Latest posts by Dhirendra Shah (see all)
Withdrawal of Book and Anti-Hindu Propaganda
After deliberation for nearly four years, Penguin India compromised on February 4, 2014 in an out of court settlement to withdraw and pulp within the next six months the remaining copies of US Chicago Professor, Wendy Doniger’s book, ‘The Hindus: An alternative history.’ Failure to settle with the litigants Dinanath Batra of Shiksha Bachao Andolan, India could have led to the arrest of the Western author, Wendy Doniger, of the Chief Executive of Penguin India, the publisher and/or a ban from entering into India per Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
Notwithstanding the moral and legal defeat, the powerful propaganda machine of Doniger and Penguin has unleashed one of the most vicious, abusive and negative campaign against India’s Dinanath Batra, Indian Penal code and Hindu scholars/academics (challengers) of India and overseas. Though the book is not banned in India, ever-obliging anti-Hindu media in the Western world and India has been ranting a dooms day scenario of India becoming a fascist state without the right of freedom of speech. . Surprisingly, the same Indian Penal Code was acceptable to the Western Academics when the British were ruling in India, but now these votaries of freedom of speech are damning it.
Distortion & Denigration of Hinduism & Indian History by British Colonialists & Missionaries
George Orwell has rightly said: “The most effective way to destroy a people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” The British colonialists mastered that practice after the conquest of India so as to govern their crown jewel with minimum challenge! They funded the departments of Indology and Sanskrit to rewrite the Indian historical narrative primarily from a victor’s perspective by erasing the rich heritage, traditions, culture and history of India and Hinduism. The East India Company went to the extent of hiring the German missionary, Max Muller, with rudimentary knowledge of Sanskrit, to translate Hindu scriptures in a manner that would uproot Hinduism from India and spread Christianity in its place. It is no secret that the missionary work to convert Hindus to Christianity by the Evangelists and Churches continues unabated in India by fraudulent methods used earlier by Francis Xavier (16th century), Robert Nobili (17th), William Carey, the Baptist and Max Muller even now over 66 years after the departure of the British colonialists.
The British employed native Indian ‘Sepoys’ in the British army to rule and carry out Her Majesty’s nefarious and most barbaric policies in India. These Sepoys fought on the side of the British colonial rulers to subjugate their own fellow people for pittance rewards from their masters.
Nexus of Western academia & Missionaries Promoting Neo-colonialism in India
Western academia have stepped in from where the British rulers left India and have continued in modern times to follow the tested old modus operandi under the new garb of academic freedom and failed theories of Psychoanalysis. The Western ‘experts on Hinduism’ seem to be in league with the Christian evangelists to subvert and demonize Hinduism, its traditions and culture and thereby destroy the only surviving ancient civilization in the world. Some American and western businesses also have ventured to use symbols and pictures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses in clothing as Bikinis and shoes and sandals.
It almost appears as if the American academia in the field of the religious studies is a very close-knit ideologically driven cartel, which emphasizes only distortion, denigration and belittling of Hinduism and forbids any dissent against their one-track scandalous motives. The adversarial scholars in this case are extremely powerful, entrenched groups who occupy tenured positions in academia, the American Academy of Religion, and its journals. Some examples of such misdirected but calculated endeavors are Paul Courtright’s (Emory University) book: “Ganesa-Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings” (Oxford University Press) and Jeffery Kripal -Kali’s Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna (Chicago 1995).
Exactly a decade ago, on February 18, 2004, a group of Hindu American scholars and community leaders challenged the distortions in the book by Emory University Professor Paul Courtright whose book “Ganesa: Lord of Obstacles” went overboard with offensive interpretations of the physique of the most revered deity of Hindus, Lord Ganesha. “That a baby elephant’s trunk is a metaphor for a limp phallus, that sweets are metaphors for oral sex, that a mango is a metaphor for asking children to have sexual intercourse with their (Hindu) mothers. …Etc.” are some examples of pornography being pedaled in Courtright’s book. It is universally known that Wendy Doniger is a long time mentor and a guide for Courtright and in fact she provided the Foreword/Introduction of his ill-conceived book.
The Concerned Community challenged the shoddy scholarship of Courtright’s book and asked the Dean of Emory College to look into what they were teaching in their Hinduism courses. Initially, our endeavor was met with unbelievable arrogance bordering on racist bigotry with Courtright who was supposed to defend his book, cleverly absenting himself from that meeting with the Emory administration. By the time the meeting got over, one could see the embarrassment that Courtright had landed Emory University into the insult as peddled by Courtright’s book to the practicing Hindus. As for the self-proclaimed Indology/Hinduism Scholars, they got a taste of what they deserve. The book was sidelined in USA, pulled off from the markets in India and Courtright was switched to teaching Islam at Emory till the passions subsided.
