Once again ‘India as a Civilization’ under attack – This time by ‘American Orientalists’

By: Shreepal Singh and Ashutosh Agarwal
India is an ancient nation. India has an ancient culture. India has existed not much as a nation but as a civilization since time immemorial.
The essence of this civilization is comprised in its depth of understanding of the eternal questions that have bothered humanity since the beginning of their history, its universality, its endeavor towards a sublime – almost mystical to human mind – destination and its emphatic rejection of any and every narrow approach of a straitjacked-formula in dealing with these issues.
This Indian civilization has seen many assaults on its body and spirit in the past. In all such attacks, the vitality of this civilization has not only withstood the challenge successfully but has absorbed these foreign elements as its own by assigning them a proper place in its cosmos.
It is only for this reason alone that today in India Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Zoroastrians and many more are living peacefully and in harmony with each other. These diverse people and their diverse faiths are living here in India in more pristine manner than in some of those countries where these faiths form the national majority.
This India is a mini-world; this India is a crucible of mankind; this India is a miracle of humanity. And, for all this the credit goes to Indian civilization.
India as a civilization is under attack once again. And this time the attack comes from the ‘American Orientalism’.
What is the modus operandi – the methodology – adopted by the American Orientalists in assaulting Indian civilization? Let us understand the strategy of this attack. We can divide this modus operandi under two heads: 1. The Tactics (with our suggestions to counter this tactics); and 2. The Strategy (with our suggestions to counter this strategy):
The Tactics:
  1. American Orientalists are highly educated scholars. American Orientalists have done extensive Purva Paksha of the Indian- Thought, while Indians haven’t done Purva Paksha of the Western Thought.  
  2. American Orientalists employ Indian-Sepoys to do their biddings and carry forward this war on their behalf.  Examples of Indian-Sepoys recruited by these American Orientalists – or the Invaders of the Sacred – include people like Ananya Vajpayee. These Sepoys are trained by American Orientalists and work – and paid – in various Universities and academia – Social Science,  Anthropology departments etc.
  3. India is the biggest consumer of Western Siddhantas (i.e. social theories). China / Japan / Islamic world have their own Siddhanta, India doesn’t have. Instead, India relies on the Western thought.
  4. India supplies so many sepoys due to mental slavery. Britishers fought 111 wars in India using Indian sepoys while they couldn’t raise even a single regiment in China.
  5. There are plenty of Orthodox Hindus who are well versed in Indian thought but they lack Purva Paksha – they do not know anything about the Western Thought. Most of them are well-intentioned but some are bought over by American Orientalists. Many orthodox Hindus ask typical questions like “Why is Rajiv doing it”, “Who is he”, “Why we need to worry about Westerners.”
  6. There are many Peetham (i.e. Hindu organizations or institutions) like AOL, Acharya Dharma Sabha etc. and some of them are supporting the Rajiv’s work while some are not. Many a time, these Western Indologists use ‘Hindu’ leaders to attack Rajiv Malhotra and all those Indologists who try to carry forward the Indian civilization and try to expose the malicious attacks of these Westerners.
  7. In India there is a phenomenon, which may be called”Murthy Syndrome” (NRN Murthy is picked up only as an example and it is not a personal attack on him). Murty is a clean, honest businessman. But he is funding in domain (i.e. Sheldon Pollock for Sanskrit Studies) outside his expertise and he is avoiding getting into the details.  This is a very risky and foolish proposition because his funds end up supporting work that’s inimical to Dharma.
The Strategy:

1. ‘Secularization’ – The objective is the removal of Shraddha / Sacredness from the study of sacred books and the language in which they are written. This takes the life away from Sanskrit. It’s like converting a Murthi into merely an idol /stone or converting Temple into mere architectural building.

2. American Orientalists seeks to secularize Sanskrit. This is the first one out of many other ways to attack Sanskrit. The second one is: calling Sanskrit as the dead (or Classical) language. The third one is: calling Sanskrit as a socially oppressive literary tool that had/has ensured the glorification of the ‘High and Up’ classes as against the common people. This oppressiveness of Sanskrit language is explained away by American Orientalists like Sheldon Pollock etc. by applying a Western philosophical theory called ‘Estheticization’ propounded by Vico, a native of Italy. The fourth one is: positioning of Sanskrit against other Vernacular Indian languages etc.

3. Under this strategical assault, India suffers from ‘Wonder Solider Syndrome of Hindus’.  No army in the world leaves behind a wounded soldier in the war. If they do, they’ll never win as the morale of the remaining soldiers will be badly hit. But Hindus abandon their fellow Hindus under attack. When Rajiv Malhotra was attacked last year by the Western cabals, most of the prominent Hindu leaders/intellectuals/spiritual organizations heads refused to support him publicly, though many of them had benefited from Rajiv’s work. Fortunately, a handful of Hindu intellectuals supported him and this resulted in his victory. These American Orientalists launched a campaign against Rajiv Malhotra accusing him of plagiarism from these Western writers. They wrote to prominent American book publishers persuading/requesting them not to publish Rajiv’s forthcoming book; they flooded Twitter with troll slandering Rajiv. But Rajiv won and his book “The Battle for Sanskrit” is published. The purpose of this attack was to see that the book of Rajiv is not published. Rajiv specifically mentioned the name of Madhu Kishwar who had supported him.

4. Character Building by Team Sports – Americans teach values by American football. These values are leadership, strategy, Team spirit, coordination, dedication towards goal etc. Hindus totally fail in this respect and they need to learn such team work, strategy and leadership.

5. Ravan comes as Sadhu – Do not be fascinated by the white skin. It means ‘Do not go by nice gestures, nice words, superficial praise of Indian culture by American Orientalists’. Rather go behind their words, look at what they intend to achieve and understand their deeper intellectual positions on Indian civilization, its values and its sacredness. Don’t be in awe of their personality but focus on their work.

6. During Colonial times, Britishers setup 21 colleges in UK to train their officers before sending them to India to rule This is the level of Purva Paksha of Indian-Thought that they have been doing for the last 200 years.

7. Over 5,00,000 original manuscripts of Sanskrit or Indian text lies outside India. Some of it went out during colonial rule, some even after it i.e. during PL480. During PL 480 program, Indian government paid in INR (Indian Rupees) for food grain. The government said that foreigners can buy things that doesn’t devalue Indian Currency. A large portion of this money was used to buy these manuscripts.

And, now a few suggestions to meet the challenge:

1. While engaging with them ‘Do not attack them personally, do not become a rabble-rouser. Learn intellectual issues and counter them calmly, factually and logically’.
2. Do NOT be over-opinionated and under-informed.
3. Give Uttar Paksha ONLY after Purva Paksha.
4. No ego. Do not get offended.
5. No shortcuts but require long Tapasya i.e. years of hard work. No ‘express’ tapasya. No one liners. Complex ideas cannot be expressed in 140 characters.
6. Adhyatmic / meditation / have Shraddha – this allows one to be creative, calm and unperturbed at deeper level.
7. TAPASYA – serious scholarly study of all viewpoints. Examples, every time you read Bhagwat Gita, you get new insight and new learning.
8. Action Oriented – Get into the Kurukshetra – the intellectual war-theator.

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