[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he Hindu re-awakening movement must improve its game in the intellectual Kurukshetra. Unfortunately, we suffer from a deficiency of competent scholars and institutional mechanisms. Hindus are often being represented by substandard voices. Emotional bombast and political patronage are depleting prana and overshadowing vigour and originality. The paucity of internationally competitive fresh Hindu research has many causes. The chief one is the belief that “everything has already been written”. Such persons hide their laziness behind one-liner wisdom and cronyism, instead of pursuing merit and professionalism.
The critics failed to notice that ‘Breaking India’ focuses on exposing many present-day individuals and organisations that did not even exist fifty years ago.
A typical example of this syndrome happened just a few days back. Two of my books (‘Breaking India’ and ‘Being Different’) were attacked by some middle-ranking Hindu leaders on a bizarre allegation: that fifty years ago some prominent Hindus had already written books that were “exactly same” as mine, thereby making all my work redundant and counterproductive. The critics failed to notice that ‘Breaking India’ focuses on exposing many present-day individuals and organisations that did not even exist fifty years ago. And the insights explained in ‘Being Different’ are fresh compared to the supposedly “same” books written in a bygone era. The critics were satisfied with superficial similarities without any interest (or ability) to look deeper. Such turf protection is a form of tribalism driven by personal insecurity and ambition. The best way to respect our past great thinkers is not by worshipping their old books, but by continuing their parampara with fresh research outputs in response to today’s Kurukshetra. The clash of civilisations is becoming ever more complex, and the playing field has certainly not been frozen for the past fifty years. Our tradition was built on very high standards of intellectual excellence. But today there is a cacophony of voices of individuals who barely read serious material – forget about original writing. I have also heard some senior Hindu leaders flippantly dismiss the need for fresh research and intellectualism. It amazes me that retrograde voices can climb up in some Hindu organisations.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]H[/dropcap]indus must invest in serious investigative work. This includes the revival of the tradition of purva-paksha methods for debating opponents in a respectful manner. We must re-educate the so-called “educated class”, with the use of game-changing discourse. We must encourage self-critiques rather than wasting time at the “feel good” gatherings of “like-minded people”.
Resource allocations and appointments should be merit based and not driven by loyalty to leaders.
Resource allocations and appointments should be merit based and not driven by loyalty to leaders. Anyone appointed to lead a “think tank” should have already excelled in thinking, which means having a track record of high impact publications. The new government is conspicuous by its absence in the theatre of civilisation discourse. The is no strategic coherence across its Byzantine maze of departments. Fortunately, the Indian Left is also in disarray. The new technology subverts their monopoly over Hinduphobic knowledge production and distribution. There is a growing display of Hindu emotional activity in social and mass media, as well as the emergence of many conclaves featuring some Hindu voices. This powerful emotion needs to be harnessed and redirected to create an intellectual ecosystem that is globally competitive.
The writer is the author of the book ‘Academic Hinduphobia’. Portions of this article appeared in DNA India.
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Rajiv has conducted original research in a variety of fields and has influenced many other thinkers in India and the West. He has disrupted the mainstream thought process among academic and non-academic intellectuals alike, by providing fresh provocative positions on Dharma and on India. Some of the focal points of his work are: Interpretation of Dharma for the current times; comparative religion, globalization, and India’s contributions to the world.
He has authored hundreds of articles, provided strategic guidance to numerous organizations and has over 300 video lectures available online. To best understand Rajiv'sthoughts and contributions, his books are a good resource. Besides Invading the Sacred, in which Rajiv is the main protagonist, he has authored the following game changing books:
Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism
Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines; and
Indra's Net: Defending Hinduism's Philosophical Unity
The Battle for Sanskrit: Is Sanskrit Political or Sacred, Oppressive or Liberating, Dead or Alive?
Academic Hinduphobia: A Critique of Wendy Doniger's Erotic School of Indology
Currently, Rajiv Malhotra is the full-time founder-director of Infinity Foundation in Princeton, NJ. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Center for Indic Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and is adviser to various organizations.
Infinity Foundation has given more than 400 grants for research, education and community work. It has provided strategic grants to major universities in support of pioneering programs including: visiting professorships in Indic studies at Harvard University, Yoga and Hindi classes at Rutgers University, research and teaching of nondualistic philosophies at University of Hawaii, Global Renaissance Institute and a Center for Buddhist studies at Columbia University, a program in religion and science at University of California, endowment for the Center for Advanced Study of India at University of Pennsylvania, lectures at the Center for Consciousness Studies at University of Arizona.
Rajiv Malhotra inspired the idea of Swadeshi Indology Conference. The first ever Swadeshi Indology Conference was held at IIT, Chennai from July 6 to July 8, 2016. This conference hosted well-researched papers that highlighted the discrepancies and mistranslations in the studies of Indology done by Prof. Sheldon Pollock. This conference is the first of a series of conferences that have been planned to address multiple issues raised by Western Indologists requiring astute examination, analyses and rejoinders, culminating in a published volume with a selection of papers.
Another major initiative of the Infinity Foundation is the HIST series. The HIST (History of Indian Science and Technology) series is a compilation of multi-Volume History of Indian Science and Technology based only on solid academic scholarship, and not on wild extrapolations. To accomplish this, each volume was subjected to rigorous peer reviews. The following volumes have already been published and printed as part of this IF project:
1. Marvels of Indian Iron Through the Ages
2. Indian Zinc Technology in Global Perspective
3. Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering in India
4. History of Metals in Eastern India and Bangladesh
5. Harappan Architecture and Civil Engineering
6. Beginning of Agriculture and Domestication in India
7. History of Iron Technology in India
8. Indian Beads History and Technology
9. Himalayan Traditional Architecture
10. Animal Husbandry and Allied Technologies in Ancient India
11. Harappan Technology and Its Legacy
12. Reflection on The History of Indian Science and Technology
13. Chalcolithic South Asia: Aspects of Crafts and Technologies
14. Traditional Water Management
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