Question: Why are you targeting Sheldon Pollock personally, i.e. one man?

An important point that we want people to understand. Please read the following FAQ closely. Also read the comment by Sonal Mansingh.

Question: Why are you targeting Sheldon Pollock personally (i.e. one man)?

Answer: We are never targeting anyone personally, but critiquing and responding to their ideas. We see these ideas as a serious school of thought and not as one person’s. Before choosing a target for purva-paksha and uttara-paksha, one must ask the following kinds of questions:
·         What is the specific harm being caused to us by a given target, which we hope to undermine?
·         What further high-value targets become within our range once we have successfully engaged this target?
·         What does our team gain through this fight, in terms of learning new sophisticated methods?
·         What would be the demoralizing effect on the opponent’s supporters, and how would this boost the morale of our support base?
·         How did our tradition respond to similar situations?

Such an inquiry led to the following position regarding the above question.

1.      Following the purva-paksha system:
a.      The purva/uttara paksha system of argumentation on behalf of one’s tradition requires naming the opponent, citing his/her specific works and then giving a sound, logical critique. It is not done by sweeping generalizations of opponents. It is essentially a “case studies” method in which specific instances of differences get argued with specific opponents (similar in some ways to the famous Harvard business school case studies approach). While a general treatise with critique can be ignored, a direct critique of named opponents who have stature is non-ignorable, which is important.
b.      There is a difference between doing a purva-paksha and developing a new shastra/siddhanta on a given subject. Before a new shastra can emerge, one must first clear the table of existing theories by doing specific purva-paksha on the major ones. This is how the system of knowledge continually renews and refreshes itself. Ignoring the opponent was not seen as a worthy thing.
c.       The target should be a leader representing an important school of thought, one with lineage, followers and traction. In other words, we like to critique an entire ecosystem.
2.      Harm being caused that we must remedy: Sheldon Pollock is not just an individual but also the leaders of an important school of thought causing the following problems that are very serious, concrete and immediate:
a.      Harmful content and substance: There are vast and deep problems with Pollock’s positions, and they often remain camouflaged beneath his surface praise and emotional appeals. The book, The Battle For Sanskrit (TBFS), started exposing these. The first Swadeshi Indology conference (SI-1) validated these concerns and added more substance to the criticisms. The next conference is going to take this criticism to a much higher level. For specific issues with his scholarship, the reader is referred to TBFS and the SI-1 web site. But as a sample, he alleges that: (1) the Sanskrit tradition from its beginning has been socially oppressive, (2) shastras by design have prevented creative thinking, (3) Sanskrit texts contained toxins that influenced the Nazis to commit the holocaust, (4) the Ramayana contains seeds of violence and this has been provoked against Muslims, (5), mimamsa was developed in response to Buddhism, as a way to codify biases, (6) rasa entered late in the tradition, and even later it was reinterpreted (by Rupa Goswami) to introduce sacredness, (7) kavya has from the beginning been a device for kings’ projection of power in an aesthetic manner; and so on.
b.      Hijacking Sringeri: Prior to TBFS, he already had provisional commitment from Sringeri mattha to set up Adi Shankara Chairs in US Ivy Leagues, with Pollock himself in charge of selecting and directing the academic programs.
c.       Hinduphobic parampara: He has trained and influenced one of the largest and most influential group of students and peers. His importance through his writings is well attested by the Western academic establishment. These followers include many sepoy scholars/journalists whose works are filled with venom against Hinduism. Many who wonder “why bother critiquing Pollock?” must wake up and discover that many individuals they are fighting are trained by him and/or operating under his ideological influence. Rather than fighting isolated instances, we must get to the roots of the system that produces such instances.
d.      Official recognition & infiltration: His followers have infiltrated the official establishments of higher learning, media and education, and he has received official awards. This has made his positions officially endorsed in India. Hence they need to be examined closely and evaluated objectively.
e.      Murty Classics Library: A direct and immediate consequence of TBFS was a major petition against the MCLI, which triggered response and counter-response from both sides. This brought to the surface the previously hidden faces of Pollockism. In fact, the recent Vande Mantram Library initiative is an example of a direct result of the awareness created by TBFS.
3.      Knowledge being acquired by our scholars and further purva-paksha opportunities:
a.      Because very few of our traditional scholars have done purva-paksha on the latest Western Indology, this work has required them to learn about many areas of Western thought, research methodologies and institutional mechanisms. Some of these insights may help us upgrade our competitiveness in the global discourse. This knowledge better equips us to encounter with many other Western schools besides just Pollock, from a much deeper level than our scholars have done in the past.
b.      Subsequent purva-paksha targets under consideration include: Romila Tnapar, Wendy Doniger, Western(ized) feminists, to name a few. In each case, we wish to adopt a focused and sharply targeted approach in order to maximize the impact on the ground.
4.      Psychological warfare:
a.      By toppling the leader of a school, the followers of that school get demoralized. New recruits into their program become harder to attract. This already happened to other intellectual leaders we targeted in the past.
b.      Simultaneously, we are witnessing a boost to the self-confidence of our young scholars. They are becoming fearless and better skilled at debating in open forums.
c.       An important quality to cultivate is being non-ignorable. This cannot be achieved by criticizing dead scholars (who will not talk back), dead empires, marginal players, or over abstracted and over-generalized opposing views. To trigger lively debate that can transform the discourse requires one to name names, be direct and sharp – precisely the qualities exhibited in our tradition of debates in the past.
5.      Waking up some tamasic, lazy and pompous “insiders”:
a.      It is our experience that many “insider” scholars, including and especially some with big reputations and high society profiles, are pathetically out of touch with the latest scholarship, lazy to do any new reading in a serious manner, and even deficient in analytical/debating experience to engage Westerns with confidence. Some of them are also sold out through various forms of patronage. Hence they tend to be cynical about such attempts as the Swadeshi Indology movement where hard work and original, non-emotional scholarship is being required for membership.
b.      The strategy adopted by SI is to welcome all established scholars on the terms of rigor and objectivity, rather than mental blockages or emotions. Many senior scholars are already solidly in the SI movement and their leadership is given paramount importance.
c.       The good news is that we find the new, young scholars to be very enthusiastic and competent in this pursuit. This fits well with our goal to develop next generation specialized teams of scholars with different kinds of subject-matter expertise.
d.      The old-school scholars who did not make much impact but spent their energies traveling for events and enjoying the limelight, now feel threatened by a new stock of scholars that are bypassing them. There is also blatant jealousy on display at times. We do not want our scholars to get discouraged by this, and one purpose of writing this is to prepare them for such cynicisms.

