Summary of Rajiv Malhotra's Twitter Debates


Rajiv Malhotra has been battling for a place at the table where exchange of ideas take place and where decisions are taken that impact ordinary lives of people in India and around the world for a long time now (about 20 years), but has been thwarted on numerous occasions: for what he has to say would bring extreme discomfiture to established and entrenched streams of thought. Through these debates, Rajiv Malhotra has challenged the mutual back-scratching networks that controls popular discourse and adversely influence the opinion of a gullible public inside as well as outside India. Rajiv ji has debated many well-known personalities in the past, including India journalist Mark Tully, Harvard Professor Francis Clooney, and Vijay Parshad from Yale, among others. The debates we will summarize here have taken place in a variety of forums, ranging from formal conferences to online debates. We hope those who read these debates will recognize the totally lop-sided nature of the discourse where Hinduphobic westerners and Indians who share a narrow, and extremely negative view of India and Hinduism get to referee the game as well as pocket the earnings, and promote and nurture only those participants who obediently follow their rule book. Rajiv Malhotra aptly coined the phrase 'sepoys' to describe such mentally colonized Indians. Each of these debates has openly and transparently challenged a particular line of 'accepted' thought about India and dharmic thought systems. As we will see, each of these debates ended up exposing an existing fallacy about Hinduism or a nexus that undermines India, providing insight into the underlying Kurukshetra. The first series of debates we cover in this space are of immediate interest and took place concurrently on 'twitter' between February 19-21, 2014.

Rajiv Malhotra's Twitter Debates

Twitter has finally come of age. It has found its raison d’être as a free marketplace for exchanges. It is indeed the space in public domain where voices which were stifled so far for various reasons are now finding expression. In fact, Rajiv Malhotra has stated that “Social media is the most effective weapon to bring down the power edifice of Indian elite "thinkers"

We start with the online twitter debates between: Rajiv Malhotra and a group individuals including: travel writer of Scottish origin, William 'Viceroy' Dalrymple, and various sepoys who jumped to Dalrymple's defense, including Sadanand Dhume (Wall-street journal employee in the US) and Rupa Subrahmanya (affiliation and curriculum vitae unknown), among others.

We have divided these concurrent twitter debates (where a 'wolf pack' of sepoys attack Rajiv Malhotra's arguments!) into two main episodes as follows:

Episode 1: Debate with William Dalyrmple (17th Feb, 2014) and Indian supporters. We have subdivided this episode into eight conversation segments, each of which covers a particular topic highlighted by Rajiv Malhotra, followed by the reactions of the opposition.

Episode 2: Debate with Sadanand Dhume, Rupa Subrahmanya and other 'sepoys' who injected themselves into the discussion (18th, 19th, 20th and 21st Feb, 2014)

Episode 1. Challenging The Viceroy's Durbar: Debating William Dalyrmple and his group of sepoys

This was the gist of Rajiv Malhotra's tweet on 13th Feb 2014

Rajiv Malhotra: Free download of 500+ pg book INVADING THE SACRED. Has ammunition against Wendy Doniger & friends. See bottom of pg: …

One of the tweeple with the handle @dogra6 picked up the above tweet and tweeted it to William Dalyrmple for his comments on 17th Feb 2014. That was when William Dalyrmple entered the conversation and the rest of the exchange is summarized below under various topic headings. The original tweets are in black font and our annotations are marked in blue.

Episode 1, Conversation 1: On Censorship (17th Feb 2014)

In reply to @dogra6's tweet asking for his comment, William Dalyrmple replied thus.

William Dalyrmple: I think this sort of serious literary engagement- not bans- is exactly the right response to a book you disagree with.

William Dalyrmple: The way to respond to ideas one dislikes is not to censure them but to produce better ones" Sheldon Pollock

Rajiv Malhotra: But your Lit Fests across India never allowed me to present despite writing 4 best sellers. Censorship?

Swapan Dasgupta (Indian journalist) entered the conversation with this tweet.

Swapan Dasgupta: Come on Willie, u know there's  an impenetrable intellectual closed shop that deems what's respectable

Rajiv Malhotra: Anglo-American culture perfected making the colonizing look natural, even desirable. V skillful

Swapan Dasgupta: However, 2 b fair, Jaipur LitFest does contain a range of opinion with, perhaps, a slight Left-lib tilt

Rajiv Malhotra: Colonial gatekeepers also patronized native culture. Part of the game. But not enough to topple colonialism

This thread closes here because the conversation moves on to another interesting line of thought.

Episode 1, Conversation 2: On the “desi-firangi” divide and colonialism (17th and 18th Feb 2014)

William Dalyrmple: I co-direct one litfest, Rajiv & my job is to invite Firangis. If you'd like to be considered write to Namita Gokhale

Another tweep @Anirban interjects with this tweet

Anirban: Mr Rajiv, you need to cultivate a leftist persona, then you can write anything, will be invited to JLF

William Dalyrmple: We present all political shades at Jaipur: eg from right Tarun Vijay, Murli Manohar Joshi & Swapan Dasgupta

Rajiv Malhotra: You said you have nothing to do with selecting desis, only firangis. Now suddenly "we" bring desis. Hmmm..

William Dalyrmple: No contradiction there, Rajiv. Namita chooses & invites the desis. But as co-director, yes I co-host them.

