भारतीय शिक्षा
मनुष्य में जो संपूर्णता सुप्त रूप से विद्यमान है उसे प्रत्यक्ष करना ही शिक्षा का कार्य है। स्वामी विवेकानन्द                      There are no misfit Children, there are misfit schools, misfit test and studies and misfit examination. F.Burk                     शिक्षा का वास्तविक उद्देश्य आंतरिक शक्तियों को विकसित एवं अनुशासित करने का है। डॉ. राधा कृष्णन                      ज्ञान प्राप्ति का एक ही मार्ग है जिसका नाम है, एकाग्रता और शिक्षा का सार है मन को एकाग्र करना। श्री माँ



Distortion of a great history
An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger is a comprehensive attempt to denigrate the Hindu ethos, write KR Phanda andPrafull Goradia
The Hindus: An Alternative History
Author: Wendy Doniger
Publisher: Penguin Viking
Price: Rs 999

The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger raised great expectations of a new refreshing

approach. We had tired of the stereotypical British approach followed by a spate of communist interpretations beginning with Prof Mohammed Habib. With the demise of communism in Europe, secular fundamentalism has become rather fashionable, the latest being Ramchandra Guha’s efforts. Regrettably, Doniger has fallen into the same groove, copying liberally from Romila Thapar, DN Jha et al.

In some ways Doniger has gone much beyond these secular fundamentalists. On the Ramayan she says, “One night while Sita and Rama were lying together, Sita discussed Lakshman very affectionately. She said, ‘There he is sleeping alone. What is it that keeps him away from a woman? Why doesn’t he want to marry?’ This roused suspicion in Rama’s mind. Sita slept soundly, but Rama kept awake the whole night imagining things. Early next morning he sent for Lakshman from his lonely palace and asked him suddenly, ‘Do you love Sita?’ Lakshman was taken aback.”

The author clearly wants to denigrate Hindus, else why would she pick on Ram, Sita and Lakshman. Could she think of nothing better to interpret in the Ramayan which Hindus view as a sacred book and not merely an epic. Why distort the beautiful story of Raja Dashrath’s family into such rot? Clearly, Doniger has no consideration for other people’s sentiments.

When she comes to the Mahabharata, she simply quotes from an irreverent novel by Shashi Tharoor. “Shashi Tharoor retold the Mahabharata as The Great Indian Novel, in which the self-sacrificing Bhishma (the son of Ganga, in the Sanskrit text) becomes Ganga-ji, a thinly veiled form of Gandhi, while Dhritarashtra is Nehru, with his daughter Duryodhani (Indira Gandhi), Karna goes over to the Muslim side and becomes Jinnah (where the original Karna sliced his armour off his body, this Karna seizes a knife and circumcises himself) and is eventually exposed as a chauffeur, the ‘humble modern successor to the noble profession of charioteering.’ As Tharoor remarks, ‘It is only a story. But you learn something about a man from the kind of stories people make up about him’.”

Continuing with the great epic, the book then picks on Draupadi: “Now, even with five husbands didn’t Draupadi have to worry about Karna Maharaj’s intentions? Dalit women are equally dubious about Satyavati and Kunti: ‘One agreed to the whims of a rishi in order to remove the bad odour from her body, the other obeyed a mantra! What wonderful gods! What wonderful rishis!’ And a popular song among lower-class women in nineteenth-century Calcutta imagined the objections that Ambalika might have expressed when her mother-in-law, Satyavati, insisted that she let Vyasa impregnate her.” These references are not taken from the epics but are based on folklore attributed to Dalit and Adivasi women who were presumed to resent upper castes. Why should such stray observations be quoted in a book which claims to be an alternative history?

In the chapter ‘Fusion and Rivalry’ under the Delhi Sultanate, the author observes that Buddhism was driven out of India by a combination of lack of support, persecution, and the destruction of religious monuments and monasteries by Hindus as well as Muslims. Hindus have not been known to be iconoclasts. They are themselves idol worshippers. Secondly, Lord Buddha is accepted as the 10th avatar of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, destroying any of his monuments cannot arise. Vincent Smith, the distinguished British historian, wrote “In or about 1197, several years after the fall of Delhi, this officer (Mohd Bakhtiyar Khalji) secured the control of Bihar by a raid of almost incredible audacity, seizing the fort of the town of Bihar with a party of only two hundred horsemen. The Buddhist monasteries, which still flourished under the patronage of Pala kings, were destroyed, and the monks killed or dispersed. The Mohammadan onslaught extinguished the life of Buddhism in its old home and last refuge. After this time the indication of the existence of that religion anywhere in India are very slight.”

Clearly, Doniger is not an objective scholar but someone with a pro-Muslim agenda. To quote her, “Hinduism under Islam was alive and well and living in India. The same sultans who, with what Hindus would regard as the left hand, collected the jizya and destroyed Hindu temples also, with the right hand, often married Rajput princesses, patronised Hindu artists and Sanskrit scholars, and employed Hindus in the highest offices of state.” How on earth can anyone with a sense of fairplay excuse jizya and the destruction of Hindu temples so casually?

Coming to Somnath Doniger writes, “Mahmud of Ghazni, an observant Sunni, took a great deal of gold, silver, and precious stones from the images of the Mathura temple in 1004 and then burned it to the ground. In 1026 he attacked the temple of Somnatha (Somnath), which held a famous Shiva linga; this much, at least, seems to be historical fact.” She goes on to say that “Putting the stones on the ground to be trodden on by people of another religion was unequivocally adding insult to injury. It was the order of the day to destroy other people’s religious monuments and steal their treasures; the Muslims had no monopoly on that.” Muhammad Nazim, the Cambridge scholar in his book on Mahmud of Ghazni says, “The destruction of the temple of Somnath was looked upon as the crowning glory of Islam over idolatry, and Sultan Mahmud as the champion of the Faith, received the applause of all the Muslim world. Poets vied with each other in extolling the real or supposed virtues of the idol-breaker, and the prose-writers of later generations paid their tribute of praise to him by making him the hero of numerous ingenious stories.” That Mahmud’s was primarily a religious mission and incidentally a looting one, is clear.

Coming to the great Hindu empire Vijayanagar, the author holds an incredible view: “Vijaynagar yields much evidence of Hindu-Muslim synthesis rather than antagonism.” She adds, “In 1565, at the battle of Talikota, a confederation of Muslim sultans routed the forces of Vijaynagar and the Nayakas. The usual sacking and slaughter, treasure hunting and pillage of building materials ensued, but without bigotry; the temples were the least damaged of the buildings and were often left intact.”

Well-known ICS officer Robert Sewell, in his book A Forgotten Empire, published in 1900, had the following comment: “For a space of five months Vijaynagar knew no rest. The enemy had come to destroy, and they carried out their object relentlessly. They slaughtered the people without mercy; broke down the temples and palaces; and wreaked such savage vengeance on the abode of the kings, that, with the exception of a few great stone-built temples and walls, nothing now remains but a heap of ruins to mark the spot where once the stately buildings stood.” He goes on, “With fire and sword, with crowbars and axes, they carried on day after day their work of destruction. Never perhaps in the history of the world has such havoc been wrought, and wrought so suddenly, on so splendid a city; teeming with a wealthy and industrious population in the full plenitude of prosperity one day, and on the next seized, pillaged, and reduced to ruins, amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description.”
In her chapter ‘Dialogue and Tolerance under the Mughals’, Doniger says about Aurangzeb: “He financed the maintenance of several other Hindu temples and matts, and he even made land grants to some.” FS Growse, the District Magistrate in his gazetteer published in 1882, has observed the following: “Aurangzeb had descended in person on Mathura. The temple specially marked out for destruction was one built so recently as the reign of Jahangir at a cost of thirty-three lakhs, by Bir Sinh Dev Bundela of Urcha. Beyond all doubt this was the last of the famous shrines of Kesava Deva.”
While discussing jizya, the oppressive poll tax levied by Muslim rulers on their Hindu subjects, the author writes: “The Delhi sultans levied the jizya, graduated according to income, with exemptions for people at both ends of the social spectrum, the poorest and (until Feroz Shah changed the rule) the purest, the Brahmins. There is also evidence of the existence of a Turkish (Turuska) tax, which may have been a poll tax on Muslims in India, a Hindu equivalent of the Muslim jizya.” A Hindu jizya is indeed an innovation by the American Doniger! The truth is jizya was imposed in 712 AD with the advent of Mohd bin-Qasim. A leading scholar on Mughal history, Prof Sri Ram Sharma wrote that jizya “implied a declaration that the Muslim rulers of India were still her conquerors, holding the inhabitants down by sheer force. It proclaimed the superiority of Islam over Hinduism in too brazen a fashion. Every other aspect of the religious policy of Muslim emperors of India was founded upon the imposition of this tax. Thus its abolition in 1564 was a turning point in the history of the Muslim rule in India. As long as the Jizya was levied, the Muslims were the only true citizens in the Muslim state. Hindus were subjects who acquired certain rights as a result of their undertaking to pay the Jizya to their conquerors.”
All in all, An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger is a comprehensive attempt to denigrate the Hindu ethos, be it her spontaneous effort or a sponsored attempt by Hindu-bashers.


