While the current tendency is to portray anyone who questions the Western/Marxist portrayal of Hinduism as a bigot, the picture is much complex, writes Jakob De Roover
A climate of implicit censorship has long dominated this field. Not quite as spectacular as the rise of ‘Hindu’ censorship, this is not the stuff of juicy journalism. But this kind of censoring is as harmful: it also moulds people’s minds in particular ways; it constrains their speech; it compels them to show compliance to certain dogmas in their writings; and, for the unlucky few, it may even end their careers. The difficulty is to identify the modus operandi of this form of censorship. Much like racism, it is only in certain blatant cases that one can say with certainty that it has occurred. Nonetheless, we have to try and circumscribe this obstacle standing in the way of a much-needed rejuvenation of the study of India. [How Free Are We?]
Arun Shourie’s Eminent Historians documents such activities of censorship which was quite common and some of them were quite explicit. A prime example is a state circular from the Communist ruled state of West Bengal which censors the atrocities committed by Muslim invaders.
Jakob then documents the role played by Hindu-Americans in tackling this biased scholarship.
There is a cold war going on between the ‘Hindu-Americans’ (and a few academic sympathisers) and the mainstream scholars of Hinduism. Academics no longer fear being called ‘commies’, ‘reds’ or even ‘heathens’, but now ‘Hindutva’ has taken the place of such labels in the study of India. If one makes positive noises about the contributions of Indian culture to humanity, one runs the risk of being associated with ‘Hindu nationalism’ or with the NRI professionals who aggressively challenge the doyens of Hinduism studies. [How Free Are We?]
In fact in one of his recent lectures at UCLA on British India, the instructor (1,2,3,4) briefly mentions about the folks in Silicon Valley who hold some crazy ideas; as always the lunatic fringe is chosen to make generalizations. So more power to those who challenge shoddy scholarship.
One thought on “Challenging the Secular Censorship”
The concern with being labeled a Hindu bigot, is I think over-rated.
The Commie label lost it sting after the Commies lost the economic agenda but this was so only in the west. The second innings of the Indian civilization has only just begun. Commies have tried to bonsai many a trees to attain the aim of changing the forest to a garden. The changes in between pre 1990 India and post 1990 India are too stark to be not noticed by the present generation and India being India will hand over the anti-commie mythology faithfully to the next generations. And just the way mythologies have always upheld the truth over the facts, so I am sure will be so even this time round.
In such a mythology rich mind as India, being labled a Hindutavadi will not be a curse to those who decide to find continuity in the forest. In fact there is no such casteism in Hindi media, its another matter that the Hindi media will itself be labled an obscurantist media by you know who.