Colonial Consciousness: Consequences for the Nation and the Way Forward – Part 3

Colonial Consciousness: Consequences for the Nation and the Way Forward – Part 3
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Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Ignoring Indian Philosophy

Philosophy deals with the most engaging questions for humanity related to the purposes of life and the universe, the reality of the world, the presence of God, the matter-mind relationship, and so on. Philosophers equate philosophy with only Western thought, which, in turn, is either ignorant or dismissive of Indian thought. Surprising, because any person, irrespective of time and place, can have philosophical insights applicable to humanity. The West puts philosophy between theology and science. Like theology, it speculates on matters of indefinite knowledge; like science, it appeals to human reason rather than to the authority of a tradition.

Indian darshanas have a different view. Karl Potter says, ‘To understand the philosophy of a culture, we must come to some understanding of its ultimate values’. Greek and European philosophers affirmed that morality, the highest value, lies in the exercise of reason and the subjugation of passions. In contrast, the ultimate value in Indian darshanas is not morality but freedom and control. It is not rational self-control in the community’s interest, but complete control over one’s environment. Freedom consists of complete liberation from the karmic chains of cause and effect and the achievement of complete peace in this present life. This freedom is possible for every human being, and there is a route for every human, not necessarily the same route. The supreme practical value is renunciation, as Krishna tells Arjuna: giving up the fruits of the acts that one is capable of performing successfully.

There were many great philosophers and many individual schools, broadly divided into orthodox (Nyaya, Vaisesika, Yoga, Samkhya, Mimansa, and Vedanta) and non-orthodox (Charvakism, Buddhism, and Jainism), with many debates, expositions, commentaries, and criticisms. The extensive corpus seeks answers to most of the existential questions much before Western philosophy took its roots in the Age of Enlightenment during the 16th and 18th centuries. The pre-Socratic philosophers, Socrates, and the later Greeks (like Plato and Aristotle) showed many similar thoughts, like Indian philosophers giving credence to the idea that there might have been an interaction. Western philosophy considers itself an inheritor of Greek philosophy, but it might have just distorted the views to confirm the scientific developments.

Karma and reincarnation are an extremely integral part of Indian thought. The lower and higher truths and the absence of antagonism between them are important in understanding Indian traditions with their rich variety of customs, rituals, gods, and traditions. The entire corpus of Indian thought strives to tell human beings that freedom is possible for everyone; freedom comes by many routes; freedom does not involve stopping any ‘secular’ activity; and freedom is never a pressure to convert. Any human being with an unfinished purpose of total freedom points out that philosophy can never ‘be dead’.

The sense of ‘I’ is the ‘consciousness’ that allows us to participate in the world and gives us a sense of “doership”. Consciousness, in Western paradigms, is the state of awareness that begins after waking up from a dreamless sleep and continues until going back to sleep again, slipping into a coma, or dying. It excludes deep, dreamless sleep. Dreams and ‘self-awareness’ are special forms of consciousness. The overwhelming scientific-philosophical view is that consciousness is a product of the mind.

Indian philosophy has a different paradigm. Consciousness is the primary entity, and matter-mind (two sides of the same coin) stands separate from it. In the Indian tradition, the cognizer (Purusha) and the cognized (prakriti) belong to two distinct categories. The essential characteristics are sentience or consciousness (chaitanya) and inertness (jadatva), respectively. Consciousness is one, immanent, and transcendental. Man, God, and Nature are superimpositions of the one Brahman (Consciousness, Self, Purusha). The latter has the essential attributes of Awareness, Existence, and Bliss.

The Self is ever free but only appears embodied as an individual by erroneous mental cognition. The erasure of this cognition leads to Self-realization and freedom. The potential for freedom exists in every individual, irrespective of time, place, sex, religion, caste, creed, ethnicity, culture, or any personal identity. And the means are only self-effort. The universe has a purpose, and this is to help the individual attain liberation. It is thus easy to see that the paradigm of Indian philosophy directly challenges Western thought with its alignment with contemporary science. The amazing aspect of Indian arts, music, poetry, sciences, cultures, and philosophies is an intense ‘spiritualization’ of its activities. Every single route—grammar too—can be a means to liberation.

