Hijacking Sanskrit Away from Hindu Dharma


This detailed post, which analyzes the work of Sheldon Pollock, Professor of South Asian Studies at Columbia University, is a sequel to the article in this space that exposed the Hinduphobia of his protege Ananya Vajpeyi, and her 'Breaking India' network. We recommend that you read that post here first, to understand the background to this post. We must subject to intense scrutiny, the actual positions and writings of influential people like Pollock, who only appear to be on the side of Dharma, in order to avoid falling into the trap of getting misled and digested. Readers will discover here that what is going on is nothing short of a brazen attempt to hijack Sanskrit away from Hindu dharma.

Additional Background on 'digestion'
'Digestion' is a term coined by Rajiv Malhotra and has been discussed in various threads on this forum. To understand the process of digestion (if you are not familiar with the concept), please refer to these threads on this forum, or better still, join the discussion forum (link at the end of this post).
Difference between Digestion and Conversion
Why are Hindus Celebrating the Digestion of Hinduism? - Part 1 and Part-2
Jesus in India and Digestion of Hinduism

Here is a video link from Rajiv Malhotra's site for his book Being Different, which deals with this subject of digestion.


After summarizing Rajiv Malhotra response to Ananya Vajpeyi's article in the Hindu and elaborating on the ecosystem that is nurturing and promoting Hinduphobic scholars, it is important for us to take a step back and refocus on the bigger picture, starting with her mentor, Sheldon Pollock, who is currently very influential as an 'Indophile' among intellectual circles both in India and abroad. More importantly, he is gaining huge financial backing from wealthy and influential but misguided Indians who believe very naively that he has Dharma's best interest at heart.

This post might be updated in multiple parts over time, owing to the fact that this expose is slowly but surely developing as more scholars begin to scrutinize Pollock's work seriously and share their findings. This blog is a detailed introduction to readers to make them aware of a clear and present danger to India's Sanskriti, and Hinduism due to this well-entrenched and well-funded cabal of Hinduphobic scholars.

Who is Sheldon Pollock?

(picture linked from http://www.columbia.edu)

Rajiv Malhotra started the discussion by noting that Pollock was someone potentially more dangerous than Wendy Doniger, Professor of History of Religions at University of Chicago or Michael Witzel, Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University, because while the latter two were discredited before they had made their way to Indian billionaires and their deep pockets, it was a different case with Pollock. Doniger's and Witzel's sphere of influence was limited to the Indian leftists but Pollock was different in that he could persuade wealthy Indians into pledging huge funding to the Western nexus involved in project Breaking India. This is a hypothesis Rajiv Malhotra is now researching in order to get to the bottom of things.

Rajiv Malhotra says:

Pollock is the most successful person from this club to solicit millions of dollars from wealthy Indians. He is the new "raja of Sanskrit" as some Indian supporters like to call him. Pls see attachment in India Abroad newspaper showering praise for him -- dressed in dhoti etc and called a "pandit". Remember Sir William Jones who was saluted as a pandit by Indians? The PR machinery at Columbia has used many pathways to reach Indian media and wealthy Indians. He became useful to the Indian Left because he dished out "data" on Sanskrit which fit the views of Kancha Ilaiah, Arundhati Roy, and numerous others who were too ignorant of Sanskrit to backup their views. Now he wants to "secularize" sanskrit to make it more "mainstream". 

There is also a write-up on Pollock which appeared in the India Abroad magazine this June. Pollock is one of the recipients of the India Abroad Person of the Year 2013 Award. The document is embedded here.

Sheldon Pollock--India Abroad Award as FRIEND OF INDIA AND MEDI-1

Manish said:

Sadly, our fellow Hindus are quite often incapable of distinguishing a friend from a foe.....

..... Sadder still, we see this inability to distinguish friend from foe, show up not just in academia but in all fields, whether it is diplomacy, geostrategy, international trade, forging joint ventures, securing our energy supplies, cultural exchanges, collaborating in non-academic research ---- everywhere !! Our industrialists and corporate executives are huge huge suckers for the most part when it comes to sepoy like behaviour  (Narayan Murthy, Shiv Nadar, Anand Mahindra, Harsh Goenka --- their public statements and actions show a pattern of naïveté that's stunning).

It is so disheartening to see enemies of Hinduism laughing all the way while making suckers out of Hindus....and even worse is to see these naive Hindus feeling a perverse sense of pride in being suckered.

