[INDOLOGY] MCLI / Pollock Petition

Ananya Vajpeyi vajpeyi at csds.in
Tue Mar 1 16:00:07 UTC 2016

It's possible that from some perspective (principally Malhotra's own), he
is, as you so vividly put it "the elephant in the room". Alas there are no
scholars of South Asian languages, history, texts, traditions or classics
in that room to notice or ignore this elephant.

As for Swarajya and Open and Bibek Debroy, you forget that unlike most
people on this list I actually live in India. The political affiliations of
the current owners and editors and contributors of these publications, and
Mr. Debroy's closeness to the government and the Prime Minister, are not
mysterious or hidden facts. I'm inclined to take such reviews with, how to
put it, a pinch of saffron.

I hadn't heard about Niti Central's closure. Thanks for that information.
Goes to show that it wasn't really central enough for anyone to notice that
it had gone out of business.

The long list of event venues and sponsoring eminences you provide has no
bearing on Malhotra's failure to explain his habits of plagiarizing,
cannibalizing, distorting, misunderstanding and misrepresenting other
people's scholarship, nor can they disguise the fact that like the Emperor
who had no clothes, Rajiv Malhotra has no argument -- nothing of substance,
nothing meaningful with which to entice the scholarly community into any
kind of engagement with him.

One can only hope that he derives some comfort from the manufactured
consent and paid loyalty of the petition signatories in their thousands.

Ananya Vajpeyi.

On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, Nityanand Misra <nmisra at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear list,
> While Niti Central (which recently shut down) and Swarajya are certainly
> pro-right/conservative magazines (just like The Hindu is
> left-leaning/liberal), but to describe them as ‘propaganda’ would be an
> exaggeration, just like calling The Hindu as ‘communist’ or ‘Chinese
> mouthpiece’ would be (in fact, the Friends of Tibet society actually calls
> The Hindu ‘a mouthpiece of the Chinese communist party’, this was covered
> by Pradip Ninan Thomas in his book ‘Negotiating Communication Rights: Case
> Studies from India’). In a recent article, the Financial Times described
> the Swarajya magazine as ‘conservative’.[1] Even Sreenivasan Jain, a
> journalist with the NDTV (whose political leaning are no secret), described
> the Niti Central as a ‘right-wing site’ in an article in 2013.[2]
> As for Mr. Rajiv Malhotra’s latest book, it has already received attention
> in India, in both the academic sphere and outside, way beyond websites like
> Niti Central and Swarajya. I shared a link to the review of the book by
> Bibek Debroy in the moderate/centrist OPEN Magazine. The book carries a
> quote by Prof. Arvind Sharma (Birks Professor of Comparative Religion,
> McGill University) on its front cover. It has earned praise from
> Mahamahopadhyay Dayananda Bhargava (renowned Sanskrit scholar), S. R. Bhatt
> (Chairman of ICPR), K. Ramasubramanian (Sanskrit scholar and signatory #1
> on the MCLI petition), Roddam Narasimha (aerospace scientist), and Dilip
> Chakrabarti (Professor Emeritus, Cambridge) among others. Some leading
> educational institutes in India which have hosted Mr Malhotra since January
> include the JNU, Ramakrishna Mission (Chennai), Vedic Gurukulam (Bidadi),
> Art of Living Ashram (Bangalore), Chinmaya Mission, IIT Bombay, TISS, IIT
> Madras, and Karnataka Sanskrit University.
> As for attention outside the world of scholars, Mr. Malhotra's book was
> launched by very well-known personalities: Subhash Chandra (Chairman of the
> pro-right Zee Media) in Mumbai, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (eminent spiritual
> leader and humanitarian) in Bengaluru, and Dr. Najma Akbarali Heptulla
> (Minority Affairs Minister, Government of India) in Delhi. Prominent
> journalists and authors who have discussed his book include Madhu Kishwar
> (pro-right academic and author), Amish Tripathi (best-selling author), and
> T. V. Mohandas Pai (Chairman, Manipal Global Education).
> I need not add that the book is selling well (it is a category bestseller
> on Amazon India) and Harper Collins would be happy with their investment.
> I doubt if all this attention can be ‘staged’ or ‘managed’. There is an
> elephant in the room. Love him or hate him, Mr. Malhotra is becoming too
> notable to ignore.
> Regards, Nityanand
> [1] Amy Kazmim (February 21 2016) India divided over right to political
> freedom. Financial Times.
> [2] Sreenivasan Jain (June 29 2016). Response to Niti Central article on
> NDTV's Ishrat Jahan report. NDTV.
> On Mar 1, 2016 12:13 AM, "Ananya Vajpeyi" <vajpeyi at csds.in
> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','vajpeyi at csds.in');>> wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> As many on this list including Dominik Wujastyk, Matthew Kapstein, Madhav
>> Deshpande and Tyler Williams, among others, have pointed out, the petition
>> to remove Professor Pollock from the General Editorship of the Murty
>> Classical Library of India suffers from either a deliberate or a genuine
>> misreading of his writings and lectures. Moreover it is motivated not just
>> by his vocal stand in favour of the freedom of expression and the right to
>> dissent in India and elsewhere reiterated numerous times of late, but also
>> by a desire on the part of the sponsors and writers of this petition to
>> generate some sliver of scholarly attention for Rajiv Malhotra's new book,
>> The Battle for Sanskrit.
>> Apart from being a plagiarist, Malhotra is no scholar of anything, least
>> of all Indology or Sanskrit. (I'm not even sure if any book by him can be
>> accurately described as "new", given his record of plagiarism). His entire
>> strategy of calling attention to his publications, such as they are, is to
>> make ad hominem attacks on bona fide scholars, especially Professor
>> Pollock, and now almost exclusively him (though others of us have been
>> collateral damage in the past).
>> In my view, Malhotra's latest book deserves not one minute of our time,
>> and is best left to rightwing propaganda publications like Swarajya, Niti
>> Central and other blogs, newspapers etc. of that ilk to review (or not).
>> It's an echo chamber of Hindutva paranoia and self-congratulation,
>> untouched by scholarship. Why spoil their party?
>> As for the 10,000 signatures on the petition, these things are easily
>> managed by the cyber-machinery of the Sangh Parivar. Not for nothing are
>> there entire dedicated cells of trolls and bots whose job it is to swell
>> the numbers, as it were, merely the digital reflection of a larger ideology
>> of majoritarianism at work.
>> I am assured by the concerned editors at Harvard University Press and by
>> Professor Pollock himself that HUP and Harvard's legal and PR departments
>> are well placed to handle this kind of -- well, whatever you want to call
>> it -- provocation, irritation, distraction, or incitement. We really need
>> not worry our heads engaging with these people as though they might
>> actually know something about the classics, of any language, whether of
>> early or modern South Asia.
>> Goodness knows we all have enough on our plates, with JNU and other
>> public universities and their students across India in dire need of our
>> material and moral support at a moment of real political crisis.
>> In solidarity, and urging us all to #StandwithJNU,
>> Yours,
>> Ananya Vajpeyi.
>> --
>> *Ananya Vajpeyi, PhD *
>> *Associate Fellow*
>> *Centre for the Study of Developing Societies*
>> *29 Rajpur Road, Civil Lines*
>> *New Delhi 110054*
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*Ananya Vajpeyi, PhD *
*Associate Fellow*
*Centre for the Study of Developing Societies*
*29 Rajpur Road, Civil Lines*
*New Delhi 110054*
*e: vajpeyi at csds.in <vajpeyi at csds.in>*
*ext: 229*




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