This book entitled “The Hindus, An Alternative History” by Wendy Doniger, which is a work of journalism used as history. Extensive use of Hollywood and Bollywood films, various novels, plays, poems and the websites have been made. It gives an impressionist picture of Indian History, Philosophy, culture and religion. Being based on unreliable and unauthentic and one- sided sources, the book is full of biased, sweeping generalizations and pre conceived notion. It is not only used and misused but abused Indian history and religion in a undignified manner. It is a misinterpretation of India Dharm and it’s glorious past. The author has selected scattered events of her choice.

Some of the malicious and mischievous examples and illustrations may be mentioned below from the part of her book concerning modern India (574- 686)

  1. The Sahibs ( as the British were called and addressed “Sir”) belonged to the castes of worses who came to India through out Indian history, beginning with the authors of the Rig-Veda………………(P. 578)
  2. often they (the Britisher) married native women-both Muslim and Hindus, both noble and working class- and treated them well. as legitimate——– wives….. The directive of keeping an Indian mistress was common, ( P. 579)
  3. Tribal converted to christianity in large numbers because they associated the value system of the Christian missionaries with the power of the British (P.548)
  4. Around Goa, but their Hindu converts were few and generally of low castes ( P. Fn. 584) (The rebellian muliney of 1857)
  5. The flame the proximate cause of the rebellions came in 1857 in the form of a bit awkwardness about certain cartridges …. (1585)
  6. In the intense heat of May 9, 1857 eighty five sepoys in meerut were assertive for refusing to handle the cartridge ( P. 586)
  7. The British refugees  were massacred (1586)
  8. She (Lakshmi Bai) claimed loyalty to the British (1586)
  9. There is also some debate about whether Pandey was under the influence of bhang, opium, alcohols. ( P. 579)

10. Many of the missionaries had been killed during the rebellion (P. 588)

11. Such as the Arya Samaj and Brhma Samaj heavily influenced the British Protestantism. (P. 597)

12. Horses in sKippluy’s Kin ( P – 604 609)  irrelevant.

13. The Arya Samaj, which rapidly gained ground in western India( P. 622)

14. Gandhi was a one man strange fellow—– as did his habit of sleeping ——— girls young enough….” ( 1. 625)

15. On the question of eating beef. Gandhi was also ambivalent ( 1. 625)

16. Cow protection was a factor in the failure of his movements to attract large scale muslim support. ( P. 626)

17. Gandhi was shot to death with the militant nationalist organization called the RSS…. ( P. 627)

18. (Vivekanand) advised people to eat beef ( P. 639)

19. His (Vivekanand) reply was ” Give me beef ( P. No. 639)

20. Chicago city officials places 340 life- size cow statues along city streets. The cows, which had nothing to do with Hinduism( P. 640)

21. Various Puja options —- websites—- by courtesy of the Indian postal system ( P. 641)

22. The whole coconuts that the deity fancies bear a suspicious resemblance to human heads. ( P. 655)

23. Sometime beef, sold as mutton, is eaten by Hindus who may well be aware of the deception and simply look the other way (1658)

24. Dogs have there days ( P. 659- 661) irrelevant

25.  placing the Ramayan in its historical contexts demonstrates that it is a work of fiction, created by human authors, who lived at various times and shows how the human imagination transformed  the actual circumstances of the historical period (P.662)

26. Throngs of pilgrims come to Varansi to die because they believe that they will immediately attain Moksha (P.662)

27. Hindu organizations began holding rallies at the site of  Babur’s Mosque, campaigning for the rebuilding of the temple despite the absence of any evidence to confirm either the existence of the temple or even the identification of the modern law of Ayodhya.

28. The Monkey was  persumed to be Hanuman who has become the mascot of the RSS, the militant  wing of the B.J.P( P. 663)

29. On December 6, 1992….. a crowd of five hundred thousand into a frenzy shouting “Death to the Muslims”. ( P. 664)

30. The mythological bridge (P.666)

31. The Lkshman , Sita relationship.

32. Shashi tharoor relold the Mahabharat as the great Indian Novel..(P.672)

(Dr. Satish Mittal)

M.A ( History, Pol.Sc.) Ph.D.

( Retired) Professor, Deptt of History

Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra


Dear Shri Dina Nath Batra ji,
Namaskar,                                                                                                          February 16,
I am enclosing my comments on Wendy’s book.  Please acknowledge by return email.
With kind regards
OP Gupta IFS Ambassador [retd]
Comments of Ambassador OP Gupta on Wendy’s book ‘The Hindus An Alternative History’
The Hindus, An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger is a distorted presentation of Hinduism written with Christian Missionary zeal and hidden agenda to denigrate Hindus and pull down their religion attracting various provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

At page 40 she has written: “If the motto of Watergate was ‘Follow the money’, the motto of the history of Hinduism could well be ‘Follow the monkey’ or, more often ‘Follow the horse’.” This shows her contempt for Hinduism.

At page 25, Wendy incorrectly states that “there is no Hindu canon”. Vedas are the Hindu canon as these are revered & respected by all Hindus as divine revelations.

She does not inform her readers in her 779 page book the most basic principle that

book the most basic principle that for all Hindus Vedas are the supreme scripture and supersede anything and every thing which is in conflict with Vedas. In Mahabharata [1-V-4] it is stated: “whenever there is conflict between what is declared in the Vedas and provisions in any of the Smritis, Puranas etc. what is declared in the Vedas shall prevail.”

All books on Christianity can not be treated at par with the Bible. Basic blunder of the writer is to treat all books written in Sanskrit by all and sundry as sacred scriptures at par with the Vedas, and, without applying mind writer liberally quotes one against another just to belittle and distort the Hinduism in eyes of readers. In this process she ends up confusing her readers about Hinduism.

At many places she has made factually incorrect assertions about Hinduism. Such as at page 680 she informs that “To this day horses are worshipped all over India by people who do not have horses……..” No Hindu worships horses. Terra cotta horses are made for some deities so that they can mount horses. Every one loves his animals, cars, yatches but it does not mean that one worships these.

At page 79 writer claims that the “Great Bath in the citadel of Mohenjo Daro resembles the ritual bathing tanks of Hindu temples that began to appear in the subcontinent in the first few centuries CE and because such a tank reflects a concern with ritual purification through water, an important idea in Hinduism. Four thousand years later, indeed, every temple has its tank.” The simple fact is that not all Hindu temples have tanks for example the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Sankat Mochan Temple of Varanasi, UP do not have tanks.

At many places Wendy makes incorrect political statements aimed at creating disharmony among various religious sections of Indian people making her and her publisher vulnerable under the IPC. At pages 14 she alleges that Hindu fundamentalists are against Muslims, Christians and wrong sort of Hindus. She names RSS, BJP, VHP and ABVP in this context.

At page 31 she again asserts: “Yet Hindu nationalists have used the geographical implications of the word [Hindu] to equate Hinduism with India and therefore exclude from the right to thrive in India such people as Muslims and Christians: in 1922, VD Savarkar coined the term “Hindutva” to express this equation.”

At page 667 Wendy denigrates Ramayana too and insinuates that a political use of the Ramayana is to make India free of Muslims and Christians and any Others. She writes “Repressive telling of the myth use the mythological moment of Ram-raj [Rama’s reign] as an imagined India that is free of Muslims and Christians and any others, in the hope of restoring India to the Edenic moment of the Ramayana.”

Wendy rightly states that text of Vedas did not undergo any change or corruption during thousands of years. When text remains the same it is obvious that its meaning & message have remained the same. That is the core principles of Hinduism have remained the same as enunciated in Vedas. Distortions and deviations do not constitute the core of any religion. Wendy has made basic blunder of mixing core principles with stray distortions.

Wendy uses stray & obscure distortions to hit the pillars of Hindu beliefs. To hint at sex between Sita and Laxman is pure and total blasphemy. At page 669 writer quotes a version of Ramayana in which Rama asks Laxman “do you love Sita?” in sexual sense. Wendy attributes it to tribal people known as the Rajnengi Pardhan at Patangarh, Mandla district and claims that it was published in 1950. Before quoting such a distortion she ought to have examined whether this was spread by tribals converted into Christianity as Christian missionaries are known to pull down other religions hook or by crook. At page 14 she says that she had cited a passage from Valmiki’s  Ramayan in which Sita accuses Laxman of wanting her for himself but has not mentioned that passage from Valmiki Ramayana in her book.

At page 15 Wendy admits that her focus in approaching Hindu scriptures has been sexual. “The Sanskrit texts [cited in my lecture] were written at a time of glorious sexual openness and insight, and I have focused precisely those parts of the texts.” So her approach has been jaundiced by sex.

In Hinduism linga is an abstract symbol of God with no sexual connotations but Wendy emphasizes only those texts which portray linga as erect male sexual organ [page 22].

At page36 Wendy writes: “the women were forbidden to study the most ancient sacred text, the Vedas.” It is another  totally false statement as there are at least 29 women risikas whose compositions are there in Rig Veda. Atharva Veda [XI.5.18] expressly sanctions study of Vedas by female. Details may be seen in my book ‘Vedic Equality & Hinduism.’[ISBN: 81-7822-285-x]

At page 82, Wendy confirms her anti-Hindu bias where she has talked about the ‘perceived need’ to follow a pre-determined line. She has written: “The fascination with IVC comes in part from the intrinsic appeal of its artifacts but also from a perceived need to find non-Vedic, indeed pre-Vedic source for most of Hinduism—for Shiva and goddess worship and all the rest of Hinduism that is not attested in the Vedas.”

