Research Papers Hindu Religious Traditions

Research Papers Hindu Religious Traditions-39
Of course it is not this way at all: Wendy was drawn to Hinduism because it struck her as a religion more joyful and less puritanical than the religions dominant in the West, and it’s natural that her work would emphasize that aspect.” A figure at the center of the critique of Doniger and other Western scholars is Rajiv Malhotra, a retired information technology executive and philanthropist who in 1994 founded the Princeton, N.J.-based Infinity Foundation to support the academic study of Hinduism in the U. He quickly became one of Hindu studies’ most visible -- and vehement -- critics.

Of course it is not this way at all: Wendy was drawn to Hinduism because it struck her as a religion more joyful and less puritanical than the religions dominant in the West, and it’s natural that her work would emphasize that aspect.” A figure at the center of the critique of Doniger and other Western scholars is Rajiv Malhotra, a retired information technology executive and philanthropist who in 1994 founded the Princeton, N.J.-based Infinity Foundation to support the academic study of Hinduism in the U. He quickly became one of Hindu studies’ most visible -- and vehement -- critics.

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Wendy Doniger of my own university has been a particular target, because of the zest and humor with which she depicts the sex lives of the gods and heroes -- following the ancient texts, but pointing to features of the texts that the Hindu right doesn't want to hear about.

The story they then circulate is that Wendy is a kind of Circe figure, luring in young scholars and getting them to say inappropriate and defamatory things about India.

“The dominant narrative has led to a very, very deep suspicion on the part of the community of the academy,” said Anantanand Rambachan, a professor of religion, philosophy and Asian studies at St. “The community has the impression that in the teaching about the tradition there is a deeper focus on what I may label more broadly as its problematic dimensions -- on patriarchy, on social hierarchy, on caste -- and somehow the claim of the tradition to offer a meaningful worldview for human flourishing does not get spoken about a great deal,” said Rambachan, who, unlike most of his colleagues at American universities, is a practicing Hindu himself.

Rambachan has called for more Hindu theologians who can build bridges between the academy and the religious community.

“There is this concern -- what happens to a tradition or how is it taught when the majority of its teachers don’t have an existential commitment to the tradition,” Rambachan said in an interview.

“I think there’s a fair question about it, although I don’t think that justifies the sort of demonization of the academy that we get unfortunately in some Hindu groups.A new online petition that has received more than 23,000 signatures accuses a group of South Asian studies faculty who proposed changes to social studies curriculum documents of seeking “to erase India and Hinduism from California’s schools.” The Hindu American Foundation has even launched a #Dont Erase India campaign.At issue are questions of whether it’s historically accurate to use the word “Hinduism” to describe the religion of ancient India -- the members of the faculty group argue that it isn’t -- and the faculty group’s suggestions that certain references to “India” be replaced with “South Asia” or “Indian subcontinent.” These disputes about the history of Hinduism and India have frequently pitted Hindu believers against non-Hindu scholars -- though some Hindu scholars have also been targets of criticism -- and outsiders to the academy against insiders.This version of history also holds -- again falsely, Nussbaum said -- that “traditional Hinduism was highly puritanical about sexual matters, and the sexual element has been introduced by leftist and Western scholars.” “India is one battleground for such ideas, since textbooks were massively rewritten during the first domination of the Hindu right, and they are now being rewritten again,” Nussbaum said. Forty percent of Americans of Indian origin are Gujarati, where the Hindu right has immense strength.” “The other factor is that most scholars of India in the U. in the older generation are not from India,” Nussbaum continued.“They are Americans who love India’s civilization and religion and who have developed great scholarly skill and knowledge, rather the way that other scholars develop knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman religion, although they are not Greek and Roman.I raised issues concerning serious errors, omissions or blatant biases.I quickly learned that critical feedback of a serious nature -- especially from those outside the control of the academic establishment -- was not welcome.Numerous movements got started with the purpose of ‘reversing the gaze.’ Today there are a very large number of Hindu voices expressing themselves and closely monitoring whatever the academicians produce. These movements have taken a life of their own.” Malhotra is a controversial figure to say the least.Some scholars have accused him of distorting or misrepresenting their arguments, and he found himself at the center of plagiarism charges last summer after Richard Fox Young, the Timby Chair for the History of Religions at Princeton Theological Seminary, issued a series of tweets with the hashtag #Message4Rajiv citing examples of unacknowledged quotations he’d identified in two of Malhotra’s books.Tension boiled over again in 2014, when the book by Wendy Doniger, a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School and probably the most prominent American scholar working in Hindu studies today, was withdrawn from circulation in India after its publisher settled a lawsuit claiming that it defamed followers of the faith. In February scholars in India initiated a petition calling for the removal of a major Sanskrit scholar, Columbia University’s Sheldon Pollock, from the general editorship of a Harvard University Press series of Indian classical texts on the grounds that his writings “misrepresent our cultural heritage” and that he had “shown disrespect for the unity and integrity of India” (this of a scholar who has received the Indian president’s award for Sanskrit, as well as the Padma Shri Award, one of the Indian government’s highest civilian honors).Among Pollock’s stated offenses in the eyes of the petition signers was his support for recent statements condemning the arrest of a student leader at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University on the charge of sedition.

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