Wendy insultingwesternscholarship
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Wendy Doniger's book is an insult to Western scholarship

Wendy Doniger's book is an insult to Western scholarship

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Wendy insultingwesternscholarship Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Wendy Doniger’s bookis an insult towestern scholarship
    S. KalyanaramanSarasvati Research Center
    31 March 2011
    kalyan97@gmail.com
    1
  • 2. Petition Signatures as of 10 Jan. 2011As concerned readers, we ask PENGUIN GROUP to: 1. WITHDRAW all the copies of this book immediately from the worldwide bookshops/markets/Universities/Libraries and refrain from printing any other edition. 2. APOLOGIZE for having published this book “The Hindus: An Alternative History”. This book seriously and grossly misrepresents the Hindu reality as known to the vast numbers of Hindus and to scholars of Hindu tradition. PENGUIN must apologize for failure to observe proper pre-publication scrutiny and scholarly review. 
    March 31, 2011
    2
  • 3. Why the petition?
    • Doniger indulges in blasphemy
    • 4. Throughout the book, Doniger analyzes revered Hindu Gods and Goddess using her widely discredited psychosexual Freudian theories, resulting in speculations
    • 5. Judeo-Christian faith gets used to dish out voyeurism and the tradition gets eroticized. 
    March 31, 2011
    3
  • 6. Factual errors, anachronisms
    Pg. 67 - It is claimed that the entire Harappan culture had a population of 40,000! COMMENT: This is estimated as the population of Mohenjo-Daro alone. The population of the entire culture is estimated around 500,000.
    Pg 112 - Wheat is mentioned as a food item in the Rigvedic period. COMMENT: Wheat is not mentioned in the Rigveda at all. It first occurs in the MaitrayaniSamhita of the Yajurveda. 
    March 31, 2011
    4
  • 7. Factual errors, anachronisms
    Pg 130 - The author claims that there are no Gods in the Vedas who are Shudras. COMMENT: It is anachronistic to assign castes to Rigvedic deities, but nevertheless, Pushan, Vesmapati and others have been considered Shudra deities in later times. 
    Pg 194 fn.- Gandhi's commentary on the Gita (a sacred Hindu scripture) was titled 'Asakti Yoga' (translated as ‘the science of deep attachment’). COMMENT: The title of Gandhi’s work is 'Anasakti Yoga' (trans. ‘Science of non-Attachment’). 
    March 31, 2011
    5
  • 8. Factual errors, anachronisms
    Pg 441 - The book claims that Firoz Shah redeemed a number of Hindu slaves… COMMENT: A misrepresentation of the fact that he employed (not ‘redeemed’) 12,000 of his 180,000 slaves forcibly in royal factories for producing articles of consumption by Muslim elites. No “manumission” was involved. 
    Pg 459 - King Ala-ud-din Husain of Bengal patronized Saint Chaitanya. COMMENT: Saint Chaitanya never met the king, and left his kingdom to avoid persecution, as did his disciples. The king had destroyed Hindu temples in Orissa. 
    March 31, 2011
    6
  • 9. Factual errors, anachronisms
    Pg 537-8 - The Sikh teacher Guru Govind Singh was assassinated in 1708, while 'attending Emperor Aurangzeb'. Emperor Aurangzeb died in 1707. COMMENT: Guru Gobind Singh was assassinated in 1708 during the reign of Aurangzeb’s successor, Emperor Bahadur Shah I. It is insulting to say that the Guru was ‘attending’ on the Emperor. 
    Pg 550 - The book claims that Mirabai lived from 1498-1597, and then on p. 568, the author claims that Mirabai lived from 1450-1525! COMMENT: Both dates are wrong and the commonly accepted dates are 1498-1547. 
    March 31, 2011
    7
  • 10. Factual errors, anachronisms
    Section on Bibliography: “Shekhawat, V. “Origin and Structure of purushartha Theory: An attempt at Critical Appraisal.” Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 7:1 (1900), 63-67.” COMMENT:The correct issue and year of this Journal issue are actually 8:2 and 1991. The bibliography has dozens of errors. Some references cited by Doniger simply do not exist.
    Doniger should get a C+ for sloppy editing.
    Not a good role model for graduate students. 
    March 31, 2011
    8
  • 11. Denigration of Hinduism
    Doniger uses selective quotations from obscure and non-original, peripheral and ignorant references with a bizarre emphasis on sexuality and eroticism.
    Pg 40 – “If the motto of Watergate was ‘Follow the money’, the motto of the history of Hinduism could well be ‘Follow the monkey’ or, more often ‘Follow the horse’.” COMMENT: Very derogatory and offensive. The motto of Hinduism is to follow the truth and unite with God. 
    March 31, 2011
    9
  • 12. Denigration of Hinduism
    Pg 112 - The author alleges that in Rigveda 10.62, it is implied that a woman may find her own brother in her bed! COMMENT: The hymn has no such suggestion. It is offensive to suggest that the sacred text of Hindus has kinky sex in it. 