Sheldon Pollock's works

Sheldon Pollock comes across as a disciplined and charming individual who plays his cards close to his chest, saying the right thing, dropping the right names, and doing what is necessary to keep his projects going smoothly. To use a poker analogy, one has to scratch beneath the surface to detect Pollock's 'tell' - parsing the seemingly India-friendly statements by Pollock to detect those parts that gives his agenda away. Shalini reviewed the pdf to draw some important conclusions:

Start Quote: [Page M121, col 1]
My point is that in the last 50 years - these are hard questions and very few people talk about them openly and critically and knowledgeably, with a sense of the deep past - as a friend of India and a long term observer, words like janambhoomi and karmabhoomi - to take that particular case, have been captured, so to speak, by a certain politics in India today that makes it difficult to use those terms in a non-political way
End Quote

Me: Is the Sangh parivar, the Hindu Acharyas, and in particular the think tanks in the current BJP setup even looking at such statements carefully?

Start Quote: [Page M121, col 1]
Let me give you a silly example. Maybe it will resonate. I have a friend, a kannada writer, (U.R) Ananthamurthy. Bangalore was a big centre - I dont know if it still is - for the Sathya Sai Baba movement. []
Once he was on a plane and someone on the plane was passing out vibhuti, you know, ash that had been touched by Sathya Sai Baba. It was like a commodity. Like a contemporary commodity.
There was an elderly, very traditional gentleman in the plane with Ananthamurthy, dhotivallah type, very traditional. Somebody came up to him and said here is some vibhuti. He said: " No, I don't take it. I am a very traditional man."
The old tradition had a non-commodified sense of this precious material, the sacred ash. And in the present day it has somehow become commodified and I dont say cheapened.
End Quote

Me: So many things absolutely conjecture in this para. First, never miss the profiling done on the "dhotivallah type" as if all dhoti wearing people belong to a certain type of mindset.

Next, who is Pollock to spin a theory about commodifying the vibhuti? What is the basis for arriving at that conclusion? Nothing of the thought process that allowed him to state this has been explained by him. []

Then, the dhotivallah says he wont take it. Why does Pollock believe that his refusal to take the vibhuti has anything to do with commodification? []

This pdf tells us that Pollock's friends in Karnataka include UR Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad, both known to be Hinduphobic, and virulently anti-Modi. However, identifying Pollock's tell also involves recognizing what Pollock leaves unsaid: and Pollock has absolutely nothing positive to say about Dharma and Sanskriti. Guru posted a two-part video of Pollock's interview to Tehelka, an Indian magazine. The video links can be found here and here

Guru writes in with this:
Though he claims to have a secular interest in researching Sanskrit, we can see he really has other motivations which he tries hard to disguise. His disdain and contempt for Hindu beliefs are very evident throughout the talk.
Earlier on, while describing his journey into Sanskrit studies, he says he wished to say he came to Sanskrit  as Saraswati came in his dream and asked him to be her lover, but he could not. 
Look at the appalling insensitivity towards non-judeo christian cultures. It is really sad that such people who disparage the Vedic Goddess of Learning are going to get grant from 'Sharada Peetam' of all places. []

Then around 3:40 he condescendingly berates the 'Ram janma bhoomi' movement and questions why myths like Ramayana are taken seriously in India to form parties around these when nobody forms parties in Rome around Virgil's Iliad. Note he finds Rama equivalent to Western tradition's mythic hero Virgil of Homer and not to its living tradition's "historical" figure of Jesus.

Even after being a Sanskrit scholar for so long, he happily treats Saraswathi like some Greek goddess Venus looking for mortal lovers. He equates Ramayana to Illiad just to make Hindus look dumb. This type of condescending behavior is deliberate and only miseducated liberals would be taken by it. []

Additional analysis of his interview reveals this:

At around 00:03:07, he refers to the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 and how that event spurred him on to be a torch bearer for secularism in India since he felt that classicism was being used as a very powerful political tool to influence narratives.

At around 00:14:22 Pollock says Sanskrit has to be kept safe from 'enemies of History', from anti-history people. He means that he is the savior to prevent destruction from modern day Hindus.

At around 00:14:36, Pollock talks about re-invigorating Sanskrit and allowing it to re-discover its "creativity" and "intellectual innovation" in a secular manner thus decoupling Sanskrit from Dharma.

At around 00:18:13 In response to the interviewer's question of whether there was energy just in chanting mantras which were according to interviewer's elders, put together scientifically, Pollock's answer is to DISMISS it by saying that energy is in the eyes of the beholder and that he is completely SECULAR.

At around 00:01:39 in part 2 of the interview, Pollock states his anti-Hindutva/BJP position very clearly.

At around 00:03:58, he says that Kannada and Sanskrit have played out their narratives as one which is something of a re-enactment of "Unity in diversity". And, he finds it CORNY to state that. Why?

A Hindu-funded Hijacking of Sanskrit

Rajiv writes back on the forum elaborating further on Pollock's positions especially with regard to Sanskrit. It is reproduced below.