Regarding perception, the standard Western paradigm is that light falls on an object first. This reflected light enters the eyes and falls on the retina, from where neural impulses travel to the brain. Here, the image gets a reconstruction, and the person ‘sees’ the object. The same sequence is true for all the other senses too. This is the ‘stimulus-response theory of perception’, a stimulus of some sort evoking a response inside our brains through an intermediate causal chain. There is a difficulty, however, in explaining how an internal image inside the brain projects to the outside world.

Hence, what we perceive in the external world is not as it really exists, but how the interpretation occurs in our brains through our endowed senses. It is an indirect form of reality. In Kantian philosophy, the original unknown is the ‘noumenon’ and the known constructed reality is the ‘phenomenon’. This forms the basis of both philosophy and neuroscience. However, this is incoherent in explaining the ontological status or reality of the world. If there is an unknown ‘noumenon’ and a representative ‘phenomenon’, then every object in the causal chain from the external world to the perceiver, including the intervening medium (even the brain), is unknowable.

A strictly materialistic or ‘scientific’ view of the process of perception has caused deep troubles in the Western philosophical world to date. Indian thinkers and philosophers had a far better understanding of the process of perception. All perception, whatever we see or hear, is direct, real, and in its true form—Direct Realism. Perception involves a transparency between the Self and the object, with contact between the two. There is no time lag in perception. The physical organs are only to enable this transparency and work as seats of experience too.

The perceiver goes out and reaches the object in the world. An inside-to-outside process, it is thus a composite process in which the self, the mind, and the sense organs together participate to establish contact with the object. This is the ‘contact theory of perception’ of Indian philosophy. Contact with the object by the perceiver gives direct information about the world as it exists. Hence, the external world, as seen or heard, is an actual world in its reality and not a construction. Perception is never a valid source of knowledge in Western traditions, but it is the most important source of knowledge in Indian traditions.

It is a debacle of our education systems after independence, a continuation of the colonial legacy, that they ignored teaching the growing generations the richness, depth, antiquity, and sophistication of Indian philosophy. The separation of theology and philosophy did not happen in Europe itself until the Reformation. Hegel, the German philosopher, made Indian philosophies into religion and largely fashioned the Western image of India. Proving Indian thought from a western perspective and the other way around too remains difficult due to the incommensurability problem and differing presuppositions. However, Indian philosophy seems to give far better explanations of reality and the world than Western philosophy. Unfortunately, our schools never teach us anything about the rich Indian philosophical systems in a perverted application of secularism, an old European idea that everything related to philosophy in India is religion.

Nations and Nationalism

The British consolidated India politically to some extent but they were not the first to do so. The British divided us politically into two countries using religion; caused social disruptions by their caste-system narratives and Aryan theory frameworks; converted traditions into religions; stripped us economically; dragged us into two world wars where we had no stakes; caused the worst famines; fed their industrialization by raw material produced from India; made India a market for their finished products; destroyed agriculture by converting large tracts of land for cash crops or for their opium trade; levied heavy taxes; and many more, but apologists credit the British for uniting India as ‘one-nation’ politically.

India as the West’s creation has a significant intellectual history in both colonial and post-colonial thinking. Standard western theories (Hobsbawm, Gellener, and Anderson) trace the origins of nations through institutional, economic, and technological transformations. These scholarships only enlighten us on the emergence of modern ‘governmentality’ to attain greater efficacy. The modern understanding of a state-nation cannot imagine a nation as a civilizational continuity based on traditions, culture, and rituals.

Cultural or linguistic homogenization is the basis of modern nation-states; however, spiritual places, holy rivers, and important texts like the Mahabharata and Ramayana have defined Bharat’s geography. India is an ancient ‘felt community’ because it does not emerge through deliberate cultural or linguistic systematization. It functions and forms through a sense of belonging to the land disseminated through symbols. The swastika, the lotus, the Devatas of temples, the tirthas, and the Sanskrit language are some examples that evoke and collectively assimilate Indians into the same matrix of meanings.

India has diverse social, linguistic, and spiritual practices. The cultural heritage acts as an overall cement that accommodates Vedic, Jain, Buddhist, Tantric, Puranic, Sikh, folk, and tribal concepts, forms, attitudes, customs, and practices. Our diversity and acceptance of diversity hold the key to defining a civilizational India transcending historically the idea of political unity. Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, and Swami Vivekananda, stressing the spiritual and cultural aspects of India, recognized the recentness of and the possible evils nationalism could generate. Sovereign independent states became the norm, but the consequences were aggressive nationalism, colonialism, and world wars leading to global plunder and the extermination of local populations.

