Anxiety in the Western Academia’s Ivory Tower
“Sling mud; even if the mud does not stick, the stain will stay for long.”
asatyam api dur-vachanam chiram tishthati = Vilification, even if groundless, lasts long.
These are but some of the maxims being deployed by the vituperative attackers of Sri Rajiv Malhotra on the false allegations of plagiarism.
Rajiv Malhotra has been consistently and systematically working for over two decades on but one theme: preparing antidotes against the continued supercilious intellectual colonialism by the West over India.
For the West, it is the White Man’s Burden – to enlighten the East – bearing kinship to the saying, “Whenever a politician decides to commit a crime, he declares it first as his duty.”
The brazen attacks on, and exploitation of other civilisations by the West constitute a steady and ceaseless creed, for centuries, of the “more equal” Big Brother, the veritable master of the Orwellian doublespeak.
The Sanatana civilization, which never had imperial aspirations against other civilisations has been a steady and steadfast producer of ennobling knowledge for millennia. The Mahabhaashya of Patanjali (1st Century BCE) spoke of the pursuit of knowledge for no specific worldly gain (nishkaarana).
Knowledge was pursued in gurukula-s, in the simple and quiet hamlets, thousands of them, throughout the length and breadth of Bharata without any great burden on the royal exchequer, apart from vast conclaves of forest-dwellers on the one hand, and world-class universities on the other.
The spirit of free but disciplined enquiry buttressed by a continuous evaluation of knowledge produced in the past, and revisions and reformulations as also alternative formulations of the same, non-production of knowledge as a danger to society, free and open dispersal of such knowledge as is healthy and beneficial to the society (without being obsessed by “ownership” of ideas) were its hallmarks, none of which has ever had a worthy parallel in the world.
Greek thinkers rose to great heights, too, but their civilizational vigour and intellectual rigour did not last for more than a few centuries.
Riches and Rogues
Against the charge of “mere other-worldliness” projected by the dishonest critics against the culture of India, or the charge that religion has been the cause of the country’s backwardness, Dharampal has laid bare, in great detail, how India was a top economic power in the world even up till the 17th century, which is what made the hordes of the colonizing barbarians of the West set their eyes on this rich country with their single agenda of plunder and loot, with full sanction from the Vatican.
To cite a quotation of Newcomb (no date) from Malhotra’s Being Different (2011: 164-165),
“Christian nations had a divine right, based on the Bible, to claim absolute title to and ultimate authority over any newly ‘discovered’ Non-Christian inhabitants and their lands. Over the next several centuries, these beliefs gave rise to the Doctrine of Discovery used by Spain, Portugal, England, France, and Holland – all Christian nations.”
More juicy details can be gleaned from Romanus Pontifex of Pope Nicholas V.
Indeed, they were only following the footsteps of their other imperialist kinsmen of the Abrahamic faith, the brutal perpetuators of the sole religion of peace, which is in no way opposed to the burning of libraries apart from perpetrating unspeakable atrocities – past perfect as well as present continuous.
Cultural genocide is incontrovertibly, the common cult of these two fellow faiths.
Of the two, the West, which is all sophistication in its methods, can be likened to perfect duplicity: orphan a bright child first and then declare yourself to be its sole, and benevolent, guardian.
What the Westerners did to Africans and Native Americans are cases that suffice to drive home the point.
Ananda Coomaraswamy was among the early writers to see through, in his early writings especially, this game of Western Indological scholarship, and to expose its hollowness and hypocrisy.
To cite another author, but only illustratively on what the West did to Africa, we have this by Alain Danielou (1969):
“Although today colonialism has abandoned, in Africa as in the other countries of the ‘Third World’, its most brutal forms of genocide and slavery, the concepts of cultural and racial superiority by which it justified itself have not been honestly revised. The appearances and above all the methods have changed, but the fundamental attitude not in the slightest. A cultural colonialism that conditions economic aid has today become a more subtle arm of domination. The importation of a foreign culture into small population groups, in exchange for special privileges and a semi-assimilation to the West, permits the formation of a false elite made up of elements that are entirely dependent on external connections and are the perfect mediators of cultural domination…” [Emphasis added]
Already in 1761, William Law asked men to
“look at all European Christendom sailing round the globe with fire and sword and every murdering art of war to seize the possessors and kill the inhabitants of both the Indies. What natural right of man, what supernatural virtue, which Christ brought down from Heaven, was not here trodden under foot?” (p180)
Sir George Birdwood wrote in Industrial Arts of India (1880), of what British education did for India.
“Our education has destroyed their love of their own literature… their delight in their own arts and, worst of all, their repose in their own traditional and national religion. It has disgusted them with their own home – their parents, their sisters, their very wives. It has brought discontent into every family so far as its baneful influences have reached.” [Emphasis added]
Ultimately, what the British did to India culturally was to dislodge the traditional learning system from the paathashaalaa-s and gurukula-s, usurp the knowledge therein for a pittance (if indeed that), and declare themselves to be the sole guardians/interpreters of this age-old treasure house of knowledge.
Rajiv Malhotra’s Exposes
The singular contribution of Rajiv Malhotra has been to lay bare the machinations of these Machiavellians, and even more importantly, place things in a global perspective.
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it,” said Upton Sinclair.
This explains why the Youngs, the Foxes, and the Goldmans cannot digest what Malhotra says, much less the sepoys under the pay of the likes of Ford Foundation, or the NGOs they fund and patronize.
It is this that inspires them to make the charge of plagiarism because they have begun to realize that, if the present course of Malhotra’s polemic continues, their intellectual ivory tower may well one day be detonated.
Given this background, the question that arises is this: does Rajiv Malhotra need to plagiarise? If yes, why?
His Indra’s Net (2014) cites from over 150 sources, and Being Different (2011) from over 225 sources (and some of them, multiple times). Even Andrew Nicholson has been cited over 30 times in a single book.
Certainly, if there is a lapse in attribution in half a dozen places, the same can be politely pointed out, and corrections can be introduced in future editions. Doubtless, Malhotra would be more than willing to make his books more error-free: I have myself pointed out nearly a century of minor lapses and corrections to his Being Different, and they have been duly incorporated in the paperback edition.
Stigmatise to Discard
However, if the whole stratagem is to give him a bad name so that it may provide the censorious academicians a plank to ignore his ideas, this is nothing but chicanery.
Indeed, the ganging up of the Western academic against Rajiv Malhotra is the height of unfairness, to cast dubious allegations on the intellectual integrity of a person who has been quite dignified in countering his opponents purely academically.
- Birdwood, Sir George (1880) Industrial Arts of India. Committee of Council on Education. London.
- Daniélou, Alain (1969) “Cultural Genocide” African Music 4, No. 3, pp. 19-21.
- Dharampal (2000) Indian Science & Technology in the Eigteenth Century. .(Ed.) Alvares, Claude. Other India Press. Mapusa.
- Law, William (1761) An Humble, Earnest, and Affectionate Address, to the Clergy.