USA, May 2, 2015 (Swaraja): In his recently published book, Indra’s Net, author Rajiv Malhotra describes Professor Anantanand Rambachan as the foremost and most influential exponent of what Malhotra describes as the Neo-Hinduism thesis. This thesis, according to Malhotra, argues that Hinduism was fabricated during the British rule and that Swami Vivekananda plagiarized Western and Christian ideas. He accuses Professor Rambachan of working to fragment the Hindu tradition. In the essay at “source” above, Professor Rambachan contends that Rajiv Malhotra distorts and misrepresents his work. He identifies and responds to some of Malhotra’s principal allegations.
Dr. Anantanand Rambachan is Professor of Religion at Saint Olaf College, Minnesota, USA. His books include, “Accomplishing the Accomplished: The Vedas as a Source of Valid Knowledge in akara,” “The Limits of Scripture: Vivekananda’s Reinterpretation of the Authority of the Vedas,” “The Advaita Worldview: God, World and Humanity” and “A Hindu Theology of Liberation: Not-Two is Not One.”
From the opening of Rambachan’s essay:
In Indra’s Net, I am described as the “foremost exponent of the neo-Hinduism theory today,” with an influence that goes beyond the scholarly academy. Readers of this book will note quickly that Mr. Malhotra’s concern with my work goes beyond the usual matters of scholarship. There is an undisguised attempt to question my commitment to the Hindu tradition and it’s flourishing. Hindus are wrongly described as assuming that I am a “sympathetic voice,” “representing their views and aspirations.”
I am described condescendingly as one who was brought to the University of Leeds by my dissertation advisor, Professor Ursula King, and “groomed” to be one of the “main proponents and expositors,” of the “neo-Hinduism” thesis. The author characterizes me as the person who the Vatican regards as “its Hindu expert.” Such characterizations reveal ignorance of my personal history and have no place in any work that seeks to be regarded as serious scholarship. In addition, with the insinuation of passivity and manipulation, it is a demeaning denial of my agency and self-determination. It relies on unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and not fact.