Our nationhood was never a homogenization from the top but a decentralized polity bound by a common culture. States, nations, sovereignty, and nationalism are clearly rooted in European history and Christian theology. Our nationalism was about absorption and not invasion. The forcible application of Western theories to the Indian context led to the division of our country first on a religious basis followed by the states on a linguistic basis. An artificiality in cultural identities leading to stress is now the result of such policies. Our ancient kingdoms had multiple languages without disputes amongst the native speakers.

Our best definition as a people (or nation) would be where diversity was the norm and the essence of nationalism was protecting the diversity of the country. Political unity was of lesser importance. India has been the longest-continuing civilization for at least five thousand years. Colonial scholarship had to claim that India had nothing by way of literature, arts, religion, or the sciences. Compared with the other civilizations, India appeared to be singularly lacking in political unity and, therefore, in history. The colonials had a clear mission in showing the political disunity of India but why do we need to repeat this story? ‘Colonial consciousness’ makes its presence again.

Bharat is a cultural unit with a federation of sub-identities preserving their individuality and equally contributing to the evolution of a common culture. Radhakumud Mookerji (The Fundamental Unity of India) shows how both the foci and loci of religious and cultural identities lay within the same sacred geography, which was proof of civilizational unity. India is a dynamic cauldron of many physical, spiritual, and social components (sampradayas or paramparas). India could absorb a multitude of religions without any issues so long as they subscribed to the idea of a multi-traditional land. For reasons we do not understand, even Abrahamic religions took the form of traditions in our country. In this paradigm of mixing traditions without friction, there would be more space to understand and encourage syncretism with Abrahamic faiths.

Western ideas to mold political unity through homogenization using language or common economic ideals do not simply apply to India. The facts of India do not match the Western theories of nations and nationalism, but typically, the theories stay intact while denying the data. Can we not look at India through our own lenses?

Freedom Struggle and the Story of Independence

We are mainly aware of Gandhi and the Congress in our independence story, which makes a good narrative for the British too. We refuse to acknowledge revolutionary movements and individuals like Sri Aurobindo, Savarkar, or Bose in the freedom struggle. Critics have attacked Bose for seeking support from Hitler and Japan. Hitler initially had good relations with Russia and England. Later, he attacked Russia, and England turned against Germany. Incidentally, our Communists changed equations with the British from an enemy to a friend when England became an ally of Russia.

Post-war, the winners became the good people, and the losers (specifically Hitler) became the bad. The Nazi regime murdered six million Jews and more than five million non-Jews on racist lines. However, there were 31 famines in the 120 years of British Raj. In just 10 years (1891–1900), 19 million people died in India due to famines alone. The first of the famines was in 1770 (10 million deaths), followed by severe ones in 1783, 1866, 1873, 1892, 1897, and lastly, 1943–44. In the last Holocaust, the British starved to death up to 3 million Indians for strategic reasons with Australian complicity. Winston Churchill and the British were equally cruel and brutal as Hitler. But we exonerate the former.

Subhash Bose had an equal role, arguably even more than Gandhi, in gaining our independence. We do not critique the changing equations of European powers but find great trouble when Bose approaches the enemy of an enemy to gain independence. Possibly, Bose found no difference between the British and Nazis in terms of their cruelties. A colonized attitude prevails when we draw up our heroes and villains of the freedom struggle.

Science and Technology

Extraordinarily, the assessment of a 150-year colonial rule of at least a five-millennium-old civilization became a benchmark for us. That a self-sufficient country stood strong for such a long time without any scientific or technological achievements is hard to believe, yet it is the firm idea of most Indians. Everything we had was either fake or borrowed from the Greeks, Chinese, Babylonians, Mesopotamians, or Arabs.

We can be legitimately proud of our ancient sciences without outside validation. There are apparently 30 million manuscripts in Indian repositories related to science and technology. Ancient Indian science had an interface with the ordinary world (loka parampara) in the best of Indian traditions. Macaulay (1835) said that Indian knowledge systems was a public waste ‘for giving artificial encouragement to absurd history, absurd metaphysics, absurd physics, absurd theology’. Similar observations continued over centuries. Beginning as a grudging admiration for Indian science and technology, especially in astronomy and agriculture, the colonial writings in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries progressively made sure that Indian society had nothing in comparison to superior European thought.

