Anantanand Rambachan, ever since he has been called out as being one of the proponents of the Neo-Hinduism thesis in Indra's Net has been attacking Rajiv Malhotra personally. His latest is in a piece in the Open magazine.
Ragini Sharma, one of the forum members of Rajiv Malhotra's discussion forum wrote a brilliant rejoinder to Rambachan's attack, as a comment below his article. It is reproduced here, along with brief follow up comments from Rajiv ji.
According to the Olaf U website you and “a regular participant in the consultations of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican” and your writings seem to directed towards the Christian community - to explain Hinduism to them. I have read several of your articles. I am not impressed with that but I do see Rajiv's point about your neo-Hinduism ideas because its the type of ideas that Paul Hacker, the founder of Neo-Hinduism, had. Like you, Hacker was educated in Yoga and Advaita, he then converted to Catholic faith, and was doing this Hindu-Christian dialogue. You did not.
Rajiv is completely right - because, you DID bring up the issue of caste and shamefully in the context of religion. Not only is this contested by Hindus who assert the caste system is not in the Vedas, which have varna, and also the social context of jati. You call yourself a Professor but you present yourself as ashamed of your Hindu roots. Can you bring up the issue of Hinduphobia in the academia - about Wendy's and her protégés horrible sexualisation of Hindu gurus, deities and texts? Do you have any guts to defend Hindu rights? No, for that we need Rajiv.
At the same time, at the conference, the Muslim cleric began by reciting a Koranic prayer, and to lecture about tolerance, Islamophobia, racism, multiculturalism. No mention of extremism or problems with its religion - Pakistan has 15% Hindus - now has 2%, they were killed off. There are hardly any temples left. there and Shias, Ahmediyas are being killed.
The Jewish presenter talked about "humanity as one", hegemony, tolerance. You could learn pride in one's religion from these people, they have no less intra-religious conflicts and problems.
The Catholic Priest presenter took the cake - its the religion that has the history of causing cultural genocide and mass killings in every corner of the world. And the sexual abuse of children all over the world. Yet, he only talked about how great the Pope was and his religion was.
Also, there was Buddhist priest from China who lectured everyone about extremism - no mention of atrocities on Tibet. She preached others about harmony of non-sectarian, practical use of faith. Amazing.
Rajiv Malhotra's followup comments
- Ragini's new comment deserves to be posted as an article, so I hope people will do so wherever they can.
- The Rambachan-Richard Fox nexus becoming clearer all the time.
- Wondering why Aseem Shukla, otherwise quite level headed, fell into this and cannot see the big political picture.
- I would respect Rambachan a lot more if he wrote on the contentious issues rather than "defense by offense". In other words he should act like a philosopher he claims to be, and argue his point that Vivekananda did not properly understand Vedanta. Why obsessed with personal defensiveness?