In his famous essay titled "The Death of Sanskrit", he opens with the following paragraph. His political motives and his attitude towards Sanskrit is not in doubt:
"In the age of Hindu identity politics (Hindutva) inaugurated in the 1990s by the ascendancy of the Indian People’s Party (Bharatiya Janata Party) and its ideological auxiliary, the World Hindu Council (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), Indian cultural and religious nationalism has been promulgating ever more distorted images of India’s past. Few things are as central to this revisionism as Sanskrit, the dominant culture language of precolonial southern Asia outside the Persianate order. Hindutva propagandists have sought to show, for example, that Sanskrit was indigenous to India, and they purport to decipher Indus Valley seals to prove its presence two millennia before it actually came into existence. In a farcical repetition of Romantic myths of primevality, Sanskrit is considered— according to the characteristic hyperbole of the VHP—the source and sole preserver of world culture. The state’s anxiety both about Sanskrit’s role in shaping the historical identity of the Hindu nation and about its contemporary vitality has manifested itself in substantial new funding for Sanskrit education, and in the declaration of 1999–2000 as the “Year of Sanskrit,” with plans for conversation camps, debate and essay competitions, drama festivals, and the like.

Yet this man got the [Padma Shree] (perhaps because of this work) received $20 [million] from Narayan Murthy to lead the translation of Indian classics, then became India Abroad's "Person of the Year in 2013.

The climax of his career is now happening. He is potentially going to control the selection of the scholar for a $3.5 million donation from a group in NY/NJ who are working with Sringeri mattha to set up this new Hinduism Chair at Columbia Univ. It will be the flagship of Sringeri mattha in the academy.

Pollock's game plan has gone through three phases:
  1. First he established his credentials as a young Sanskrit scholar by doing translations of Sanskrit texts into English - using dictionaries as he is said to be unable to converse in Sanskrit. These were non controversial works =just to get established. But he is not a sadhak, hence it is textual analysis only.
  2. Then he turned into a Leftist social scientist and started producing a large quantity of anti-Sanskrit works like the above quote. His thesis is that Sanskrit has been abusive against dalits, women, minorities. That the Aryans brought Sanskrit and its texts to India. That Hindu chauvinists are trying to revise history and claim otherwise. The above para quoted says it all.
  3. Finally, he started to champion the revival of Sanskrit but in a specific manner: He wants to secularize it by removing or criticizing references that are Hindu. He considers mantras to devatas unimportant or even a problem. He is leading many projects in USA to bring Dalits to Columbia and train them in Sanskrit - which would be great if it were not done with any political spin. So what he ends up facilitating is a doctored up approach to Sanskrit that is not in line with our traditional approach. He praises this as "modernizing Sanskrit". This is similar to decoupling Yoga from Hindu in the name of "modernizing Yoga". The implication is that tradition is flawed and must be upgraded by de-contextualizing it of its dharma and thereby modernizing = secularizing it.
This is a replay of how Oxford became the world center for Indology in the British era. That was under British rule but now it is under Indian rule.

Indians in the next decade will throng to Columbia to get certified if they want to be taken seriously in India as Sanskrit experts. 

This means such Indians will get a heavy dose of Western hermeneutics which is the theoretical lens used in Columbia and elsewhere in Western academics. This lens sidelines all Indian siddhanta. It replaces the siddhanta with things like:
  • Freudian psychoanalysis
  • Western  feminism
  • Subaltern studies
  • Marxism
  • Postmodernism
  • 'Dalit studies
  • etc
So traditional Sringeri interpretations of their own guru will fade away, and be replaced by the "modernized" fashions. Indian pandits and acharyas will find themselves at a disadvantage and feel like outsiders in such discussions, unless they submit themselves to get trained in hermeneutics -- in which case they will end up brainwashed as Ananya Vajpeyi did.

Our well-intended leaders simply lack enough competence to be able to make such strategic choices without a lot of coaching.

Even if the first occupant of the Adi Shankara chair planned at Columbia University is a good one for us, there are serious issues long term:
  • Subsequent selections as per contract will be 100% controlled by Columbia U.
  • The power center for Sanskrit studies will shift from Sringeri to USA. This means adhikars to run conferences and journals, control translations (Pollock already does that with Murthy's $5 million), produce the next generation of PhDs for deployment worldwide including India.
  • This chair will be cited as a role model to approach all other matthas and Hindu organizations. Taking Hindu money and using it to control their discourse will become a fashion in the name of "collaboration", "globalization", "modernizing", etc.
It seems that we have not learned any lessons from what happened under the influence of Robert de Nobili in the 1600s, William Jones in the late 1700s, and Max Mueller in the 1800s. We are as colonized mentally as ever. Dangle some affiliation with westerners and look at the way many Indians go chasing the limelight.

Sringeri is the last remaining pure center we have from the past era that has never got compromised or violated during the long period of Mughal and then British rules. Now the question is: Are our own folks are paying money to invite foreign domination?

The same folks like Pollock/Ananya who despise"Brahmanical  hegemony" find it desirable to replace it with Western hegemony."

