An old legal aphorism advises young lawyers that “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.” When you see someone furiously pounding the table, you’d be justified in thinking that he has taken that advice too seriously, and conclude that neither the facts nor the law are on his side.
The fact is that in any battle — of wits or muscle, figurative or real, defensive or offensive — one leads with the best device at one’s disposal. In desperate situations, clutching at straws may be the best one can do when one is in over one’s head and lifeboats are missing. That cliched image comes to mind seeing the recent charges of plagiarism against Shri Rajiv Malhotra.
For those who are not familiar with Malhotra, he’s the author of “Breaking India,” “Being Different”, and other books. The wiki notes that he’s an “Indian-American author and Hindu activist who, after a career in the computer and telecom industries, took early retirement in 1995 to found The Infinity Foundation. Through this organization Malhotra has promoted philanthropic and educational activities in the area of Hinduism studies. Malhotra has written prolifically in opposition to the academic study of Indian history and society, especially the study of Hinduism as it is conducted by scholars and university faculty, which he maintains denigrates the tradition and undermines the interests of India.”
I know Rajiv Malhotra and have deep respect for him. I am convinced that he is a serious seeker of knowledge and understanding. I know him sufficiently well to be absolutely certain of his integrity, his commitment to scholarship, his dedication to the cause of engaging “the other” in serious discussion, his principled challenge to all to engage in purva-paksha: “a tradition in dharma discourse [which involves] building a deep familiarity with the opponent’s point of view before criticizing it.”
Even to me, a lay reader and an outsider to his area of investigation, his competence is clear. But domain experts too attest to his diligence and expertise. I urge you to read some of the reviews of his book “Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism.” Quote:
In this substantial work Malhotra explores a variety of topics inherent to Indic culture and worldviews. He reflects on many aspects of the Hindu world. His goal is not only to dismantle misconceptions, but also to formulate a new paradigm for intercultural discourse. . . . Malhotra begins by referring to a number of his own personal encounters with Western scholars and individuals in conferences and elsewhere to let the reader know how, through means subtle and overt, Christianity and the West have been intruding into the sacredness and integrity of Indic culture. Not that many Indians are not aware of this, but this book gives it all raw and ruthless exposure. It unveils aspects of what it sees as Western hegemonic intercultural ruses that may not be as obvious to superficial observers. These revelations are sure to jolt both unwitting Indians who may have held Western civilization in high regard, as well as scheming Westerners who may feel awkward being caught.
So one may wonder, what accounts for the spurious charges of plagiarism leveled against him by his detractors? Paradoxically, the attempt to discredit Malhotra by silly accusations of plagiarism in essence gives indirect support to the fundamental solidity of his incisive arguments. His opponents have failed to counter his theses and in their desperation have had to resort to serious harassments. Having neither the facts nor the analytical skills to counter the theses, they are reduced to idiotically pounding the metaphorical table in their frustration. If charges of plagiarism is the best offensive weapon they have, they deserve pity and maybe even a little bit of sympathy.
To be quite frank, I have little time to waste on the trivialities that Malhotra’s opponents have published, such as the one by Sandip Roy at FirstPost on July 15th. “Not my monkey, not my circus” is my motto. Granted that the antics of the circular firing squad of flying attack monkeys (to borrow a phrase much favored by Prof Brad deLong) is an entertaining distraction but really, we do have real problems that need addressing. I will not waste time showing how vacuous their charge of plagiarism is. Others have done it. Malhotra has addressed charges, such as this one, “Rajiv Malhotra has a rejoinder to Andrew Nicholson” (July 18th) in NitiCentral. Besides there is no need to elevate their inane nonsense by actually quoting them.
So am I wasting time writing this? Not at all. My primary motivation is to express solidarity with the cause that Rajiv Malhotra has been tirelessly engaged in for decades. He is one among that rare breed of intellectuals who are willing to challenge the orthodoxy where it is substantially wrong; an orthodoxy that is slavishly and uncritically accepted by those whose minds are still colonized by a narrowly conceived Western narrative designed to denigrate and devalue Indian contribution to human knowledge and understanding. Malhotra provides the serious, intellectually sound, necessary corrective pushback to that worldview. Which naturally gores their precious goat. That partly explains their fury and their animosity towards Malhotra.