At page 112, holding the flag of cow slaughter and beef eating in ancient India Wendy writes: “One verse states that cows were not to be killed [aghanya: 7.87.4] but another says that a cow should be slaughtered on the occasion of marriage [RV 10.85.13]” But in her own book ‘The Rig Veda’ [Penguin Classics] translation for [10.85.13] at page 268 is: “When sun is in the Agha they kill a cattle”. In other words no cow is slaughtered in [10.85.13] in Wendy’s own book ‘The Rig Veda’ but there is cow slaughter under the same verse in Wendy’s book under reference. The point is that a cattle is not necessarily a cow, it could be goat, buffalo, deer etc. Wendy is confused between cattle and cow.

At page 44 Wendy again shows her confused thinking. She has written that a Hindu bride will often bring into the home a religion different from that of her husband’s. Bride does not bring a different religion but may bring different customs or different rituals.

In Hinduism gods have no castes. But at page 130 Wendy insinuates that Hindu gods are caste specific. “And most of the gods are closely associated with particular social classes: Agni is the Brahmin, Varuna the Brahminical sovereign, Indra the warrior, and the Ashwins the Vaishyas. There are no Shudra gods in the Vedas.”


Comments of Dr. S. Kalyanaraman on Prof. Wendy Doniger’s book: The Hindu, an alternative history (2009)

Hindu as an erotic. Doniger attempts to distort, disparage and spit on the Hindu and caricatures Hindu as an erotic. See her quote related to Draupadi (worse than the Telugu writer’s comment in his fictional account; this book was to be given a Sahitya Akademi award; AP High Court intervened and ordered that Sahitya Akademi should desist from such an award).

Peddling pornography and hate literature fantasizing about Hindu history.

Chapter 25. Inconclusion, or, the abuse of history. (Starts with a quote attributed to Madhav Sadashi Golwalkar (1906-1973). The quote is: “The spirit of broad Catholicism, generosity, toleration, truth, sacrifice and love for all life, which characterizes the average Hindu mind not wholly vitiated by Western influence, bears eloquent testimony to the greatness of Hindu culture…The non-Hindu peoples in Hindustan…must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ungratefulness towards this land…but must…stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizen’s rights. (fn. 1: Golwalkar, We, Our Nationhood Defined, 48-49)…The statement by Golwalkar, a leader of the chauvinist Hindu organization known as the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), in 1939, reflects a different sort of cultural schizophrenia from the creative dichotomies that have typified so much of Hinduism. The first half of his statement seems to me to express largely valid historical claims, while the political agenda of the second half contradicts those claims, paradoxically using the justifiable Hindu pride in religious tolerance to justify intolerance…Agni, the name of the Vedic god of fire, is also the name of one of India’s most powerful nuclear missiles. Pakistan named its missile Ghorid (fn.4), after Muhammad of Ghor. Why should the two warring South Asian nations reach back into Vedic and eleventh-century history to name their nuclear warheads? What is the relevance of history to religious intolerance?…The great mystery about the abuse of history is not the abuse itself but the question of why, in such a future-intoxicated age, we still reach for the past for a past (or a past, however confected) to justify the present.”(p.687)

Comment 1:

This is in fact a self-confession. Doniger reaches for a confected past. It is a fantasy, not true history that she presents.

The quote attributed to Golwalkar is patently false and intended to defame RSS. The quote attributed to Golwalkar is to a Hindi version of a Marathi book. Golwalkar was only the translator of the book, as Dr. Shrinivas Tilak explains in the following comment. This is not merely biased scholarship, this is intended to defame RSS and Hindu history as she summarises her sexist fantasy.

Irrespective of the confected, fraudulent attribution of the quote to Golwalkar, Doniger’s ‘inconclusion or abuse of history’ intends to misrepresent Hindu history as a history of intolerance. This is bogus, absurd and false misrepresentation of Hindu history, intended only to hurt the feelings of Hindus and to sell her fascination with sex citing anecdotes from Hindu texts and insulting many divinities and thoughts which Hindus consider sacred.

Yes, we must look before we leap into history, but we should look with compassion and present, not a fantasy and eroticism, but to understand the Hindu in the spirit with which many non-Hindus admired the Hindu. We can cite hundreds of quotes from the likes of Voltaire or Einstein, but will make no difference to those obsessed with sex and drainage inspectors like Wendy Doniger who can never see the sublime or distinguish the sacred from the profane.

Doniger is a blot on the academe. Her book should be declared pornographic and banned from access to children, the way tobacco products are allowed to be sold only to adults in many parts of the world.

This is hate literature at its worst, intended to create hatred about the Hindus in the impressionable minds of young students.

Comment 2: By Dr. Shrinivas Tilak (5 Feb. 2010):

After 686 pages, comes chapter 25 ‘Inconclusion [sic], or, The Abuse of History,’ which is only 3 1/ 2 pages long! It begins with a long quotation attributed to Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973) who, claims Doniger, used the justifiable Hindu pride in religious tolerance to justify intolerance (p. 687). I have seen this quotation attributed to Golwalkar in dozens of so-called scholarly monographs by Western and Indian academics, historians, and Indologists who conveniently create a ‘straw-man’ out of Golwalkar as an iconic Hindu fanatic.

Like others Doniger demonizes Golwalkar and his thought as intolerant on the basis of just one paragraph from a small pamphlet
We, Our Nationhood Defined (p 48-49). This is unhistorical, besides being incompetent and biased scholarship considering the fact that Golwalkar only translated that work into Hindi originally written in Marathi by Balarao Savarkar, the younger brother of Vinayak D. Savarkar. It does not necessarily mean that Golwalkar, as the translator, endorsed or espoused all the ideas presented by Balarao Savarkar. Furthermore, Golwalkar was active in India’s public life thirty-five years after the pamphlet came out and his collected works run to thousands of printed pages collected in twelve volumes. One would expect a more nuanced assessment of Golwalkar from “one of the foremost scholars of Hinduism in the world” as claimed in the blurb. Those interested in an ‘alternative’ perspective on Golwalkar may consult my Reawakening to a secular Hindu nation: M. S. Golwalkar’s vision of a dharmasapeksa Hindurastra (Charleston, SC: BookSurge Publications, 2008).

Doniger’s erotic explanation for the book jacket


(Concluding sentence of the book)…Perhaps we can ride into the future on the glorious horse that graces the jacket of this book. It is an example of the contribution of a foreign culture to Hinduism, since composite animals of this type come from Persia and entered India with the Mughals, and an example of the intersection of court and village, as the image traveled from the Mughal court in Delhi to a village in the state of Orissa, the source of this contemporary example. It is an image of women, almost certainly painted by a man. Depicting the god Krishna as the rider on the horse makes the muslim image a Hindu image, and the rider on the horse is an enduring Hindu metaphor for the mind controlling the senses, in this case harnessing the sexual addiction excited by naked women. This multivocal masterpirce is, like Hinduism, a collage made of individual pieces that fit together to make something far more wonderful than any of them. (p.690)


There is NO horse in this image that is said to grace the jacket of Doniger’s book. It ain’t no grace. It is a disgrace on a book claiming to be authored by a Mircea Eliade Chair Professor of Univ. of Chicago.

Divinity Krishna is shown sitting on the buttocks of a naked woman, surrounded by other woman in various karanas. See the Doniger book jacket image posted at ; also attached. Mirror:

It is clear that Doniger wants to depict ‘god Krishna’ and present the erotic content of her book to enrage the millions of Hindus who venerate Sri Krishna and offer prayers to the divinity in many temples. She and the publisher have done this with the full knowledge that Sri Krishna is revered as a divinity and there are many temples for Sri Krishna where Hindus worship the divinity. The intent is clearly to ridicule, humiliate, defame the Hindu and denigrate the Hindu traditions.

The vulgar painting is no different from the paintings of MF Hussain who presents Hindu divinities nude and in vulgar postures, insulting the faith of millions of Hindus.

Doniger’s book jacket is hate literature, presented under the cover of ‘art’ and claiming to be from an Orissa painting without mentioning the source. It could as well be a forgery or author’s fantasy.

Unlike MF Hussain, Doniger occupies a prestigious chair named after the savant Mircea Eliade. Isn’t the Univ. of Chicago concerned that its name is being misued by Doniger, promoting her book naming the chair she occupies? One hopes she has read the works and assimilated the thoughts of Mircea Eliade who viewed the faiths of millions of people with compassion and empathy. If indeed she has, she would not have indulged in producing hate literature. What a contrast and what a misfit on the chair set up in the memory of a savant — a memory which is supposed to ennoble and lead to jnana. (How come Doniger doesn’t talk about jnana?)

Shouldn’t the author, the University and the Publisher (Penguin, USA and Penguin, India) be concerned that they are peddling pornographic and hate literature while defaming the Hindu?

Should the University be allowing the author to peddle pornography and hate literature in the University schools? The author, University and the Publisher alike are accountable to the society which they are supposed to serve.

What gives them the adhikara? Adhikara is a very important juridicial concept in Hindu traditions, corresponding to rights and authority mentioned in Roman jurisprudence and in international law.

