Thoughts on economics and liberty

Thank you, RSS and Hindutva bigots (e.g. Rajiv Malhotra) for introducing me to Wendy Doniger: a great scholar of Hinduism

I'm sure people like Rajiv Malhotra and RSS zealots had no intention of spreading the writings of Wendy Doniger, but that's precisely what they've done.

I don't judge anyone without first understanding their position. When fools like RSS start smearing people, I am very suspicious, because I know how shallow is their intelligence and knowledge.

So I had no comment re: Wendy Doniger's actual work during the Doniger book pulping controversy – because I had NEVER EVEN HEARD OF HER! I'm not much into religion or history so unless you point out a particular issue, I'm likely to never even think about it. I don't go out of the way (as I did when I was much younger) to buy books on religion/ history.

Now that Hindutva fanatics have introduced me to her, however, I was curious. I've since then had a quick look through the early parts of The Hindus: An Alternative History. Yesterday, I also listened to Doniger's recent lecture uploaded by the University of Chicago.

It turns out that Doniger is good. Very good. She has spent nearly 50 years studying Hinduism and India, and has many interesting insights to offer – in an extremely scholarly and dispassionate way. 

I'm surprised why Hindutva fanatics are upset by her work, since she has a rather favourable attitude towards Hinduism. She acknowledges that Hinduism is remarkably tolerant. She also shows other religious (like Christianity and Islam) have failed to dent Hinduism; perhaps because it offers to its adherents a structured  flexibility that other religions can't, or don't. 

Very insightful and scholarly is how I'd rate Wendy Doniger.


She points out also how American IT-literate Hindus (who dominate the internet and Wikipedia) have started insisting over the last 10 years that only THEIR version of Hinduism is right. 


I commend her works to everyone. Read it, if only to open your eyes and get a different, scholarly perspective. When I read or hear Rajiv Malhotra I get a sense that I'm reading/listening to a bigot (which he is, without any doubt). When I read/ listen to Doniger, on the other hand, I get the sense that I'm going to learn something through rational discourse. With the use of subtle humour, her work is also extremely readable.

I appreciate the place in the talk where Doniger suggests that scholars of religion, like scientists, merely make their best attempt to interpret things – thereby being open to other opinions and interpretations. ("Our best guess is this"). Unlike them, however, deeply ignorant bigots like Malhotra see the world in only one way – and their way is often plain wrong. 

I've got too many other non-historical/religious priorities and so might not finish reading Doniger's work, but if you've bot a moment, do read her and let me know what you think.


Sanjeev Sabhlok

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5 thoughts on “Thank you, RSS and Hindutva bigots (e.g. Rajiv Malhotra) for introducing me to Wendy Doniger: a great scholar of Hinduism
  1. SJW

    Wendy Doniger’s (The alleged Hinduism expert from the west) quixotic hatred of the classical Hinduism and Brahmins is not very different than the 1930’s christian’s and Martin Luther’s hatred of the Jews and Judaism.

    Alternate history of the Jews written by none other than the protestant founder Martin Luther in his “Jews and their Lies” which almost every christian German was influenced by and their subsequent hatred for their “upper caste” Jews (God’s chosen people). There was the perception that the Jews not unlike the upper castes/Brahmins had a monopoly of the arts, the sciences and their financial institutions and everything else of importance in Germany during the 30s and that others were somehow prohibited from doing bigger and better things on their own by their “upper castes” (Jews). The allegedly “poor ordinary christians” were the “backward castes” who needed to be saved from the alleged evil upper caste Jews. The only way that could be done was to take the Jewish history and Jewish culture and rewrite them for the benefit of the “underdogs” of German christians. Let’s show these upper castes that we the populists can do to them was the thought of those days in that christian country.. It went “We the backward caste ordinary christians have a number on these elites”. So Martin Luther, Hitler and others ( Lyra, Burgensis, and John Chrysostom, before them) went about rewriting Jewish history and culture and had their own unflattering and grotesque interpretations which they embellished to their satisfaction. Thus was born the alternate Jewish history of “Jews and their Iies” and Mein Kampf. Actually the 2000 year Christian hatred of Jews worldwide lead to the Holocaust.