Readers interested in learning and participating in this vigorous discussion can do so by signing up with yahoo and joining the Rajiv Malhotra Discussion group. This particular thread can be followed here. 

A very important discussion has also started on the issue of setting up Hinduism chairs at universities in America using funding from Indians. We are adding it to this thread since it impacts very strongly here too. Sheldon Pollock is also in the process of getting the Shringeri Mattha to set up a chair at Columbia.

Bahu wrote in to say that Dharma Civilization Foundation (DCF) had an announcement to make which was that they were facilitating the setting up a Center for Dharma Studies in partnership with the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) at GTU, California. The announcement also stated that the first two courses were going to be offered in the fall semester of 2014.

Here is Rajiv Malhotra's response and a very important one too.

"This DCF is another initiative with similar characteristic to what I am criticizing at Columbia. The common facts are as follows:

  1. I take some blame for having educated our diaspora for 20 years on the importance of entering the academy with Hinduism studies. But these folks are stuck on Release 1.0 of my proposals, whereas my experience with 20+ such academic initiatives has caused me to move on much further.
  2. Typically, a group of businessmen want to become important, seen by the public to be helping dharma, want limelight as the next thing to achieve personally.
  3. They lack specific competence to evaluate the subject matter expertise and content of the academy -- which requires far greater tapas than any of them did on this type of analysis or would be capable of doing.
  4. Hence they look at superficial things. I constantly hear things  like "they are nice people", "they say good things about Hinduism", etc.
  5. These rich donors do not even know basic things about the history of de Nobili, William Jones, Max Mueller, and the armies of modern anthropologists. They lack understanding of concepts like digestion, sameness, etc. They are so easily duped and impressed.
  6. They dont know, and worse still, they do not want to know, details that would be discomforting and would require getting outside their comfort zones. To use business terminology qwhich they understand, they have not done independent due diligence on the subject matter. In their own field of specialty they would never invest millions on some venture with no due diligence just because the recipient of the investment is "a good person". They know that persona of the other party is not enough to support some project. But here that mental faculty gets switched off. What takes over is the craving for acceptance at the high table of white establishment, maybe a deep inferiority complex that even millions of dollars has not overcome.
  7. To get legitimacy, they rope in some blessing from a well-know Hindu guru, preferably by naming a chair after him or his organization.
  8. But the guru, though extremely well-meaning, has not gone into specific details. He assumes these people have done that already. So he trusts them and gives his blessings. After all, gurus routinely bless those who are sincere devotees.
  9. To do "industry analysis" of this field, one has to survey prior experience in 20 or so similar initiatives. What happened to the programs later on? Did they produce anygame-changing impact in our favor? Was the activity merely for show, lots of meetings, events, gatherings, talks, etc. -- but so what? Did they change the discourse in our favor on any specific issue? The answer is always NO. I have yet to meet any donor who can answer such questions in a satisfactory manner.
  10. Even when the first appointment is pro-Hindu, the long term control is lost. That's how the contracts read in all such cases. A good example is the UCLA chair on Indian History named and funded by Naveen Doshi, a real estate millionaire in LA. After his own friend Prof Sardesai (who was good for us) retired as the first occupant of the chair, UCLA insisted on selecting their own choice, despite Doshi's complaints and threats to litigate. The small print gave them that right. His "nice guy" contacts (God Cops) vanished, and let the "academic system" (of Bad Cops) decide as per it "own procedures". Here's the irony: THE DOSHI CHAIR OCCUPANT TODAY DOES NOT WANT TO EVEN SIT DOWN WITH MR DOSHI FOR A CUP OF TEA, DOES NOT RETURN HIS CALLS OR EMAILS. Doshi ji says there is no cooperation and the Chair occupant is a radical leftist who hates everything Doshi cherishes about Indian history. I feel sad for Navin Doshi, a kind man who meant well.
  11. The single biggest problem I have is that DCF is empowering a Christian Seminary to run the discourse on Hinduism. I dont care who sits on that chair at least short term.
  12. Analogy: Would you like the idea of outsourcing the job of purohit/acharya to the Vatican, if they came with a proposal to do a good, professional job? Believe me, I come across morons who say "Yes, why not, if they can do a good job". Would you outsource the Indian Army work to the Pak army if they came with a cost-effective proposal? I hope no Indian army official is foolish enough to say "yes".
  13. The long-term issue is transfer of adhikar, transfer of prestige of learning centers from India over to Western controlled centers. Its like relocating Varanasi to the Vatican. Already Nalanda-like universities that attracted the brightest from all corners of Asia are now in the West in terms of global influence. Future generations of scholars from Indian ashrams would be sent to these seminary-controlled centers of learning as in the case of Berkeley, or leftist controlled as in the case of Columbia. Hinduism will become like a library of clip art for others to cut-paste and add to their own repertoire, and what unusable will sit in museums.
  14. Next we might expect some announcement that another major guru has set up his chair in Saudi Arabia because some rich sheikhs promised good things and because they can do a great job for us.
  15. How can people be so stupid, even after complaining so angrily that control of yoga has slipped away from Hindus over to Western institutions?
  16. Why are such initiatives not first discussed in open hearings with Hindu intellectuals invited to voice issues, and debate in the true spirit of dharma? Why the hush hush until "it is a done deal" and then announced with a guru's blessings to make it beyond question?
  17. Why is there no uproar comparable to what we saw against the Doniger matter?This sellout from within is far worse because it is sold in the name of helping Hinduism become mainstream.