My secondary motive for writing this is my belief that public discussions should be accurate, honest, decent and intelligent. To oppose those with an agenda to poison the well of public discourse is a sacred duty to me. If we don’t speak out against what we perceive to be false and malicious, how will we discover what is true and valuable? I stand with Edmund Burke, the Irish statesman and philosopher, when he wrote in 1770, “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
The circular firing squad of flying attack monkeys has chosen Rajiv Malhotra as its target. We must note that the target is the man, not his theses, because the FAMs, having failed to counter his theses, have been reduced to firing specious charges of plagiarism at Malhotra. But indirectly, we are also targets of their random acts of senseless shootings. By not opposing them, we tacitly acquiesce to their implicit demand that we bow and obey their paymasters. (By using the word “paymasters” I grant them this much dignity that I don’t believe that they would so abjectly debase themselves without being paid for it.)
These charges against Malhotra is a distraction, a tiny scuffle in a minor battle that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the larger context of the civilizational war that we are forced to be in. I think I speak for a majority when I say that I’d like to be left alone, to live and to let live. But opposition to us and our civilizational ethos has been a historical reality. It is also historically true that those who oppressed India had the help of Indians. Indians are also involved in this petty attack against India, represented here by Malhotra. This batch of Indian flying attack monkeys will disband but there can be no doubt that new batches will form and new targets identified. That is as certain as the fact that ultimately we will prevail.
May Shri Rajiv Malhotra’s tribe increase. Or more accurately I should say may our tribe increase, since I too belong to it.
18 thoughts on “Circular Firing Squad of Flying Attack Monkeys Target Rajiv Malhotra”
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History or no history, life is an unmapped atlas which gets its maps based on our innate attributes, choices, beliefs, actions, reactions, thoughts, attitudes etc either as individuals or as a collective group with some identity, and it is our hands to make each one of these continents as great and as good as possible.
” God is UNITY but always works in VARIETY” RALPH W.EMERSON
Greatest contribution that one can make to the pride of ancestry is to not merely give hope for future but bequeath values, comforts, wisdom, wealth, happiness, great wisdom etc to posterity and be clear in mind that there is no use merely parading our past glory [though there are many documented, undocumented, purposely suppressed etc] while letting the present in constant worry. [1-read it last as foot note]
This is as bad as reacting to historic blunders with histrionic reactions.
“Saffronization” of history.
Let us first move away from these media appropriated and projected labels like ‘saffronization’ [O-orange] ejected very often by the greenhorns of red brigade [ R-red]. It is an intentional tool to divide with ideological label and paid media are master at that, perhaps only at that as if there are two contrasting groups like saffron versus secular, previously they were using communal versus secular and in the process they have distorted the meaning of all these words beyond any sane recognition by their meaningless usage. No one minds about main stream media’s Yellow Journalism [Y-yellow] but bringing to light what pure white hearted souls from all places and spheres have created the purple pages [V & I – Purple representing Violet and Indigo] of past glory through their contributions from dark ages agitates certain minds and they are green [G-green] with jealousy how come those whom they have labeled repeatedly as belonging to dark ages can become the blue-eyed [B-Blue] boys of rational perception across the globe and what has happened to the white wash done by centuries of political and academic hegemony? How come that white wash is revealing the hidden colors of VIBGYOR beneath that white ? We must break those prisms?
Coming to the main topic about history, there are, of course only limited ways of knowing truth of what happened or supposedly happened in the remote past like DNA studies, archeological samples, fossil genetic samples, architectural, cultural, literary works etc.
I still cannot understand terms like prehistoric times. What is meant by that?
Chronology, especially as used today was something which by itself is a comparatively recent discovery and adopted as a measuring tool of time for whatever it is worth, along with all the controversies involved in various methods of calculating time as such.
Is study of history or mythology important or relevant? Undoubtedly a big yes because at least we can learn to follow useful things and avoid great mistakes which have caused damage in various dimensions to everyone, everything and environment. http://contentwriteups.blogspot.in/2015/07/history-and-controversies.html http://contentwriteups.blogspot.in/2013/04/intellectual-property-rightspatents.html
Thank you mr. Dey and seriously may the tribe of truth seekers increase….
Thank you Mr. Dey. I have always been your admirer. And now I really am your fan. Really loved this post, especially this line – “I think I speak for a majority when I say that I’d like to be left alone, to live and to let live. But opposition to us and our civilizational ethos has been a historical reality”
Every word is true and educational. Thanks.
Great article and a beautiful closing line – “This is as certain as the fact that ultimately we will prevail”.
Honestly I felt good when these self-declared scholars jumped on Rajiv Malhotra. It really shows that he has been rattling their cages, challenging their narratives and making them feel the heat. Otherwise whenever I have attended Indology conferences and related events they often cite third rate scholars such as PN Oak as best scholars HIndu right wing could produce and then present and extremely one sided discourse.
People like Elst, Ram Swarup, Sita Ram Goel, Arun Shourie etc. had written wonderful work but when internet was not popular these marxist scholars successfully killed the growth of their ideas and books with the help of those in power.