Incidentally, whoever dares to correct or criticize their religious/historical anti-Hindu theories are severely ridiculed and branded with all kinds of calumnies! Branding them ‘Hindu fundamentalists’,’ chauvinists’, ‘fascists’ or ‘politically motivated’ are the critics’ response to challenges by Hindu scholars.
Doniger and her clan would not dare to denigrate and sexualize the scriptures and prophets of Islam and Judaism because they are fully aware of the brutal consequences thereof. However, western academics know that Hindus are a soft target and easy game because most Hindus are tolerant and peaceful and try to keep away from controversies.
Taking a cue from the British colonialists, the Western academics have also now employed a new breed of Indian ‘Sepoys’ who for crumbs will help them to do their ‘hatchet’ job of subverting and destroying the Indian ancient civilization, traditions and culture. The cabal of the Indian ‘Sepoys’ is made of Marxist historians, pseudo-secularists, journalists, academics and even politicians. They also have on their payroll some Indian American ‘Sepoys’ who are willingly ready to sell their souls for material gain and self-centered agenda.
Doniger’s Erotic Book
Doniger’s 750 page book, The Hindu: An Alternative History, is written with a biased and agenda driven scholarship. By sexualizing and eroticizing every aspect of Hinduism, the book reads like a semi-pornographic novel, rather than a scholarly history of Hindus pretty much on the expected lines and as she has trained her graduate students researching under her guidance and assistantship.
Her book too is full of factual inaccuracies, innuendoes, distortions and selective use of primary texts of Hinduism. Her racial profiling of Hindus and denigration and demeaning of Hindu Gods and Goddesses transgress all the universal codes of ethics and morality. Had Mahatma Gandhi been alive in present times, he would not have hesitated to also label it as a “drain inspector report” as he did then to Katherine Mayo’s book ‘Mother India’
Here are some out of many of the pornographic & erotic gems (smut) from her book:
Depiction of Krishna on the cover jacket of the book as riding a horse made of bodies of naked women is an epitome of vulgarity and misuse of the holy symbol with ulterior motives to denigrate Hindu faith.
Doniger denies that the images in the Indus-Saraswati Civilization were sacred or ‘the source of Hindu images.” Mother Goddesses are just big-breasted women, “Big breasts are as useful to courtesans as to goddesses”. Once again with the malicious intent of sexualizing our Goddesses!
“But Kunti already had one son secretly out of wedlock. When she was still a young girl, she had decided to try out her mantra, just fooling around. The sun god, Surya, took her seriously; despite her vigorous protests and entreaties, he raped her and afterward restored her virginity. (1.104; 3.290-94; 5.144.1-9)” (p.295).
* Another example of the perversion and sexual mindset of the author: “Dasharatha’s son is certainly lustful” is a key phrase. Rama knows all too well what people said about Dasharatha; when Lakshmana learns that Rama has been exiled, he says, “The king is perverse, old, and addicted to sex, driven by lust (2.18.3)”. (P.225)…
* She says that Ramayana teaches incest. Just one comment on these erotic, smut samples of Wendy’s book: Ramayana is read as a book of prayer in many Hindu households every day. This is not because Ramayana teaches incest but makes the devotee mother and the members of the household remember that Rama whose story is narrated was an embodiment of Dharma. One example of what Rama said to Surpanakha (Ravana’s sister) should suffice; he told her that he had to be faithful to his wife and hence could not accept Surpanakha’s loving advances to him.
It is surprising that a fevered mind of Wendy Doniger sees incest in a sacred scripture, which has defined Hinduism for generations. Ramayana has been the guiding light for almost every Hindu. Even in the Islamic countries like Indonesia and Malaysia Ramayana is adored and respected. It is a sacred text. Even the state is expected to follow the path of Rama by establishing Ramarajya, a state of justice and social, moral responsibility bound by dharma, the inexorable ethic.
Scholarly Criticism & offer for dialogue from Hindu intellectuals ignored:
As the amount of denigration, distortion and negative portrayal of Hinduism by the western academia started rising alarmingly, the Hindu academics and scholars (in India and elsewhere, especially USA) have been raising objections to the unfair and callous treatment of the faith of over a billion Hindus. Majority of these handful Western scholars of Indology are generally non-practitioners of Hinduism with limited knowledge of Sanskrit, language of Hindu scriptures, but still they claim themselves as experts on Hinduism – a religion/ faith flourishing over centuries even before the birth of the Abrahamic religions and Indology.