Unfortunately, few have heard of Dharampal (Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century). Beginning in 1964–65, over a decade later, Dharampal meticulously reconstructed from the British archives the colonial descriptions of Indian sciences. The conclusions undermine the legitimacy of colonial-dominated perceptions about Indian society. Contrary to the standard teaching, Indian society was functioning well and was extremely competent in the arts and sciences of its day when the British started their rule. Its interactive grasp over its immediate natural environment demanded praise.

India’s huge corpus of texts (the broad five groups—Vedas, Upavedas, Vedangas, Puranas, and Darshanas) covering all fields of human activity testifies to the capacity of Indians to create knowledge without any foreign influences. As a practical culture, technology came before the theoretical sciences many times. However, we did develop some of the most advanced mathematical and geometrical theories in the form of verses, perhaps just a step before the equational forms.

The disrupting colonial rules (Islamic and European) forced us from creating knowledge to just protecting it from annihilation. Independence could have been a break, but the ideology-driven academia was intensely inimical to Indian traditions. Their view of a linear history was clear: a primitive Indian past for steering to a golden future (like modern Europe). In a few crucial generations, our education system could deracinate most Indians successfully. India has a deep intellectual history of many ideas and technologies. However, the general belief remains of an ‘unscientific India before the colonials came’.

Medicine — The Charaka Oath Controversy

India has a great intellectual heritage, and a huge corpus of texts covering all fields of human activity is a testimony to Indians’ ability to create knowledge indigenously. Ayurveda, a 5000-year-old tradition, has two main schools: Charaka and Sushrutha. Charaka Samhita (likely 500 BCE) with 120 chapters had Persian, Arabic, and Latin translations; the Arabic translation was Al-Beruni’s chief source of medicine.

A medical college dean suspended for allowing his students to deliver the “Charak Shapath” points to a deep colonial consciousness. The oath is simply a tradition and a broad reiteration of some ethical principles that are not binding (least of all legally) in any respect. The Hippocratic Oath (original or modified) is equally, if not more, inadequate to address the realities of a medical world that has witnessed huge scientific, economic, political, and social changes.

Does the traditional oath even have relevance in modern times? The answer would be affirmative for a traditional society like India. Traditions are simply handed down from one generation to another, and unless they positively harm society, a traditional society would not question them. There are rarely answers to the ‘why’ of traditional practices. “Why do you wear bangles?” “Why do you wear a Bindi?” These questions do not make sense, and the only answer is that they are traditions, an answer that fails to satisfy people demanding “scientific” explanations.

As Balagangadhara’s thesis goes, India is a traditional culture where the ‘how’ question is important. Such cultures are rooted in rituals, which in turn bring people together. The western culture, which has roots in religion, has the ‘why’ as its most important question. Science, atheism, and the division of people are natural outcomes of such cultures. The colonials, coming from a Western culture, took a ‘scientific’ view and developed a deep antipathy to Indian traditions, including its medicine, notwithstanding some of its great developments.

Unfortunately, post-independent thinkers shared the same view of traditional India. The past as primitive, the future as golden, and the present as a stepping stone were straight-line historical narratives derived from the West. Hence, colonial consciousness believes that somehow the Hippocratic oath makes more sense than the Charak oath.

Shiv Shakti and Rocket Scientists/Engineers Going to Tirupati

Indian philosophy concerns itself with para vidya and apara vidya, the knowledge of the ‘higher Self’ and the knowledge of the ‘external material world’, respectively. It is one of the fundamental tenets of Indian knowledge systems that these two are not antagonistic to each other and are manifestations of a single unity in the form of Brahman. In such a stance, there is an intense spiritualization of every single aspect of apara vidya (all ‘secular activities’) dealing with the material world.

As Indian intellectuals like Sri Aurobindo or Ananda Coomaraswamy argue, the separation of the ‘sacred’ and the ‘profane’ profoundly fails to make sense in our culture. Science and most other secular activities can also be a route to the divine. Most of the secular activities finally seek the unity that binds the para and the apara. In contrast, science, as popularized in Western culture, also seeks unity, but only in the apara, or material realm.

