Research Papers Hindu Religious Traditions

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.In turn scholars might say they’re the ones under attack.

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They have tapped into postcolonial anxieties and puritanical attitudes toward sex.

Many see the continuing rise of the Hindu nationalist, or Hindutva, movement -- a right-wing ideology that views India as a Hindu nation -- as providing ideas and fuel for the struggle, but not everyone who shares in the suspicion of academe is an ideologue. Nussbaum has written that many who join or sympathize with the campaign against academe in the U. are not affiliated with the Hindu right at all but rather are Indian immigrants seeking “a positive image of their tradition to present to their children” and sensitive to perceived insults to India’s history or Hinduism by (as the narrative goes) “callous American orientalist scholars.” At the heart of all this is a widely shared sense that Hinduism and the integrity of India are under assault by Western academics.

“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.

Of course there is nothing wrong with this: knowledge is open to all, and India is fascinating, so it is natural that people not from India should share that fascination.

But the fact that these people are not Indian gives an opening for the Hindu right to attack, cleverly exploiting the tropes of anticolonialism.

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.

The distrust and even disdain with which many practicing Hindus view the scholars who study their religion would likely surprise many outside the confines of the field.

A cultural and religious war is raging in which Western academics are the enemy.


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