Note: To those of you that are aware of the background of our relationship with Rajiv Malhotra, we would like to reiterate our commitment to protecting our Dharma from all forms of attacks and hence this piece finds an unhesitating place on our platform.
Richard Fox Young is a Christian propagandist affiliated with the obscurantist Princeton Theological Seminary.
Andrew Nicholson is the author of Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History. Young and Nicholson have leveled the scurrilous allegation of plagiarism against Rajiv Malhotra, scholar and author of numerous books and articles including Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines, Indra’s Net: Defending Hinduism’s Philosophical Unity, andBeing Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism.
They allege that in Indra’s Net, Malhotra has plagiarized from Nicholson’s book. This is quite a ridiculous allegation because Malhotra cites and references Nicholson numerous times in his book. A plagiarizer wouldn’t do that.
Besides, in an example that Young cites, both Malhotra and Nicholson discuss Vijñānabhikṣu’s theory that one attains mōkṣa by two paths. They use different words and phrases to summarize it. In one path the practitioner attains knowledge through Sāṁkhya and Vēdānta but has to endure the intervening state of embodiment known as jīvanmukti. In the other, mōkṣa is attained immediately through the practice of Yōga.
Vijñānabhikṣu’s theory is well-known in Hindu philosophy. It is not Nicholson’s invention.Malhotra has every right to present the theory in his own words.Why should he credit a contemporary westerner while summarizing a medieval Hindu philosophical theory?
It is dishonest to characterize Malhotra’s reasonable approach as plagiarism. Vishal Agarwal points out that Nicholson’s phrases eerily resemble those of the Indian philosopher Sunrendranath Dasgupta, who wrote on the same subject decades before Nicholson did. However, Nicholson does not credit his Indian sources.
Now, unless Nicholson is well-versed in Saṃskṛta and had gleaned his knowledge without relying upon Dasgupta, one could allege that Nicholson possibly plagiarized Dasgupta.
Other examples of this alleged plagiarism are equally frivolous and unworthy of further discussion. However, one must ask why Malhotra has been the target of this scurrilous campaign.
Hinduism was continually pilloried under the British-Christian colonial rule. Hindus were constantly reminded that their culture is inferior and that their redemption lay in embracing Christianity. Post-independence, India’s leftists, English media, and the Bollywood imitated the erstwhile colonial masters in the derogatory portrayal of Hinduism.
Christian missionaries and a section of western academics manufactured the tropes that were conveniently leveraged in this portrayal. American academics such as Paul Courtright relied upon pseudoscientific psychoanalysis to claim that Ganēśa “remains celibate so as not to compete erotically with his father, a notorious womanizer, either incestuously for his mother or for any other woman for that matter.”
The anthropologist and racist Stanley Kurtz claimed that Indian women do not love their children as much as western women love theirs. He attributed goddess worship in Hinduism to an allegedly pathological incestuous tendency among the Hindus and derogatorily called it the “Durga Complex.”
This kind of racism and anti-Hindu bias was matched by thorough incompetency. The alleged Hinduism expert and daughter of a Christian fanatic, Wendy Doniger,translates the Ŗgvēda verse ‘aja eka pada’ as ‘the one footed goat’ whereas, as Professor Antonio de Nicolos points out, it means ‘the unmanifest one foot measure of music present in the geometries without forms.’
Doniger translated it as ‘the one footed goat’ because ‘aja’ in Hebrew means goat. Pathetic is too mild a word to describe the quality of Doniger’s scholarship. (SeeInvading the Sacred – An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America, pp. 53-70).
Very few western academics spoke up against this incompetency and anti-Hindu bias prevalent in the Western academia. Instead, these incompetent academics were given the mandate to impose strident anti-Hindu messages in textbooks read by teenagers.
Indian leftists, the powerful among whom owe their academic positions to their political connections and a shameful legacy of having been ‘pillow-dictionaries’ (ask Doniger what it means!) to their western mentors, imitated their white masters in portraying Hinduism and Indian culture in the most derogatory terms while simultaneously sanitizing the portrayals of Christianity and Islam.
This kind of portrayal served an important purpose: putting Hindus incessantly on the defensive and facilitating Christian proselytism. Any Hindu tendency of assertiveness (for example, the raise of Hindutva) was condescendingly dismissed as fascist.