The divine goddess could inspire the highest poetry and mathematics of Kalidasa and Ramanujan, respectively. Ramanujam attributed his deepest insights into mathematics to the grace of his village deity. This irritated his atheist mentor in England who could not understand the proofs of theorems on many occasions. Ramanujam simply skipped many intermediate steps and explained that it was intuitive at a certain level. It used to be a challenge to Hardy who spent hours in trying to understand Ramanujam’s proofs. The most important point here is that the clash between ‘science’ and ‘religion’ (the problematic conversion of Hindu traditions as religions is another matter) never existed in Indian culture. There is no dichotomy when a rocket scientist breaks a coconut in the temple.

The clash between the ‘word of God’ and ‘the word of science’, typically seen in Abrahamic cultures of the West, never existed in India. Every secular activity, including science, is intensely ‘spiritualized’ and can be a way to moksha, the ultimate ideal of our culture. Even asking a scientist why they go to a temple exposes ignorance on the part of the questioner about the nature of Indian culture. The answers also fail to convince because they do not make sense in Abrahamic frameworks. Science must be in opposition to spirituality, and the idea that they are two aspects of the same unity seems to escape our collective thinking. Nothing is a better name for the landing point than Shiv Shakti, because that represents the philosophy of the entire culture for thousands of years—the union of the primordial Consciousness and energy.


The initial waves of Western feminism achieved victories in voting rights, political participation, equal pay, and emancipation for women. However, the subsequent waves lead to a confrontation with strong narratives of ‘patriarchy’, ‘toxic masculinity’, and a general distrust of males and the institute of marriage. Our intellectuals transpose western narratives onto Indian soil without realizing that our familial, societal, cultural, marital, and economic factors are different.

Indian feminists taking western theories simply wash out the divine component of women in Indian culture. India’s huge body of texts and traditions were about women working as equals in maintaining the family and society. Indian ideas of Ardhanareshwar; women in Bhakti traditions achieving gender equality and equal respect; women protesting patriarchy, kings, caste divides, and oppressive social norms; and hundreds of inspiring women in history and literature do not figure in discussions of Indian feminism.

There are problems, of course, like the low respect for women voicing out choices in lower socioeconomic classes and the struggle of an urban woman to balance work and home. Western feminism, when applied to Indian culture, leads to anti-Hinduism as the blame finally falls on the traditions and texts cherry-picking from a huge corpus. The ridicule of ‘patriarchy’ and ‘regressive nature’ extends to many Indian festivals, customs, and symbols like Mangalasutra and Sindoor. They unsettle the Hindu family and the marriage system.

Finally, the Western utilitarian approach lost the understanding of the exclusive value of birthing, motherhood, and lactation. Feminism is a modern expansionist creation of the West based on patriarchy and liberal secularism. Our traditions seek harmony, deify women, and ask women to be just women, true to their physical, mental, and intellectual natures. They may have better solutions for not only us but for the world.

Concluding Remarks

The German Indologists of the 18th and 19th centuries, who laid the basis for all future Indology, damaged and distorted Indian culture with their poor understandings and interpretations of our texts. The method for reading the texts was a historical-critical approach, a reading of the Mahabharata and Gita through the prism of time and history. From a historical perspective, the Indologists could use the texts to construct a history of ancient India and how, finally, the Germans were related to the mythic Aryan race.

Adluri and Bagchee (The Nay Science) show how this approach to analyzing Sanskrit texts caused immense epistemic violence to the theological-philosophical perspectives transcending time and place. The scripture reading needs a lot of grounding in language, grammar, logic, meter, faith, and humility, which the Indologists were obviously deficient in. There was a whitewashing of the traditional commentarial approach of Indian scholars. It is sad that post-independent Marxist scholars and many non-Marxist scholars too read these texts using a historical-critical approach.

The colonial consciousness pervades perhaps every framework for understanding our culture. It is an idea of decolonization to rename India as Bharat. Maybe it is a small, big, or irrelevant step. But a step it is. The important thing for decolonization is to replace a colonial story with an indigenous story, as Dr. Balagangadhara says. But how many indigenous stories do we have? Do we have alternative explanations for all the colonial narratives for replacing and decolonizing ourselves? The answer is a big no. After independence, our social sciences, the most important field in rejuvenating a country, simply built upon and provided more data to strengthen the colonial narratives.