Rajiv Malhotra: The colonial system hiding behind its appointed zamindars. Namita plays useful role as literary sepoy

William Dalyrmple: Haha.. Try saying that to her face Rajiv and you'll discover quite what a feisty Pahari she is. Now good day!

And with that William Dalyrmple leaves the debate!

Tweeps @sahirgp  and @Equateall

Sahir GP: So basically you entertain Whites only. All desis go to a different counter. How classy!

Equateall: Hi William Dalyrmple, did you just say only Firangs are invited, & imply desi authors beg Namita to be accommodated?

The remainder of this thread is the continuation of this conversation by a tweep who has decided to take up William Dalyrmple’s case after he has left the arena. This tweep goes by the handle @WhiteMughalsFan.

Rajiv Malhotra: Many feisty pathans & other Indians made perfect sepoys.

WhiteMughalsFan: It's blatant racism to accuse William Dalyrmple of being a "colonial sahib" just because he is white.

Rajiv Malhotra: Colonialism is a lens I describe as Western Universalism in my books. Not about race

WhiteMughalsFan: It's even more racist to accuse intelligent and independent Indians like Namita Gokhale of being their "sepoys"

WhiteMughalsFan: Namita Gokhale & William Dalyrmple weren't conferred the titles of JLF directors by some colonial organization like the EIC.

WhiteMughalsFan: Namita Gokhale & William Dalyrmple were involved in JLF since its inception & worked hard to bring it to where it is today.

WhiteMughalsFan: William Dalyrmple has the right to invite whoevever he wants to JLF.

WhiteMughalsFan: Rajiv Malhotra doesn't need a LitFest to express his views. He has 56K followers on Twitter & a very popular blog

WhiteMughalsFan: Accusing William Dalyrmple of being "a colonial sahib" is like saying Indian immigrants want to establish a 'Hindu empire' in USA

At this point tweep @Anirban comes in.

Anirban: Why this talk of desis and firangs by William Dalyrmple? BTW, I loved 'The Last Mughal'-great research

WhiteMughalsFan: Probably because he is called a "firang" by many Indians, so he now refers to himself as one?

WhiteMughalsFan: We still identify ourselves & the people around us by their racial identities.

WhiteMughalsFan: BTW the subject of "desis" & "firangis", was first brought up by Rajiv Malhotra & William Dalyrmple responded to his tweets.

Rajiv Malhotra: The word 'firangi' entered this twitter discussion only because Dalrymple used it

Rajiv Malhotra: WhiteMughalsFan is deployed as sepoy to fight other Indians. Master sits back. Will get rewarded surely. This is replay of 19th c. -:)

WhiteMughalsFan: I feel that by writing his books & running JLF, William Dalyrmple is doing something good for India. That is why I support him.

Some time later another tweep going by the handle @ZoomIndianMedia tweets this.

ZoomIndianMedia: Rajiv Malhotra, is WhiteMughalsFan socked PR agent of William Dalyrmple or William Dalyrmple's other handle? injects straw man & camouflages William Dalyrmple anti-Hindu hate?

Rajiv Malhotra: WhiteMughalsFan is stealth sepoy whereas Namita Gokhale gets more reward for having to be open.

This thread closes here and the exchange now moves to a different topic.

It is important to understand that Rajiv Malhotra was having these conversations simultaneously (like Vishwanathan Anand taking on multiple chess players at once) and hence William Dalyrmple leaving the debate in the earlier conversation does not mean that he actually left it at that point. There were multiple conversations happening and therefore Dalyrmple was participating in other conversations too before leaving the debate finally in a rather sudden "hit and run" manner eventually. The tweets pertaining to a certain topic have been clubbed together. Also note, that some earlier tweets are mentioned again in other conversations to maintain the continuity of the flow of conversation.

Episode 1, Conversation 3: On Rajiv Malhotra being deliberately ignored for Jaipur Lit Fest (JLF) (17th Feb 2014)

William Dalyrmple: I co-direct one litfest, Rajiv & my job is to invite Firangis. If you'd like to be considered write to Namita Gokhale

Rajiv Malhotra: Met Namita Gokhale 2 yrs back. She said "William decides" just like a sarkari babu giving the runaround.

William Dalyrmple: What happens with litfesst, Rajiv, is that directors invite authors they admire, like editors choosing contributors

William Dalyrmple: There are now sixty independent litfests across India. Surely the director of one of them must admire your work?

Rajiv Malhotra: Some more powerful than others just like any brand competition. Power asymmetry = hegemony ==> restraint on freedom

At this point a tweep going by the handle @gkundra interjects

GKundra: if its upto director then where is literary freedom ?

Rajiv Malhotra: Who appointed Namita as director in the first place? Who appointed the zamindars?

Rajiv Malhotra: Director Namita Gokhale was appointed by the same folks who appointed zamindars to make them look autonomous

William Dalyrmple: No one appointed Namita or me, Rajiv. We started JLF together. Off to write now. Have a good day.

And there exits William Dalyrmple from the conversation again!

This thread ends at this point.

We now move on to a new topic of discussion


Episode 1, Conversation 4: On cartels and bias at LitFest (17th Feb 2014)

William Dalyrmple: What happens with litfest, Rajiv, is that directors invite authors they admire, like editors choosing contributors

Rajiv Malhotra: Indeed, this "admiration" is a cartel supporting what I call Western Universalism = new colonization, more subtle

William Dalyrmple Each litfest is run by an individual. Their politics range across the spectrum, like newspapers. Keep trying!