Now, here is some additional context.
  • When I was researching on Pollock in 2015, I went around many senior scholars in India for leads, help, sources, etc. Did not want to rediscover what was already known to our people.
  • Result: Very disappointing. Hardly any serious work had been or was being done, little interest to get off their rear ends and work hard, lots of bombast/ego, pride, emotions, etc. 
  • But not surprised because i have been through this inertia in India for 25 years on various topics.
  • Basically our "scholars" want to get maximize personal benefit with minimum effort/investment of their own.
  • Case study: One retired Delhi U prof who is well known as natya shatra "expert" (though scantily published) wanted to save himself the effort of reading Pollock. So he felt that giving me enough chai and a samosa at India Int'l Center cafeteria would allow him to pick my brain while he and his wife would sit and take notes. This would let him beat me by getting a quick blog out of his own. Serious books are unnecessary as per this lot, because it is too much effort. Result is that the western Indologists call the shots when it comes to prescribing books in colleges worldwide even though the subject is Indology.
  • I told him he would have to wait for my book to come out first, as leaking out the critical research and responses by me would not be appropriate. In the end he and his wife gave up trying. 
  • Within a couple of weeks from this "samosa-based research" attempt, his article suddenly appeared in IndiaFacts attacking Pollock and Rohan Murthy. Note that when I met and told him about Pollock, he had only hesard about him tangentially and lacked even the basic idea of what Pollock's work or controversy were about. Now he was writing like an overnight "expert". However, as expected, there was no substance in his article - merely emotional allegations based on how everything wasgenerally wrong with the West. So no need to spend effort reading Pollock.
  • Fast forward several months. My tbfs book comes out, gets rave reviews by top Sanskrit scholars in India, there are 25 events, lots of awareness. This man wants to ignore all this material because it is overwhelming to him. He now wants to make it seem that it was unimportant (because he could/did nothing about the topic).
  • Next comes a big surprise. Last week there was some meeting in Delhi to create a rival to Murthy Classics Library - an initiative inspired by tbfs and the subsequent petition against MCLI. One of the speakers presents a summary of the Swadeshi Indology movement. Guess who is the top cynic speaking out against "conferences targeting Pollock?" Its our DU friend who last year was desperate to get masala on Pollock so he could put out a very rapid article critical of Pollock. Contradicting his own previous desires/article, last week he argued: we must not attack one man's work. He gives every reason not to be so focused in conferences. 
  • Of course, our team of three SI scholars argued back and explained the importance of specialized. focused analyses.
In light of this, I decided we must do a FAQ on why we targeted Pollock per se, not personally but as a school of Indology. 

