Intellectual terrorism of the Left: The case for Dr. Makarand Paranjape

Intellectual terrorism of the Left: The case for Dr. Makarand Paranjape

The Controversy

In a recent incident which should be shocking for anyone caring about freedom of expression, Dr. Makarand Paranjape, the professor of English Literature at the JNU, and a famous author, was barred from recording a conversation with Harsha Dehejia at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, to which he was earlier invited. [1]

The recording was cancelled because of the aggressive posturing of ‘Dalit activist’ Chinnaiah Jangam against Dr. Paranjape. Jangam is also a faculty member of the University. Laying baseless allegations against Dr. Paranjape, he accused him of “hate speech”. In a clear case of intellectual terrorism, he intimidated the studio administrator and the organizers of the event into submission and got the recording cancelled. [2]

Shocked by his vitriolic abuse against Dr. Paranjape and Indian civilization, he was asked by Dr. Dehejia to substantiate his allegations and counter the arguments of Dr. Paranjape. Chinnaiah Jangam responded to this offer with disgust, saying that he “didn’t care”, and that he “doesn’t want to talk to him”. He just wanted to smother the voice of Dr. Paranjape. [3]

What is truly baffling is that the topic on which the conversation was to be recorded was: “Drishti: Is there an Indian way of Seeing?” It is a truly philosophical and cultural topic which should have no ideological opposition; no ‘activist crusaders’ foaming at the mouth.

Intellectual Terrorism and Ideological ‘Othering’ of the Left

Neither Dr. Paranjape, nor the talk that he was going to record, had any political overtone. But the Left does not know the shade gray. It talks and works in black and white. Anyone who is not with them is against them. This is just another case of such ideological ‘othering’ by the Leftist academicians.

Unable to rationally counter their intellectual adversaries, they shift the attention from ideas to individuals; then they proceed for character assassination of these individuals by applying labels on them, labels invented by themselves for the specific purpose of slandering their enemies.

Once their opponents are labelled and classified as ‘anti-leftist’, ‘rightist’, ‘male chauvinist’, ‘regressive’, ‘patriarchal’, ‘nationalist’, ‘fascist’ etc. the very need to answer them is dispensed with. Creating doubt on their intention, their arguments are considered null and void.

But this is not where the intellectual terrorism of the Left stops. Like Lenin and his professional revolutionaries, absolute destruction of their enemies is aimed at. And this is achieved by denying them any platform to express their opinion; by smothering their freedom of expression. As most of the intellectual institutions are dominated by the Left, this is an easy task.

The Unholy Alliance and the anti-Hindu nexus

Since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1989, communism has lost a clear sense of purpose, ideologically speaking. But even more importantly, the communist parties and intellectuals all over the world, who were propped and funded by the Comintern, lost the patronage of their communist masters in Moscow. I have discussed the issue in a separate article, [4] but suffice to say that post 1989 most communist intellectuals turned mercenary, offering their services to the highest bidder.

Their services were readily bought by both the Christian missionary and Islamic organizations. The Church had been funding many such intellectuals for decades. They were joined by the Islamic organizations in the 1990s. The demise of communism coincided with the rise of Islamism. Flushed with petro-dollars and a new found religious zeal, the Islamic organizations started funding universities, news agencies and political parties.

While worldwide, the Christian and Islamic lobbies are at loggerheads, in India they work together against the Hindu majority, united under the anti-Hindu umbrella lobby.

Chinnaiah Jangam is an example of this anti-Hindu lobby. Though he claims to be a ‘Dalit activist’, fighting for their rights, his affinity with Christian organizations is an open secret. He is a faculty member at Carleton University. A self-styled historian, most of his interests and activities are openly political. His research focus is the ‘engagement of Dalits with nationalism, colonialism, and above all Christianity’. [5]

Rajiv Malhotra and Arvindan Neelakandan in Breaking India explain the nexus of ‘Dalit activists’ and Christian missionaries in India and the West. Many among those who pose as ‘Dalit activists’ in India are nothing more than public fronts of Christian missionaries who aim to slander the name of Hinduism with the ultimate goal of converting India to Christianity. [6]

Many of these ‘intellectuals’ and ‘activists’ occupy influential positions in universities around the world. Ronald Radosh explains in Commies: A Journey Through the Old left, the New Left and the Leftover Left how the leftist conquest of the American universities was achieved in the 1960s and 70s. It tells the story of how the leftist professors, on the payroll of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, gradually infiltrated the universities, occupying influential positions. [7]

The non-leftist professors, who let them in, did not discriminate on the basis of ideology and readily accepted the leftists, even while rejecting their ideology. However, the leftists were not so forgiving. Just like Lenin destroyed all opposition, democratic or otherwise, once he grabbed power, these leftist professors hounded out the professors and students who dared to oppose their ideological stance. They created a patron-privilege system which ensured the hegemony of the Left in these universities and effectively blocked all non-leftist voices from the university campuses.

David Horowitz in 101 Professors explains how these leftist professors have aligned with political Islam and have turned American universities into hotbed of anti-Israel, anti-India, and pro-Islam activism. The process was replicated in almost all western countries, including Canada, where the Carleton University is located. [8]

Chinnaiah Jangam is one of the breed: the leftist, Dalit activist, who is pro-Islam and pro-Christian and openly anti-Hindu and anti-India. He hides under the labels of ‘professor’, and ‘historian’, but is actually an anti-Hindu activist.

He is also a well-known rabble-rouser. His name surfaced during the California textbook controversy. Some anti-India activists and academicians proposed that the word ‘India’ should be replaced by the term ‘South Asia’ in the school textbooks. Many Indians rose to oppose this openly racist ruse against India’s right to self-determination. Vamsee Juluri, was one of the most prominent of the authors and professors who opposed this. Jangam, doing his duty, poured vitriol against him in articles published in publications such as Economic & Political Weekly. [9]

His stated goal is to fight against Hinduism and show Dalit solidarity with Christianity. He is the foot soldier of the anti-Hindu leftist organizations which resort to intellectual terrorism by silencing the voice of their opponents. They are often successful in their designs and the Carleton University controversy is another such example.

Which brings us to the question of what made an anti-India activist like Chinnaiah Jangam to resort to intellectual terrorism against Dr. Makarand Paranjape?

The Left brooks no Opposition

Dr. Makarand Paranjape is a professor of English Literature and is also a poet and philosopher. He has many academic publications to his name. He writes about the cultural expression of Indian civilization through its intellectual savants and has written extensively on Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Aurobindo Ghosh and Swami Vivekananda.  He writes on the spiritual or sacred aspect of Indian knowledge traditions. He has seldom postured himself as standing on the ‘right’ or ‘left’ of any political spectrum. In fact his writings are what one would call as ‘politically neutral’. Then why did Jangam single him out?

What shot him to fame (or ‘infamy’ according to the ultra-Left) was his stand against the ‘protestors’ at the JNU in February 2016. This is not the place to discuss it, but in short, a group of ‘protestors’, from the student wing of the Communist Party of India, organized an event against the hanging of the Islamic terrorist Afzal Guru, who was convicted for 2001 Indian Parliament attack.

Many openly anti-Indian slogans were raised at the campus, including, “Bharat tere tukde honge, inshallah, inshallah” and “Afzal hum sharminda hain, tere kaatil jinda hain.” The ‘protestors’ directly threatened the Indian State, and its sovereignty, of breaking it up into many pieces. It was a clear case of aggression against the Indian State. Dr. Makarand Paranjape opposed the ‘protestors’, arguing that freedom of expression did not amount to open threats against Indian state. [10]

That, as it appears, was his cardinal sin. Makarand Paranjape had dared defy the ultra-Left. A campaign of slander was built against him; a narrative of hate was carefully constructed aiming at silencing his rational voice. Here was a professor, who was reporting from the very campus of the JNU, and was exposing the leftist-Islamist nexus against the Indian state. He could not be allowed to spill the beans. He had to be silenced.

Dr. Paranjape faced vitriolic abuse by leftist ‘intellectuals’ in Indian newspapers, news channels and online mediums. He faced aggression and intimidation by the leftist students at the campus, when he was even barred from entering his own offices at the university campus. [11]

By taking up pro-democracy, pro-India stance against the JNU ‘protestors’ he has invited the holy wrath of the leftist establishment. Recently he is facing a lot of hostile leftists in his talks and lectures, like his talk at Queen Mary, University of London. The recent controversy at the Carleton University is another case in which the Left has once again resorted to intellectual terrorism to silence the voice of an opponent like Dr. Makarand Paranjape.

No Country for Hindus

In the heyday of European imperialism, the Judeo-Christian and Eurocentric worldview was imposed upon the dominated cultures and civilizations of the world. In the 20th century it was given the name of racism. Earlier, Islam had also imposed a similarly racist worldview upon the cultures and countries it had defeated and conquered.