Rajiv Malhotra: Same is true of any biased system you criticize. Social media undermining this old fortress

William Dalyrmple: Its a simple division, like North & South Block. She does desi. I do Firang.

Rajiv Malhotra: She dances to your tune. We need to decolonize India's Lit Fests.

William Dalyrmple: Haha... you clearly don't know Namita, who has never danced to anyone's tune.

Rajiv Malhotra: Met her at her close friend's house; she seemed v interested; then turned to the cartel for "advice'.

William Dalyrmple: Maybe she just didn't like your work? Its her right, just as you have the right to dislike Doniger's.

Rajiv Malhotra: Except she did like and said so, but later could not proceed...Excuses always possible in bias

William Dalyrmple: But I can assure you she is a feisty, independent woman who does exactly what she wants with her side of the fest

Coming up, a new topic.


Episode 1, Conversation 5: On institutionalized LitFests as gold standard (17th Feb 2014)

William Dalyrmple: As for decolonising litfests I am co-director of 1 litfest. All 60 others are desi run. Why not start one yourself?

Rajiv Malhotra: Tell any dis-empowered why they dont start own institutions. Media gate keeping has power, you know that.

William Dalyrmple: 60 desi individuals have started festivals in the last 5 years. Anyone can do it. Stop moaning & found one today.

Rajiv Malhotra: Delhi has a pseudo-intellectual mafia of gatekeepers perched in strategic places, blocking freedom of speech.

William Dalyrmple: If you haven't time to start one get one of your many followers to do so for you. Stop imagining conspiracies & do it!

William Dalyrmple:  Litfests are like social media. Anyone can start a twitter feed or blog; anyone can found a litfest. You can too.

Rajiv Malhotra: Pls give this advice to the "victims" in your next book. No double standards.

At this point a tweep with the handle @CandidlySaid enters the exchange.

CandidlySaid: Sorry to interfere, but are litfests new gold standards for writers/authors. Pathetic if true.

Rajiv Malhotra: Yes, they are seen as "ratings" by publishers & by media wanting to give coverage to a book

Rajiv Malhotra: Welcome to the present age of institutions. Same was true of many fields. Brand mgmt was not so formal

Let’s now close this thread to move to another topic.


Episode 1, Conversation 6: On the issue of systemic ills v/s Jugaad (17th and 18th Feb 2014)

William Dalyrmple: 60 desi individuals have started festivals in the last 5 years. Anyone can do it. Stop moaning & found one today.

Rajiv Malhotra: Colonial rule had more than 60 desis running different operations. Stop getting defensive pls. Systemic not personal

William Dalyrmple: I'm not being defensive or personal . You have a perfect right to start one. Put out an appeal to your acolytes today!

Rajiv Malhotra: Social media is the most effective weapon to bring down the power edifice of Indian elite "thinkers". Its working.

William Dalyrmple: Litfests are like social media. Anyone can start a twitter feed or blog; anyone can found a litfest. You can too.

Rajiv Malhotra: [Organising Litfests] takes sponsorship, big publishers support, critical mass. Remember Tejpal's conclave with Newsweek & other sponsors?

This ends the exchange between Rajiv Malhotra and William Dalyrmple but much later, a tweep with the handle @aparna_jain had something to say on the above subject.

Aparna Jain: Ok seriously someone please invite Rajiv Malhotra to some lit fest...That's all he has been trolling people for for around 12 hours.

Rajiv Malhotra: Aparna Jain is confused between SYSTEMIC prob I am exposing, and an individual instance she wants to fix. This is not jugada, but systemic

Rajiv Malhotra: Colonized Indians r unable to think strategically & build SYSTEMS. Dont see this as a one-off case fixed w jugada. Separate ex from syndrome

Rajiv Malhotra: Indian rajas outsourced governance to East India Co - for police, courts, tax collection, social services, education. EIC kept big % of rev

Coming up is a conversation with various tweeple on the issue of freedom of speech. This issue has been raging in the Indian media for the last week or so. The conversation then touches upon the grand narratives of civilizations


Episode 1, Conversation 7: On the freedom of speech and the grand narrative (18th Feb 2014)

Rajiv Malhotra: Since William Dalyrmple and Rajdeep Sardesai (CNN-IBN) were ignorant of my massive writings on Doniger over 15 years they are unqualified to select experts

Rajiv Malhotra: Every free market needs protection against monopolies, so also for literary discourse. Otherwise "free" is a sham.

Here the earlier tweep WhiteMughalsFan chimes in.

WhiteMughalsFan: If we continue to attack every person that writes a book we disagree with, soon there will be no books written

Rajiv Malhotra: Agreed. Denying access without cause is also a form of ban as it restricts free and level competition.

Rajiv Malhotra: Churchill wanted "Empire of the Mind" after India's indep. William Dalyrmple is a commander of sepoy army. Lit Fests are like training camps.

Rajiv Malhotra: Gandhi's book 'Hind Swaraj' said colonialism is run by Indians appointed by masters. Lit Fest directors are the new zamindars

Here we have Rajiv Malhotra conversing with two tweeps who go by the handles @pandey_ashishkp, and @prasanto  who had left their messages for him overnight

Ashish Pandey: why are foreigners directing lit-fest in India?