You can join in this discussion here. Registration is free.

The strange case of the re-de-re-colonized Ananya Vajpeyi

The following blog post is the response from Rajiv Malhotra to a most mischievous write-up in the Hindu by Ananya Vajpeyi, and our followup study that tracks the ecosystem (the people, the nature of discourse, the institutions) that has nurtured and promoted Ananya Vajpeyi's anti-India and anti-Hindu activities.

A Brief overview of the ecosystem

Ananya Vajpeyi, now working with Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in India has been groomed by Sheldon Pollock, Professor of South Asian Studies at Columbia University, and others who have been associated with the Breaking India forces in a very organized manner. As Rajiv Malhotra has extensively researched, she is part of a large group of Indian "intellectuals" who have been carefully groomed by the western nexus that controls the discourse on Hinduism and by extension the dominant narrative about India in Indian media. This nexus aims to undermine Hinduism which is the civilizational basis for India in a slow and deliberate manner by focusing on issues like human rights, caste, women empowerment and the like and linking it with Hinduism in an aggressive yet persuasive manner with the result that the average Hindu reading such articles feels extremely conscious and in fact ashamed of his so called civilizational heritage. This then feeds further scholars riddled with inferiority complex into the university factories of this nexus to further strengthen the brain-washing. Sheldon Pollock has been so suave that he has managed to rope in people like Narayana Murthy of Infosys for his/his nexus project of first undermining the social fabric and then breaking/Balkanizing India. The other interesting fall out is the soul harvest, that pet project of Christianity that is made possible by the narratives generated by discourses like the ones generated by this nexus.

Here's a very important update on the thread from Rajiv where he has posted an excerpt from Breaking India, his deeply researched book on the nexus working mainly from abroad to undermine
and fragment India.

"The following excerpt from "Breaking India" is a small sample of what is wrong with hoisting Sheldon Pollock as the award-winning "Friend of India". He is now on a roll, rapidly taking control of Sanskrit Studies with massive funding from Indians who think they are helping "promote" their dharma::

Blaming Indian Civilization

Despite the fact that it was European scholarship which had misappropriated, distorted and abused Indian traditions for European identity politics, there is still a tendency among certain western scholars to put the blame for European racism and Nazism at India’s door. Sheldon Pollock, professor of Sanskrit at Coloumbia University promotes this view. According to Pollock "high Brahminism" as represented by the Mimamsa School contributed to the "ideological formations of precolonial India" and Nazism tried implementing this "at home" in Germany.[1] Pollock argues that it was this that ultimately led to the "legitimation of genocide".[2] Wilhelm Halbfass takes such ridiculous statements to ironic speculations,
"Would it not be equally permissible to identify this underlying structure as "deep Nazism" or "deep Mimamsa"? And what will prevent us from calling Kumarila and William Jones "deep Nazis" and Adolf Hitler a "deep Mimamsaka"?
We can se the implications of Western Indologists continuing to use the idea of the Aryan in the Indian context, with references to “Aryan invasions” and so forth. As will be shown in subsequent chapters, European racial ideas conveniently made their way into India, where they were reframed in terms of light skinned “Aryans” and dark skinned “Dravidians.” These distinctions were first promoted in colonial times, but remain powerful to this day in the study of India.

[1] (Pollock 1993, 77-78)

[2] Pollock will be discussed again in Chapter 14.

[3] (Halbfass, Research and Reflection; Beyond Orientalism 2007, 17)"

Following are some links on this very blog which have been the subject of past threads on the mentors/friends of people like Ananya: Sheldon Pollock, Narayana Murthy, Basharat Peer. Basharat Peer, Ananya's husband is a journalist based in New York who writes for NYT, Guardian etc. But Peer is more well known for his sympathy to the Kashmiri separatist cause. Read his interview on WSJ here. He was also head honcho for the virulently anti-India NYT India Ink blog that was recently shut down.

This is a thread which turns the spotlight on Narayana Murthy.

Here is a link which has a video talk by Sheldon Pollock (one of Breaking India nexus) currently currying much favour in Indian intellectual circles. This link also has discussions on various Breaking India forces at work in the USA with names.

Here's another thread on the Rajiv Malhotra discussion forum which discusses Sheldon Pollock.

