such thievery that is being done by westerners claiming that Indians never filed patents as per western rules. It is time to also claim our intellectual heritage back.
Indian pandits know their materials by heart and it is orally transmitted, and they do not have the ego to claim authorship. They are very humble and hence get taken for a ride. They are duped by any ‘good cop’ from the west who comes in Indian dress to talk to them nicely and bamboozle them into believing that he is a friend of the tradition. Westerners can pick their brains freely, without which you would not be able to learn; but then you go back to the West and have the arrogance to call it yours. As per your Western protocol, you thank the pandit in some preface once, and feel that it suffices. But if you want that my 30 references to your work fall short then by the same token, please note that you, too, ought to be acknowledging your pandits and Indian textual sources in every single paragraph, if not every sentence.
Only that portion of your work which you feel gives truly original thoughts can become yours and make you its adhikari. If you would be kind enough to send us a list of what you consider original thoughts in your book, and that I have used these because they are not found anywhere else except in your work, then I would gladly bow to you and thank you profusely. But whatever portions (which is almost the entire book) are merely your rehashing the Indian materials in fancy English, over those I do not grant you the status of ‘ownership’.
Poetry and art are different than this. There, the originality is not in the substance but in the presentation. However, you are writing analytical works and there the originality would have to be established in the content and substance of the work, and not based on the ‘form’ of language gymnastics. Much of Western Indology is a factory to copy-paste and distort Indian materials, and process it through an industrial machinery called ‘academic knowledge production’ controlled by the Western institutions, journals, funding agencies, archives, gatekeepers, standards and rules, and so forth. Its requirements of idiom, the toolkit of theories to be used, language standards, etc., are such that 99% of the Indian traditional pandits (the true keepers of adhikara) are unable to participate.
My forthcoming book examines these mechanisms of exclusion in detail, which is why the war against it has started already. (This attack by you out of the blue comes 1.5 years after Indra’s Net, not as some remarkable coincidence, but because your peers are rattled at the thought that they are about to be exposed as the continuation of Sir William Jones.)
I challenge you to disclose all your Indian teachers – these are not ‘native informants’ as your system calls them but the true adhikaris of our heritage, and whose services you purchase to be able to do your work. What frightens your colleagues is that my book will educate our traditional pandits about your methods of exploitation. Let me frighten you even further: All my books are in the process of being translated into Sanskrit, specifically for the purpose of education of young pandits about the issues I raise. So my target reader is not folks like you, but our own pandits and others who claim this as their heritage and practice. I am especially interested in those who did not sell out to western sponsorship, foreign tours, etc. These will comprise my home team. I am only doing a humble service to inform them about the issues and remedies.
This is why more and more Indologists will be asked to come out of the woodwork and defend the old fortress. In the process they will also expose themselves. But that fortress is crumbling and my work merely accelerates the process of India once again becoming the center of Indology and not a subservient satellite of it.
Indian authorities should demand the return back to India of the 500,000 Sanskrit manuscripts that are lying outside India in various Western universities, archives, museums and private collections. These are our heritage just like old statues and should be returned since they were mostly taken by theft during colonial rule. I consider these more precious than the Kohinoor diamond. Right now, it is western Indologists like you get to define ‘critical editions’ of our texts and become the primary source and adhikari. This must end and I have been fighting this for 25 years. Now we finally some serious traction, thanks in part to people like you who attack and give me a chance to make my case more openly. Please note that what happens to me personally is irrelevant, and I am glad if attacks like this awaken more people.
My response to you is nothing personal, but serves to educate my own people. You are a glaring example of what I have called a ‘good cop’, i.e., one who goes about showing love/romance for the tradition. But at some time his true colors come out when he does what I have called a U-Turn. You would make an interesting case study of the U-Turn syndrome, for which we ought to examine where you got your materials from, and to what extent you failed to acknowledge Indian sources, both written and oral, with the same weight with which you expect me to do so.
To suit their agendas, westerners have pronounced theories like ‘nobody owns culture’ and ‘the author is dead’. Our naïve pandits are too innocent to know any of this, but I wish to inform them. The claim that nobody owns a culture makes it freely available to whosoever wants to do whatever they choose to do with it. Hence, Indian cultural capital is being digested right and left. The contradiction is that the west is ultra-protective about its ‘intellectual property’ and your obsession to squeeze more references/citations out of me illustrates this.
By declaring that the ‘author is dead’, the West says the contexts and intentions of the rishis are irrelevant. They are dead and nobody knows what they meant. So ‘we’ (the Western Indologists) must interpret Indian texts by bringing our own theories and lenses. This has been the basis for the Freudian psychoanalysis of Hinduism, and all other Western theories being applied. If the original author is dead, the material does not belong to anyone. It is public domain. So whoever has more funding and powerful machinery will determine how it is interpreted. However, the same ‘nobody owns culture’ principle does not apply to what you consider as your ‘property’. Indians need to wake up to this game.
They need to stop funding Western Indology and develop Indian Indology. The ‘make in India’ ideal should also be applied here. Expecting Indologists to change because you dole out money is like feeding a crocodile expecting him to become your friend. For the first 10 years of my work in this area, I gave away a substantial portion of my life savings in an unsuccessful attempt to fund and change the Indologists’ hearts. But they play the good/bad cop game with skill. I learned a great deal because I was acknowledged as the largest funder of western Indology at one time. Then I stopped and became their harshest critic. I have on file a lot of grant correspondence with Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, to name just a few. Naturally, they worry that I am exposing their secrets. One day I will get someone to organize all that material into a publication.
Before I close, I wish to address one of your points – that I lack the competence in Sanskrit to be able to do my work. I will address in a separate article my background and experience and how it fits the specific type of work I have focused on. But meanwhile let me inform you that, just as Western Indologists work in teams of collaborators consisting of specialists in different domains, so also I have been building my team of collaborators whose combined strength on Indology far exceeds anything you can possibly match. I bring a specialty they lack, and vice versa. But I am unable to get into further details at this time.
Welcome to the battlefield! I hope we can avoid personal acrimony and deal with the multiple issues I have raised above in a professional and mutually respectful manner. I give back as hard as I get. (Dr. Swamy’s slogan, being acknowledged without need for quotation marks…)
[File Photo of Book Launch of Breaking India - Samvada.org]
An old legal aphorism advises young lawyers that “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.” When you see someone furiously pounding the table, you’d be justified in thinking that he has taken that advice too seriously, and conclude that neither the facts nor the law are on his side.
The fact is that in any battle — of wits or muscle, figurative or real, defensive or offensive — one leads with the best device at one’s disposal. In desperate situations, clutching at straws may be the best one can do when one is in over one’s head and lifeboats are missing. That cliched image comes to mind seeing the recent charges of plagiarism against Shri Rajiv Malhotra.
For those who are not familiar with Malhotra, he’s the author of “Breaking India,” “Being Different”, and other books. The wiki notes that he’s an “Indian-American author and Hindu activist who, after a career in the computer and telecom industries, took early retirement in 1995 to found The Infinity Foundation. Through this organization Malhotra has promoted philanthropic and educational activities in the area of Hinduism studies. Malhotra has written prolifically in opposition to the academic study of Indian history and society, especially the study of Hinduism as it is conducted by scholars and university faculty, which he maintains denigrates the tradition and undermines the interests of India.”
I know Rajiv Malhotra and have deep respect for him. I am convinced that he is a serious seeker of knowledge and understanding. I know him sufficiently well to be absolutely certain of his integrity, his commitment to scholarship, his dedication to the cause of engaging “the other” in serious discussion, his principled challenge to all to engage in purva-paksha: “a tradition in dharma discourse [which involves] building a deep familiarity with the opponent’s point of view before criticizing it.”
Even to me, a lay reader and an outsider to his area of investigation, his competence is clear. But domain experts too attest to his diligence and expertise. I urge you to read some of thereviews of his book“Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism.” Quote:
In this substantial work Malhotra explores a variety of topics inherent to Indic culture and worldviews. He reflects on many aspects of the Hindu world. His goal is not only to dismantle misconceptions, but also to formulate a new paradigm for intercultural discourse. . . . Malhotra begins by referring to a number of his own personal encounters with Western scholars and individuals in conferences and elsewhere to let the reader know how, through means subtle and overt, Christianity and the West have been intruding into the sacredness and integrity of Indic culture. Not that many Indians are not aware of this, but this book gives it all raw and ruthless exposure. It unveils aspects of what it sees as Western hegemonic intercultural ruses that may not be as obvious to superficial observers. These revelations are sure to jolt both unwitting Indians who may have held Western civilization in high regard, as well as scheming Westerners who may feel awkward being caught.
So one may wonder, what accounts for the spurious charges of plagiarism leveled against him by his detractors? Paradoxically, the attempt to discredit Malhotra by silly accusations of plagiarism in essence gives indirect support to the fundamental solidity of his incisive arguments. His opponents have failed to counter his theses and in their desperation have had to resort to serious harassments. Having neither the facts nor the analytical skills to counter the theses, they are reduced to idiotically pounding the metaphorical table in their frustration. If charges of plagiarism is the best offensive weapon they have, they deserve pity and maybe even a little bit of sympathy.
To be quite frank, I have little time to waste on the trivialities that Malhotra’s opponents have published, such as the one by Sandip Roy at FirstPost on July 15th. “Not my monkey, not my circus” is my motto. Granted that the antics of the circular firing squad of flying attack monkeys (to borrow a phrase much favored by Prof Brad deLong) is an entertaining distraction but really, we do have real problems that need addressing. I will not waste time showing how vacuous their charge of plagiarism is. Others have done it. Malhotra has addressed charges, such as this one, “Rajiv Malhotra has a rejoinder to Andrew Nicholson” (July 18th) in NitiCentral. Besides there is no need to elevate their inane nonsense by actually quoting them.
So am I wasting time writing this? Not at all. My primary motivation is to express solidarity with the cause that Rajiv Malhotra has been tirelessly engaged in for decades. He is one among that rare breed of intellectuals who are willing to challenge the orthodoxy where it is substantially wrong; an orthodoxy that is slavishly and uncritically accepted by those whose minds are still colonized by a narrowly conceived Western narrative designed to denigrate and devalue Indian contribution to human knowledge and understanding. Malhotra provides the serious, intellectually sound, necessary corrective pushback to that worldview. Which naturally gores their precious goat. That partly explains their fury and their animosity towards Malhotra.
My secondary motive for writing this is my belief that public discussions should be accurate, honest, decent and intelligent. To oppose those with an agenda to poison the well of public discourse is a sacred duty to me. If we don’t speak out against what we perceive to be false and malicious, how will we discover what is true and valuable? I stand with Edmund Burke, the Irish statesman and philosopher, when he wrote in 1770, “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
The circular firing squad of flying attack monkeys has chosen Rajiv Malhotra as its target. We must note that the target is the man, not his theses, because the FAMs, having failed to counter his theses, have been reduced to firing specious charges of plagiarism at Malhotra. But indirectly, we are also targets of their random acts of senseless shootings. By not opposing them, we tacitly acquiesce to their implicit demand that we bow and obey their paymasters. (By using the word “paymasters” I grant them this much dignity that I don’t believe that they would so abjectly debase themselves without being paid for it.)
These charges against Malhotra is a distraction, a tiny scuffle in a minor battle that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the larger context of the civilizational war that we are forced to be in. I think I speak for a majority when I say that I’d like to be left alone, to live and to let live. But opposition to us and our civilizational ethos has been a historical reality. It is also historically true that those who oppressed India had the help of Indians. Indians are also involved in this petty attack against India, represented here by Malhotra. This batch of Indian flying attack monkeys will disband but there can be no doubt that new batches will form and new targets identified. That is as certain as the fact that ultimately we will prevail.
May Shri Rajiv Malhotra’s tribe increase. Or more accurately I should say may our tribe increase, since I too belong to it.
“Is it safe to be a Hindu Intellectual?” asks Rajiv Malhotra
For nearly 20 years, after voluntarily retiring early from a successful business career, I’ve spent my time and energies exclusively to studying, documenting and critiquing Western and Christian scholarship on India’s religions and traditions. My work including books such as Invading the Sacred,Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism,Indra’s Net, and Breaking India have exposed in great detail the biases and conflicts of interest that colour and mar much of the scholarship that has emanated from America’s most prestigious universities and professors. I have pointed out at the way Indians are in awe of the white man telling them what they presumably did not know about themselves. I have pointed out the inferiority complexes many Indian so-called intellectuals suffer from.
From the very beginning of my activism, not surprisingly, I’ve invited the wrath of certain American academics and their Indian followers. From character assassination and name calling to the obstruction of my ideas and the slamming shut of doors, the price for talking back to power has been high for me personally. Thankfully, there are many Indians and Indian Americans who read my works and follow me on social media and discussion forums and are familiar with some of these battles. I frequently share the challenges and obstacles that I face not only to chronicle the cultural and social history of Hindus in America but also to let our community know, without any sugar coating, what we’re up against. The battles that I fight publicly are after all the battles that many of us wage privately in encounters that denigrate and heap contempt on our heritage. As I’ve taken on the Western academy or scrutinized their pet theories, I along with the many Indians watching, have realized that some people are given more freedom to speak than others.
There has been a vicious campaign against me and my writings in the cyber and media space. This started soon after I gave a talk recently at the 16thWorld Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok, about the key ideas in my forthcoming book ‘The Battle for Sanskrit’. It addresses some key disagreements: should Western assumptions in Sanskrit studies be the dominant paradigm for understanding our tradition? Are Indians simply becoming consumers rather than producers of discourse on their own tradition? Can Sanskrit be viewed as mainly a tool of oppression? Is Sanskrit also sacred rather than purely secular? And so on. The points certainly generated lot of interest and support from the traditional side. But there were a lot of disgruntled voices as well which felt threatened.
Many attempts have been made in recent years to stop my work under one allegation or another. The latest attack is a petition signed by 192 persons alleging that in my previous book, Indra’s Net, published one and a half year ago, there are 9 places where I ‘plagiarized’ from sources which I have not adequately cited – implying that I have appropriated ideas without due acknowledgment. Hence, the response demanded by them is for the publishers to drop my books and make an apology. The petition was written by one Richard Fox Young who teachers at a Christian seminary in New Jersey. It just happens to be in the same town where I live, but many Indians have been misled to believe that he is a professor at Princeton University which he is not.
The complaint claims that I have ‘plagiarized’ primarily from a book by Andrew Nicholson. But in fact, I have heavily cited Nicholson in both the chapters the petition complains about. 12 out of the 30 Endnotes in Ch.8 refer to Nicholson. Not to mention that the chapter is replete with invocations of Nicholson by name numerous times. The same pattern applies to Ch.11 where any reader will see that Nicholson is mentioned enough number of times to suggest that a passage followed from Nicholson. But in a manipulative way, the allegations are made to make it seem as if I never acknowledged.
As in just about any complex work by scholars, in this book there are some omissions and copyediting errors which are more a result of oversight than mala fide intention. These ought to be rectified. And if this were the petition’s real intent then why would they simply not write a letter to the publishers highlighting the omissions and suggesting corrections? That is the standard practice in academia of which the complainant claims to be a puritan adherent. And why do they launch this sudden well-orchestrated attack one and a half years after the book has been in circulation? Has Richard Fox Young ever reacted the same way concerning his colleagues in his seminary whose works are full of such omissions and even blatant misrepresentations? I doubt it, and this brings me to my next point which relates to his over-enthusiasm and over-reaction.
Richard Fox Young uses the brand name ‘Princeton’ leading gullible Indians to believe that he is a professor at Princeton University. Let me be clear: He is NOT a professor at Princeton University. His employer is a Christian Seminary that happens to be located in the town of Princeton. This town has many institutions, of which his seminary is one, just as Delhi has many universities, madrasas and seminaries. The web site of his seminary is:http://www.ptsem.edu/ and his personal page at the seminary is: http://www.ptsem.edu/index.aspx?id=1960&menu_id=72. Imagine someone is working at a Madrasa or Church in Delhi and leads people to assume that he is a professor at Delhi University.
Let me also state that I have known him for 20 years. He leads his seminaries’ Afro-Dalit work. This is something I have come down heavily upon in my book Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian Faultlines. This critique is neither personal nor emotional. It is criticism of a system that I find harmful to us. It was by interacting with some persons from his seminary that I learned about Afro-Dalits. So I turned my investigation into a very successful book that has opened many eyes.
When I was invited by Princeton University to present and discuss Breaking India, the host wanted to have a Christian view represented as well. He asked Richard Fox Young to be the discussant at the event, but he refused and suggested another person to speak for Christians. This man was Rev. Thompson.
Richard Fox Young used an Indian Christian as his front man to speak his ideology, and another Dalit Christian was planted in the audience who made a nuisance by attacking the host before walking out in protest on behalf of Dalit Christians. The video makes clear why Young hates me ever since. He knows well that when I refer to the ‘breaking India forces’ in my talks, his work is being implicated for nurturing the anti-Hindu propaganda I talk about.
This also explains why Richard Fox Young and John Dayal in India are collaborators and one retweets the other routinely. When I debated John Dayal on foreign funded NGOs in Delhi (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OWY_haNDNI ) it naturally would have upset Richard Fox Young. He is considered as the seminary’s resident expert on Hinduism, training Christian evangelists and missionaries on Hinduism so they can go about doing their work to save Hindus more effectively. A natural ally for him is the Indian Left – the common enemy being Hinduism for both. Yet he tries to be very friendly and caring towards Hindus.
The timing of his attacks could be a combination of two factors. First are his insecurities stemming from the increasing acceptance of my work which challenges established Western paradigms in Indian and Sanskrit studies; and second is the fear of my forthcoming book which will shake some of their ideological foundations and their role as a gatekeeper of Hindu studies. His is a strategic attack on behalf of the entire Hinduphobic coterie because my book challenges their positions at a very seminal level. Though parroting intellectual freedom and the importance of dissent, their persistent attacks on me for twenty years prove them to be the ones violating the spirit of intellectual freedom.
The person named on the petition as the one who formally uploaded and started it is Jesse Knutson based in Freemont, California. He is a Sanskrit scholar who collaborates and follows Sheldon Pollock, the main target of my critiques in my forthcoming book. (See:http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520282056 and https://globalcenterforadvancedstudies.org/jesse-ross-knutson/). My forthcoming book also discusses Knutson’s work as aligned with Pollock’s theories, according to which Sanskrit poetry was written primarily to serve political agendas of the elites; the sacred dimension is side lined in their interpretations.
Some of the prominent signatories to their petition are well-known Pollockites like Ananya Vajpeyi, a fire-brand anti-Hindu journalist and scholar affiliated with elitist organizations. It is clear that this hit-job is from a collaboration of leftists and Christian evangelists, the classical cartel of Hinduphobics.
I write this to give my readers an insight into what is going on. But I request them not to lose heart, nor to expect easy victory. What we face is the potential risk of the intellectual re-colonization of India, this time using brown-skinned sepoys working as puppets controlled in foreign-based centres such as the seminary located in Princeton. I wish to thank my supporters for standing up for me in such large numbers. I am moved by this and encouraged to continue fighting the good fight.
Already signed a petition, going to buy Rajiv Malhhotra's books, I think the spread of contents of his books on the social media will open the eyes of the so called leftist secularism, common people, thereby exposing the agenda of the leftists, secular creed. Let's spread the word the time is ripe and political atmosphere in India is in right hands.
We are not losing heart at all. It is the other way around rather - it gives strength.
There is some kind of satisfaction also; this well-organised attack proves that your work has definitely rocked the boat.
Eagerly waiting for your next book!
Rajivji, your contribution to India and Indian scriptures is par exelence. These all guys survived so long from support from Western Governments, Churches and even from previous Government from India. Now lot of it will stop and any Organizations conniving against Hindus will be dealt with strongly by current Government in India. Keep writing truth against all these who took themselves as Champions of Hindus and kept hurting Hindus. We are always with you.
Rajiv Malhotra is one of the true "saputs" of Mother India who has been aggressively fighting against the “kaputs” --- (“intellectuals terrorists”) --- those who have been poised to break this sacred country into pieces ---- undermining her (India) timeless wisdom and mystic heritage.
(Can such outrageous literate perverts who defend kinky writer Ms Doniger (in the name freedom of expression) escape the bad karmas? No. They have to pay back proportionately for corrupting the mind and desecrating the souls of the millions of gullible Indians ----- making Hindus to hate their own Mother, own cu...See More
I fully support u..kindly write a book about how the richest & most intellectual Nation. BHARAT ..fallen in such a state. .her own children abusing her ..day &night...u can very well do the journey from the past to present. .finding out the reasons and it's solutions. In one book. .to make the indians patrotic.!
Your work and ideas are path breaking. I love the idea of yours that there has to be signifcant upping of Indigenous discourse creation rather than consumption alone. This powerful idea in itself can turn the tide. Await your next book eagerly.
These cunning anti-hindu foxes can howl how much ever they want... The Lion called Hinduism is here to stay ...unperturbed...They actually help our cause ... give us free publicity ...Rajiv-ji... hum sab aapkey saath hain...Keep rocking...
An unseemly row has erupted over inadequate attribution of sources in the work of an American-Indian author and Hindu intellectual who has made it his life's work to challenge and confront western academicians who now dominate the narratives around Indic culture and religion, especially Hinduism.
Rajiv Malhotra, a former businessman and author of several books that “reverse the gaze” from east to west, is at the centre of that storm, currently confined largely to blogosphere and internet publications. Malhotra's major works include Being Different, which takes a Indic view of Abrahamic faiths, Breaking India, which deals with subtle western efforts to use Indian fault caste lines to divide Indian from Indian, and Indra's Net, which seeks to combat western criticism that Indian religious philosophers and saints did not use empiricism and observation to inform their worldviews (among other things). I would urge all, both critics and supporters, to read his work before taking sides in the "plagiarism" controversy Malhotra is currently embroiled in.
It would be easy to relate to the controversy purely as an issue of intellectual dishonesty and lack of publishing ethics, and I have no quarrel with those who are not interested in what Malhotra has to say or what he stands for and why he may be targeted. However, this is an extremely na�-ve view to take. You should then equally believe that the current legal travails of Teesta Setalvad have nothing to do with her blood feud with Narendra Modi and the BJP, or that her sudden essay today in The Indian Express on the National Judicial Appointments Commission - which she has blasted, no doubt warming many judicial hearts - is a mere coincidence, coming up just when the courts are about to decide whether or not she can be questioned in custody for her alleged infringement of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act in her NGOs. She has alleged vendetta, but is this factor relevant when the issue, according to her critics, is wrongdoing by her NGOs?
]Rajiv Malhotra. Image courtesy: Twitter
So, let's be clear. There are two issues here, one to do with alleged “plagiarism” by Malhotra, and the other with the exertions of the Indian "secular Left” and American Christian Right to demolish Malhotra's reputation in some way or the other. You can believe the two issues are inter-linked, as I do, but if you choose not to think so, that is your right. But we can, and should, deal with them separately for the sake of clarity.
Let me also state my own biases upfront. I have written often against giving too much importance to intellectual property rights (read here, here, and here), and believe that only extraordinary contribution to ideas, science and technologies ought to be given high protection. The other disclosure I want to make is that I am an admirer of Malhotra's work. So, I am not surprised where the attack on him has come from: the very people who feel threatened by his writings and work - the Christian Right and the Indian pseudo-Left.
Let's first deal with the "plagiarism" issue. According to Richard Fox Young, an associate professor of the history of religions at the Princeton Theological Seminary, Malhotra is guilty of widespread plagiarism, and has been gleefully pointing these out on Twitter and other fora (read what he has had to say in summary here; also read Malhotra's counter here). The important point Young makes is that Malhotra has used many key parts of the work of Andrew J Nicholson from his book Unifying Hinduism.
This attack is partially valid, but not fully so. Reason: the truth is not that Malhotra does not acknowledge Nicholson's work, but that he does not do it enough. Malhotra himself does not deny he drew from Nicholson's ideas in this piece. Specifically, he had this to say in an article in News Laundry: “The accusation is that in nine different instances in Indra's Net, I should have cited a certain book by Andrew Nicholson, which I failed to do. However, the facts are different: I do cite Nicholson's book about 10 times in the main text with an additional 20 references in the endnotes. Clearly, I am informing the reader that I utilise Nicholson's ideas with a combination of his words and mine. I do not cite him after every single sentence where I use him, but it is unambiguously clear when reading entire passages of my book that I am discussing his works. Unfortunately, none of those attacking me have bothered to acknowledge this simple fact. Those passing judgment need to figure out why someone wanting to plagiarise a source would bother referencing it about 30 times.”
This statement does not absolve Malhotra or his publishers completely, but it is not an unreasonable defence. In my view, a formal regret and a promise to correct this lapse in future versions of the book will address the criticism.
However, that is not what Malhotra's critics will be satisfied with. What the people condemning Malhotra are doing - and they all come from a contiguous ideological orientation - is precisely what they accused Dinanath Batra of doing to Wendy Doniger's book on Hinduism, where the publishers agreed to pulp it when taken to court. Malhotra's critics want to pulp his book in the name of non-attribution of sources. Here's an online petition calling for precisely that. The petition has all of 200-and-odd supporters, when a rival petition to defend intellectual freedom, presumably created by Malhotra's admirers, has notched up over 8,000 supporters.
However, now we have to come to the main point: when you feel threatened by someone's ideas, you must first attempt to rebut him; when that doesn't work, you must trying to demonise him as a “crank” and/or avoid discussing him; or you must try and destroy his credentials by saying his work is not that of a true expert. All three have been tried by Malhotra's critics - the last with the charge of plagiarism.
Attempts to debunk Malhotra's views have failed so far. Even though Malhotra is studiously avoided in mainstream Indian media's “secular” debates, thanks to the same silent tactics of exclusion, he has effectively put American Christian academics and “experts on Hinduism” on the defensive through his books. From Wendy Doniger to Martha Nussbaum to almost every establishment academician in American universities, there has been a closing of ranks to rubbish Malhotra. The Indian “secular Left”, which has already been successful in excluding him from major mainstream media appearances, has now joined the western flight against an Indic scholar, as is apparent from the drumming up of the “plagiarism” debate on the internet (read here and here).
To me it is crystal clear: the Indian “secular Left” and western academicians are feeling threatened by the apparent traction Malhotra is getting among the diaspora and, now, even back home. Hence the attempt to dismiss him as a rabid “Internet Hindutva” icon. The “secular Left” is good at name-calling and labelling when it is losing the argument.