In the Hindu traditions, adhikara comes with responsibility and should be used only to promote dharma. In this case, the authority, the University by acquiescence and the Publisher are promoting adharma by abusing their adhikara. The concept of adhikara is well explained in Hindu texts. It is amazing that Doniger makes no mention of these references, while trying to cull out sexist references and even mistranslating them.

This is an issue concerning Human rights pitted against abuse of adhikara in the academe and by a publisher.

The malicious intent of Doniger and the Publisher are disgusting, vulgar and devoid of any ethical or moral values expected of an academic. This is abuse of academic freedom, abuse of adhikara occupying a chair in an American University and indulging in self-praise as ‘one of the foremost scholars of Hinduism in the world’. She is NOT. She is a bogus scholar. She needs help. The article on “Wendy Doniger’s Unconscious Exhibitionism” by Dr. Shree Vinekar, is apposite:  (Nov. 27, 2009)

Just as there is a rating system for movies such as: Pornographic, Adults only, Parental Guidance, there should be some rating for books produced abusing the academic authority but shorn of academic scholarship and responsibility.

In this case, the production of this Doniger’s book is conduct unbecoming of the position Doniger occupies on the Mircea Eliade chair and the name of the University which is used liberally to promote pornography and hate against a civilization which is a civilization continuum of at least 5 millennia. Surely, Doniger knows this and with malicious intent defames the Hindu.

The book is abusive and bogus Hindu history

The book outlines Hindu history as history of sex, Kali as hard deity ( Freud is the Veda)

The selective quotes speak for themselves.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

11 Feb. 2009


Excerpts from Prof. Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus, an alternative history (2009)

The following select excerpts from the book indicate the method used by the learned professor and selective anecdotes cited to generalize on Hindus and their history:

Part of Doniger’s agenda

Part of my agenda in writing an alternative history is to show how much the groups that conventional wisdom says were oppressed and silenced and played no part in the development of the tradition – women, Pariahs (oppressed castes), sometimes called Untouchables) – did actually contribute to Hinduism. My hope is not to reverse or misrepresent the hierarchies which remain stubbornly hierarchical, or to deny that Sanskrit texts were almost always subject to a final filter in the hands of the male Brahmins (the highest of the four social classes, the class from which priests were drawn) who usually composed and preserved them.  (pp.1-2)


Selectivity and synecdoche. Such a luxurious jungle of cultural phenomena, truly an embarrassment of riches, necessitates a drastic selectivity. I have therefore provided not detailed histories of specific moments but one or two significant episodes to represent the broader historical periods in question. (fn.16: Microhistory, in the hands of a master like Carlo Ginsburg, is another way to excavate these often lost ordinary histories, but microhistory requires a thick description to which a survey such as this cannot aspire.) The result is not a seamless narrative that covers the waterfront but a pointillist collage, a kaleidoscope, made of small, often discontinuous fragments. Synecdoche – letting or or two moments in history and one or two narratives stand for many – allows us to see alternity in a gran of sand, taking a small piece of human history and using it to suggest the full range of enduring human concerns.  (fn. 18: With apologies to William Blake: ‘To see a world in a grain of sand/And a heaven in a wild flower,/Hold infinity in the palm of your hand/And eternity in an hour.’)(pp.7-8)

NB: Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image; synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing (pars pro toto), or a term denoting a general class of thing is used to refer to a smaller, more specific class (bindo pro parte).

I have also included a few episodes of interactions (both friendly and hostile) between Hindus and non-Hindus in India, such as Buddhists, Jainas, Sikhs, and Muslims, though without paying direct attention to those other religions in their own right. (p.8)

Aditi gives birth. Let us now speak with wonder of the births of the gods – so that some one may see them when the poems are chanted in this later age. In the earliest age of the gods, existence was born from nonexistence. After this the quarters of the sky, and the earth, were born from her who crouched with legs spread. From female Infinity (Aditi), male dexterity (Daksha) was born, and from male dexterity (Daksha), female infinity (Aditi) was born. After her were born the blessed gods, the kinsmen of immortality (10.72.1-5). The dominant visual image of this poem is the goddess of infinity, who crouches with legs stretched up (uttana-pad), more particularly with knees drawn up and legs spread wide*, a term that designates a position primarily associated with a woman giving birth. (*Visual depictions of this figure are first attested from the second to the fourth century CE). This position is later associated with yoga and might have yogic overtones even in this period. (fn. 67: Bolon, Forms of the Goddess Lajja Gauri in Indian Art, figure 52; Kramrich, ‘An image of Aditi-Uttanapad’, 259-70).(p.127)

Concerns for the relationship between humans and animals, and with retribution in ‘the other world’, are central issues in the Brahmanas…(p.134).

Dogs. A dog too played a part in keeping evil out of the sacrifice, and the negative role of the dog is evidence that the lower castes were still essential to the ritual. It may well be that the growing acknowledgement of class distinctions in this period (of Brahmanas) and the formulation of more intense rules of purity and impurity began to find the omnivorous dog a useful symbol of the impure eater, the outsider, in contrast with the noble, herbivorous (i.e., vegetarian) horse. Another factor in the fall of the dog’s status may have been the progressive decline of the Vedic gods Indra, Yama, and Rudra, who were associated with dogs. (fn. 33: Debroy,Sarama and Her Children). (p.145)

Chandika gives Shumbha death in lieu of sex; he dies in the battle that she demands as a prelude to marriage, a marriage that never happens, and goes straight to heaven, since his love-war relationship with the goddess is regardes as a form of dvesha-bhakti, devotion through hatred (as well as love).(p.416)

Some women found a kind of automony, freedom from their families, in the Tantric community, but for the most part the rituals were designed to benefit people who had lingas, not yonis. (p.433)

Mrs. Indra and other females… More substantial in the early evidence in this poem (RV 10.162) of rape that came to be regarded as a bad, but legitimate, form of marriage; having sex with a sleeping or drugged woman. It appears that a woman’s brother too is someone she might expect to find in her bed, though the Rig Veda severely condemns sibling incest, it is also possible that the brother in question is her husband’s brother, a person who, as we shall see, can have certain traditional, though anxiety-producing, connections with his brother’s wife. (fnnn. 53. For sibling incest, see Yami’s unsuccessful attempt to seduce her brother: Yama in Rig Veda 10.10)(pp. 123-124)

Chapter 25. Inconclusion, or, the abuse of history. (Starts with a quote attributed to Madhav Sadashi Golwalkar (1906-1973). The quote is: “The spirit of broad Catholicism, generosity, toleration, truth, sacrifice and love for all life, which characterizes the average Hindu mind not wholly vitiated by Western influence, bears eloquent testimony to the greatness of Hindu culture…The non-Hindu peoples in Hindustan…must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ungratefulness towards this land…but must…stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizen’s rights. (fn. 1: Golwalkar, We, Our Nationhood Defined, 48-49)…The statement by Golwalkar, a leader of the chauvinist Hindu organization known as the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), in 1939, reflects a different sort of cultural schizophrenia from the creative dichotomies that have typified so much of Hinduism. The first half of his statement seems to me to express largely valid historical claims, while the political agenda of the second half contradicts those claims, paradoxically using the justifiable Hindu pride in religious tolerance to justify intolerance…Agni, the name of the Vedic god of fire, is also the name of one of India’s most powerful nuclear missiles. Pakistan named its missile Ghorid (fn.4), after Muhammad of Ghor. Why should the two warring South Asian nations reach back into Vedic and eleventh-century history to name their nuclear warheads? What is the relevance of history to religious intolerance?…The great mystery about the abuse of history is not the abuse itself but the question of why, in such a future-intoxicated age, we still reach for the past for a past (or a past, however confected) to justify the present.”(p.687)

In addition to understanding the history of the texts, we need to understand the relationship between records of historical events and the construction of imaginary worlds as well as the symbolism that often joins them. To begin with the symbolism of physical objects, sometimes a linga is just a linga – or, more often both a linga and a cigar…And many Hindus have, like Freud, seen lingas in every naturally occurring elongated object, the so-called self-created (svayambhu) lingas… (p.22)

Yet though the goddesses of India are equally various, people (both scholars and the authors of Sanskrit texts) often speak of the Goddess, Devi, and tend to treat all the other goddesses as nothing more than aspects of Devi, whereas they all are actually quite different. One gets the impression that in the dark, all goddesses are gray. (So too while gods, orgres and antigods often have extra heads – Brahma has four, Shiva five, Skanda six, Ravana ten – Puranic goddesses not only seldom have more than one – they have lots of arms, but not heads – but often have less than one; several of them are beheaded. This is a gendered pattern that makes one stop and think.) I would prefer to treat the Hindu goddesses individually, though reserving the right to generalize about them. (p.387)

Shankara and the philosopher’s wife (Bharati, wife of Mandanamishra)…The tale contrasts sex and renunciation in such a way that the renunciant philosopher is able to have his cake and eat it, to triumph not only in the world of the mind (in which, before this episode begins, he wins a series of debates against the nonrenouncing male Mimamsa philosopher) but in the world of the body, represented by the philosopher’s wife (not to mention the harem women who clearly prefer Shankara to the king in bed). This double superiority – for it appears that, like Shiva, this Shankara stored up impressive erotic powers during his years of chastity – rather than the inherent power (or relevance) of nondualism, is apparently what persuades both the philosopher and his wife.  (p.509)