The link above takes you to a summary of the importance of specializing. Some of it is taken from TBFS.

I hope serious scholars will take the time and study it. This issue is important for us to debate. As I noted in this attachment, Indian scholarly events are too unproductive, more like flea markets with substandard speakers regurgitating their same old material for many years.

As you can see, so much of our fight is internal, with our own people.


Smt. Sonal Mansingh, who is a famous performer and expert on Indian Nritya/Natya responds:
Apropos ur 28th August mail: this Naatya Shastra 'scholar' has threatened to expose classical dancers who according to him,  know nothing abt it. He is more aggressive now than before having been brought as Exe Trustee of most prestigious Govt cultural organisation. In any case, Pompous pretentiousness is the hallmark of most scholars & academicians, Indian or non-Indian. Sincerely
Sonal Mansingh

Rajiv: Sonal ji, I have always considered the performers (and you are among the foremost of this era) as our exemplars, not the cynical bookworms sitting on the sideline passing comments...

The difference between two kinds of differences: Digestible and Non-digestible

Two kinds of differences: Digestible and Non-digestible

I want to respond to a common confusion about the kind of difference we need to assert in order to protect ourselves. A difference that the other religion can adopt is not sustainable and can easily become a part of the other faith as well.

For example: Removing shoes to enter a temple, wearing tilak, eating with one’s hands without silverware, eating on a banana leaf, wearing saffron clothes, giving prasad, etc. – each of these has become common practice in Christian churches in south India. None of these differences causes any violation in the core tenets of Christianity. They see these practices as mere “culture” that can be accepted by them without any problem.

The church developed the doctrine and practice called “inculturation” precisely to encourage its followers to adopt local cultures, symbols, even festivals, etc. in order to “localize Christianity”.

This is no different than MacDonald’s adopting Paneer Burger for menus in India and Chow Mein for China. It is a very common globalization strategy to adapt products for local markets. The church gave this the name “inculturation” and experimented it for generations in Africa, Latin America before introducing systematically in India. Each adapted product is market tested, feedback given from field operations to headquarters, policies updated, new versions developed, etc. This process is ongoing very studiously.
This is why Western Indologists like to separate religion and culture, so they can reject the former and digest the latter.

What are the Hindu dharma items that the Christian host cannot digest because these items would violate core Christian tenets? These are the kinds of things explained in Being Different. If such a tenet were absorbed by the Christian side, they would need to distort it in order to make it fit their framework and assumptions. Here the Hindu side must forcefully resist letting such distortions take place – for which we need well-informed and assertive Hindus.

What would happen if Christians were to ingest such non-digestible items in their authentic form (i.e. without being able to distort them)? The result would be what I have called the poison pills.

Below is a post I received that I now want to respond to. I have removed references to a specific guru because that leads to personal fights for/against, which is silly, because what we want to do is to discuss the principles and learn.

The discussion thread was about examples of digestion; a guru’s position on yoga came up in this context. A follower of his defended him by writing the following:

As a counter example, I can say I first learnt one of the main essences of "Being Different" from XYZ's talks, long before Rajiv's book "Being Different" was published. Like for example his talk on uniqueness of Hindu Temples, as he says here "Nowhere else in the world, such wisdom exists", or his talk on how Indian Temples are totally different from places of worship of other religions like Churches or Mosques.’

Note that he is unconscious of the distinction between digestible and non-digestible differences. Merely praising Hinduism is useless if the issue is to explain what/why certain differences are non-negotiable for us and at the same unacceptable to the other side. The question is not how Hindu temples are superior/unique. But in what ways do they have features that are impossible for Christians to adopt and adapt? Clearly the person who wrote the above is not focusing on this, and it remains unclear whether his guru is sufficiently focusing on teaching non-digestible differences. Difference can be at many levels.

What I am requiring is impossible to do without reversing the gaze and first studying the other religion. How can you be sure that Hindu item X is non-digestible into a certain religion, and that it will act as a poison pill, if you have only a superficial idea of that religion?