Lit fests are another way for the Western nexus to operate and William Dalyrmple's Jaipur Lit Fest is one such place that attracts many of these Breaking India sepoys: the class educated and nurtured in the West for the furtherance of the West's own propaganda. Ashis Nandy is one such sepoy who created a furore at the Japiur fest in 2013 which immediately propelled the likes of Ananya Vajpeyi to lunge to his defence in her article here. In her article she says "One of India’s greatest living thinkers, who has written about some of the most sensitive fault-lines in our society with insight and compassion for over four decades, and supported countless social movements with his ideas and words, finds himself accused of hurting the self-esteem of the weak and the disenfranchized. The peculiarity of this situation bears some reflection. On the one hand, it could be argued that it is common knowledge that crime, corruption and venality are not restricted to any class, caste, religion or gender — a quick look at the scams that have surfaced just within this administration of the United Progressive Alliance government, since 2009, would bear out a minimal claim of this order." 

Ananya in the above quote conveniently leaves out mentioning data to support her claim of the break up of people caste wise (or religion wise) of those involved in scams. This is standard procedure of this nexus. They are always short on hard data while extremely long on theories and continuously quote each other in a self serving circle of buddies and comrades slapping each other on their back for their excellent scholarship. The above is just one example from her article and there are many like this strewn throughout the article.

Rajiv Malhotra has also had a debate with William Dalyrmple on twitter where he corners Dalyrmple on his Lit Fest. One can assess the debate worthiness or the lack thereof of Mr. Dalyrmple here.

"private" email  allegedly written by Ananya trying to malign Arundhati Roy's essay on Ambedkar's landmark writing Annihilation of Caste has been around on the net for a while. The said email has also been referred to in another widely read blog Newslaundry. Incidentally, Arundhati Roy is also part of the very same Breaking India nexus and she has been discussed on the forum. One of the threads involving her can be found in this summary.

Discussion Thread

Rajiv writes:

The above article by Ananya Vajpeyi (now a prof at CSDS, Delhi) reminded me of the following memories from the past.The only time I met this young scholar in person was at an annual conference of the American Academy of Religion, where I was saddened by the heavily "caste, cows, sati, dowry" focus in her paper. The paper's title and abstract had fooled me into expecting something more balanced & sensible about Sanskrit. It was clear that this PhD student felt compelled to politicize Sanskrit - emphasizing mainly how it was abusive of caste and women.Later, I learned from her former JNU prof Kapil Kapoor that she had studied under him, and hence had become encouraged to go abroad for further Sanskrit studies. He mentioned this during my discussion on how Ferdinand Sassuere had used Pannini's Sanskrit grammar and other Sanskrit texts to formulate his theories on structuralism. He mentioned that Ananya had done her MA on this very  topic in UK - a topic inspired by him. But later she Uturned upon reaching USA for her PhD. In fact, she was reluctant to share her own MA dissertation once she went to USA, as its thesis [ran] counter to the anti-Sanskrit camp she had joined. Prof Kapoor promised me several times over the years to get her MA dissertation for my reference, but never managed to get this from his own former student. Now in this latest article she lashes [out] against him as someone in the Modi era -- she belongs in an anti-Modi camp. I also once met her father, a distinguished Hindi scholar, through a mutual friend in Delhi. I explained to him my work in exposing Hinduphobia and biases against our sanskriti. He confidently replied that his daughter was an example of young scholars who will counter such biases. He was so proud of her while she was still a student in USA. Little did he know. How naive parents can be regarding where their children are headed intellectually after leaving home.The story gets worse. Her network of contacts in Delhi lobbied with Sonia G's cabal to get a Padam Shree award for her PhD adviser, Sheldon Pollock. He is the author of the infamous book "The Death of Sanskrit". He more than any other individual has helped to reposition the study of Sanskrit into terms and filters of "caste abuse". While Indian leftists already hated Sanskrit, they lacked direct knowledge of the language or its texts. This is where Pollock has provided them ammunition by training a  small army of sepoys like Ananya, and got them jobs in India, from where they carry out the civilizational war far worse than the Brits ever could. With this background you can see through her article in The Hindu. She calls Sanskrit studies "biased" in India - parroting the predictable allegations about gender and caste. But here's the elphant in the room she misses: She has nothing to say about the massive biases against Sanskrit and sanskriti in the Western academy  of which she is a product. Why this silence? Why no honesty to critique her own peer group of western Indologists? What about this bias? Her article uses Dina Nath Batra merely as a straw man. But her real target is Sanskriti. Notice the nuanced praise for Sanskrit, while in fact ending up debunking its legitimacy -- seen as a scourge for human rights of the "downtrodden".Indians are exceedingly naive about praise for the likes of Pollock and their trained sepoy armies. What a slick move to title her article ""My Sanskrit". We are up against a large army of such "Made in USA" Indian scholars with expertise (but no shraddha) for Sanskrit/Vedas/Hindus.

