[INDOLOGY] Malhotra and plagiarism

Robert Zydenbos zydenbos at uni-muenchen.de
Sat Jul 25 10:11:19 UTC 2015

Dear Dr. Collins,

(I do not know why you placed McKim Marriott and another person in the
"Cc" line of your post – to make me an object of anthropological
enquiry? Anyhow, welcome aboard, and here goes:)

Al Collins wrote:

> Dear Dr. Zydenbos,
> Tricks of memory are not a joke, nor are they fringe psychology. [...]

I do not doubt that memory can play tricks; but you are actually asking
us, in the face of the quite hard evidence to the contrary (which I have
already given, in the same post to which you refer. I assume you have
read it), to believe that Mr Malhotra's plagiarism is such a 'trick of
memory'. This suggests that you have very little respect for the
intelligence of your readers.

> You characterize Malhotra as a “pamphleteer,” thus assigning him to
> the lowest rank of journalism, but still you make my point by
> understanding that he does not pretend to be a scholar.

(1) Faulty conclusion (my appreciation of his writings is one thing,
what he pretends to be or not to be is something else). (2) Even if he
pretends to be, e.g., a grocer or a dentist, that would be irrelevant.

> Malhotra’s task was far larger (apparently he had only himself to
> check facts)

Excuse me, but what does that mean? (That he is not sure of facts? That
he need not check facts?) I only have myself, and I assume this goes for
most persons reading these lines.

> Clearly his own writings are filled with errors of fact and
> interpretation. I gave up writing to him several years ago because he
> never seemed able to listen to my criticisms.

Very good. And yet you take him seriously and demand that I, or all of
us, respect him?

> You  found an embarrassing  little blurb I wrote four years ago for
> Malhotra, [...]

(Actually, it was sent to me.)

> I got carried away I see, and the blurb is one-sided in a way that I
> hope my current posts are not.  Still, it is rather insulting to
> suggest, as you do, that my past job teaching East/West psychology at
> CIIS makes me financially indebted to Malhotra, since he has given
> that institution money!

If you disagree with your earlier assessment of Malhotra's writing and
find it embarrassing, you can perhaps request him to remove it from his
website. Who knows, he may oblige, though he obviously finds the
"embarrassing little blurb" and the connection to that institute to be
of value. Have you told him why you find it embarrassing?

Your defence of Malhotra (“cryptomnesia” etc.) is so counter-rational
and so clearly tolerant of injustice, that one naturally wonders about
its reasons. As for "irrespective of how friendly the California
Institute of Integral Studies and Malhotra’s Infinity Foundation are or
how much or little money flowed", I will leave it to persons who know
the nature of the relationship between the Institute and the Foundation
better to decide to what extent Malhotra's financing has undermined the
rationality and academic standards that one would like to see in scholars.

No, I am not claiming that you are "financially indebted". I am saying
that there is an indication of an amicable relationship, however
constituted, that may explain both your "embarrassing little blurb" and
that equally embarrassing bit (not four years old, but fresh, and
repeated) about "cryptomnesia". Your defence and glorification of
Malhotra (if Nobel Prize awardee Tagore, to whom you refer and who to my
knowledge was no plagiarist, were buried, he would be turning in his
grave) is embarrassing in any case, irrespective of whatever ties or
feelings of obligation you or any institution with which you have or had
dealings may or may not have had to him.

> My point, which  I am afraid the tone of your response exemplifies, is
> that Malhotra has brought out the “plague” in us.  

And what does that mean? Does "plague" mean "identifying plagiarism"? Or
"identifying systematic misrepresentation and vilification"?

> Malhotra has little respect, that is true, but I do not sense in your
> post much respect for me, Koneraad Elst or—horrors—Malhotra himself. 

Respect is something that I fundamentally give every person, until and
unless the person behaves in such a manner that s/he loses my respect,
partly or wholly. My memory does not trick me concerning an on-list
confrontation between me and Mr Malhotra already several years ago.
Since then I have been one of his straw men and whipping-boys
(propagandists need those), and he has systematically misrepresented me
in the same manner as others of his ilk do. They do this for reasons
best known to themselves.

I shall decide whom I will or will not respect, thank you. I am free not
to respect Malhotra if he calls me "anti-Hindu", for which he has no
justification. (Well, probably he has, something on the level of his now
internationally famous absence of quotation marks in Sanskrit, for which
the columnist in The Hindu called him "illiterate". By which I mean: he
surely has no justification that can be taken seriously.)

> The Times of India piece presents a balanced view of this mutual
> vilification,

Times of India? (I don't recall any such piece from the Times of India
being discussed here. I find no reference either. Or maybe my checking
of facts was sloppy, because I have only myself? <grin> )

‘To vilify’, according to Webster’s New World dictionary (I checked the
fact, even though I had only myself!), means to defame, and to defame
means ‘to attack or injure the [...] honor of by false and malicious
statements’. If I, or anybody here on this list, has made factually
false statements about Mr Malhotra, then please point them out.

Malhotra defames / vilifies me when he calls me an "anti-Hindu person".
That is where I draw a line. No respect for him any more. Zero. Unless
he apologizes publicly and in a big, unambiguous way (but as long as he
thinks he needs his straw men and whipping-boys, he surely won't).

I think this matter with you, Dr. Collins Ph.D., Ph.D., is closed. And
now I am going to enjoy my weekend.


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