This is the crux of the matter. Teachers who are mixed up about the other religion, perhaps partly because they want to be politically correct with them, simply lack the depth of knowledge about the other religion to be able to formulate Hindu dharma in non-digestible terms. They can go on praising Hinduism, but that does not address the issue of digestion.

Followers have a blind spot regarding their gurus that they need to overcome

A very important message from Rajiv in the background of discussions in the forum on some of the stands taken/policies followed by some present day gurus or their lineages.

He says:

There is a serious mix up here [in the forum] that is a common occurrence among Hindus everywhere. It has to do with the notion that to be a good guru he/she must be enlightened, a term which is further assumed to mean perfection in every domain of activity. Therefore, if someone challenges that guru's position on something, it is seen as an insult to the guru's integrity. This starts a fight in which the guru's character/legitimacy become the topic of contention.

I have tried numerous times to explain that one must compartmentalize domains of knowledge and expertise. Being enlightened is one domain, but there are also many others. Can your guru (and the same applies to mine) run as fast as the Olympic champion? Or match Tendulkar's record of 100 centuries?

The point being there are many domains out there and just because a given guru is enlightened to teach us Vedanta does not imply infallibility. Even Avatara takes form within maryada, and hence is bound by the limits of the body, i.e. disease, old age, death, etc.

It is foolish escapism to imagine some infallible, perfect state in all domains achieved by any human in our times. I would like to put to test any claims of infallibility - our tradition DOES ask us to test the guru.

The false notion on this leads to chauvinism about one's guru, his/her being beyond all criticisms, etc. When I have spoken privately to gurus on this, they say they are ordinary humans who have achieved insights and abilities to teach that require long term tapasya, but they never say they are perfect/infallible in every domain of activity.

So it is perfectly fine to question a guru on his/her policy on other religions, knowledge on how digestion works, pro's and cons on building hybrid systems, etc.

My UTurn Theory case studies are full of instances where gurus were simply foolish in the way they got deceived by Judeo-Christian followers, and this is a big reason for our failure today. The same also applies to the arrogance of many Hindu political leaders who go on promoting policies that are simply retrograde. The long term implications of some well intended policies are often not appreciated by gurus who have not acquired sufficient knowledge outside their own domain of expertise.

This problem is illustrated by what has happened at one of the foremost Bhagavad-gita teaching movements. 
  • Their acharyas at one point did not want to let me speak at their gatherings, citing the reason that by policy they limit their discussions to the works of their organization's founder. 
  • But then a large number of parents and teachers of their bal-vihara made a list of questions to be answered. These questions are faced by the children in their daily lives and are not adequately addressed in the organization's teachings. They asked this guru to please address these issues. Many of the parents/teachers of this organization are members of our egroup here. So they are well informed about such matters. 
  • The good news is that their acharya personally called me to invite me to address all his students. We are good friends now. I see this as a sign of maturity. He accepts the limits of their internal teachings, and what I will present is not a threat of any kind, and complements their own knowledge.
So in this way I have developed good relations with many other gurus as well. Swami Dayananda Saraswati never hesitated to bring in outside subject-matter experts to teach in his ashrams those topics that were outside his core topic of Vedanta. This shows maturity, not deficiency of any kind.

Bottom line: A guru is not being undermined if we disagree with his policy on yoga's relationship to other religions, and if we claim that he lacks adequate knowledge of other religions. Nor are we insulting a guru when we disagree with his policy to include Jesus on the altar, and when we state that he is not an expert on Christian theology or its present socio-political strategies.

Forum member's experience as a Hindu professor in a Christian college in TN

A newly inducted member to the discussion group had a very heart breaking story to relate regarding her experiences as a Hindu professor of English in a Christian college in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

We reproduce here her exact words.

1. As a Prof of English in a Catholic College experienced innumerable verbal attacks, gestures of disapproval and arrogant remarks from colleagues: a. Human Rights class open attack on Brahmins - "Brahmins only used to molest Dalits."