Prasanto: Good question. Also, why are 'foreigners' heading Microsoft in the US?

Rajiv Malhotra: Indian CEO of Microsoft not undermining Judeo-Christianity or Americanism.

Prasanto: Wrong example: Indian CEO of Microsoft IS undermining, criticising other American cos.

Rajiv Malhotra: He is not undermining the core American Grand Narrative. In fact he is part of it.

We now move on to a new topic where Rajiv Malhotra talks about social capital. This conversation was started when a tweep who goes by the handle @newindianright questioned one of Rajiv Malhotra’s tweet updates as you will see below.


Episode 1, Conversation 8: On the monopoly of discourse and social capital (18th Feb 2014)

Rajiv Malhotra: Social capital built at Lit Fests used to bias the channels of knowledge distribution. This is monopoly, not a free market

NewIndianRight: With due respect, sir, this is not a monopoly. Nobody is stopping any of us to start our own Lit Fests etc.

Rajiv Malhotra: If you know basics of any industry monopoly, nobody stops others from starting own. Heard of what "capital"?

NewIndianRight: Am an econ graduate and I understand what a monopoly is - I also got your "capital" reference. Not convinced.

Rajiv Malhotra: Marxism 101 will explain you on the role of cultural capital in monopolies.

Rajiv Malhotra: Brand, credibility, reputation, unfair access to mainstream forums - these build social CAPITAL. Hence a monopoly.

Rajiv Malhotra: Concentration of capital causes monopoly. Please understand SOCIAL CAPITAL and how its been built, NOT by merit.

NewIndianRight: Sir, marxism is very much convinced about economic monopolies too - and is wrong in that case also IMHO.

Rajiv Malhotra: All modern anti-monopoly laws based on principle of concentration of power, not just Marxism. Cant evade this.

NewIndianRight: Sir, anti-trust laws are *at best* a supplement to free market competition, not the reason for the latter.

Rajiv Malhotra: So lets have supplements to monitor abuse of power by the leftist media cartel.

This brings us to the end of this conversation and the end of episode 1.

We move on now to a captivating episode starting with Rupa Subrahmanya, and others like Sadanand Dhume also insert themselves in the conversation. The topic is, ironically, on “sepoy mentality”.

Episode 2: Sepoys to the Right, Sepoys to the Left, Volley'd and Thunder'd..

Episode 2: On the "sepoy mentality" (18th and 19th Feb 2014)

Rajiv Malhotra: Sepoy recruitment driven by instilling inferiority complex in them about own heritage. Hence the role of William Dalyrmple is subtle & secret.

Rajiv Malhotra: Kathmandu Lit Fest run by Suvani Singh pursued me as major speaker. Then William Dalyrmple got involved. Now suddenly Suvani lost interest. Huh.

Rajiv Malhotra: In India, Scottish/British accent gets you places. But no Indian would be given the free reign over intellectual life in the UK.

Rajiv Malhotra: William Dalyrmple says he selects "firangi" writers for India Lit Fests, not Gokhale.. Why? "Contain the desi" strategy to keep her in place.

Rajiv Malhotra: William Dalyrmple experienced mainly as travel writer is now an "India expert" writing policy for USA think tanks. How many Indians know this?

Rajiv Malhotra: For example see US policy advice by William Dalyrmple India-Pak-Afghan strategy: … Using his cultural capital in India?

Rajiv Malhotra: Many Indians programmed to fear whites, rush to cover for them, love to be sepoys.

Rajiv Malhotra: Many East India Co hires were young bums, drop outs & scoundrels in own society. Returned back to UK with wealth & power. = William Dalyrmple

Rajiv Malhotra: Strategy of EIC was to build up mediocre Indians into big shots & get loyalty in return. Failed to create sepoy army in China. Big diff.

Rajiv Malhotra: William Dalyrmple was a nobody in UK until Indians made him a star which now boosts his class status in the West. In return he built Gokhale

Rajiv Malhotra: This is an old Anglo-American game expounded nicely by Black American writers like Marimba Ami

Rajiv Malhotra: Namita Gokhale & others positioned as role models for other Indians to follow for career paths. White Mughal sits as the top of pyramid

Rajiv Malhotra: The colonizer hates those Indians who have strategic minds, courage, persistence. Wants to boost those with slave mentality.

Here, a tweep who goes by the handle @deepaktiwari pitches in.
Deepak Tiwari: 'The Bell Curve' clearly tells, Indians genetically have lower IQ n unable to manage themselves, they need managers :(

Rajiv Malhotra: Indians prior to Islamic colonizing were creative, exporters of knowledge, had the best universities in world. Slavery is new

Here’s @valmikii adding to Rajiv Malhotra’s statement.

Valmiki: [to Deepak Tiwari] By that logic, Dr. BR Ambedgar will never have been what he was. I can give enough examples...

Rajiv Malhotra: There are many good examples to counter slave mentality. Adopt as role models, not William Dalyrmple or his sepoys

Rajiv Malhotra: Indian literary & media icons are brands and role models with great importance to colonizer's strategies. Big investments made on them.

Now follows an extremely fast-paced exchange with tweep @rupasubramanya who takes up the case for William Dalyrmple after he has refused to engage with Rajiv Malhotra since the earlier exchange where he walked off.