    Pg 128 - The book likens the Vedic devotee worshipping different Vedic deities to a lying and a philandering boyfriend cheating on his girlfriend(s). COMMENT: This is offensive and ignores that fact that in the Rigveda, the gods are said to be all united, born of one another, and from the same source. 
    March 31, 2011
    10
  • 13. Denigration of Hinduism
    Pg 225 -“Dasharatha’s son is certainly ‘lustful’... Rama knows all too well what people said about Dasharatha; when Lakshmana learns that Rama has been exiled, he says, “The king is perverse, old, and addicted to sex, driven by lust (2.18.3)” COMMENT: Sri Rama is revered and worshipped as a deity. The highly acclaimed and critical edition of Valmiki’s Ramayana records no such statement attributed to Lakshmana. An imagined phrase, 'kama-sakta' is mistranslated as 'addicted to sex' by the author whereas it normally means ‘filled with desires’. Valmiki uses a phrase 'samani-madhah' (trans. Possessed of passion). 
    March 31, 2011
    11
  • 14. Denigration of Hinduism
    Pg 468-469 -“…The mosque, whose serene calligraphic and geometric contrasts with the perpetual motion of the figures depicted on the temple, makes a stand against the chaos of India, creating enforced vacuums that India cannot rush into with all its monkeys and peoples and colors and the smells of the bazaar…” COMMENT: It is simply unacceptable that a scholar can flippantly, pejoratively and derogatorily essentialize the Hindus as “monkeys and peoples, colors and smells.., and chaos” in most insulting manner with the aspersion thrown at the entire Hindu culture and community all over the world. Such generalization has no place in serious scholarly work. 
    March 31, 2011
    12
  • 15. Denigration of Hinduism
    Pg 509 - ”Shankara and the philosopher’s wife…This tale contrasts sex and renunciation in such a way that the renunciant philosopher is able to have his cake and eat it, to triumph not only in the world of the mind (in which, before this episode begins, he wins a series of debates against the nonrenouncing male Mimamsa philosopher) but in the world of the body, represented by the philosopher’s wife (not to mention the harem women who clearly prefer Shankara to the king in bed).” The author attributes the tale to Shankaradigvijaya of Madhava and to Ravichandra's commentary on Amarushataka. COMMENT: The author concocts the story as a sexual orgy in which the Saint AdiShankara and King Amruka take turns making love to the latter’s wives after he is tired. Both her sources however state that the King was already dead and the Saint transferred his soul into the dead King’s body through his yogic powers. There is no suggestion in the texts that the queens ‘prefer Shankara to the king in bed’. 
    March 31, 2011
    13
  • 16. An Alternative History?
    No, it is an alternative sex manual, forcing readers to see sex everywhere.
    Clear intent to defame Hinduism.
    The book misinforms readers about the history of Hindu civilization, its cultures and traditions. 
    March 31, 2011
    14
  • 17. WD pushes Religious Myth as History (Quote from Hindus: An Alternative History, pp. 366-367)
    When Jesus appeared to him in a vision that night, Thomas said, "Whithersoever thou wilt, our Lord, send me; only to India I will not go." Jesus nevertheless eventually indentured him, for twenty pieces of silver, to an Indian merchant, who took him to work on the palace of the ruler of Gandhara, sometime between about 19 and 45 CE. After a second voyage, in 52 CE, Thomas landed in Kerala or Malabar and there established the Syrian Christian community that thrives there today; he then traveled overland to the east coast, where he was martyred in the outskirts of Chennai. As usual, the interchange went in both directions; in exchange for the goods and ideas that the Christians brought to India, they took back, along with Kerala's pepper and cinnamon, always in demand in Rome, equally palatable stories -- elements of Ashvagosha's life of the Buddha (in the second century CE), such as the virgin birth and the temptation by the devil -- that may have contributed to the narratives of the life of Christ.
    March 31, 2011
    15
  • 18. Why is WD’s Thomas Myth poor scholarship?
    Portuguese Myth
    Truth: There was no character called Thomas
    Chennai church built by 6th c. Armenians
    Bad scholarship as she assigns dates to miracles
    No explanation for conjuring up dates of 19 CE, 45 CE or 52 CE
    Uses religious terms like ‘Martyr’ and ‘Christ’
    Uses quotes from Christian Mythology texts
    March 31, 2011
    16
  • 19. Anti-Semitism and Hatred
    Wolpert and others accept Thomas Myth but question Jewish history of arriving in India in 1st c.
    In reality, Jewish claims are based on scholarship
    This is standard procedure in Western universities
    Wendy Doniger is praised on website of neo-Nazi group Stormfront as leftist “WN” [White Nationalist] who highlights “White Pride” : http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t690954/
    March 31, 2011
    17
  • 20. Evidence of bias against Hindus
    Microsoft Encarta investigated Doniger’s article after accusations of racism and bigotry
    Investigation resulted in article being pulled
    Q: Lack of scholarship and proof of bias established: So how did Doniger get faculty position?
    A: Affirmative action: Studies show White women are biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action
    March 31, 2011
    18