The Bhagavata also domesticates the myth of looking into the mouth of god (Krishna), which, in the Gita, reveals to Arjuna the unbearable image of doomsday. In the Purana, Yashoda looks into the mouth of her toddler Krishna and sees in it the universe and herself (as Brahma sees the universe and himself in Vishnu), a vision that she finds unbearable, just as Arjuna did. ..Gopis as lovers. When passion, even religious passion, is the game, the erotic is always a heavy hitter. Krishna in theMahabharata is a prince with many wives, sixteen thousand by some counts, though he had his favourites. (Rukmini, Satyabhama, and Jambavati). The Puranas depict Krishna as a handsome young man who dances with the many Gopis, the wives of the cowherd men. In the great circle dance in the moonlight (rasa-lila), he doubles himself again and again so that each Gopi thinks that Krishna is with her. Similarly, the Gopis double themselves, leaving shadow images of themselves in bed with their unsuspecting husbands. The Gopis are both his mothers and his lovers; the Puranas tend to blur the distinction between the love of Krishna’s mothers (‘calf love’ [vatsalya]) and the love of his lovers (‘hone-sweet love’ [madhurya] (Bharmavaivarta Purana 4.15 Doniger O’Flaherty,Women, 103-04)… Gita Govinda, ‘The song of (Krishna) the Cowherd’ by Jayadeva…Jayadeva’s Radha is powerful, Krishna bends down before her and puts her feet on his head. The romance of the two adulterous lovers may owe something to the Persian romances that were becoming known in India through the Muslim preseence at this time, in some Sufi sects. (Behl and Weightman, Madhu Malati)…In the Bhagavata Purana, Krishna would disappear from the circle dance from time to time, and the Gopis searched for him in an exquisite agony of longing, the great Indian theme of love and separation (viraha), here in the famous bhakti mode of longing for the absent god (the deus absconditus or otiosus)…In the Brahmavaivarta Purana, probably composed in Bengal in the fifteenth or sixteenth century, the mature Radha is put in charge of the infant Krishna, to her intense annoyance, suddenly he turns into a gorgeous young man, with whom she makes love joyously for many days – until he turns back again into a demanding, and wet, infant. (fn. 20: Brahmavaivarta Purana 4.15)(pp.478-479)

Famine and plague (which raged during this period), as always, affected religion. The widespread economic devastation may well account for the increase, at this time, of goddess worship, which generally flourishes during epidemics. When two years of failed monsoon led to the famine of 1750 to 1755, in which a third of the population of Bengal, some ten million people, died, there was a surge in the worship of the goddess Kali in her aspect of Annapurna (‘Full of Food). (fn.25: Klostermaier, Hinduism, 291). Hard times give rise to hard deities. And it was religion that really soured the Raj.(p.583)

“But Kunti had already had one son, secretly, out of wedlock. When she was still a young girl, she had decided to try out her mantra, just fooling around. The sun god, Surya, took her seriously; despite her vigorous protests and entreaties, he raped her and afterward restored her virginity. She gave birth to Karna, whom she abandoned in shame; a Charioteer and his wife adopted him and raised him as their own (1.104; 3.290-94; 5.144.1-9)” (p.295)

“Dasharatha’s son is certainly lustful” is a key phrase. Rama knows all too well what people said about Dasharatha; when Lakshmana learns that Rama has been exiled, he says, “The king is perverse, old, and addicted to sex, driven by lust (2.18.3)”.(p.225)

The seduction and killing of Mahisha…the Skanda Purana, states that Durga was already a powerful goddess when Mahisha defeated the gods…Another text from roughly the same period brings out the erotic element more vividly…”she said to Mahisha’s mess3enger, ‘Your master is a great fool, and certainly no hero, to want to be killed by a woman. For to be killed by one’s mistress gives sexual pleasure to a pansy (kliba) but misery to a hero.”  (Devi-Bhagavata Purana 5.2-11; Doniger O’Flaherty, Hindu Myths, 240-49)…Though Durga here is so beautiful that she inspires the antigod with a destructive erotic passion, she herself is so devoid of erotic feelings, that she insists not only that she is a man rather than a woman but that her would-be consort is NOT a man, but a mere pansy. To clinch this argument, she insists that only a pansy would wish to experience a LIEBESTOD with a womjan. The aggressive woman rides astride the buffalo, and her sexual supremacy is expressed through a martial image: She holds an erect phallic sword in paintings and sculptures depicting the slaying of Mahisha. (pp.417-418)

One text that we have already considered, the text that speaks of the king’s eating the people, also glosses several lines from the obscene banter with the queens that accompanies the ritual copulation in the horse sacrifice: “ ‘The little female bird rocks back and forth as he thrusts the penis into the slit.’ Now, that bird is really the people, for the people rock back and forth at the thrust of the royal power, and the slit is the people, and the penis is the royal power, which presses against the people; and so the one who has royal power is hurtful to the people.” (fn. 77: Shatapatha Brahmana; Doniger O’Flaherty, Textual Sources, 17-18.) On the analogy of the ritual copulation, this text is saying that the king rapes the people. It thus proclaims, in brutal and obscene language, the violence of royal oppression. (pp.154-155)

Take dogs. Hindu dharma forbids Hindus to have any contact with dogs, whom it regards as unclean scavengers, literally untouchable (a-s-prishya), the parasites of Pariahs who are themselves regarded as parasites…(Citing from Mahabharata)…Yudhishthira refuses to abandon a dog who is ‘devoted’ (bhakta) to him…For the dog never does go to heaven, never violates Hindu law, because there was no dog; it was all an illusion. In case of a real dog…what then? The story shows just how rotten the caste system is but does not change it. No dogs get into heaven. (p.267)

Draupadi’s five husbands… Like other polyandrous women whose virginities were restored, sometimes after premarital seduction or rape, Draupadi will be restored to purity each month after willing conjugal sex…When Duryodhana has Draupadi dragged into the assembly hall, much as Rama summons Sita to the public assembly, and Duhshasana attempts to strip her, despite the fact that she is wearing a garment soiled with her menstrual blood (the same blood that was supposed to purify her), the enemies of the Pandavas justify their insults to her by arguing that a woman who sleeps with five men must be a slut (2.61.34-36)…The Mahabharata keeps insisting that all this is hearsay, as if to make us doubt it; it invokes a vivid, quasi-Freudian primal scene to explain a kind of sexual revulsion. A Brahmin’s right to demand the sexual services of any woman he fancied (fn. 23) evoked violent protect in ancient Indian texts, and Draupadi herself is subjected to such sexual harassment (unconsummated) on one occasion when she is in disguise as a servant and not recognized as the princess Draupadi (4.21.1-67)…Draupadi, born of fire, is significantly motherless, like Sita, who was born of Earth and returns into earth, after she has entered fire and come out of it.(pp.296-301)

(Concluding sentence of the book)…Perhaps we can ride into the future on the glorious horse that graces the jacket of this book. It is an example of the contribution of a foreign culture to Hinduism, since composite animals of this type come from Persia and entered India with the Mughals, and an example of the intersection of court and village, as the image traveled from the Mughal court in Delhi to a village in the state of Orissa, the source of this contemporary example. It is an image of women, almost certainly painted by a man. Depicting the god Krishna as the rider on the horse makes the muslim image a Hindu image, and the rider on the horse is an enduring Hindu metaphor for the mind controlling the senses, in this case harnessing the sexual addiction excited by naked women. This multivocal masterpirce is, like Hinduism, a collage made of individual pieces that fit together to make something far more wonderful than any of them. (p.690)

[Divinity Krishna is shown sitting on the buttocks of a naked woman, surrounded by other woman in various karanas. See the Doniger book jacket image posted at; Mirror: ]

5-Letter # 24: from Amit to NBCC

From: Amit

Dear NBCC Members,

As an active and practicing follower of the ancient Santana Dharma (Eternal Religion) of India, better known to the world as Hinduism, I feel that it is my duty to protest wholeheartedly the sarcastic and disdainful presentation of one of the world’s great faiths in the book entitled “The Hindus: An Alternative History” by Wendy Doniger.

As an example, in chapter 14 the author deals most arrogantly and whimsically with the early Puranic literature as she completely misses the point of the Puranas so clearly stated in the most celebrated and well known Srimad Bhagavat Maha Purana (which the author totally neglects in order to conveniently put forth her skewed negative agenda). Srimad Bhagavat Maha Purana states: “The Vedas and Puranas are one and the same in purpose. They ascertain the Absolute Truth, which is greater than everything else. The Absolute Truth is ultimately realized as the Absolute Personality of Godhead with absolute controlling power. As such, the Absolute Personality of Godhead must be completely full of opulence, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation.”

Wendy Doniger misleads the reader into thinking that the epic ancient Indian literatures such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are “roughly contemporaneous” when they belong to different ages separated by thousands of years. The narrations and lessons emanating from the Puranas are ancient yet the author judges this great literature with the eyes of a modern disrespectful and faithless skeptic. The Puranas themselves predict in great detail about the current age that we are living in, which they label as the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Perhaps a prophecy of the blasphemous writings of authors such as Wendy Doniger.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna said to his dear friend Uddhava: “Having achieved this human form of life, which affords one the opportunity to realize Me, and being situated in My devotional service, one can achieve Me, the reservoir of all pleasure and the Supreme Soul of all existence, residing within the heart of every living being.” This essential message emanating from the ancient Hindu philosophy is aptly summarized in The Uddhava Gita from the Srimad Bhagavat Maha Puran, Book 11.06-29.

