Crushing Defeat of Hindutva attempts to saffronize Californian textbooks

Jan E.M. Houben j_e_m_houben at YAHOO.COM
Fri Mar 10 16:09:35 UTC 2006

Dear Michael, 
I am probably not the only one to have now become
very much interested to see this "balanced
depiction of life in ancient India" and enjoy its
"historical accuracy" ... Where can this
California textbook be seen / ordered? On many
points the new description must be better than
the earlier HEF-VF version. 

However, I do have some doubts on ancient India's
"polytheism" (your previous message) which seems
to be not less a one-sided (and hence inclomplete
and incorrect) description of the situation than
exclusive monotheism. 

If I am not mistaken some sophisticated
'theistic' systems with a single highest god (or
God) (various brands of theistic Vedanta, ancient
;Saiva and ancient Vai.s.nava sects) have been
around in India for centuries and perhaps
millennia, apart from polytheistic and even
atheistic systems (anii;svara Saamkhya). Don't
even Christianity, Judaism and Islam have their
angels / powers apart from their "highest God"
without becoming polytheisms ? The term
'polytheism' has anyway its own specific history
(the hellenized Jew Philo of Alexandria used it
to refer polemically to the non-Jewish religions
of antiquity) which may not make it the most
suitable term to describe Hinduism (or even only
ancient Hinduism, Brahmanism or Vedism).  

Jan Houben

Jan E.M. Houben,
Directeur d'Etudes,
Sources et Histoire de la Tradition Sanskrite
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes,
A la Sorbonne,
45-47, rue des Ecoles,
75005 Paris -- France. 
J_E_M_Houben at

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