Several Hindu academics and scholars suggested for a dialogue with Penguin and Doniger (through direct letters to Doniger and also the President of University of Chicago) to apologize and to rectify the factual errors and remove the unwarranted sexuality and distortions from the book. Even an online petition was submitted to Penguin and another one to AAR (American Academy of Religion). Letters were also written to the White House Interfaith section headed by Rev. Dubois. Doniger was also invited to a round table panel on her book during the annual conference of Association of Asian Studies (AAS) in March 31-April 2, 2012 held in Hawaii but she declined it and made comments to one Hindu academic that: “I have moved beyond the Hindus.” Neither fatwas nor any crusades were undertaken as characteristics of disagreements by other faiths. A scholarly letter campaign by Hindu intellectuals bore fruit when the NBCC refrained from giving her the NBCC award for her book. Earlier, the now defunct Microsoft Encarta pulled her article on Hinduism after investigating complaints that the article had a racist tone.
Having exhausted all conciliatory and dialog efforts to persuade Penguin and Doniger, Hindu scholars were left with no other alternative but to take recourse to the Indian law. The right of academic freedom also demands acceptance of academic responsibility of not misusing that freedom just as the journalists (and other professionals) are encouraged to stay away from yellow and sensational journalism. Academic “freedom” exercised without responsibility or accountability is tyranny and should have no place in a civilized society.
While Hindus are denied the right to criticize the American academics for their shoddy and objectionable scholarship under the pretext of willy-nilly academic freedom, we recall Diana Eck of Harvard University recently stopped Dr. Subramanian Swamy (an annual visiting professor at Harvard), ex-central minister of India, from teaching at Harvard because he wrote some controversial views on Indian Muslims in an Indian Newspaper. She claimed: “Swamy has the right to his opinion but not the right to be published.” Would Diana Eck say “ Wendy has the right to her opinion but not the right to be published? If Diana says so, that will be a clear statement that she does not indulge in double standards in the name of academic freedom. Last year President of PA University forced the students of Wharton Business School to withdraw the invitation to speak to Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Candidate of Indian opposition party because of opposition from a few leftist faculty members. This shows how the American academia follows double standards when claiming the right of academic freedom. The ‘Indian Sepoys’ and Indian media like their western masters also kept silent and in some cases even supported banning of Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’ and Naslima Nsrin’s ‘Lajja’ but are now busy criticizing the Indian law, Hindu scholars and Dinanath Batra for Penguin, India’s own decision to withdraw the book from India.
Devastating Impact on Hindu Students, future generations & Hindu Civilization
Negative portrayal and stereotypes about Hinduism and India originating from the anti-Hindu perverted western academics like Doniger/Courtright et al in the Indian and American classrooms have already played havoc on Hindus students by lowering their self-esteem and pride in their own faith, traditions and culture. Young Hindu children/teenagers are tormented every day because of the negative and distorted picture of Hinduism and India as presented by their teachers in classrooms. How will a young Hindu child feel when the teacher quotes from the textbook like: “The Monkey king Hanuman loved Rama so much that it is said that he is present every time the Ramayana is told. So look around- see any monkeys?” Or “However, Hinduism also taught that women are inferior to men. As a result, Hindu women were not allowed to read Vedas or other sacred texts” (Fact: there were more than 20 sages women).
Seeing the tremendous negative psychological impact on their children, CAPEEM (parents’ organization) and HAF (Hindu American Foundation) filed two separate lawsuits against California State Board of Education to amend and rectify the middle class textbooks by providing equal opportunities and representation to every religion and culture. The court ruled in favor of both litigants and asked the Board to follow strictly the guidelines of the California Education act.
Such distorted and negative portrayal of Hindus and Hinduism from the Western academics also influences the US foreign policy decision makers who can use this material to interfere in the internal affairs of India under the pretext of violence of human rights by the Indian government.
India is already moving towards a cultural holocaust in which our new generation will have intelligence and money but no wisdom, no roots to keep alive their forefathers’ past values and traditions and no pride in their motherland. What can save Hinduism and India from these neo-colonialists is to defend with all vigor and hold fast our age-old culture, values and traditions without any element of fancy and distortion.
The settlement in India may be of little consequence to Penguin Corporation or Prof. Doniger’s wallet, but has exposed their myth of being infallible scholars and their unscholarly works, added pressure on them to respect the laws of the land, and has provided a glimmer of hope of providing deterrence for future.