A cursory glance at India's pre-colonial history will reveal the advances India made, and indeed has contributed, in the field of mind sciences, medicine, mathematics, etc. And yet, India's current image in the world-stage is 'caste, cow and curry - the latest additions being Bollywood and India as a repository of trinkets, which can be bought to adorn one's living space'. How many of the readers have this image of India, while completely oblivious to India's contributions to the world? RM's crusade has been to bring this issue to the fore. Not only that, an even more serious issue is the appropriation of the Indian ideas (on medicine and mind sciences in particular) and peddled as being of non-Indian origin.
RM has essentially worked to expose these prejudices. Please read the previous blog to get a glimpse of RM's journey in the past 25 years. For those not aware of RM’s works, he has written three books “Breaking India”, “Being Different”, “Indra’s Net” and the main protagonist of a fourth called “Invading the Sacred”. His latest book "The Battle for Sanskrit" is due to come out in Jan.'16. Recently, Aditi Banerjee, a noted professional journalist, described RM's work succinctly - "Rajiv Malhotra has been a ground-breaking thinker and writer on matters related to Hinduism and Indian civilization for decades now. He has single-handedly and courageously challenged a coterie of Western Indologists and associated forces bent on denigrating Indic traditions and [who are] denying the national and civilizational unity of India and Hinduism". Apart from his books, his excellent scholarship on the forces trying to destabilize India has earned him plenary (invited) talks at conferences both in India and, indeed, mostly abroad. He has also debated with top researchers and religious men (Dr. Christian A. Eberhart: Professor of Religious Studies @ University of Houston), Prof. Francis X. Clooney (Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts), media personnel (Mark Tully: Ex-Bureau Chief of BBC, New Delhi), and shared the dais with policy makers (Arun Shourie), as well as traditional gurus (yoga guru: Baba Ramdev). A simple keyword search with his name results in numerous hits on Youtube (including the ones listed above). His works have prompted articles to be published in journals such as the International Journal of Hindu Studies. It is abundantly clear that his scholarship is excellent which has forced people to think about the arguments he presents.
To begin with, the audience, at least the ones who have responded to Sriram’s question, come from a diverse background – engineers, current and prospective students, working professionals – the full range, and as diverse a country as Australia to India to South Africa to the USA. The responses had a sense of excitement and they all seem to agree that RM’s work was a revelation and that his work has been an inspiration. Some said they have devoted themselves to becoming an IK, others said they understand what purva-paksha means and its importance, some have started local reading groups to discuss Rajiv's works, and yet others said they now understand the complexities of the problems faced by India.
In contrast, the negation of the history of Jesus with a birth from a virgin mother would result in the entire religion of Christianity to fall down. Same with the Islamic faith, albeit with the history of Prophet Mohammad in their case. Holding on to the story of Jesus’ birth steadfastly is central to the Christian faith i.e. Christianity is history-centric. Same with the Islamic faith, albeit with the story of Prophet Mohammad in their case. There are other core differences as well, for e.g. the nature of time in the Dharmic traditions is completely different to the idea of time in the Abrahamic religions.
The point here is that the intellectually alert must ponder, and if possible, seek the answers to such questions as - what made Mr Obama comment on India about its religious minorities but not a word on Saudi Arabia? Why are the Abrahamic religions persistent on using the word ‘religious tolerance’?