Rupa Subrahmanya: Anyone who held out hope Rajiv Malhotra had any credibility, do see his tl now especially messages to William Dalyrmple. Pathetic.

Rajiv Malhotra: Which messages? There have been dozens. Why afraid of specifics. Have him accept my invite for live debate

Rupa Subrahmanya: on the one hand you're condemning JLF & on the other you're complaining you weren't uninvited. Inconsistent!

Rupa Subrahmanya: If you dislike JLF so much, why are you so keen on being invited?

Rajiv Malhotra: Illogical: When women complain not being in top posts, they want to get in to fight unfair privilege.

Rajiv Malhotra: Already answered same question u repeated 4 times.

Rupa Subrahmanya: so you want to be an insider in the world you're criticising? Why not start your own outfit ?

Rajiv Malhotra: So you want to protect the fortress as a sepoy, giving one illogical excuse after another.

Rupa Subrahmanya: You as an Indo-American,calling me a sepoy is hilarious. How about you move back to India & then we can talk about sepoys?

Rajiv Malhotra: Many sepoys unconsciously inflicted with craving Western Universalism. Prob is, not skin color.

Rupa Subrahmanya: You appear to be using psycho-analytical tools ala Freud that you criticise Doniger for. Inconsistent much?

Rajiv Malhotra: Haha. You dont know Postcolonial studies 101, mixing it with Freud. Pls take college class on Post-Col. Many secular writers

Rupa Subrahmanya: On the contrary you refer to Freud among others in your rediff interview. Perhaps you don't know what post colonial is.

Now, the conversation takes a slight detour and continues. Let’s see how.

Rupa Subrahmanya: Rajiv Malhotra dissing William Dalyrmple calling him a White Mughal/coloniser. Next minute, grovelling to get invited to JLF.Make up your mind!

Rajiv Malhotra: He can accept my invite in any neutral forum. How about India Int'l Center, Delhi?

Rupa Subrahmanya: So you no longer wish to be invited to JLF? You sent many tweets complaining about not being invited.

Rajiv Malhotra: I did not say that. I want to end one-sided forums. You need to think of whats being said

Rupa Subrahmanya: Rajiv Malhotra, to even the playing field, why not start your own littlest and see how it evolves over time.

Rajiv Malhotra: Already answered that: Study meaning of SOCIAL CAPITAL as means of monopoly.

Rajiv Malhotra: I am willing to go to Jaipur or UK or Delhi or Princeton to debate in neutral setting. Location not important. Next excuse?

Rupa Subrahmanya: Excuse? Am not speaking for William Dalyrmple but commenting on what appears to be a basic inconsistency in your position.

Rajiv Malhotra: Pls see prior tweets on Forum Control ==> Social capital ==> monopoly ==> abuse of power.

Rajiv Malhotra: Your argument is like a monopolist telling someone to start his own business and compete. Why is any monopoly an issue?

Rupa Subrahmanya: Last time I checked GoI hasn't issued license to start litfests. There's free entry.Maybe u shld take a basic course in econ.

Rajiv Malhotra: You are evading issue of social capital that accrues over years. Channels of distribution r controlled unfairly

Rupa Subrahmanya: You're using fancy words.But how expensive to rent a couple of buildings,find some sponsors & fly in some speakers. Not hard

Rajiv Malhotra: Not about buildings. Study how Tejpal became power broker over 10 years. Nexus of sponsors, influence peddling, lit figures

At this point tweep @dhume (Sadanand Dhume) enters the conversation.

Sadanand Dhume: [to Rupa Subrahmanya] White person who ignores Rajiv Malhotra constant whining for a few crumbs of recognition = colonialist. Brown person = sepoy.

Now another tweep @pierrefitter (Pierre Fitter) adds his voice to the conversation

Pierre Fitter: [to Sadanand Dhume] There's a nice irony in the fact that Rajiv Malhotra won't use 'sipahi' #WeAreAllSepoys.

Rajiv Malhotra: Because sepoy is special word for Indians serving the empire. We have lots of them here.

The conversation shifts again starting with one of the earlier tweets.

Rupa Subrahmanya: Last time I checked GoI hasn't issued license to start litfests. There's free entry.Maybe u shld take a basic course in econ.

Rajiv Malhotra: Monopolies are not govt license related necessarily. Pls study how concentration of capital happens & implications

Rajiv Malhotra: [to Rupa Subrahmanya] Media monopolists also tell critics to start own media. Ever tried doing that?

Rajiv Malhotra: Pls read postcolonial scholars on how Brits gained control through cunning charm, discourse control, sepoys fighting Indians

Rupa Subrahmanya: I think you're making excuses for not starting your own lit fest. Capital requirements not that high.

Rupa Subrahmanya: so you're saying with your celebrity u can't get together sponsors /speakers to even put a small inaugural event?

Rajiv Malhotra: If it were so easy why would I not do it? But social media will devastate old school fortresses. Its happening right HERE.

Rajiv Malhotra: Yes I can and social media is one such vehicle already starting to work. hence these attacks by jealous old school

After this Rupa Subrahmanya walks away from the debate claiming, she has to some "sepoy duties” to attend to.

