Anything can be covered with profanity, with surprising ease. A practice, a way of life that nurtures the sublimest of heart and intellect the world has known, with uncanny regularity, is routinely mocked at by protoganists of cultures that barely understand and have seldom practiced the fundamentals of the way with any rigour. Rajiv Malhotra’s comeback in response is not too soon.
The author writes : “… a powerful counterforce within the American Academy is systematically undermining core icons and ideals of Indic Culture and thought. For instance, scholars of this counterforce have disparaged the Bhagavad Gita as “a dishonest book”; declared Ganesha’s trunk a “limp phallus”; classified Devi as the “mother with a penis” and Shiva as “a notorious womanizer” who incites violence in India; pronounced Sri Ramakrishna a pedophile who sexually molested the young Swami Vivekananda; condemned Indian mothers as being less loving of their children than white women; and interpreted the bindi as a drop of menstrual fluid and the “ha” in sacred mantras as a woman’s sound during orgasm.”
The book deliberates upon pertinent issues : Are these isolated instances of ignorance or links in an institutionalized pattern of bias driven by certain civilizational worldviews ?
Are these academic pronouncements based on evidence, and how carefully is this evidence cross-examined? How do these images of India and Indians created in the American Academy influence public perceptions through the media, the education system, policymakers and popular culture ?
Adopting a politically impartial stance, the work unravels a well-researched response informing us of the invisible networks behind frequent instances of Hinduphobic behaviour in American academe and of challenges to Indian diaspora at responding to such well-publicised ‘ scholarship.’
The book hopes to provoke serious debate. For example : How current Hinduphobic works resemble earlier American literature depicting non-whites as dangerous savages needing to be civilized by the West ?
Are India’s internal social problems going to be managed by foreign interventions in the name of human rights ?
How do power imbalances and systemic biases affect the objectivity and quality of scholarship ?
What are the rights of practitioner-experts in “talking back” to academicians ?
What is the role of India’s intellectuals, policymakers and universities in fashioning an authentic and enduring response ?
Invading The Sacred can be downloaded from http://rajivmalhotra.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Invading-the-Sacred-Final.pdf for free …