2. When I had a chat on Whats app with my student - a journalist currently with Indian Express - I criticized her for using the term "saffron bulls" and I told her not to denigrate that noble term which symbolizes sacrifice. I referred to noble works of Swami Vivekananda. From an unknown activist I had wordy dual who condemned Swami Vivekananda as Castetist and he said he too had done nothing for the Dalits. I had to argue through the night. I showed him how DMK has done only ethnic cleansing of the Brahmins and not improved the situation of the Dalits. But he was not convinced. 
3. I had an opportunity to get a Dalit girl married in my own house (to avoid a critical situation about 8 months back.) I had priest in my house (a Catholic priest who was not happy about the turn of events for my gesture broke their myth of Brahmin brutality against the Dalits) But openly he abused the Hindu gods and our faith. (Whom are you going to see when you reach Heaven. Your religion confuses you with so many Gods).

4. I happened to wear the label Brahmin and though I achieved a great deal in college there was always a step motherly treatment. I was denied FIP . ( I had to pursue my Ph.D without any leave benefits. I had to exhaust all my personal leave.)

5. I have received threat calls in college. When I mentioned the term Taliban (an announcement in the The Hindu- about 25 years back) I had an anonymous call threatening me. (At that time the nuns had to awareness- I am still waiting to talk to that nun - for recently 60 odd Christians were killed in Pakistan during Easter by Taliban.)

6. Conversion into Christianity is rampant as Sri Rajivji has pointed out now it is the Pentecosts. My own Prof. of Tamil has been hounding a Brahmin Prof (both retired) with constant e mailing saying that she would not reach Heaven if does not become a Christian.

7. I read the Scriptures daily. so they have branded that I am R.S.S. and a Hindutva. Only a Christian and a Muslim has the right in India to be religious. If I defend Hinduism I have always been under attack.

I saved my maid a refugee from Sri Lanka from being converted.Her family went through horrible pressure from a local Christian group.

8. I hear that they woo the people with newer and newer techniques. Especially lower class in the villages. Vegetables are given on Sundays.

I can go on. I used to be so badly treated that in 2006 I had a psychological and neurological disorder. I did not wish to continue there. But when they sensed that my leaving the institution would lead to criticism (for I am a popular teacher a favourite among students) they begged me to come back.

I have medical records and service records to prove that one whole year I was going through depression. I could not go to any Human rights org. 
The funniest thing is they would easily advice me to forgive. The tactics is they would bring the Bible and say forgive.

I am an African American and American studies scholar. I know all about AF/Am litt. Now there is a huge attempt to create a non existent Dalit literature, The voice is Ms. Meena Kandasamy. She has declared that she has embraced "Dalit" ism I wonder what she means by it. The African Americans have been pouring out their misery ever since they set foot on American soil in the 17 the century. I do not understand how on earth they can achieve a manufactured literature in a short period. I read Kanch Illiya's poem attacking the Brahmins.

I feel a systematic, serious confrontation of all these charges with facts must be done soon enough.

Almost all the U.G.C. sponsored conferences have been pro - Dalit and Brahmin bashing only I have been attending many.

Thanks for your time. If I need to elaborate on any of the experiences I am willing to.

I tried introducing Yoga in the campus about five years back with the help of a Hindu called Yoga master Subramanian.

But last year "Mindful Meditation" was introduced by a Priest much to the disappointment of Christians themselves and they laughed at it calling Mindless meditation. The first thing the students were asked to buy was a pillow.

Last year 2015 I was forced to organize a National Conference on Human Rights Issues in Literature and Sociology. Please follow the activities of a person called Dr. Balakrishnan of Roots - a NGO - I am sure a Christian group is supporting him.

During the Key note address he attacked Hindu belief systems and mocked at the idea of going to temples. As I am heading the Dept. I could not openly accuse him. But I boycotted the publication of papers. He calls himself Academic Event manager. Conducts a lot of programmes for the youth. He is a vocal Anti Brahmin advocate and so he along with five members including the so called Brahmin principal called Dr. Murali were chucked out of the local college called The Madura College. You could verify info.

More specifically He is part of the Brahmin versus Dalit Narrative -- Breaking India force.

But Roots is doing academic programme focusing on Dalits and I am sure it a Breaking India racket. You could probe. This org. is in Madurai. It is a one man army with support from a Christian called Periera. (Not sure of the spelling.) They have a press called Shanlax. Almost all the papers are eulogizing the works by Bama a Dalit writer who is compared with African American Writers. I get angry by these comparative studies. But I am always at a loss.

I have guided Ph.D scholars in this area and still have about 9 students. I can never support the argument that Dalits suffered like the African American slaves. By the way I have been part of the U.S. State sponsored International Visitor's Program.. Met writers like James Alan Mc Pherson.