I do not agree with Malhotra on several points but I think he is is actually the guy who has jumped into the ring and can not be ignored any more. Ordinary young people like me can now see an “alternate” view point.
May his tribe increase.
25 years ago, Rajiv Malhotra started investigating, researching,
writing, protesting and exposing this whole anti-Hindu gang in Western
Academia who were having a free ride in belittling and demonizing Indic
Civilzation, Culture and Dharma Traditions.
Rajiv Malhotra did not
start writing books to earn a Professorship or as a hobby to become
famous. The truth is, Mr. Malhotra closed his successful businesses at
the age 44 and has been fighting this war for the past 25 years,
spending million of dollars from his own pocket. His main aim was, is
and will remain to defend Dharma and expose all those unethical
academicians in Western Academia who were demonizing ‘everything Indian”
to show Indian Civilization in a bad light.
Western crooks in
academia are feeling the heat, are threatened that their dishonesty and
misdeeds are getting exposed day by day. Hence, they have started this
campaign to defame people like Mr. Malhotra and are trying to block
their research from publication.
Here is history of Westerners (outsiders) studying India and Indians:
How Western academia studies Indian Civilization, Sanskriti and Dharma
Traditions has its framework rooted in how and why the Europeans
“Outsiders” started studying Indians (‘insiders’) centuries ago. Here
is something to contemplate upon. “A friend of mine is Professor and
Head of the Department of Sanskrit at a major U.S. University, and a
world renowned Indologist. He is a white Caucasian American. He told me
something interesting,”The study of Indology was commissioned by the
early colonials with an explicitly stated and recorded two point agenda:
1) to prove to the Indians that we, the Christian Europeans, are
superior, 2) to understand the Indians better so that they could be
Since then, The resulting body of knowledge
about India, its History and culture, philosophy and its sciences, is
undeniably euro-centric, prejudiced, tampered, altered, and contains
too many instances of willful omissions, commissions, disinformation,
lies, half-truths all cleverly engineered to fulfill the two prime
directives outlined above.” – Dr. Krishna Kant Shukla.
may our tribe increase, since I too belong to it.
I don’t agree with many of Malhotra’s positions, but that is okay, there are still many areas that I agree with him. Those that resonate particularly with me are his take on atrocity literature by western media and how to handle them by using the same tactics against them as well, the monopolisation of thought and scholastic tradition of Indic studies in ‘the West’ and beyond by prejudiced parties etc.,.
However, looking at the Twitter stream I feel citations were due and leaving them out was mistake. Perhaps an admission of that nature would have prevented it? Or perhaps not.
You are right that his opponents are using this opportunity to tear him apart. What a good opportunity to those who do not agree with his “incisive arguments”. I don’t know any other that has been working for this cause as long as Malhotra and as visible as him. All the more reason to be careful about how to behave in this argument.
You aren’t Hindu. You are the other side of the argument – what has been and is intruding into the sacredness and integrity of Indic culture. What makes you think – why could you possibly – bother commenting on this? Why would we care to listen to anything you have to say on this?
As Sri Sri Sri said ‘flying monkey is bringing healing Mountain to all devotees’, yet number one traducer of Sri Sri Sri Sri, Atanu Dey, is seeking to bring flying monkeys into disrepute.
I do not dispute that Sri Sri Sri Rajiv Malhotra is flying monkey. Circular firing squad of flying monkeys is highly commended in our ancient Itihasa. Why ascribe inerrancy to the aim of arrow shooting flying monkeys? We are speaking of winged simians- an incompossible state of the Universe save by God’s grace.
Sri Sri Sri Sri Sri Sri has often said ‘I want to do soo-soo’ during his young age. Clearly soo-soo means Saussure. What is wrong if Sri Sri Sri Sri Rajiv Malhotra also does some Soo-soo?
He attended St. Stephen’s College and is as great an expert on Indology as Mani Shankar Iyer.
Mind it kindly.
in the mid/late 90s there were some Indians (mostly settled in the USA) who had started raising questions about the western representation of Indian culture. Subash Kak, David Frawley, George Fuerstein were some of those who had works published in this effort. But there were many more like S Kalyanaraman, Vishal Aggarwal, Koenraad Elst (and many names whom I have forgotten) who too raised the flag of defiance on the new medium which had given them a voice – the internet. Rajiv Malhotra at that time was also one of those. The old Indology list run out of London by Dominik Wujastik witnessed many a fiery skirmish/battle between established Indologists (western) and the new breed of Indians who wanted to represent their own culture. And at that time as now, there were always desi sepoys denigrating their own culture.
Jai ho !!! in Vivekananda’s words, one single message is “be fearless”…
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