Following the above response, the thread on the forum saw quite a lot of activity.

Narasimhan writes:

"Who can be more useful than some one who parades her Sanskrit? A great insider and mole - at least that's what she wants them to think. She is also a student of Ananthamurthy, D.R. Nagaraj and other "anti-brahminism" poseurs. I wonder if Meera Nanda is jealous."

Come says:

"I have known Ananya for many years and have in fact written on her FB page to emit similar reservations and objections about her thesis in this latest article. I think she has become radicalised since she married Basharat Peer. However I think that she felt personally humiliated in her feminist convictions by some of her old sansrkit mentors in India who evinced traditional Brahminical prejudice against westernised young women eager to modernise and westernise indian society. She was thus reinforced in her conviction, nurtured in the USA, that Indian orthodox society is narrow-minded, bigoted and closed to reform. She was very well treated in honoured in the USA academic community and she is hence deeply loyal to Pollock, Doniger and other pillars odf American indology so that she takes personally any attack on their work and ideas."

Sreedhar adds:

"[] It is clearly very inferior in terms of scholarship. All her
other writings are the same:

Look at her job title: 

Ananya Vajpeyi is an associate fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. []
Just a sepoy. Who gets to name these places??! Centre to study Developing Societies."

Rajiv responded to Sreedhar with these words:

"I have known and followed CSDS. It was set up as a sepoy training academy. I feel sorry for Madhu Kishwar who is working there but is now surrounded by people ganged up against her."

Ananya's profile at CSDS reads like this.

Rajiv then follows up with a post further elaborating the nexus that creates sepoys like Ananya. The very IMPORTANT observations are reproduced here.

Ananya is the face of what these new sepoys are looking like:
  • Like the prior ones, they can be: very sharp, intelligent, articulate, courageous, outspoken. But unlike before, the strategy has new qualities given below:
  • Unlike sepoys of the past, these new sepoys are Sanskrit educated in USA by the likes of Hawley, Pollock, Doniger, Witzel and a dozen other PhD factories.
  • In return, they get their mentors like Pollock big awards by Indian govt -- Padam Shree for Pollock about 2  or 3 years back is one example. Also, Narayan Murthy selected Pollock to be editor in chief of his $20 million grant to translate classical Indian works into English. You can imagine which translators he selects and what filters/biases they are required to utilize in their interpretation. [There is a link on HHG which refers to the funding given to Pollock by Narayana Murthy]
  • Most Indians get fooled because these sepoys can play both sides skilfully. Ananya looks like a sweet Indian girl who gets sympathy from the moron "uncle jis' and auntie ji's" at Indian gatherings."She is like our beti", is the type of sympathetic response the nexus wants to elicit in deploying such sepoys.They know the psychology of Indian morons.
  • About 100 - 250 such sepoys have been trained at PhD level in the past 15 years in the West, mostly in USA.
  • The raw material is brought to USA from places like JNU and other similar leftist universities, to make sure the person is vulnerable and ready for advanced training and brainwashing.
  • These people are now spread widely in India - universities, media, think tanks (like CSDS), etc.
  • The new govt lacks adequate screening of such folks as they try to sneal into important organizations where they will serve their masters in the West.
  • The game has become far more dangerous. I started monitoring this strategy around year 2000 when I had a big fight with Jack Hawley's "Indian team" of students at Columbia -- all from JNU, all doing PhDs in Hinduism. The reaction from Hindu activists and leaders in USA was pathetic. They had no clue. They came across like a bunch of unsophisticated and uninformed persons not interested in learning what I had to say.
  • My sources inform me that Sringeri mattha is likely to fund several million dollars to help these PhD factories. This is how ignorant our folks are. But who am I in their eyes to listen to? The white scholars are so smooth in impressing the Indian fools, using their skills with Indian languages and culture.
  • Nothing has changed since British colonialism. In fact, the Americans have upgraded their game considerably. Macaulay must be smiling in his grave.
Radhakrishnan responded with this:

"unfortunately the Vadakalai ( a vaishnavite Brahmin sect of Tamil Nadu) Iyengar owned "The Hindu" gives a prominent space to these anti-Hindu sepoys. Other favourites of this daily are Shiv Viswanath as if he is competent to write anything about Shri.N.Modi and or BJP, Harsh Mander, Teesta Setalvad, Markandey Katju, Jyoti Punwani etc.,"

Rajiv expressed his frustration at being unable to make Hindus look at the big picture with respect to the global Kurukshetra that confronts the often naive Hindu. He expressed his frustration thus:

