Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Home Opinions Unmasking Sheldon Pollock's blatant and unabashed Hinduphobia

Unmasking Sheldon Pollock’s blatant and unabashed Hinduphobia

Also Read

Kausik Gangopadhyay
Economist by training; humanist in yearning. Interested in Dharma, Culture & Civilisation.

Sheldon Pollock, the academician-cum-activist who was at the helm of supporting the likes of Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, is back in news. He is being projected as a victim in the Indian media.

Pollock was exposed threadbare by Rajiv Malhotra in his book The Battle for SanskritThe book portrayed Pollock’s views that are marked by extreme Hinduphobia. Pollock met Malhotra during the writing of the book, requesting him not to write the book, and asked Malhotra if they could “work something out”, but Malhotra did not relent and did what he had to do.

Before the book was released, Pollock was considered as a great authority on Sanskrit and was awarded Padma Sri by the Congress-led UPA government. After the release of the book, a group of distinguished academicians justifiably argued for the removal of Sheldon Pollock as a mentor and general editor of Murty Classical Library. Pollock is using these steps to portray himself as a victim without vindication of his Hinduphobic positions.

- article continues after ad - - article resumes -

In these recent interviews, the interviewers did not ask Pollock any tough question. It is understandable if the aim of these interviews is to portray Pollock as a divine blessing in the interest of conserving India’s own culture, but the questions are grossly inadequate if we want to sincerely assess Pollock’s scholarship.

There is no doubt about the fact that Pollock knows Sanskrit. He boasted about this fact and said that he is being criticised by those who are ignorant in Sanskrit. In his words: “I’m happy to talk about Sanskrit with people who actually know Sanskrit.”

However, Pollock writes about Sanskrit in English and any traditional scholar of Sanskrit would be surely embarrassed if she knows that Pollock blames the Sanskrit language and its study for the Nazi Holocaust, literally!

Why shouldn’t the interviewer have asked him the question?

Any genuine scholar of any discipline would love to promote that discipline, isn’t it?

But for Pollock who strongly opposes any revival of Sanskrit, when he was asked about teaching Sanskrit as an elective in IITs, he was circumventing the question but he never welcomed this promotion of Sanskrit learning.

An ordinary Indian would not be able to detect this much from the interview because of verbal jugglery of Pollock. His jugglery becomes understandable the moment we knew his views. His words that apparently lament lack of Indian scholarship in Sanskrit, are actually marks of his pride that as an American he controls the channels of Sanskrit scholarship in the West. Naturally, any promotion of Sanskrit would develop Indian expertise on this language to eventually dethrone him from his agenda-setting position.

While Pollock goes on with his project of demonising Hindus, he ironically accuses Hindus of demonising others. He categorically states that the idea of Rama-worship and Rama temples are only to demonise the Muslim invaders of medieval age in order to create a Hindu resistance against the invaders. Apart from dubiousness of his conclusions, he questions the Hindus’ very fundamental right to self-defence against foreign invaders through this statement. What can be a bigger sign of Hinduphobia?

How great is the scholarship of Pollock? He says, circa 260 BC as the birth of writing in India, whereas in reality extensive evidence of writing is found in Harappan sites (second or third millennium BC).

Pollock takes a moral high ground with his words “I was reluctant and said to them that nothing is sacred here except for questioning”. If questioning is so sacred to him, why doesn’t he face Malhotra in a public debate instead of calling his opponents’ behaviour as “marked by toxicity, vituperation, deceit and libel”. If Malhotra’s book is really so, he is free to file a suit in a court of law, isn’t he?

Pollock is entitled to his prejudiced views such as Hindus being guilty of Nazi Holocaust etc., but he has no right to falsely accuse Hindus of discrimination: “I’m a target because I’m an outsider who dares to speak about the inside”.

This is an absolute bunkum. Hindus forever respected outsiders who are genuinely empathetic to their culture. Sister Nivedita, an Irish woman, was respected by all one century ago. David Frawley, a fellow American of Pollock, is highly respected by Hindus as a person embodying the Vedic wisdom. I can go on and on with more and more names – Koenraad Elst, Michel Danino, Francois Gautier, Maria Wirth. Pollock is questioned only because of his hinduphobic views nothing else.

