[INDOLOGY] Tagore, Aurobindo, and Malhotra

Al Collins nasadasin at gmail.com
Sun Jul 26 21:19:36 UTC 2015

Dear list,

I do not wish to belabor this point further, but Dr. Zydenbos has
misunderstood it once again and so I assume it
needs clarification. Otherwise, I agree with him that our business is at an

The main thrust of my argument has been that we need to contextualize
Malhotra within a post-colonial discourse or psychological/cultural
struggle that is far larger than the individual projects of one wealthy
diasporic Indian. And also broader than the question of plagiarism. In
comparing Malhotra's situation to that of Tagore, Aurobindo, et al, I mean
only to suggest that all of these persons were struggling to extract an
authentic Indian vision of life from its entrapment within a
Christian/European perspective that radically misunderstood (even while at
times idealizing) it. It is not controversial to note that Indology has at
times been part of this misunderstanding. Malhotra's concepts of
"digestion" of Indian ideas by the West, and the need to "reverse gaze" are
not new to him, and have been explored by Indian intellectuals and artists
since the beginning of the Bengali Renaissance. (They are in various ways
also issues for other colonized cultures.) Perhaps Malhotra is only a twig
on the tree where Aurobindo and Tagore are massive branches, but still it
is the same organism to which they all belong.

Al Collins

Al Collins, Ph.D., Ph.D.


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