Indian Express Article-Tavleen Singh
Article on the Book
A dark, distorted Hinduism
Posted online: Sunday, July 01, 2007 at 0000 hrs
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I went to lunch with a man who has spent ten years trying to convince American academia that what is being taught as Hinduism in American universities is rubbish. His name is Rajiv Malhotra and he took early retirement from the world of business to try and do something good for mankind. He was not sure how to channel this desire and it was by chance that he stumbled upon what has become his mission in life: rectifying the false idea of Hinduism that is being taught in American universities.
While wandering through the halls of academia he discovered the works of a group of highly regarded American professors who have written scholarly tomes on Hinduism that make it sound like a mix of voodoo and pornography.
Hindu gods and religious symbols have been put through Freudian analysis to establish such bizarre conclusions as Ganesha’s trunk representing a “flaccid phallus” and his love of sweets as a desire for oral sex. He also has Oedipal problems!
This Freudian analysis goes beyond the gods to actual Hindu religious practices, and it is then that these scholars show not just their abysmal ignorance but their deliberate distortion of reality.
They teach students in American universities that Brahmins drink menstrual blood and other human fluids and that this is Tantra. They teach that Shiva temples are dens of vice where priests routinely murder and rape unsuspecting pilgrims.
Malhotra became passionately engaged in proving that this view of Hinduism was nonsense and the result of his efforts is a book, sponsored by his Infinity Foundation, called Invading the Sacred. It comes out next week.
As someone who believes that an Indian renaissance will only happen if we go beyond the taboos of ‘secularism’ and teach our children about India’s civilisation, I found the book worthwhile reading. It made me realise that the reason why dodgy scholars from a distant land have succeeded in becoming ‘experts’ on our civilisation is because our own scholars do not tread in this territory for fear of being branded with that much reviled word — Hindutva.
When you read the book, you also realise that these so-called experts would have no currency if they were not aided and abetted by Indians like Amartya Sen, who attend their conferences and support their ignorant theories.
According to Invading the Sacred, Sen attended a recent conference at the University of Chicago, where, along with Hinduism ‘experts’ like Wendy Doniger and Martha Nussbaum, he backed the idea that Hindu fanatics were a bigger threat to Indian democracy than the Islamists.
Nussbaum is quoted as saying, “Thinking about India is instructive to Americans who in an age of terrorism can easily oversimplify pictures of the forces that threaten democracy . . . in India, the threat to democratic ideals comes not from a Muslim threat, but from Hindu groups.”
That sounds like a joke, but you will stop finding it funny if you remember that the current dispensation in Delhi is supported by Marxists, who openly state that they consider Hindutva a bigger threat than jehadi Islam. In pursuance of this belief, our Marxist parties support Iran’s efforts to make a nuclear bomb but oppose our own. The damage they have done goes beyond the political, for it is largely on account of ‘secular’ leftist pressure that Indian civilisation remains untaught in our schools and universities.
Indian students who want to learn about their religion and civilisation have to go to foreign universities where they are taught that Hinduism has no philosophy or higher idea, only a pantheon of badly behaved gods and priests. Until Indian scholars work actively to rectify this scandalous distortion, it will prevail. But where are the scholars going to come from if our own universities do not produce them?