I live in an area called Vel Murugan Nagar. There is a priest called Dudley Thangiah in this area who is well known for conversion. Now it is all a stealthy deal. He does not rechristen them. They believers have Hindu names but attend church. What he does is one influential member in the family is converted and the rest are swept in.

I see a New Prayer Tower in Nehru Nagar an adjacent colony. I shall get more details. Madurai is full of prayer houses not formal churches where Dalit conversions are rampant.
The caste politics is another reason for conversion.

My Nadar friend tells me her entire family is broken to pieces because of conversion. They are owners of Flour mill called Mayil Brand. Excepting the eldest son's family all are converted. Conversion and breaking of Hindu families in Virudhunagar has been going on for 3 to 4 decades now.

Now Southern Tamil Nadu - Ramnad belt is fully Muslim area. Illaiangudi and surrounding areas mini Pakistan. Tanjore Kumbakonam Muslim concentration. Kanyakumari Thirunelvelli are all Christian belts. Now Madurai is infested with Evangelical movements.

There is British priest working near Nagamalai Pudhukptai doing conversion. Pentecosts openly declare that they can make a living doing Evangelical work. Money is pumped in from the West for sure.

There are open attacks on Ramayan in colleges like Lady Doak where priest come and give lectures on these Scriptures mocking them.

There is Church called First Assemble of God and there is more recent one on Vaigai river bed near Fatima college (Dindigul Road) an org. from Ceylon doing a lot of Conversions.

Please appoint someone to enter into these churches and record their sermons.

In Dhargas there is an open order that none should stop with a single child. Must have 5 or 4 children. But Shakshi Maharaj of U.P. was heavily criticized by the media NDTV is vocal in supporting Muslims and Christians. That one channel is enough to Break India.

All their programs are attacking Modi. Similarly The Hindu is another Anti Hindu paper which exaggerates anything against the Minorities and no violence against Majority community ever gets reported.

There must be a Ban on Conversion soon. And derecognize all those who got converted in the last ten years.

How I prioritize my work, battles, feedback, critics

By Rajiv Malhotra

Here are my thoughts, and the ways I solicit and deal with critical feedback in order to strengthen my work.