Rajiv Malhotra: [to Rupa Subrahmanya] Please read Gandhi's masterpiece "Hind Swaraj" on role of Indians serving the empire

Rajiv Malhotra: [to Rupa Subrahmanya] Notice how the viceroy William Dalyrmple & sepoys take turns 2 repeat same bad logic, then run away to get reinforcements

Rajiv Malhotra: If viceroy is scared, I am willing to debate any of his sepoys. Rupa Subrahmanya, Sadanand Dhume, Gokhale [Namita] or whosoever. Choose time and place.

Rajiv Malhotra: Dear Viceroy & sepoys, lets have civilized debate with mutual respect in neutral venue & moderation. Split the cost 50/50. Open to learn

Rajiv Malhotra: [to Rupa Subrahmanya, Sadanand Dhume] To get level playing field for a new Lit Fest, it requires EQUAL media coverage. Will you guarantee compliance?

Rajiv Malhotra: [to Sadanand Dhume and Rupa Subrahmanya] If brand affiliation did not impact the success of ideas, why would you clamor for Western affiliations? Like Sadanand Dhume as WSJ?

Rajiv Malhotra: [Addressing both Rupa Subrahmanya and Sadanand Dhume] Those Indians most deficient in personal merit are most vulnerable to offer seopy service as career path.

Debate with Rupa Subrahmanya continues on 20th Feb, 2014

Rajiv Malhotra: Dear Viceroy & sepoys, lets have civilized debate with mutual respect in neutral venue & moderation. Split the cost 50/50. Open to learn

Rupa Subrahmanya: How can there be conversation with mutual respect when you label them with charged & offensive terms like Viceroy & Sepoy?

Rajiv Malhotra: This is to offer u peace & friendship. Lets shift from personal attacks to discuss whats best for the collective good. ..-:)

Rupa Subrahmanya: I agree but you're not answering my qstn.Why label people & then ask them to have a respectful convo.I haven't labelled you :)

Rajiv Malhotra: Words like viceroy, sepoys, coolies, Macaulay's children are part of discourse just like saffron, fascist, nationalist.

Rajiv Malhotra: One side got used to coining & deploying power-words against us. Why cant we do same? Lets agree to set words aside & reason

Rupa Subrahmanya: have never called u saffron,fascist,nationalist,etc. I disapprove of such labels. Why label me? You don't even know me. :)

Rajiv Malhotra: Fair enough. Lets abandon all labels on both sides & address issues of asymmetry of power over the DISTRIBUTION of discourse

Rupa Subrahmanya: Agree. Labels are not helpful. As for the second, it depends on the reference points. Whose discourse? How defined?

Rajiv Malhotra: I spent 20 yrs investigating syndrome of discourse control which is censorship in disguise. Guilty forums block the topic

Rajiv Malhotra: Worse still the power-brokering forums proudly proclaim themselves as champions of free speech & blame others for censorship

Rupa Subrahmanya: Think you're misusing the word "censorship".Your book not banned neither is Donigers. We're free to discuss your work.

Rajiv Malhotra: Disappointed that you evade debating me by manipulating words..Need to understand asymmetry of forums -causes & consequences

Rajiv Malhotra: This tweet thread shows who is for open debates & who is running using many excuses. Let the twiterrati decide. :)

Rupa Subrahmanya: being honest about what's involved isn't manipulating wods imo. Sorry you see it that way.

Rajiv Malhotra: Notice how I am addressing each excuse being cited to evade discussing the issue. But forum-wallahs run to the next excuse

Here, @The Jaggi (R Jagannathan) of 'First Post' adds to the conversation

R Jagannathan: The point I would make is msm will never discuss hinduism with hindus who care for hinduism. Only critics

Rajiv Malhotra: This is especially true of Hindus who are well informed & scholarly. MSM beings in those they can mock at.

Rupa Subrahmanya: [to R. Jagannathan] Does msm discuss any religion for that matter along the lines you suggest?

Rajiv Malhotra: Yes, MSM discusses Secularism and Hindu-bashing as two favorite religions. -:)

Rupa Subrahmanya: mainstream academic debate around all religions not just Hinduism generally among scholars not the devout.

Rajiv Malhotra: [To both R Jagannathan and Rupa] False. Why then did MSM give so much coverage to Doniger side of story? Sorry but u r unable to face facts.

R Jagannathan: [To Rupa] Rajiv Malhotra was referring to scholars and not the believers - but scholars who care about the religion or its ethos

Rupa Subrahmanya: [to R. Jagannathan] how is this unique to hinduism? Same would apply to other religions,no?

Rajiv Malhotra: The issue of insider/outsider views is well argued among scholars but Indian so-called intellectuals need basic education

R Jagannathan: [To Rupa] no it does not happen in India because in msm there is unstated consensus that minority religions must be treated gingerly

Rajiv Malhotra: Thanks to Rupa Subrahmanya and others for making this twitter discussion great evidence for my future writings on Indian "intellectuals"

Rajiv Malhotra: [To Rupa] All my books use data collected through encounters with various kinds of persons. This rich archive is on over-rated Indians

Rajiv Malhotra: [To Rupa] The Lit Fest-Media nexus is abundantly clear from this discussion. Each of them is driven by Western influences, $, branding

Rupa Subrahmanya: [To Rajiv Malhotra] Who are you calling an overrated Indian?! :)

Rajiv Malhotra: Over-rated Indians are the LitFest-Media wallahs peddling half-baked understanding of Western Universalism to impress.-:)

Rupa Subrahmanya: Have to get back to my "sepoy" duties once again but hope to continue the convo with you soon...during my next furlough. :)

Rajiv Malhotra: Since you acknowledge yourself to be a sepoy in this tweet, it will be ok for us to call you such. Stop whining pls. -:)

Rupa Subrahmanya: Will leave it to u to decide if it's appropriate or in good taste to call names many years your junior whom u've never met! :)

Conversation carried forward to 21st Feb 2014

Other tweeple react on watching this exchange

ZoomIndianMedia: Did you behave in good taste w/ your elder Shri Rajiv Malhotra ? Being irreverential is not the issue here;Being Malicious is

B Giridharr: What names, pl spell out. I’ve seen your convo on twitter but didn’t see any name callin..