The essence of the Hindu faith is to guide the inquisitive soul to realization of it’s true and glorious nature and it’s relationship with the Supreme Soul of all, God, and His unfathomable and infinitely glorious nature. Whether it be through disciplined practice of yoga, the medical benefits of which have been proven in study after study, meditation, loving devotion, working and living peacefully and happily without attachment to the end results, the heart of the matter in the Hindu faith is to describe in the most specific and illuminating detail how to achieve the highest goal of self realization, God realization and understanding the individual soul’s relationship with the Divine and how all life is interconnected spiritually.

In addition to this and according to the famous Astro Physicist Dr. Carl Sagan, who in his Emmy and Peabody award winning PBS program named COSMOS which was viewed by more than 500 million people in 60 countries, states that the Hindu faith is the only religious tradition on Earth that provides a time-scale for the Earth and the universe which is consonant with that of modern scientific cosmology. Further, according to Dr. Sagan, not only did the ancient seers of Hinduism get the Cosmic time-scale which speaks of billions of years, right, Hindu cosmology says that the many billion year time-scale is not the entire history of the universe, but just the day and night of Brahma (the first materially created being in the Universe and the creator of subsequent material beings) and that an infinite cycle of births and deaths and an infinite number of universes exists in the Divine cosmological pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

With this in mind, it should be noted that the disrespectful and ignorant bias willfully taken by Wendy Doniger to distort the true greatness of the Hindu faith is shameful and dangerous. I say this because she could be negatively affecting the minds of many who may have otherwise explored with an open mind the vast treasure trove of deeply insightful knowledge as presented in the Hindu scriptures. Therefore, I beseech the honorable members of the NBCC to please not award Wendy Doniger the national nonfiction book prize and further aggrieve hundreds of millions of practicing Hindus worldwide by honoring a book which is clearly an affront to their rich and deeply meaningful faith!

Sincerely and Namaste (I bow to the Divine within thee),



Dear Dr.Pattnaik,

It would seem you desire to explore mythology,and possibly a deeper understanding of the symbols of the Sanatana Dharma, that attempt to convey elements that where words and syntax end.

Would you hearken to a humble request? Since you have been fascinated by Wendy and such Western interpreters of the Dharma, would it be possible for you to learn Bangala? It is not dissimilar to Oriya, both nearly identical in many respects, save the script.

A new universe may open up for you when you begin to read the essays of Shri Anirvan, a little-known figure in Bengal , a savant rather than a religious figure. it is necessary to carefully weigh the language of the original, because far too much is lost in the translation.

The problem with Wendy, as I have remarked elsewhere, is an interesting word named HUBRIS. Shabdartha, marmartha, bhavartha, are very different beings! These are not games, not Ganikashastra, i.e. elements that make themselves available to the first comer. Wendy, having prosistuted herself for wordly gain, cannot ever find any meaning. You are much deluded whe you write that “anyone wishing to study Hinduism MUST read Wendy.” How sad! You remind me of a portent that Swami Vivekananda had spoken about: when our youth will eagerly turn and seek to learn from the (worst) of the foreigners about their own religion.

Devduttji, Wendy and her type, I do know very well, from close association with so called Indologists. It is sad that you, like so many Indians, cannot delve beneath the surface glitter, so that fool’s gold is valued immeasurably over the real, a star ruby appears to be a dull piece of rock! Why do you not go to the holy JOHN HUGHES, if you do need to learn about the Sanatana Dharma? What is this thing called Hinduism you speak of?

You are welcome to come and stay at my very humble home for as long as you care, with focused attention, and then determine for your own self what are the etymolgical, grammatical roots of the word LINGA, how it hasbeen used in the SHASTRAS through the ages, many different shastras, and then experience for yourself what it means.

That is something you cannot get from those who have been selling Dharma for personal name & fame. What is the meaning of Shiva & Durga? Do you know? Each meaning [samjnA] of
BrahmA, Vishnu, Shiva changes every single moment depending on where the conciousness of the individual is; this will change every second. There are issues difficult to explain in public or within a moment’s notice.

Some things may need a lifetime’s effort, and this is where people want to run away. They want quick and easy anwers, and such guru-types who will provide pre-digested pap. Not possible. For example, you hear a famous hymn about the efficacy of offering a single bilva leaf. Ah, true, but WHAT bilva leaf is that, they never tell you UP FRONT, with what WATER it needs to be washed, where to get it! That takes SO MUCH EFFORT, and it cannot be had by buying a train ticket, you know!!! And that Missy Darling can never give you a clue about. Ask her where she will be born, if she has spent her life usefully? Lotsawa means EYE, the Tibetan used this word for their Translators who carefully converted the Sanskrit to Tibetan that would endure for serious aspirants.

This woman causes BLINDNESS, she takes people and puts out their eyes, even though she has been given such talent. Then she creates this great fuss about upper castes and self-righteous, uptight people with limited vision.

Devduttji, you are a scientist. When you die, [which moment is never certain], you will have enough opportunity to test whether Wendy
was correct or I was [with the Holy Guru’s grace]. Then what will you do, having lost the opportunity to find a human rebirth? Whom shall you blame?

Take this challenge. You were born a Dakshinatya Vaidika Brahman, most probably Shukla Yajur Veda, a Shatapathi. The 3rd verse begins the recital Su samidhAgnim…

Now, Wendy & fashionable people mock us: so take the lethal bet: play their game or ours, and you can safely say where you will be born. Our way says: You must dedicate yourself solely for others’ welfare, every thought, word, deed. The nature of self & other is the great mmystery of the Atiratra; you must live within it, within the Agnicayana moment to moment. That is why the SYV beginsnot at the beginning but with Susamidh.. You become the SusamidhAgnim …duvyasatah.

Much MUCH more—- things a translator cannot ever understand. You mean Shri Chaitanya and Shri Haridas were craven, blind, God-forsaken IDIOTS and you need to go to these people to learn DHARMA? DID your parents produce another modern-day Kalapahad? That one also was a great sadhaka like yourself: he too sought the wrong teachers! Tried to enter the sadhana of the Eight Nayikas to gain the strength & insight to protect the Dharma. You know what happened. So be careful where you learn your dharma from. Ask your mother that tale; it is well known in Orissa!!

There is a nuance between samjnanam [comprehension] & prajnanam [apprehension] of these moments, and these are things your scholar-friend has not an inkling about: dandramyamANA pariyanti mUdhA andhena nIyamAnA yathAndhA. Tell her that the first line of this sloka also applies very much to her, extremely so.

You seem to be bedazzled, like a junglee entering a market town for the first time sees in it the omphalos! Sadly, you may not have found people worthy to stimulate deep introspection on your part, or mayhap only the unworthy stimulate your heart! That too is a possibility.

Oct 30, 2009 @ 9:03


M. Lal Goel

Professor Emeritus of Political Science and

Director of International Studies

The University of West Florida,

Pro-Islamic and anti-Hindu mindset known as dhimmitude (described more fully later) is prevalent in sections of the American academy.  The case in point is the recent book by Dr. Wendy Doniger1, The Hindus: An Alternative History, The Penguin Press, 2009.

Doniger’s 779-page tome is laced with personal editorials, folksy turn of the phrase and funky wordplays.  She has a large repertoire of Hindu mythological stories.  She often narrates the most damning story—Vedic, Puranic, folk, oral, vernacular—to demean, damage and disparage Hinduism.  After building a caricature, she laments that fundamentalist Hindus (how many and how powerful are they?) are destroying the pluralistic, tolerant Hindu tradition. Why save such a vile, violent religion, as painted by the eminent professor?  There is a contradiction here.

Doniger’s book is at odds with the increasing acceptance in the United States of key Hindu spiritual concepts. Lisa Miller (Newsweek, 31 August, 2009) reports that Americans “are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity.” She cites the following poll data: 67 percent of Americans believe that many religions, not only Christianity can lead to eternal life, reflecting pluralistic Hindu ethos rather than monotheistic Christian view; 30 percent of Americans call themselves “spiritual, not religious;” 24 percent say they believe in reincarnation; and more than a third choose cremation rather than burial. http://www.newsweek .com/id/212155

This review focuses on Doniger’s discussion of Islamic incursions into India.  Islam entered south India in the 7th Century with Arab merchants and traders. This was peaceful Islam.  Later, Islam came to India as a predatory and a conquering force. Mohammad bin Qasim ravaged Sindh in 712. Mahmud Ghazni pillaged, looted and destroyed numerous Hindu temples around 1000 CE, but did not stay to rule. The Muslim rule begins with the Delhi Sultanate, approximately 1201 to 1526.  The Sultanate gave place to the Mughal Empire, 1526-1707.

Doniger makes the following dubious points regarding the Muslim imperial rule in India (1201-1707).

