[INDOLOGY] speaking of plagiarism

Robert Zydenbos zydenbos at uni-muenchen.de
Sun Jul 19 22:32:04 UTC 2015

koenraad.elst at telenet.be wrote:

>>Luis Gonzalez-Reimann wrote:
>>Regarding Malhotra and plagiarism, here is Andrew Nicholson's response
> to Malhotra's plagiarism of his book:
> http://scroll.in/article/742022/upset-about-rajiv-malhotras-plagiarism-even-more-upset-about-distortions-of-my-work
> <
> I am aware that not all people and not all lists care about hearing both
> sides of the story before forming their own opinion. Fortunately this is
> a scholarly list, where members cobsider it a matter of course to hear
> both sides. So you'll appreciate my furnishing the link to Malhotra's reply:
> http://swarajyamag.com/culture/dear-andrew-nicholson/

Okay, here is my conclusion after reading what both sides have to say --

It's amusing to see Mr Malhotra embarrass himself still further. He
sidetracks and fudges, with a lot of barely disguised ethnic innuendo,
and he claims Nicholson has copied from Indian informants -- no names
given, no quotes, no references to any writings, not even a detailed
description of just what our colleague Nicholson is supposed to have
copied; no concrete examples of where Nicholson has verbatim copied long
passages from the writings of Indian scholars (in which case those
scholars would have to complain about Nicholson, instead of Mr Malhotra
claiming the right to be above academic and journalistic mores).

"I challenge you [Nicholson] to disclose all your Indian teachers", Mr
Malhotra writes. This is grotesque. Let him rather tell us where
Nicholson has plagiarized whom, if he knows so well what he is talking
about. This kind of 'challenges' won't do.

The most absurd thing about this line of argumentation of course is that
a most vaguely presumed and unproven wrong by person A (Nicholson)
cannot justify a documented wrong by person B (Malhotra).

In all its aggressive vagueness, the piece seems to argue that there is
no such thing as plagiarism, or if there is, that Nicholson is a
plagiarist (as mentioned above: just a wild claim, no evidence given).
Also, very importantly, that Nicholson is a mere mleccha and not an
'adhikari', and therefore a self-proclaimed champion of Indian culture
like Malhotra believes he is allowed to do with Nicholson's (or others',
for that matter) writings as he likes.

If this pathetic clown's act is the best Mr Malhotra can do in his
defence, it more or less amounts to a confession that he was caught
red-handed. And if he presents this as a defence of Indian tradition and
learning (thereby implicitly insulting conscientious Indian scholars!)
against the evil white man to whom he refers in his fourth paragraph, he
is not really doing anyone a favour. He is merely being disgusting.

But I hope that he will soon (at least in our lifetime) bring out that
announced correspondence with "Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, to name
just a few" and expose their "secrets". (Maybe we should "challenge" him
to do that?) I suspect that we will all have a big laugh.


Prof. Dr. Robert J. Zydenbos
Institute of Indology and Tibetology
University of Munich

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