For both these imperialisms, Hindu culture and civilization was a matter of scorn and utter disgust. The Judeo-Christian and Islamic worldviews imposed upon the Hindus viewed them in derogatory and sub-human terms. The same happened with many native cultures of Africa, America and Asia on one hand and with great civilizations like China and India on the other.

While China and the Chinese have reasserted themselves and have been able to restore a Sino-centric worldview, at least in their own universities, India and the Hindus have not been able to do so. Islam has not only been able to reassert itself but has so aggressively marketed its xenophobic narrative that many universities in the world are just parroting the Islamic propaganda. In stark contrast, Indian universities are still dominated by the leftist, anti-Hindu and anti-India professors. The colonialist, imperialist and racist narrative of Hindu culture and civilization is still the official as well as the ‘subaltern’ narrative.

Vamsee Juluri has beautifully rendered this point in his book Rearming Hinduism. He talks about how Hinduphobia is the official stance of the professors of Hinduism in the Western academia and how racists and bigots are in charge of Hindu chairs and studies. For centuries, the Hindu had no right of self-determination. [12]

The California textbook controversy is not the sole case illustrating the point. A cursory look at Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History will confirm that the British narrative of the Hindus as superstitious barbarians is still dominant.

The Conclusion

This blatant monopoly is being challenged for the first time in the past few decades. A few lonely voices are challenging this Hinduphobic din. Like Vamsee Juluri and Rajiv Malhotra, Dr. Makarand Paranjape is one such voice. That is the reason that he is singled out for unmitigated hatred by the Hinduphobic and leftist establishment in the Western academia.

And the struggle for the control of the Hindu narrative has become uglier since 2012 when the possibility of Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister of India became a reality. The leftists feared their privileged positions; the anti-Hindu individuals and organizations in both India and abroad feared that their narrative might finally break down and the truth may come out, eventually paving out the way for the Hindus reclaiming their narrative.

Whether Modi government has any such goal in mind remains to be seen, but ever since he became India’s Prime Minister, leftist organizations all over the world sprang into action funding media houses, universities and political parties. They aroused fear and generated sympathy by parading Modi as the ultimate bogeyman ‘who aimed to destroy the secular fabric of India’. An unprecedented surge of Hinduphobic publications and incidents followed.

The anti-Hindu lobby managed and run by the leftists has sharpened the pitch of the battle in the western universities. In the coming times, more incidents of intellectual terrorism like the one involving Dr. Makarand Paranjape will be seen. More Hindu voices will be muffled by the leftists.

What Indians can do is to use whatever medium is available to them and rally around the victims of leftist intellectual terrorism. What they can do is to share these instances of intolerance as much as possible. What they can do is to make Indians as well as westerners aware of the truth so that one day the Hindus might regain the right of self-determination and get back the hold on the narrative of their own culture and civilization.


  1. “Prof Makarand Paranjape Stopped From A Recording At A Canadian University”. Swarajya Magazine. May 07, 2017.
  2. OFI Canada Twitter Handle. May 06, 2017.
  3. Mail Today e-paper column of Makarand Paranjape. May 07, 2017.
  4. Saxena, Pankaj. “Anti-Hinduism as an Industry”. 28 September, 2015.
  6. Malhotra, Rajiv & Neelakandan, Arvindan. Breaking India. New Delhi: Amaryllis, 2011.
  7. Radosh, Ronald. Commies: A Journey Through the Old left, the New Left and the Leftover Left. New York: Encounter Books, USA, 2002.
  8. Horowitz, David. The Professors: 101 Most Dangeroiuos Academics in America. New York: Regnery Publishing, 2007.
  9. Jangam, Chinnaiah. “Debate or Debasement: A Rejoinder to Vamsee Juluri”. Economic & Political Weekly. Vol. 51, Issue No. 31, 30 Jul, 2016.
  10. JNU rusticates Umar, Anirban; Kanhaiya fined Rs 10,000 Indian Express 26 April 2016.
  11. “JNU students stop faculty from entering office; professor threatens satyagraha, touches students’ feet”. New Delhi. February 06, 2017.
  12. Juluri, Vamsee. Rearming Hinduism. New Delhi: Westland, 2015.

Pankaj Saxena

Pankaj Saxena is a scholar of History, Hindu Architecture and Literature. He has visited more than 400 sites of ancient Hindu temples and photographed the evidence. He has been writing articles, research papers and reviews in various print and online newspapers and magazines. He currently works as the Asst. Professor, Centre for Indic Studies, Indus University, Ahmedabad. He has authored three books so far. He maintains a blog at