1.  Muslims marauders destroyed some Hindu temples, not many. Ch 16

2.  Temple destruction was a long standing Indian tradition.  Hindus destroyed Buddhist and Jain stupas and rival Hindu temples and built upon the destroyed sites;  “the Muslims had no monopoly on that.” P 457

3.  Muslim invaders looted and destroyed Hindu temples because they had the power to do so.  If Hindus had the power, they would do the same in reverse.  Pp. 454-57

4.  The Jizya—the Muslim tax on non-Muslims—was for Hindu protection and a substitute for military service. Pp. 448-49

5.  Hindu “megalomania” for temple building in the Middle Ages was a positive result of Muslim demolition of some Hindu temples. P 468

6.  The Hindu founders of the Vijayanagara Empire double-crossed their Muslim master in Delhi who had deputed them to secure the South. P 467

7.  Hindus want Muslims and Christians to leave India for Hindustan is only for Hindus. Concluding chapter.

Let us take each point in turn to examine Doniger’s mistaken views.

1.  Muslim invaders beginning with Mahmud Ghazni in 1000 CE looted, pillaged and destroyed not few but many Hindu and Buddhist temples.  Muslim chroniclers describe the humiliation and utter desolation wrought by the Muslims on the kafirs (unbelievers). Alberuni, the Muslim scholar who accompanied Mahmud to India in 1,000 CE, describes one such event: “Mathura, the holy city of Krishna, was the next victim. In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and finer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted.  The Sultan was of the opinion that 200 years would have been required to build it. The idols included ‘five of red gold, each five yards high,’ with eyes formed of priceless jewels. . . The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naphtha and fire, and leveled with the ground. Thus perished works of art which must have been among the noblest monuments of ancient India.” 2

At the destruction of another temple, Somnath, it is estimated that 50,000 were massacred. The fabulous booty of gold, women and children was divided according to Islamic tradition–the Sultan getting the royal fifth, the cavalry man getting twice as much as the foot soldier. Numerous Hindu and Buddhist shrines were destroyed.

2.  The esteemed professor asserts that Hindus persecuted Jains and Buddhists and destroyed their shrines.  She narrates the now discarded story about the impaling of Jains at the hands of Hindu rulers in the Tamil country. Then she says that “there is no evidence that any of this actually happened, other than the story.” (p 365).  Then why narrate the story? Hindu sectarian violence pales in comparison to what happened either in Europe or in the Middle East. The truth is that both Jainism and Buddhism were integrated into Hinduism’s pluralistic tradition.  The Buddha was accepted as one of the Hindu Avatars (God in human form).  Exquisite Jain temples at Mt Abu at the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan built around 1000 CE survive in the region dominated by Hindu Rajput rulers, falsifying notions of Hindu carnage of Jain temples.

3.  Doniger suggests that Hindus would do the same to Muslims if they had the power to do so (p 457).  Hindus did come to power after the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, when the Mughal rule rapidly declined.  The Hindu Marathas were the strongest power in Western and Southern India in the 18th and 19th centuries, as the Sikhs were in North India.  There is no account of large scale demolition and looting of Muslim places of worship either by the Marathas or the Sikhs.  If a copy of the Quran fell into the hands of Maratha chief Shivaji during a battle campaign, the same would be passed on to a Muslim rather than being burned.

4.  Contrary to what Doniger says, jizya is a long held Muslim tradition.  It was levied to begin with on the defeated Christians and Jews, the People of the Book, as a price for the cessation of Jihad.  Hindus, not being one of the People of the Book, did not deserve to live by paying the special tax. If defeated in battle, their only option was Islam or death. This was the position taken by the leading Islamic clergy. Unlike the clergy, however, the Muslim governors were practical men.  If they had killed the Hindus en masse for failing to adopt Islam, who would build their palaces, fill their harems, cut their wood and hue their water? 3

5.  Doniger argues that Hindu ‘megalomania’ for temple building resulted from Muslim destruction of some Hindu temples.  In other words, because the Muslims destroyed some of the Hindu temples, the Hindus went on a building spree.  If Doniger’s argument is accepted, Hindus should thank Islamic marauders for looting and desecrating their shrines. The truth is that in northern India which experienced 500 years of Islamic rule (1201-1707), few historical temples of any beauty remain. In contrast, temple architecture of some beauty does survive in southern India, the region that escaped long Muslim occupation.

6.  That the Hindu founders of the Vijayanagara dynasty in the South double-crossed their Muslim master in Delhi is one among the innumerable editorial negative portrayal of Hindu character.  One may ask: why wouldn’t a slave double cross his oppressor?

7.  The view that Muslims and Christians should leave India is not one held by most Hindus, only by a small minority on the extreme fringes. Muslim population has increased in India from about 9 percent at the time of Independence to about 13 percent now (1947-2009). In contrast, in Pakistan, Hindu population has declined from 10 percent and now constitutes less than one percent.  In Muslim Bangladesh in the same period the Hindu population has declined from 29 percent to less than 10 percent. People vote with their feet. Muslims hold important positions in government and business in contemporary India, which is 83 pct Hindu. Until recently, the richest person in India was a Muslim, Premji; the most popular film stars are Muslim, Shah Rukh Khan being at the top; several states are led now or were headed in the past by Christian and Muslim chief ministers and governors.  We should also point out that the single most important leader in India is an Italian-born woman Sonya Gandhi and the Prime Minister is a Sikh, Dr. Manmohan Singh. The past President APJ Kalam was a Muslim and before that K R Narayanan, a lower caste.  In Federal and State civil service, 50 percent of the jobs are reserved for backward classes and Untouchable, in order to compensate for past discrimination.  India has moved.

Let us look more closely. Doniger describes the invasion of Sindh by Arab soldier of fortune Muhammad bin Qasim as follows:

Qasim invaded Sindh in 713.  The terms of surrender included a promise of guarantee of the safety of Hindu and Buddhist establishments. “Hindus and Buddhists were allowed to govern themselves in matters of religion and law.” Qasim “kept his promises.” The non-Muslims were not treated as kafirs. Jizya was imposed but only as a substitute for military service for their “protection.”  He brought Muslim teachers and mosques into the subcontinent. (paraphrased)

From Doniger’s assessment, Qasim should be regarded as a blessing. Contrast Doniger’s description with that written by Andrew Bostom in “The Legacy of Islamic Jihad in India.” 4

The Muslim chroniclers . . .include enough isolated details to establish the overall nature of the conquest of Sindh by Muhammad b. Qasim in 712 C.E. . . . Baladhuri, for example, records that following the capture of Debal, Muhammad b. Qasim earmarked a section of the city exclusively for Muslims, constructed a mosque, and established four thousand colonists there. The conquest of Debal had been a brutal affair . . . Despite appeals for mercy from the besieged Indians (who opened their gates after the Muslims scaled the fort walls), Muhammad b. Qasim declared that he had no orders (i.e., from his superior al-Hajjaj, the Governor of Iraq) to spare the inhabitants, and thus for three days a ruthless and indiscriminate slaughter ensued. In the aftermath, the local temple was defiled, and “700 beautiful females who had sought for shelter there, were all captured.”

Distinguished historian R. C. Majumdar describes the capture of the royal Fort and its tragic outcome:

Muhammad massacred 6,000 fighting men who were found in the fort, and their followers and dependents, as well as their women and children were taken prisoners. Sixty thousand slaves, including 30 young ladies of royal blood, were sent to Hajjaj, along with the head of Dahar [the Hindu ruler]. We can now well understand why the capture of a fort by the Muslim forces was followed by the terrible jauhar ceremony (in which females threw themselves in fire kindled by themselves), the earliest recorded instance of which is found in the Chachnama. Cited in Bostom.

Doniger extensively footnotes Romila Thapar, John Keay, Anne Schimmel and A. K. Ramanujan as her sources for Islamic history, providing an impression of meticulous scholarship.  Missing are works of the distinguished historians: Jadunath Sarkar, R. C. Majumdar, A. L. Srivastava, Vincent Smith, and Ram Swarup.

Doniger writes at page 458: when Muslim royal women first came to India, they did not rigidly keep to purdah (the veiling and seclusion of women).  They picked the more strict form of purdah from contact with the Hindu Rajput women. Doniger finds much to praise in Muslim women during this period: some knew several languages; others wrote poetry; some managed vast estates; others set up “feminist” republics within female quarters (harems); some debated fine points on religion; some even joined in drinking parties (chapters 16, 20). Such descriptions are patently negated by other historians. See for example, The Mughal Harem (1988) by K S Lal, available free on the Internet.

If Hinduism is the source of strict purdah among Muslim women, as Doniger contends, how does one explain the strict veiling of women in the Middle East, a region far removed from Hindu influence? Or, the absence of it in southern India, a region that escaped Islamic domination?

Doniger writes at page 627, “the Vedic reverence for violence flowered in the slaughters that followed Partition.” And, Gandhi’s nonviolence succeeded against the British.  But it failed against the tenaciously held Hindu ideal of violence that had grip on the real emotions of the masses.

What is one to make of these weighty pronouncements uttered in all seriousness by the author? These are an expression of the hurt feelings on the part of a scholar. While discussing the Hindu epic Ramayana in London in 2003, Doniger put forth her usual gloss: that Lakshman had the hots for his brother Rama’s wife Sita, and that sexually-charged Sita reciprocated these feelings. An irate Hindu threw an egg at her and conveniently missed it.  This incident is her cause célèbre.