The meteoric rise in Christian conversions as evidenced by the mushrooming of western-funded churches in India testifies to the efficacy of anti-Hindu tropes. Leftist and Christian NGOs, as recipients of billions of dollars of western funding annually, acted as the vectors of anti-Hindu campaign. In Indian schools, a coalition of Christians, leftists, and Dravidianists forced children to sing chauvinistic songs (nīrārum kaḍaluḍutta) that declared that other languages emerged from the spit of one’s own. The same coalition imposed demagogic poetry (e.g., Irāvaṇa Kāviyam), which denigrated the Hindu divinity Śri Rāma. In places like the JNU, leftists blocked the teaching of Saṃskṛta.
Many Hindu thinkers such as Chattampi Swami, M. K. Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Jayakanthan, Sitaram Goel, Koenraad Elst, and S. N. Balagangadhara understood how these portrayals weaken and destroy Hindu culture and society. They voiced their opinions and paved the way for Hindu assertiveness. They inspired a new generation of Hindus. A Hindu needn’t be a submissive native informant. He could actually talk back. Or, she could play a pivotal role in launching the probe to Mars.
It is in this category of Hindu thinkers that Malhotra belongs. He analyzed the anti-Hindu bias in the academy and understood how it percolates to every level of society. He engaged in polemical but scholarly debates and wrote well-researched books and articles. He had one significant advantage that his predecessors didn’t: social media. He used it to the fullest. In a matter of few years, he could build a sizeable following which was ready to reverse the gaze on the West and talk back. And damn it, they weren’t willing to be ‘pillow dictionaries’ and catalog brides for aging western academics.More importantly, he brought the important element of management to his campaign to make it effective.
How can the well-entrenched, prejudiced Western academia tolerate this? Does the brown sepoy not realize his place? How dare the ‘penis-worshiper’ invoke the weird-sounding pūrva pakṣa to scrutinize the ‘religion of love’ rather than be grateful to the white man? Why does this ‘hyphenated’ American not behave like Bobby Jindal or Michelle Malkin?
That should’ve been sufficient to skin Malhotra alive but he is guilty of something worse: his messages resonated with many Hindus, especially the urban youth, and ironically, with a section of westerners as well. His admirers perceived his messages as being moderate. He successfully contrasted the inclusive, flexible, and invigorating Hindu worldview with the exclusive, obscurantist, and repulsive Christian worldview. He effectively argued that there is no substantive difference between the Western left and the right. Both are birds of the same feather and flock together to feed on the Hindu carrion. The message was beginning to sink.
Malhotra had to be brought down, if necessary with a scurrilous campaign of lies. That should be okay because there is no biblical commandment against lying.It is a pity that Christian missionaries like Young cannot burn Malhotra at the stake as good Christians used to during the glorious days of witch-hunts.
How sad that they cannot regale their leftist minions with the helpless cries that Malhotra would have uttered while he is burnt alive! All they could do was to defame him. Sigh!
What can Hindus do though? They can begin with counting the number of prominent Christians that stood up and supported Malhotra when it mattered. How many academics came to his defense? Almost none, right? If this didn’t inform the Hindu about the need to fight one’s own battle, nothing would.
Think for a moment what motivated Christian demagogues to act unscrupulously. You would find the answer in their religious conditioning.Christianity binds the believers together by projecting a permanent external enemy. Unlike dharma-based religions, Christianity doesn’t have morals or philosophy. All it has is a hunger for lebensraum-seeking aggrandizement. Anyone that talks back rather than acquiesce is projected as the enemy to be destroyed. Here, Malhotra displayed the audacity to talk back and reverse the gaze. So, the beast had to be marked for destruction!
There is only one way to respond to this kind of unscrupulous, brutal aggression: by refusing to back down. As a sign of solidarity, buy Malhotra’s books and read them. Hindus must learn to talk back, and even mock if necessary.Remember that Malhotra was targeted for defending Hinduism.
So, next time when someone mocks Hinduism or its divinities remember who invented and sustained the trope. It is the Christians. So, respond by mocking Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity. You don’t even need pseudoscience to portray Jesus as incestuous or the Virgin Mary as adulterous. Early Christian sources provide enough ammunition that you can simply cite verbatim.
Hit where it hurts.
Kalavai Venkat is a Silicon Valley-based writer, an atheist, a practicing orthodox Hindu, and author of the book “What Every Hindu should know about Christianity.”