Our social sciences wore European lenses and looked at India. Brahmins remained villains. The point of criticism, instead of towards the colonials, remained on the Hindu religion and the evil caste system. This was perhaps the greatest colonial achievement as today we blame ourselves for all our problems including the fact of our colonisations. Thus, we urgently need to decolonize the social sciences. Of course, one should not reject the hard-won previous insights of the social sciences, and the task involves transcending beyond the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ binary.

Balagangadhara says:

“Indologists use discredited theories from earlier social sciences to put across outlandish claims regarding a culture about which they are ignorant. Contemporary social sciences draw upon these ignorant claims to put across equally outlandish claims about human societies and cultures, again in ignorance of what the Indological claims rest upon. The social sciences and Indology enter a death dance where neither participant dies but knowledge does without delivering anything of substance about both Ancient and Modern India. The Indologists, Sanskritists, and social scientists, depending on each other, deserve credit for accomplishing this incredible feat of making ‘the’ caste system synonymous with ‘discrimination’ and ‘oppression’ and so effortlessly supplanting the British ‘class’ hierarchy, American ‘racial’ inequality, the ‘apartheid’ policy, the Nazi ideology, and so on”.

Modern sociology simply describes the ills of the Indian cultural systems, presuming the truth of the Orientalist descriptions of non-Western cultures. This permeates politics, media, civil services, and the general conscience of the country. The damage to India from colonial consciousness runs deep and requires a collective effort, which might take decades after it begins. The roots are in the social sciences departments, and decolonization must start there.

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

References, Further Readings
Understanding the Background
  1. The Heathen in His Blindness: Asia, the West and the Dynamic of Religion (2015) by Dr. SN Balagangadhara. A classic text where Dr. Balagangadhara explains his notions of religions and traditions in detail. It shows clearly how the entire process of converting our traditions into religions is at the root of all ‘religious’ frictions in India.
  2. Do All Roads Lead to Jerusalem? The Making of Indian Religions (2015) by Divya Jhingran and S N Balagangadhara (A simplified version of the above book)
  3. Reconceptualizing India Studies (2012) by Dr. SN Balagangadhara
  4. Cultures Differ Differently: Selected Essays of S.N. Balagangadhara (2022) Editors: Jakob De Roover and Sarika Rao
  5. What does it mean to be ‘Indian’? (2021) by S.N. Balagangadhara and Sarika Rao
  6. Hindu Society Under Siege (2015) by Goel Ram Sita
  7. The Nay Science: A History of German Indology (2014) by Vishwa Adluri and Joydeep Bagchee)
Aryans and Dravidians
  1. Malhotra, R., & Neelakandan, A. (2012). Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines. Princeton: Infinity Foundation.
  2. Danino, M. (2012). The Problem of Indian History. Dialogue, 13:4,
  3. Farek, M. (2021). India In the Eyes of Europeans: Conceptualization of Religion in Theology and Oriental Studies.
  4. Danino, M. (2010). The Lost River: On the Trail of The Sarasvati
  5. Talageri, S. (2004). The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis.
  6. Elst, K. (2018). Still No Trace of an Aryan Invasion: A Collection on Indo-European Origins
  7. Keppens, M. (2017). The Aryans and the Ancient System of Caste (in Western Foundations of the Caste System, edited by Martin Fárek, Dunkin Jalki, Sufiya Pathan, Prakash Shah)
  8. Danino, M (2001/2009). “Vedic Roots of Early Tamil Culture,” in Saundaryashri: Studies of Indian History, Archaeology, Literature and Philosophy.
  9. The A of ABC of Indian chronology: Dimensions of the Aryan problem revisited in 2017 by Manogna Sastry and Megh Kalyanasundaram in Land of Dharma: Studies in Tamil Civilization (Proceedings of the Swadeshi Indology Conference Series) (Edited by Shrinivas Tilak and Sharda Narayanan)
  10. The Secret of the Veda by Sri Aurobindo (He completely trashes the idea of invading Aryans and invaded Dravidians with detailed explanations. A must-read for only English-knowing Indian citizens)
Colonial Rule and its Advantages
  1. The World Economy: Vol. 1: A Millennial Perspective & Vol. 2: Historical Statistics: Vol.1: Millennial Perspective; Vol.2: Historical Statistics (2007) by Angus Maddison
  2. An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India (2016) by Shashi Tharoor
  3. The Theft of India: The European Conquests of India, 1498-1765 (2016) by Roy Moxham
English as a Medium of Instruction
  1. The English Medium Myth: Dismantling barriers to India’s growth by Sankrant Sanu
  2. The English Class System by Sankrant Sanu.
Political Ideologies
  1. The Poverty of Indian Political Theory, by Bhikhu Parekh —
  2. Nehru and The Political Philosophy of India,
  3. The Indian Conservative: A History of Right-Wing Indian Thought by Jaithirth Rao
  4. The Myth of Left and Right: How the Political Spectrum Misleads and Harms America (2023), by Hyrum Lewis and Verlan Lewis
  5. It’s Time to Retire the Political Spectrum, by Hyrum Lewis,
  6. John Locke, Christian Liberty, and the Predicament of Liberal Toleration by Jakob De Roover and S.N. Balagangadhara, in Political Theory, 36(4), 523-549,
  7. The socio-political philosophy of Sri Aurobindo, by Dr. Debashri R Banerjee,
  8. India Aurobindo’s Theory of Nation-State is it contrary to the Saptanga Rastra Tattva of Ancient India, by Dr. Debashri R Banerjee,
  9. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy: The Bugbear of Democracy, Freedom, and Equality, in The Betrayal of Tradition, edited by Harry Oldmeadow
  10. Spiritual Authority And Temporal Power In The Indian Theory Of Government, by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy
  11. Perversion of India’s Political Parlance, by Sita Ram Goel
Law and Judiciary
  1. Law, Religion, and Culture, in Cultures Differ Differently: Selected Essays of S.N. Balagangadhara, edited by Jakob De Roover and Sarika Rao
  2. Seven Problems in Translation: The Case of India, in Cultures Differ Differently:  Selected Essays of S.N. Balagangadhara, edited by Jakob De Roover and Sarika Rao
Caste System
  1. “On the explanatory adequacy of the Hindutva-as-Brahmanical model,” (2022), Garima Raghuvanshy, Oñati Socio-Legal Series,
  2. “The enigma of caste atrocities: Do scheduled castes and scheduled tribes face excessive violence in India?” (2022), Nihar Sashittal, Oñati Socio-Legal Series,
  3. “The Impossibility of Refuting or Confirming the Arguments about the Caste System,” (2015). Sufiya Pathan, Dunkin Jalki,,
  4. “Violence Against SCs: How Absence of Reliable Data Leads to Disaster,” (2018), Sufiya Pathan,
  5. “The Brahmin, the Aryan, and the Powers of the Priestly Class: Puzzles in the Study of Indian Religion,” (2020), Marianne Keppens & Jakob De Roover,,
  6. “Scheduled Castes vs. Caste Hindus: About a Colonial Distinction and Its Legal Impact,” Jakob De Roover,,
  7. “Western Foundations of the Caste System,” (2017), edited by Martin Fárek, Dunkin Jalki, Sufiya Pathan, & Prakash Shah
  8. Caste — According to Ananda Coomaraswamy, by Manjushree Hegde, 
Tribals vs. The Rest
  1. ‘Are Tribals Hindus?’ In Who is a Hindu? Hindu Revivalist Views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Other Offshoots of Hinduism, by Koenraad Elst.
  2. Decolonizing the Hindu Mind: Ideological Development of Hindu Revivalism, by Koenraad Elst.
  3. India that is Bharat: Coloniality, Civilisation, Constitution, by J Sai Deepak
Religious Conversions
  1. Religious Conversion: Indian Disputes and Their European Origins (2022), by Sarah Claerhout, Jakob De Roover
Hindus, Hinduism, Hindutva
  1. Letters on Hinduism by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee,
  2. Does Hinduism Exist? By Dr S.N. Balagangadhara,
  3. Who is a Hindu? Hindu Revivalist Views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Other Offshoots of Hinduism, by Koenraad Elst
  4. Hindutva: Origin, Evolution, and Future, by Aravindan Neelakandan
Buddhism vs. Hinduism
  1. How Buddha was turned, Anti-Hindu, by Koenraad Elst,
  2. Were Shramana and Bhakti Movements Against the Caste System? by Martin Fárek (In Western Foundations of the Caste System, edited by Sufiya Pathan and Prakash Shah, Martin Farek, Dunkin Jalki)
  3. Fundamentals of Indian Philosophy, by Ramakrishna Puligandla
  4. Presuppositions of India’s Philosophies, by Karl H. Potter
  5. Hinduism and Buddhism, by Ananda K Coomaraswamy ( — A fantastic resource for understanding the non-antagonism between Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
Secularism and History Writing
  1. Europe, India, And the Limits of Secularism (2015), by Jakob De Roover
  2. Brainwashed Republic: India’s Controlled Systemic Deracination (2017), by Neeraj Atri and Munieshwar Sagar
  3.  Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud, by Arun Shourie
  4. What Do Indians Need, a History or the Past? A Challenge or Two to Indian Historians, by S.N. Balagangadhara
  5. India in the Eyes of Europeans: Conceptualization of Religion in Theology and Oriental Studies (2022), by Martin Farek
Indian Philosophy
  1. Fundamentals of Indian Philosophy, by Ramakrishna Puligandla
  2. Presuppositions of India’s Philosophies, by Karl H. Potter
  3. Essentials of Indian Philosophy, by M. Hiriyanna
  4. Natural Realism and Contact Theory of Perception (2019), by Chittaranjan Naik
  5. On the Existence of the Self: And the Dismantling of the Physical Causal Closure Argument (2021), by Chittaranjan Naik
  6. Apaurusheyatva of the Vedas, by Chittaranjan Naik in
  7. The Nyaya Theory of Knowledge, by Satishchandra Chatterjee.
    A wonderful book explaining the Indian systems of logic that strive to explain the reality of the world around us. It shows how Indian logical systems differ significantly from Western logical systems that focus more on rules and constructions of sentences than explaining the world.
  8. Methods of Knowledge – According to Advaita Vedanta, by Swami Satprakashananda.
    A classic text in a surprisingly lucid and easy style explaining the Advaitic position on the means of acquiring knowledge.
Nations and Nationalism
  1. Indian Culture and India’s Future (2022), by Michel Danino
  2. Peoples and Nations, by S N Balagangadhara,
  3. The Fundamental Unity of India, by Radha Kumud Mookerji
  4. Why India Is a Nation, by Sankrant Sanu,
  5. Narrativizing Bhāratvarṣa & Other Essays, by Saumya Dey
Freedom Struggle
  1. Savarkar: A ContestedLegacy from a Forgotten Past, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, by Vikram Sampath
  2. Bose: The Untold Story of an Inconvenient Nationalist, by Chandrachur Ghose
  3. Sri Aurobindo And Mahatma Gandhi: Heroes Forgotten and Remembered  in two parts, by Pingali Gopal,
  4. History of the Freedom Movement in India, by R.C. Majumdar
  5. Sri Aurobindo & India’s Rebirth, by Michel Danino
  6. Churchill’s Secret War (2018), by Madhusree Mukerjee
Science and Technology
  1. Gainsaying Ancient Indian Science, in two parts, by Michel Danino,
  2. Integrating India’s Heritage in Indian Education, in two parts, by Michel Danino
  3. The Metrology behind Harappan Town-Planning, in two parts, by Michel Danino
  4. Science and Technology in Ancient Indian Texts (ed: Bal Ram Singh, Girish Nath Jha, Umesh Kumar Singh, Diwakar Mishra)
  5. A Very Brief History of Indian Science, by Subhash Kak,
  6. Indian Science and Technology in The Eighteen Century (2021), by Dharampal
  7. Essential Writings of Dharampal (2022), by Gita Dharampal
  8. The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan, by Robert Kanigel
  9. The Imperishable Seed: How Hindu Mathematics Changed the World and Why this History was Erased (2022), by Bhaskar Kamble
  1. The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity, by Douglas Murray
  2. Indigenous Roots of Feminism: Culture, Subjectivity and Agency, by Jasbir Jain
  3. Feminism in India: The Tale and its Telling (2019) by Maitrayee Chaudhuri,
  4. Man, Woman, and Machine, Part 1, by Margatham,
  5. Man, Woman, and Machine by Margatham, Part 2,
  6. The Sabarimala Confusion: Menstruation Across Cultures: A Historical Perspective, by Nithin Sridhar

Dr Pingali Gopal

Dr Pingali Gopal is a Paediatric and Neonatal Surgeon practising in Warangal, Telangana. He has a keen interest in Indian culture and does his little bit to correct the many wrong narratives which hurt India at many levels. Opening his eyes rather late to the wonder called India, it is now a continuous journey for him to sip bits from the oceanic nectar of Indic Knowledge Systems.