" I have put this post through just to illustrate how some fools like to reduce every issue to one or two names items which they know. 
  • Did you not read even one sentence about all the points in my posts on this thread? Are you content simply knowing about a few things and reducing all else to those?
  • Repeating again: This thread is about the nexus at places like Columbia U producing new young sepoys like Ananya, under the tutelage of senior scholars like Pollock.
Here is a partial list of issues I tried to raise very explicitly and directly in this thread, but this fool ignored every one of them. Please notice and discuss the following points I raised, and not what his above posts tries to do by sidelining all these:
  1. How Hindus in India get co-opted and taken for PhDs to centers where they get turned into sepoys.Did you get this, please?
  2. The parents in India might be well known Hindu/Hindi/Sanskrit scholars - that makes the young scholar even more valuable. Did you get this, please?
  3. Wealthy Indians like Murthy are doling out funds to help boost such western nexuses even further.Did you get this, please?
  4. GOI gives award to such scholars, making them even more famous. Did you get this, please?
  5. These young sepoys differ from the old guard leftists, because of their Sanskrit. Indian languages and Hinduism formal training. Also they are much more charming. Did you get this, please?
  6. A large number of such folks are now insiders within many influential places in India. Did you get this, please?
Did the person get any of this? 
Does someone know a better way to either get rid of such interference, or else boost their IQ? I tried for 20+ years to inject some tapas in them but failed. In every audience I address, the vast majority are over opinionated but uninformed, and quick to be reductive, and collapse whatever I say into some old, well known, simple form. I find this insulting to my hard work. Hence my frustration."

The same frustration with people not seeing the big picture is felt when one reads the article on the Ananya issue at CRI, a RW blog today. 

While Shibu said:

"What saddens me most about this is not the fact that she is showing sanskrit in poor light through a vulgarised lens ( leftiist sati caste dowry bias ) , but the fact that they took one of our own intelligent bright young daughter of a scholar and turned her into a sepoy.

This is violence of the most ugly form and amazing how parents cannot be aware of such violence."

Rajiv responded by saying that it was more saddening that parents have a false sense of pride regarding the scholarship of the progeny in the West without understanding that the situation is no different from the time when the British grew and nurtured zamindars and brown sahibs for their own interests.

He also added:

"And what about the fact that Narayan Murthy donated $20 million to this gang's headquarters (Pollock in Columbia) to control the translation of classical Indian texts into English?

And what about the rumors that some prominent Adi Shankara mattha followers are about to donate millions to empower the gang even further?

Why are the "Hindu leaders in north America" sleeping on such matters that require brains and hard work - the same folks who will line up on stage with Modi to get limelight in India? Why does the Hindu community fail to apply standards of leadership on such persons before showering them as netas?"

Ashok observed:

"What I would like to know is what I can do to change this absurd situation of Indians needing to go to the USA and UK to earn PhDs in Sanskrit of all things!
I have been bringing up these points (which I was ignorant of until I joined this group) with the few rich philanthropic friends that I know, in the hope of sowing the seeds of them providing monetary support towards such further education becoming available in India, and it being prestigious enough that our youngsters don't feel they have to go to The USA to learn Sanskrit. 
What I do not have access to is the real powers who can make things happen, i.e. the educational politicians. 
The political environment however could not be better for such lobbying, and I am sure most in our group would provide support for this in their own 'yatha-shakti'."

To which Rajiv replied thus:

I suggest that you focus where you DO have influence stop scattering where you do not.

Since wealthy philanthropists are your contact base, you should work on: 

  • why are such folks funding the wrong projects in USA costing millions of dollars per chair? 
  • Why are they not consulting me before doing this, in order to get due diligence before spending their hard earned money?
  • Why not instead fund our research which has a proven track record, and where we can produce a lot of concrete output with small budgets compared to the typical $3 million to $5 million being given for one chair in USA?
More on Ananya from Rajiv:

"Twitter folks theorize that Ananya uturned only after she married Bashrat Peer, a Kashmiri journalist notorious for his anti-Modi writings in places like New York Times. This is false.I met Ananya in 2005 when she was already very Hinduphobic under the influence of Sheldon Pollock. He is the Sanskritis who wrote "The death of Sanskrit" but has been very successful impressing Indian donors with his "love for Sanskrit".The issue is this: There must be shraddha and sadhana to ground the student. This was always a requirement. People like Pollock by "secularizing Sanskrit" have removed the development of the antah-karana in the student. So "anything goes" in a person's lifestyle in their approach to teaching Sanskrit. This is meant for bookworms as in the case of Abrahamic religions where "hermeneutics" is strictly a matter of text analysis through mental gymnastics.When you throw away the injunctions requiring inner practice, you encourage Sanskrit becoming both distorted and digested.Ananya is a product of this approach."

The team at HHG invite you to become a member of the Rajiv Malhotra discussion group to learn and understand the true nature of the Kurukshetra that confronts a Hindu in this day and age. You can access this particular discussion thread here after you have signed up on yahoo groups.