Rajiv Malhotra: Part of that mentality is to play "victim" - comes from Jewish tribes to Jesus all the way to Doniger down to Rupa Subrahmanya

Rajiv Malhotra: The pecking or "sucking" order: Indians like Rupa Subrahmanya suck up to William Dalrymple & Brits like him suck up to Americans like Doniger.

Rupa Subrahmanya: I thought you were going to keep it civilised & refrain from insult. Obviously you're incapable of doing that.

Rajiv Malhotra: You r used to being pampered and always right. So can't handle criticism like you give others. Pls be SPECIFIC.

Rupa Subrahmanya: Your reply itself contains an insult. You're evidently incapable of civilised conversation.

Other Indian tweeple join in

ZoomIndianMedia: [To Rupa Subrahmanya] You, @vdedhejia and William Dalyrmple Sadanand Dhume etc to define what is civilized?

Rajiv Malhotra: Let people here decide. They r not dumb as u think. No need to feed them opinions without basis pls.

ZoomIndianMedia: [To Rupa Subrahmanya] Is your motive in abusing Shri Rajiv Malhotra improving ur profile in sepoy services rat-race?

Sharad: [To Rajiv Malhotra] Bang on! Once i questioned Rupa Subrahmanya for her unconditional love to Tejpal.. And She sent 'Block' to me!

Abhimanyu: [To Rajiv Malhotra] sir, u r simply wasting ur tym. U cannot hav sensible discussion with Rupa Subrahmanya

Rajiv Malhotra: [To Abhimanyu and Rupa] It looks that way. But I wanted to give a person benefit of doubt, not depend on hearsay but my own experience.

Urchin Spock: [To Rajiv Malhotra] Sir, in India, u take any field u will see incompetent ignorant people as the 'experts', ANY field. [with reference to Rupa Subrahmanya]

Rajiv Malhotra: True. Many bhondus over-confidently promising more than they can deliver. Colonized --> broken psychologically

Rajiv Malhotra: [To Rupa] A dumb Indian makes a useful sepoy or coolie. Former does aggressive work, latter is passive. Chowkidar is next level up.

Rohit Pradhan: Rajiv Malhotra’s elevated discourse includes such gems as sepoys & chowkidars. Then he complains he is not taken seriously. Heh.

Rajiv Malhotra: Yes this is postcolonial language. Pls get educated on scholarly discourse. Not emotional. Ok?

Rajiv Malhotra: [To Rupa Subrahmanya, Sadanand Dhume] When our deities are insulted its called freedom of speech. But when we criticize scholars we are blamed.

Rajiv Malhotra: [To Rupa Subrahmanya, Sadanand Dhume] Doniger, viceroy & sepoys cant stand our criticism & yet champion freedom to insult our deities. Double standards.

Sadanand Dhume: [To Rajiv Malhotra] Fire away. Even a child can see that nobody stops you from criticizing others.

Rajiv Malhotra: Sadanand Dhume, glad you acknowledge your view is that of a child. Child prodigy at Amrikan journal? Now LOL like a child. -:)

Sandeep Nangia: [To Rajiv Malhotra] BTW, who's the viceroy?

Rajiv Malhotra: [To Sandeep Nangia] William Dalyrmple head of India's Literary Raj. With Rupa Subrahmanya & Sadanand Dhume guarding the gates as chowkidars

Rajiv Malhotra reiterates the need for an amicable, open, neutral debate

Rajiv Malhotra: Dear William Dalyrmple &rupa Subrahmanya, lets stop personal xchanges & set up a neutral forum to amicably debate issues of one-sided discourse

Rajiv Malhotra: Which is worse: calling Ramakrishna pedophile, Vivekananda homosexual, Shiva rapist, Ganesh limp phallus? Or calling Rupa Subrahmanya a sepoy

C J Mitra: [To Rajiv Malhotra and Rupa Subrahmanya] i can't possibly imagine anything wrong abt being homosexual

Rajiv Malhotra: [To C J Mitra and Rupa Subrahmanya] Nor do I. But it is personal choice, not imposed by someone. Vivekananda did not say it so who are they to claim?

C J Mitra: [To Rajiv Malhotra] Ok. Point taken

Rajiv Malhotra: A dumb Indian makes a useful sepoy or coolie. Former does aggressive work, latter is passive. Chowkidar is next level up.

Two new sepoys pop up and are dispatched with minimal fuss

Berges: Wait, who is Rajiv Malhotra and why has he suddenly become such a big talk master on twitter?