The western scholarship of other civilisations is political to the core, Edward Said observed in his book Orientalism. The same tradition lives on with Pollock and his associates. Jeffry Kripal wrote a book Kali’s Child on Ramakrishna that did a Freudian analysis of Ramakrishna to detect homoerotic strain in Ramakrishna’s life. This scholarship was criticised by noted academician S. N. Balagangadhara as very shallow and insensitive. His advisor, Wendy Doniger, too did a similar questionable analysis of Hinduism.

While one might say that these are figments of sincere efforts of scholarship with shallow methods, I will question the sincere part. The Freudian analysis of Prophet Muhammad is marked by its absence in the American Academy. Therefore, the room for sincerity is less. The rising star of this gang, Audrey Truschke, shockingly claimed that Sita called Rama “Misogynist Pig”. This author of a biography on Aurangzeb is hesitant to categorically call him a bigot or even intolerant but quick to pronounce damning adjectives on Ram.

Hinduphobia—pure and simple.

- Support OpIndia -
Support OpIndia by making a monetary contribution

Trending now

Kausik Gangopadhyay
Economist by training; humanist in yearning. Interested in Dharma, Culture & Civilisation.

Latest News

Andaman and Nicobar: COVID-19 positive patients who had attended Tablighi Jamat event in Delhi misleading police over contact history, FIR lodged

The two Tablighi Jamat attendees, named Farzand Ali and S Rehman have been reportedly giving deliberate false information to the police over the persons they have met and places they had visited.

Coronavirus: Over 130 from Pune attended Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, 60 traced, many untraceable

Over 130 people from Pune had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in New Delhi's Nizamuddin which has emerged as the latest hotspot for the contagion in India.

Delhi Police writes to Delhi govt demanding immediate action against 157 foreign nationals at Tablighi Jamaat, had warned them to vacate mosque, releases video

In the video, the SHO can be heard warning the organisers for allowing 1,500- 2,000 Muslims to stay inside the Markaz despite repetitive directives and warnings.

Delhi Police registers FIR against Tablighi Jamaat’s Maulana Saad and others under the Epidemic Act

Delhi police registered FIR against Maulana Saad of Tablighi Jamaat and others under section 3 of The Epidemic Diseases Act (1897)

‘If 70,000 angels cannot save you, how can a doctor?’ preached the Maulana of Markaz, Nizamuddin amidst Coronavirus outbreak

The Maulana of Markaz, Nizamuddin declared the suggestions given by health experts to be a conspiracy against Islam.

Recently Popular

We’re not rich like US, but we’ve Islam: Pakistan PM announces ways to fight Coronavirus

Imran Khan, in his address to his nation on March 30, praised China, the country which unleashed Wuhan coronavirus on rest of the world.

Tablighi Jamaat and its links to terrorist organizations: History of association to Al Qaeda, Taliban and Kashmiri terrorists

The links of Tablighi Jamaat with terrorist organizations such as the Al Qaeda become hugely significant.

Muslim clerics of Tablighi Jamaat exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 found spitting out on roads from buses

The Muslim clerics of Tablighi Jamaat suspected of suffering from COVID-19 were transported from Nizamuddin to medical centre for their treatment

Indian Cricketers shamelessly donating to Shahid Afridi Foundation to supposedly fight Coronavirus seem to have no self-respect: Here is why

Former Indian cricketers Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh are voicing their support for the Shahid Afridi Foundation despite the fact that the Pakistani cricketer on numerous occasions has made crass remarks about India and Hindus.

Uttar Pradesh: Maulvi booked for hiding Indonesian Muslims in a mosque in Bijnor, Muslims of other nationalities also found from other mosques

A Markazi mosque in Kaiserbagh area of Lucknow was found sheltering foreigners from Kyrgystan and Kazakhastan since March 13

Subscribe to our newsletter

Each morning, get an email to keep updated with all the news, opinions and analysis published by OpIndia.

Connect with us

216,818FansLike
267,808FollowersFollow
209,000SubscribersSubscribe
Advertisements