  1. Being from software R&D background, I understand the value of debugging a system in order to strengthen it. We used to hire outsiders to try and defeat the system, in order to learn its vulnerabilities. Even when considered ready, it was first released to a few beta sites for further debugging. Once out with customers, the maintenance team must be good at receiving feedback, and dealing with it in a new release. So I am not one to run away from problems with my work. But there is a system to this.
  2. Errors are not all of the same type. Some are serious errors in the deep architecture and these can require major redesign. Some have isolated impact that is contained within one module/feature only. Some can be bypassed such that the system works despite the error. Some are merely inconvenient or even cosmetic. There are certain "error reports" that are not errors at all, but the complainant wants a different functionality or a different approach than intended by the system design; the issue raised is not a bug but a matter of preference; maybe we don’t want to offer that feature for whatever reason – that’s our call.
  3. Errors must be graded, stratified and not all treated equally. Some are urgent, others can and must wait, some will be addressed in the next system (or book in this case) to be developed, and many are to be entirely ignored.
  4. Ultimately, the system developer decides what matters most to his client base. He must figure out the priorities for his success. An outsider might not know all the factors that go into his decision and his priorities. There are many considerations and levels of tradeoffs. In other words, someone unfamiliar with all the facts can be a nuisance if his opinions are based on what he sees from within his mental burqa.
  5. In writing my books, I go out of my way to face critics. Everyone knows this about me. Some of these encounters get captured on videos you can watch, but most are in private settings. I go deep into “enemy”/opponent territory to understand their reactions, and this is for my own good. For the first 10-15 years I spent much time going to every Hinduism related academic conference/meeting and engaged the top tier scholars of every stripe. For my books, I send every draft to at least 10 critics for detailed peer review – in some instances I pay the critic to allow him to spend quality time and give me a critical analysis. In this feedback I am not looking for accolades, but quite the opposite. I am hardly sitting in my comfort zone the way most of our folks are. My works are the product of multiple encounters over many years with all sorts of people across the ideological spectrum. I can do this only because this has been my full-time work for nearly 25 years. Also, I thrive in debates and discussions to honestly introspect on serious issues, and I do not approach a topic with a closed mind. This is why I am able to innovate.
  6. The major impact I seek from a book is where I focus on getting feedback, not on side issues. I want to write a book only when there is some big paradigm change I want, and one that is badly needed. I am not interested in quibbling about whether someone translated a particular verse correctly, unless that has impact on the overall paradigm. Remember that I was a chief design architect of large, complex systems, and now I seek intellectual situations with equivalent significance. I am not concerned with every small module of code being correct – many others are able to do that and they are probably better at it than me.
  7. For example, in Pollock’s case, my major contribution is to have (a) decoded some of his most important theories/frameworks, (b) articulated these in ways that more people can understand, and (c) offered some preliminary responses or red flags from the dharma standpoint. I am not interested in minute errors here and there that would not help to demolish some major thesis of his. I will let others do that. Unfortunately, almost nobody on our side has even as of now properly understood his theories/lens; most of our folks still focus on relatively trivial issues in his work.
  8. Pollock does not consider himself a Sanskrit language expert, and nor do I consider TBFS an analysis of his Sanskrit skills. Pollock is a major philologist today; philology = “making sense of texts” using some theory of interpretation. I critique him in his approach to philology. This is his deep work. It’s his work’s architecture. As a systems architect, this is how I analyze it. Finding a mistake here and there in his Sanskrit makes little impact on his philology – that would be pedantic for my purpose. For one thing, such errors are easily corrected without altering his philology. It is his philology that I am after. The famous Sanskrit expert in Bangalore who wrote a review of my book did not understand the difference between philology and use of Sanskrit as a language; hence much of what he said is of little significance.
  9. Those few individuals who then took his review and turned it into a sort of public fiasco were even further removed from what would matter to my work, or to Pollock’s. These noisemakers are twice removed from where my priorities lie. This is why I call them pests because in my priority scheme, they are best ignored. Their issues do not belong do not impact whether or not I am able to pierce holes through Pollock’s political philology and liberation philology. Pollock’s impact in Indology is for having introduced the most widely accepted philology system and trained an army in its propagation. The impact I desire is to put enough reasonable doubt in his system that it does not become a de facto standard in Indology. Unfortunately, prior to my intervention, he was being very successful in making deep inroads into our Sanskrit studies establishment. The same Sanskrit folks who are embarrassed because they were sitting around staring at their navels, are now jealous and upset that I am doing what they were being expected to do all their careers.

Algorithm: With this background, below is my algorithm on how I choose to ignore/filter those I consider pests, hecklers, attention seekers, shallow noisemakers, opportunists, etc.

1. Does a given feedback relate to Pollock’s thesis and my counter-thesis? If so, it is priority 1 and gets my attention. If not, it is below priority level 1.

2. If below top priority 1, what is the effort required to rework it compared to the benefit to my target readers? In other words, will fixing this error help in a big way to educate my readers for their own analyses/critiques of Pollock’s philology? If of marginal/pedantic value, then it gets demoted below priority level 2, to level 3 or lower.

3. Is the critic genuine or someone seeking publicity, opportunistic, bringing down someone else just to hoist himself up? If so, I don’t want to encourage such behavior, and hence I would further lower the priority to level 4 or less.

The pests don’t like being ignored. They angrily demand as their birthright that I must deal with every single issue they raise as if they control my priorities. But are they my boss? Do I work for them? Do they have enough experience in this field to decide my priorities? Do they know enough about my workload and what is on my plate to be able to optimize how I should best allocate my time and resources? I have my own algorithms and keep updating them heuristically based on what makes me better at my game. I learn from the best khiladis in the world, not failures, would-be players, junior players, and especially not from persons lacking strategic minds.

Yesterday I did two important interviews with Vijaya who visited me for the day. These will get edited and put on Youtube. I told her that I spend as much as 50% of my prana dealing with type 4 persons who waste time. I request my supporters to help me get rid of the pests so we can focus where our collective yajna takes us.

I asked her: who are the ones in out texts that destroy the yajna of someone else. She said they are rakshasas. She also suggested Karna as the prototype who opportunistically switches sides as he is not rooted in dharma. This made me think: Just how grounded are such hecklers in the dharma? If they are not transformed by guru and by sadhana, then what is their motive for claiming to be “champions of Hindu dharma?” Are they trying to ruin the yajna without having one of their own? Are they loose canons?

In my interviews taped yesterday, I thanked the type 2 genuine supporters. I can continue on my journey with their encouragement.