Doniger’s uncritical review of the Islamic marauding raids in India (712-1200) and later the Islamic rule (1201-1707) suggests dhimmitude.

The concepts of dhimmi and dhimmitude were developed by the Egyptian born Jewish woman writer, Bat Ye’or (Daughter of the Nile), who fled Egypt in 1958 in the wake of Jewish persecution following the Suez Canal crisis; she was a stateless person for a number of years and then acquired British citizenship through marriage (see Wikipedia).  Her meticulous research puts to rest the myth of peaceful expansion of Islamic power in the countries of Near East and Eastern Europe.5

Ye’or describes dhimmitude as the specific social condition that resulted from jihad. It is defined by the following attributes.  Dhimmitude is a state of fear and insecurity on the part of infidels who are required to accept a condition of humiliation.   It is characterized by the victim’s siding with his oppressors, by the moral justification the victim provides for his oppressors’ hateful behavior. The Dhimmi loses the possibility of revolt because revolt arises from a sense of injustice. He loathes himself in order to praise his oppressors.

Dhimmis lived under some 20 disabilities.  Dhimmis were prohibited to build new places of worship, to ring church bells or take out processions, to ride horses or camels (they could ride donkeys), to marry a Muslim woman, to wear decorative clothing, to own a Muslim as a slave or to testify against a Muslim in a court of law.

Ye’or believes that the dhimmi condition can only be understood in the context of Jihad. Jihad embodies all the Islamic laws and customs applied over a millennium on the vanquished population, Jews and Christians, in the countries conquered by jihad and therefore Islamized.

She believes that dhimmitude was once the attribute of defeated Christian and Jewish communities under Islam.  Now it is a feature of much of the Western world, Europe and America. Her theory of dhimmitude applies to many Hindus in India. Whereas dhimmitude in previous centuries resulted from real-life powerlessness and humiliation, modern dhimmi syndrome results from some combination of the following.

  • The corrupting power of oil money to influence think tanks, lobbyists and academic institutions.
  • De-Christianizing of Europe. It is now also happening in the U.S.  See Pew research reports.
  • Guilt feelings in the West on account of the Crusades to liberate the Holy Land (1095-1291).
  • Multiculturalism:  the belief that all cultural practices and ways of life are equally valid.
  • Violence by radical Muslims is on account of being poor and exploited by colonial hegemony.
  • Islam provided the West its basis for advancement in math and science.
  • The rising number of Muslim populations in Europe and America.
  • The rising level of alienation from one’s own culture in the West.

Doniger’s scandalous book on the Hindus makes sense only in the light of a larger global trend—a trend that seeks to re-package Islamic history as a force for tolerance and progress.

Doniger is not alone in holding such views. Dhimmi attitudes of subservience have entered the Western academy, and from there into journalism, school textbooks and political discourse. One must not criticize Islam. For, “to do so would offend the multiculturalist ethos that prevails everywhere today. To do so would endanger chances for peace and rapprochement between civilizations all too ready to clash.”  See,

The field of Middle East Studies in the U.S. is now controlled by pro-Middle East professors, according to Martin Kramer, editor of the Middle Eastern Quarterly.  “The crucial turning point occurred in the late 1970s when Middle East studies centers, under /Edward/ Said’s influence, began to show a preference for ideology over empirical fact and, fearing the taint of the ‘orientalist’ bias, began to prefer academic appointments of native-born Middle Easterners over qualified Western-born students,” contends Kramer. The book is summarized at:

In contrast, the field of Hinduism studies is controlled by non-Hindus and anti-Hindus, with some notable exceptions of course. Hindu gods and goddesses are lampooned and denigrated.  Hindu saints are described as sexual perverts and India in danger of being run over by Hindu fundamentalists. In these portrayals, Doniger is joined by Martha Nussbaum, Paul Courtright, Jeffrey Kripal, Sarah Caldwell, Stanley Kurtz, to name a few of the leading academicians. For a critique of the American academy, see Rajiv Malhotra at, and a 2007 book titled, Invading the Sacred. 6

Unhappily also, the American born Hindu youth choose lucrative careers in medicine, law, finance and engineering rather than in the social sciences and the humanities.

Doniger is quite harsh on the British record in India (1757-1947).  She compares the British argument that they brought trains and drains to India to Hitler’s argument that he built the Autobahn in Germany (p. 583).  Censuring Britain and giving a pass to the more draconian Islamic imperialism in India fits with the dhimmi attitude that I have described.

Consequently, attitudes of concession and appeasement are on the rise. A reversal of language occurs. Jihad is called ‘struggle within’ or struggle for liberation.  Dhimmitude is called tolerance.  Jizya is called protection.  Tony Blair declares Islam is a religion of peace and that the terrorists are not real Muslims.  Parts of London have been ceded to the control of radical mullahs. Sharia arbitration courts are now part of the British legal system.  Melanie Phillips tells that London is becoming Londonistan.7 Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe. Yesterday’s “Christ killers” are now called Muslim murderers.


The destruction of life and property caused by Islamic extremists in the last thirty years is simply horrendous.  Distinction must be made between moderate Muslims and radicals who wish to bring back the 7th century version of Islam. Of the twenty some hot spots around the globe, some eighteen involve radical Muslims.  Radical Muslim violence is directed against moderate Muslims as well as against other civilization groups, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Slavs. The Islamic world has “bloody borders”–Samuel Huntington.

Much is made of the partial destruction of the so-called Babri Masjid (mosque) in India by a certain group of Hindus.  It was a dilapidated building, not actively used as a place of worship by Muslims. No temple has been raised in its place. At best, only a make-shift puja (worship) is held at the site. India has lost more people to Islamic terrorism after 9/11 than any other country.  Some 300,000 Kashmiri pandits have been driven out of their homes by extremists and are refugees in their own country.  Of the some 300 Hindu temples in Pakistan at its breakaway from India in 1947, barely 30 survive and these are in dire shape.8

In the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict, some 800,000 Jews have been forced to flee Islamic countries and are refugees. This Jewish tragedy goes largely unacknowledged by the world, whereas the plight of 800,000 Palestinian refugees is rightly condemned. The Jewish property, wealth and Synagogues are taken over by the Islamic state, not repatriated to the Jewish refugees. See Andre Aciman NYT op-ed:

Amid the rising level of alienation, multiculturalism, and the feelings of guilt, the moral compass is lost.  The British helped abolish the horrible practice of Suttee (widow burning) in India in the 19th century.  At its peak in the 19th century, the practice of Suttee claimed the lives of 500 to 600 women a year in India (the British were good bean counters). The honor killing of women, genital mutilation, and the caning of girls for minor sexual impropriety raises only a limited protest in the 21st century.  No reliable count exists. Women are honor-killed not only in the Islamic world but also on occasion in the Western countries.  See 6/26/2009 digest at:

India and America

India and America are very similar in their commitment to pluralism.  India has held the flag high for a pluralistic, multi-cultural civilization through history.  Many ideas, ideologies, world-views, philosophies and religions competed in the market place. A thousand flowers bloomed. There were Vaishnavites, Shaivites, Buddhists, Jains, Tantrites, Shaktas, and even materialists and atheists called Charvakas and Lokayats in India.  No books were burned or the minorities put to the torch.  There were exceptions.

The Muslim rule reversed this tradition.  People were killed in the name of religion and loot. The exception was Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605).  Akbar was an exception to the otherwise long running vale of woe.  His pluralism did not spring forth from Islam, but from his rejection of Islam.  The Muslim clergy regarded him as an apostate and did not give him a Muslim burial when he died. For a critical account of Akbar’s u-turn from being a jihadi (soldier of Islam) to being its critic, visit Sarvesh Tiwari’s 5-part essay at:

Jews came to India soon after the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.  Three separate Jewish communities have lived and flourished in India for two millennia: Cochin, Maharashtra and Calcutta. Dr. Nathan Katz tells us that India is one place where Jews were never persecuted. “The Indian chapter is one of the happiest of the Jewish Diaspora.” See Who Are the Jews of India? (2000), p. 4. The Parsees (a Zoroastrian community), who fled Persia in the wake of Islamic conquest in the 7th century, have done well in India and is among the richest of communities. The biggest industrial empire in India is controlled by a Parsee family, the Tatas.

Contemporary America resembles older India.  Anything goes. Christianity is divided not only among Protestants and Catholics, but also among some 20 Protestant denominations.  There are fundamentalists, and born again Christians.  Jesus is the Savior and Redeemer to them.  At the other end, Unitarians and liberal Christians deny the divinity of Jesus. There are also Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, and Baha’is in America. New Thought churches and Pagan groups are gaining in popularity. Every viewpoint finds an utterance.

Nearly 1,000 years ago, the Indian Acharyas (teachers) ignored the radical threat before it was too late. The great teachers (Abhinav Gupta, Ramanuja, Madhava, Vallabha, and others) wrote thick treatises on spiritual subject matter but they said nothing about Islam, zilch. They were busy debating each other. Some even proclaimed “All religions are the same.” Let us hope that the American intellectual leadership will not repeat the error that the Hindu intelligentsia made in the last millennium by downplaying the extremist threat to civilization.  For it has been said:  Those who refuse to learn from History are doomed to repeat it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *