Request 1: Dont look for bad "person" please. By now you ought to be able to evaluate scholarship.
Request 2: Dont even say he does "bad scholarship". The bowler on the opponent team who gets our batsmen out quickly, cannot be called a bad bowler. He is a great bowler for HIS team. Similarly, many Indologists I critique are good at their job for their civilization. But the basic lens, assumptions, framework, etc used are Western. They are entitled to use their lens. But our leaders should know better, and not simply eat out of their hands.
Prof Stietencron is a figure mentioned in Indra's Net as a pioneer of Neo-Hinduism.
(two paragraphs from Indra's Net are shown below)
This means his work is based on the assumption that Hinduism is falsely considered to be intrinsically unified. Until recent centuries, he claims, the various streams were not only separate but in mutual conflict. Only recently were these streams brought together into a single philosophy and made to look unified.
In other words, Neo-Hinduism considers our tradition to be a synthetic unity and not an integral unity. The synthesis, according to them, was done recently. This is a big deal for us to understand and contest.
Request 3: Do NOT mix this issue with the history of the name "Hinduism". It does not matter what people called it earlier, or whether they even had any name for it. The issue being discussed by him and me is whether there was a philosophically unified set of ideas across the spectrum we now call Hinduism. If your name changes, it does not mean you are not the same person. After 20 yrs of explaining the basic point I continue to get stupid issues raised like: "Hindu name is new because ....; and therefore, ...." Please focus on what this thread is about, what Stietencron's thesis is, what Neo-Hinduism thesis is.
I am attaching one of his papers referenced in IN. You cant blame his rigor, level of intensity or hard work. The question to ask is whether he exaggerates differences and downplays underlying unity. Does he fail to see the integral unity at the foundation?
To understand the issue from my viewpoint will force you to read IN. Only those who have done so may genuinely contribute to this thread. We are not looking for personal "opinions" or blaming his intentions, or any such generic level of discussion.
Due diligence: I cannot believe the GOI did proper due diligence in this situation, before creating a major Indology conference behind closed doors with some select few voices invited. They might now be claiming due diligence out of defensiveness. This is GOI's very formal and official stamp of approval on Western Indology.
Purva-paksha and uttara-paksha on Stietencron would require GOI to read my critique and address it alongside his work. Otherwise it is one-sided propaganda and awe of a white man just because he is a Sanskrit scholar. Our inferiority complex is so deep towards any Westerners who seems to say a few words of praise for us, who worked hard to study us, etc.
Our purva-paksha tradition does not permit making evaluations based on the personalities of the parties; this must be done strictly on the merits of the intellectual positions they adopt. If GOI claims to have done purva-paksha, can they please publish it as its our civilization and we must be parties to it?
In any case, it would be a better scholarly event if the opponent voices that have critiqued Steitencron were also allowed to discuss their response. I was not even aware of such an event until someone told me on twitter.
Dilemma: Am I wasting my life producing hard research works if the authorities simple do not care to read it? Ironically, many of the persons involved in making such decisions know me and appreciate my work privately. But have they read it? And what happens in "official" decision making?
I mean no disrespect, but merely wish to raise issues articulated in IN. These deserve a hearing before the Neo-Hinduism voice gets GOI blessing.