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Thread: Rajiv Malhotra "Battle for Sanskrit" - Book Discussion

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    Rajiv Malhotra "Battle for Sanskrit" - Book Discussion

    Namaste all,

    I wonder how many people who peruse this forum have read The Battle for Sanskrit by Indian journalist and author Rajiv Malhotra. It's a book about British/American Orientalism and how it's affected Western perceptions and study of Sanskrit. Indeed, Mr. Malhotra makes the case that an inherent Hinduphobia among many (though certainly not all) Western Indologists has tainted the study of Sanskrit in some ways.

    I have had the honor of receiving a review copy of the book from the author. While I have not finished reading it yet (it's a long book clocking in at over 400 pages), I've written a "first impressions" style of review over at my blog:

    http://light-club.blogspot.com/2016/...-sanskrit.html

    I would love to know people's opinions of the book here. And of course what people here think of what I have written on it so far.

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    Re: Rajiv Malhotra "Battle for Sanskrit" - Book Discussion

    Namaste,

    Your 'first impressions' are interesting. After reading more of the book, do you have anything else to share?

    Pranam.

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    Re: Rajiv Malhotra "Battle for Sanskrit" - Book Discussion

    Namaste ..

    I am reading Battle for Sanskrit (BfS) after reading Being Different (BD) and have Indra's Net (IN) lined up ..

    BfS follows BD in that Malhotra confronts the hegemony that Western academia creates for itself. I can understand his position.

    Having been engaged with Western academia as a Westerner I too confronted the establish Western hegemony whilst studying Theology at post graduate level. The result was I walk away from academic study realising that it is not concerned with the subject matter, that is, theology, but concerned in maintaining the incumbent positions and status of resident professors et. al. They, the establishment and their protege, maintain their position by producing papers which are directed at their own cohort with the purpose that any discussion and debate ensures that they receive the upmost attention from other Western academics. A closed loop. It is a matter of smoke and mirrors.

    For instance, theology, the study of God, is not actually about God, but about the study about talking about God. God is effectely left out of the whole exercise. Thus the Western studies about India and Hindus is not about India and Hindus but about talking about India and Hindus in academic land.

    This is the point Malhotra makes consistently with the added emphasis that the Western academic exercise is designed to maintain control over 'knowledge' and hence what is known as 'truth'. This is particularly important for countries like India. Essentially, what Western academia is doing is constraining how the people of India think about themselves without first running through the Western pipeline. It is yet another form of colonialism .. neo-colonialism.

    In BfS, Malhotra is concern is with how one academic, Pollock, uses his academic position to tell Hindus how Sanskrit is really a form of social control which essential came to India via Buddhism because India was so backward it did not really understand what the Vedas were actually all about.

    This patronising and condescending attitude reeks with Western racist agendas of which I am ashamed and deplore along with others.

    For me, Malhotra does a really excellent job in that his defence is so comprehensive that as a Westerner I actually learn more about Hindu culture from his than from many other sources. Malhotra is an excellent writer and covers the ground studiously and earnestly leaving no stone unturned.
    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=2603&dateline=1299563544

    Not all those who wander are lost

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    Re: Rajiv Malhotra "Battle for Sanskrit" - Book Discussion

    Namaste pineblossom,

    Thank you for taking the time to read and to meditate on Mr. Malhotra's writings. You have encapsulated the current Western thinking so well in your post. There is no point in taking the blame for the whole group and feeling ashamed as long as you see and understand what is going on with the control of minds of Indian intellectuals in defining Hinduism. It is a shame that many of us still accept the colonial mentality and seek validation of everything from the West before we adopt it in our thinking.

    Pranam.

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