[INDOLOGY] AAIS - in reaction to

Koenraad Elst koenraad.elst at gmail.com
Sun Jun 30 17:45:23 UTC 2019

Dear Arthur,

In asking for the AAIS opinion, you are, I surmise, angling for the
Hindu activist opinion. "Hindutva", some would even say. Well, the
AAIS is only in the start-up phase and has to my knowledge not
provided any comment. However, as I happen to be acquainted with the
book's publisher, I do know a few things about the book and its
reception in Hindu circles. Top scholar of Buddhism (formerly also
Rajya Sabha member for the Congress Party) Lokesh Chandra is rather
negative about it, calling it bad history.

If the summary of the book that I have is correct, it apparently says
that ultimately the Hindu Pandits are to blame for the decline of
Buddhism. But fact is that Nalanda and several other Buddhist
universities were still flourishing in 1193, when an invader force
levelled them and their inmates, after some 17 centuries in the midst
of Hindu rule. Therefore, the few Hindus who know their stuff are
going to object that it is just another instance of the hostile
Western version, with the paradigm of "Hinduism bad, Buddhism good",
and with the projection "Jesus/Pharisees = Buddha/Brahmins", or
"Luther/Popery = Buddha/Brahmins". That is certainly what you will get
to read in reviews in online pro-Hindu papers like Swarajya,
IndiaFacts, MyIndia, Pragyata, maybe the paper Pioneer, provided they
care to publish a review.

Given the lack of reading culture in Hindu circles, few will go
through the book's many pages. If somehow it reaches them, politicians
including BJP men will not utter any objections on contents provided
it comes with the necessary status. Compare, St Thomas' landing in
Kerala in +51 is certainly a myth (usually accompanied by the
anti-Brahmin blood libel that he was murdered by Brahmins in Chennai),
yet they all religiously repeat it, no matter how the few Hindu
intellectuals object.

Hope this helps.

Dr. K. Elst

On Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 6:04 PM Artur Karp via INDOLOGY
<indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Giovanni Verardi's 2018 "THE GODS AND THE HERETICS. Crisis and ruin of Indian Buddhism" --- ?
> Critical reactions/opinions expressed on the AAIS discussion fora?  Are there any?
> Regards,
> Artur Karp, Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit and Pali (ret.)
> Department of South Asian Studies (Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw)
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