The Brown Brumby: [To Berges] Shri Rajiv Malhotra was an Indian who gave up his Indian citizenship. Now he lectures people on the greatness of Indian culture.

Rajiv Malhotra: [To both Berges and The Brown Brumby] Then why r you sitting in Australia The Brown Brumby? Dharmic civilization is global. Its Dharmic Universalism vs Western Universalism

The Brown Brumby: [To Rajiv Malhotra] I quite like western culture, I believe it is much better than Indian culture. I am not a hypocrite like you.

Rajiv Malhotra: [To both Berges and The Brown Brumby]: Fair enough. I respect ur right to prefer West culture. So why are you bothered by my choice that differs? Insecurity?

Rajiv Malhotra: Seems like The Brown Brumby & Berges are the latest batch of sepoys dispatched by viceroy after his prior ones ran away beaten.


"Through such debates we can win, better than any book ban"
Unlike the phoney talking-head debates on TV or the aimless "left wing v/s right wing" slanging matches often seen on twitter, Rajiv Malhotra's debates are always done to create an unignorable and real impact. There are pursued in a transparent and honest manner and strive to elevate the level of the discourse, while also not hesitating to give as good as received. Those who've been privileged to follow his many debates in the past would have known that Rajiv ji chooses his words carefully. Unfortunately, Dalrymple and his sepoys failed to do their homework. Rajiv Malhotra was able to use twitter to expose, in public domain, the underlying nexus between Neo-colonists like Dalrymple who monopolize Indian discourse via their self-serving litfests, and the sepoys who march in to rescue their white masters. Rajiv Malhotra points out that this master-slave mentality is eerily similar to the way the East India Company dominated India and impoverished it. The conversations demonstrate the unwillingless of those who manipulate the discourse to join a neutral and open debate lest it drive them out of their comfort zone and expose not just their own sloppy underpreparedness to deliver in real-time, but also their facade of expertise, lack of intellectual rigor, and over-inflated egos. Ultimately, his opponents had nowhere to hide. Finally, Rajiv Malhotra shows how even a chaotic, unmoderated, and free-wheeling social media forum like twitter, in the hands of a well-trained, practised, and prepared scholar, can be used to turn the tables on an entrenched opposition even if  multiple opponents attack simultaneously!

We will soon return here with a summary of another Rajiv Malhotra debate. Hope you enjoyed following this debate. We leave the readers with Rajiv ji's final set of tweets that can also be viewed as takeaways from these debates.

‏@TheRightIndian opined that Rajiv ji should not waste time on sepoys.
"Agree. @RajivMessage being the foremost Indicthinker shld focus on bigger things rather than engage Sepoys on SM @amishra77 @newindianright"
Rajiv ji's own summary is an object lesson for all Hindus who want to debate online. Messages from key tweets are numbered and presented below within quotes. Please follow @RajivMessage on twitter and read his timeline for all the tweets today (February 21, 2014).

1. "Common problem with these "expert on everything" personalities. over-opinionated but under informed @girishbellad @Vaneeshsingh @dhume"

2. "Gardening is not just +ve acts like planting roses but also -ve tasks like killing weeds. We face weeds both foreign nexus & Indian sepoys"
3. "Sepoy is a special kind of crony: serving the cause of Western Universalism imposed upon Indians. A perfectly fine term just like 'crony'"

4. "Postcolonial scholars wrote lots on sepoy mindset. So did Gandhi in 'Hind Swaraj'. Same is valid today. @newindianright @amishra77 @dhume"

5. " Many universities, media groups, lit fests are sepoy training academies. They assume Hindu opponent to be simpleton or unscholarly"

6. "Tejpal was one their heroes: power brokering ==> building brands for friends ==> surrounded by suckers ==> beyond critique ==> arrogant"

7. "Hindu home team must master theory, debating strategies, competitor analysis, & become rugged in battle. Mahabharata is not a picnic."

8. "Dharma should not try to digest adharma just like healthy body should not try to swallow cancer. Must fight it to eradicate"

9. "Home team training starts with reading plus trench warfare for practical experience. Then work your way up into leadership."

10. "Experienced leaders must demonstrate trench warfare to inspire the team & also to warn adharma forces we are not vulnerable"

11. "Wanting to avoid trench warfare is like surgeon who is afraid of seeing blood. Theory without battlefield testing will not be competitive."

12. [Retweet]: ‏@Panduranghari1 " Petition to encourage open debate … @DalrympleWill @rupasubramanya @RajivMessage @dhume"

13. "@Panduranghari1 @DalrympleWill @rupasubramanya @dhume Through such debates we can win, better than any book ban"



  1. Brilliant!!! Hats off to Rajiv Malhotra, his exchnages with the sepoys utterly lays bare their hypocrisy!

  2. Rajiv has done the Shastrarth in our Rishi's and Guru's style. I liked his arguments using the word Sepoy, especially when Ms Subramanya felt it to be a label. Rajiv's response that if they can call the other side "Saffron" and "Fundamentalist", he has the right to use the Sepoy label.
    I hope the other side ran with their tails between their legs. I am curious to know the reaction of Rambachan, the blind follower of Ursula King, to the Chapters devoted to him in Indra's Net.
    Ravi Kalia

  3. Twitter Shastrarth - A brilliant innovation by shri Rajjiv Malhotra ji, serving DHARMA selflessly & tirelessly.
    Highest respects & warm pranams