    The pathetic Irony is, the Jewish communists the far left (who were mostly Jews) of Europe used the poverty and misery of Germany to spread communism in Germany which created a violent backlash from the right wing of Germany to precipitate Hitlers evil plan.


    Similarly, the arrogant illiberal leftist creature Doniger had decided to rewrite the Hindu religion, Hindu culture and reinterpret Hinduism in the worst possible way to get her pound of flesh from the upper caste Brahmins . Reason? Her admitted “sympathetic” support of the “underdog” backward castes of India. Although sympathy for underdogs is a good thing , there is a line that can be crossed when your sense of vengeance exceeds fairness with hate. And then, making a career out of ones hate. The illiberal leftist cartoon Ms Doniger has become the villain that she wants to protect the worlds “underdogs” from. The road to hell is often paved with good intentions.

    Wendy Doniger, Sheldon Pollock, Michael Witzel, Martha Nussbaum , Sarah Caldwell, Jeffery Kripal, Paul Courtright et al

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I have no issue with critiques of anyone. Let the people judge the truth.

    I have a great issue with these violent Hindu fanatics like Malhotra who support the destruction of books they don’t like.

  3. A V Raju

    Dear Sanjeev
    I must appreciate your candid , dispassionate and rationale views . I had also never heard of Wendy Doniger , prior to the book pulping episode set off by the bigots , enemies of the nation and self-styled copy right holders of Hinduism. I had read Romila Thapar , RCM , earlier but not Wendy. As you have pointed out too , she is a marvellous writer , humour built into the narrative and fascinating story teller. Able to read several shades of meaning into sanskrit , far superior to the average scholar of sanskrit I feel. Have heard all her discourses and thoroughly enjoyed. In fact ,she has supplied reason to appreciate the openness of our culture, and in the light of it all come to also appreciate that certain misplaced ideas have crept in largely owing to the lack of scientific backdrop in those ages of ignorance and quite like , it has been in most human endeavours . Have understood that there is therefore, a need to appreciate the thought relevant to those ages, while also a unnerving sense of urgency seems to have invaded me , to view the whole plethora of things in the light of liberal, scientific , and practical considerations that should actually form the ethos of modern India . No wonder, bigotry is at once selfish and wholly unscientific . It takes away from individuals the ability to be patient and tries to advance the sense of insecurity to such of those believers , the escape route from which, is perhaps , their ill-founded route of destroying all evidences to the contrary , liquidate all material, thought and people who can stand as evidence to contradict that bigotry. Yes it happened in Germany and probably it is still happening in many parts of the world. But should we allow this to happen to our very own people and country ?. Dont our own have the right to decide for themselves instead of they being planned to be kept out of the reach of liberal thought and opinions. Are our own masses there only to adorn a standing when the National Anthem is played in the background , that too , because they cant decide for themselves -unless told by a politician or a court to do so . Probably we have made them so ignorant that they are now bereft of constructive patriotism , which should be a virtue every single Indian ? . Yes Sanjeev ji. You are a bright and a fine mind . regards A V Raju

  4. Saurabh Srivastava

    Only that Rajiv Malhotra’s warning is coming out in light every day/month with the attrocity literature, Audrey Truskey controversy, etc. Her book wasn’t banned by the way; that was the narrative created by the media. Her book was challenged in court by a SC lawyer who filed a complaint against the removal of few lines which was factually wrong – Laxman being sexually enticed by Sita, Hanuman being the creep who used to look into sleeping couples, etc. which she didn’t heard for 4 years until her publisher decided to ban the release as per SC judgement.

    Rajiv Malhotra is not a bigot. Your hatred for RSS is what’s driving you rather than your search for knowledge.

  5. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Malhotra was DIRECTLY behind the book pulping and HE SUPPORTED IT RIGHT THROUGH.

    He is dedicated to spreading falsehoods and is a Hindutva bigot – I’ve gone through his poisonous “book”.


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