Dr. Nityanand Mishra replies to Ananya Vajpayee on TBFS, Pollock

A strong response by Dr. Nityanand Mishra to Ananya Vajpeyi's ad hominem attack.

Dear list,

While Niti Central (which recently shut down) and Swarajya are certainly pro-right/conservative magazines (just like The Hindu is left-leaning/liberal), but to describe them as ‘propaganda’ would be an exaggeration, just like calling The Hindu as ‘communist’ or ‘Chinese mouthpiece’ would be (in fact, the Friends of Tibet society actually calls The Hindu ‘a mouthpiece of the Chinese communist party’, this was covered by Pradip Ninan Thomas in his book ‘Negotiating Communication Rights: Case Studies from India’). In a recent article, the Financial Times described the Swarajya magazine as ‘conservative’.[1] Even Sreenivasan Jain, a journalist with the NDTV (whose political leaning are no secret), described the Niti Central as a ‘right-wing site’ in an article in 2013.[2]

As for Mr. Rajiv Malhotra’s latest book, it has already received attention in India, in both the academic sphere and outside, way beyond websites like Niti Central and Swarajya. I shared a link to the review of the book by Bibek Debroy in the moderate/centrist OPEN Magazine. The book carries a quote by Prof. Arvind Sharma (Birks Professor of Comparative Religion, McGill University) on its front cover. It has earned praise from Mahamahopadhyay Dayananda Bhargava (renowned Sanskrit scholar), S. R. Bhatt (Chairman of ICPR), K. Ramasubramanian (Sanskrit scholar and signatory #1 on the MCLI petition), Roddam Narasimha (aerospace scientist), and Dilip Chakrabarti (Professor Emeritus, Cambridge) among others. Some leading educational institutes in India which have hosted Mr Malhotra since January include the JNU, Ramakrishna Mission (Chennai), Vedic Gurukulam (Bidadi), Art of Living Ashram (Bangalore), Chinmaya Mission, IIT Bombay, TISS, IIT
Madras, and Karnataka Sanskrit University.

As for attention outside the world of scholars, Mr. Malhotra's book was launched by very well-known personalities: Subhash Chandra (Chairman of the pro-right Zee Media) in Mumbai, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (eminent spiritual leader and humanitarian) in Bengaluru, and Dr. Najma Akbarali Heptulla (Minority Affairs Minister, Government of India) in Delhi. Prominent journalists and authors who have discussed his book include Madhu Kishwar (pro-right academic and author), Amish Tripathi (best-selling author), and T. V. Mohandas Pai (Chairman, Manipal Global Education).

I need not add that the book is selling well (it is a category bestseller on Amazon India) and Harper Collins would be happy with their investment.

I doubt if all this attention can be ‘staged’ or ‘managed’. There is an elephant in the room. Love him or hate him, Mr. Malhotra is becoming too notable to ignore.

Regards, Nityanand

[1] Amy Kazmim (February 21 2016) India divided over right to political freedom. Financial Times.

[2] Sreenivasan Jain (June 29 2016). Response to Niti Central article on NDTV's Ishrat Jahan report. NDTV.


shared on the forum by Vishal

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