Rajiv Malhotra, the Indian American entrepreneur who had a successful career in the computer and telecom industries, talked about his book ‘Debating Hinduism and the Indian Grand Narrative’ at the Bangalore Literature Festival. He talked about how even a small nation like Bhutan prides in its culture. He said that to understand Hindu identity one has to learn about Hindu Dharma. He said that Hindu Dharma is about being open to new ideas and that it is constantly evolving. He said that India was very vibrant in the classical times. Today we are not studying West or China from our point of view. Instead the West and China is doing lot more study on us. He highlighted the lack of original R&D from India.
Mr. Malhotra who took an early retirement to found The Infinity Foundation through which he has been promoting philanthropic and educational activities in the area of the study of Hinduism talked of how he requested his Jat friends to come up with the authentic history of Jats as he feels that each community should have its original and authentic history records. This he said would give confidence to us and make us self sufficient. He again stressed on the original studies and pointed out that the best universities when it comes to study on South Asian nations is not located in South Asia.
When asked about Hindu identity he said that imported social theories are fashionable and youth who are bright get bogged down by the fancy terminology and they forget the roots. He said that we have become negative about ourselves. He said that control narrative on India should be put in the hands of people who are open minded and fair. He said that Hindus are not allowed to express their views while those who follow other religions are allowed.
He added that he believes that government should help people who need the help on their financial merits and not on the basis of their castes or community. He said that caste based politics will lead to vote bank politics. He added that when the churches are not governed by the government then the temples should also not be governed by the government. He also advocated for common civil code.
He said that he was for minimum government and maximum government and he said that he saw no reason why a civil servant should get hold of financial details of a temple and decide as to how much should it spend on various things like painting temple or celebrating festivals. He said we need many more free thinking individuals in India. He also highlighted how Sanskrit is being hijacked and how people who have no understanding of Indian culture are being funded to twist the meaning of Sanskrit works.
He gave example of how Al Jabar collected knowledge of mathematics formulas he had got from India and that was later translated in Latin and other European languages under the name Algebra. He sadly felt that India never got the credit for the formulas and the knowledge though it had originated from India.
He was positive about the Indians funding the research about the knowledge that India originally possessed. He answered few questions that were asked to him from the audience.