Saturday, March 29, 2014

: In 2014, Hindutva versus caste


March 26, 2014 01:41 IST 


The question in this general election is whether Hindutva will triumph over caste. There are at least three factors clearly nudging politics towards Hindu consolidation

Of the numerous public appearances by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over the last year or so, two have been strikingly inconceivable. Both happened in Kerala, often projected as a politically progressive State. In February 2014, Mr. Modi addressed a meeting of Pulayas, a Dalit community that has been for years a bedrock of support for the Communist parties. In April 2013, Mr. Modi was chief guest at the Sivagiri Mutt, founded by Kerala's legendary social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru who led the backward Ezhava community to social awakening. The Ezhavas too have been largely supporters of the Left. At both the platforms — events separated by more than a year — Mr. Modi made a similar pitch. "Social untouchability may have ended, but political untouchability continues," he said, referring to the continuing isolation that he faces from various quarters.

"The next decade will belong to the Dalits and the backwards," he said, emphasising his own lower caste origins, at a rally in Muzaffarpur in Bihar on March 3. That event too was significant as he was sharing the stage with Lok Jansakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who returned to the saffron fold 12 years after he quit it over the Gujarat riots. And there is more to it. Dalit leader Udit Raj, who has been fashioning himself as the new age Ambedkar, joined the BJP. So did Mr. Ramkripal Yadav, who has for years been a shadow of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, a champion of backward class politics in Bihar.

The BJP's efforts to overcome caste barriers in its project to create an overarching Hindu identity are showing signs of success, though it is still far from being a pan-Indian phenomenon. "Mr. Modi has broken the stranglehold of caste. The affinity of these Dalits and backward leaders for the BJP is a clear indication of his acceptance among them," says Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP general secretary.

The issue of caste identity

Among the several factors that slowed down Hindutva politics in India, caste identity has been prominent. Politically empowered sections of the backwards and Dalits viewed the Sangh project of a unified Hindu society with suspicion, as its insistence on traditions implied sustenance of the hierarchical social structure that disadvantaged them. One of the most pronounced examples of this was Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who concluded that Dalit emancipation would not be possible while they remained within the Hindu social order. In turn, Baba Saheb — portrayed with considerable fulmination in Arun Shourie's book, Worshipping False Gods — has been a villain in the Sangh discourse. But in 2013, an article in the Organiser, the mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), portrayed the Dalit icon as someone who contributed to Hindu unity.

The Hindutva project tried a combination of aggressive integration, sometimes accommodating Sanskritising demands from below and constantly working on the fear of an "Other." But until they hit upon the idea of replacing a mosque in Ayodhya with a temple, all of this could not gather enough strength for the BJP to win a majority in any region of India. But coinciding with the Ayodhya movement was also a great upsurge of backwards, triggered by the implementation of the Mandal Commission report. Subsequently, caste and religion alternated as the prime moving force of politics, depending on the particularities of the time and place, in parts of northern and western India. The BJP gained power in several States. But except in Gujarat, the debate has not been settled conclusively in favour of Hindutva.

The question, therefore, in this election is whether Hindutva will triumph over caste. There are at least three factors clearly nudging politics towards Hindu consolidation.

Debate on Muslim reservation

Hindutva politics in Gujarat rode on violent anti-reservation agitations spearheaded by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in the 1980s. Though the agitation was against the reservation for backwards, the targets were Dalits. Almost immediately after the agitation, Hinduvta politics struck roots, co-opting vast sections of the lower castes into its fold, even as a rising portrayal of Muslims as the "other" unified them. But the trajectory in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that together elect 120 members of Parliament has been different, as strong backward politics suspected the RSS on the question of reservation and found Muslims as allies. Ironic as it is, quota politics is dividing them now. The lower castes see the demand for Muslim quotas as detrimental to their interests. The case for affirmative action for Muslims is strong, no doubt, but the politics over it has played out much to the advantage of the Hindutva project. A social coalition that has been a bulwark against Hindutva in U.P. and Bihar for the last two decades is showing signs of unravelling.

The Dalit participation in the Muzaffarnagar riots in U.P., and the numerous Yadav versus Muslim skirmishes in Bihar over the last two years have strained the solidarity among the poor and the disadvantaged. Lower caste movements that challenged caste structures have also had a streak of Sanskritising aspirations that seek a better place within the Hindu hierarchy. When the image of the "other" is clearer, this streak becomes prominent.

Willingness to concede leadership

The lower caste sympathy towards the Hindutva project has been matched by a willingness among the upper castes to be content under the leadership of the lower. The turning point was the 2005 Assembly election in Bihar, when the BJP-JD(U) alliance sought a mandate, with Mr. Nitish Kumar being declared as the chief ministerial candidate. Only six months prior to that, when the alliance vacillated over projecting him — because the upper caste segments were not comfortable with the idea of a backward caste CM — it could not win and there was no clear majority for any formation. In 2007, the upper castes voted for Dalit leader Ms. Mayawati in U.P. who won a clear majority, the first for any since the Ayodhya movement. In 2010, the rainbow caste coalition voted for Mr. Nitish Kumar again; in 2012, another variant of the coalition voted for backward caste leader Mr. Akhilesh Yadav in U.P.

This change in the upper caste attitude can dramatically turn round the fortunes of the BJP. The BJP has been responsive to the leadership ambitions of the backwards and Dalits, but the upper caste support to leaders such as Mr. Kalyan Singh and Ms. Uma Bharti has been tentative. "We have the so-called backwards and lower castes standing up and wanting to be counted as Hindus. Sangh has empowered them. Even the communist movements could not accommodate these sections of the society in their leadership," says Mr. Ram Madhav, senior RSS leader. "In 1998, the BJP had 58 MPs who were SCs and STs, possibly the highest for any party ever as a proportion of its strength," he says. With Mr. Modi at the helm and the change in upper caste attitudes, the Sangh's efforts have got a major fillip.

Media-propelled popularity

A third factor that has developed over the last decade is the dramatic popularity achieved by several lower caste gurus, aided by the visual media. To cite two examples, both Swami Ramdev, who was born a Yadav in Haryana and Mata Amritanandamayi, born in a fisherman's community in Kerala, have attained such a huge following that their caste origins have been eclipsed. TV evangelism, as opposed to scriptural Hinduism controlled by priests, has enrolled a large section of poorer and lower caste people into thinking as Hindus. This may be a rerun of how TV serial "Ramayan" contributed to the Ayodhya movement; and lower caste Hindu gurus are not unprecedented. What makes it all extremely potent is the context of a certain level of economic prosperity among the lower castes, media penetration and the Sangh propaganda.

The terms of engagement between the state and the poor, between the upper and the lower castes, and between Hindus and Muslims could change further in the emerging scenario. "Lalu and Mulayam had managed to command backward castes support with a the promise of share in power. Mr. Modi's politics for backwards and Dalits is not based on doles and welfare schemes, but overall development," says Mr. Pradhan.



Friday, March 14, 2014

ईमानदारी की ताकत (Strength of honesty)

ईमानदारी की ताकत (Strength of honesty)


प्राचीन बड़ौदा राज्य में मेहसाना के जिला जज थे- ए.आर.शिंदे। वह अत्यंत ईमानदार और स्पष्टवादी थे। बड़ौदा के महाराज सयाजीराव के हृदय में श्री शिंदे के प्रति गहरी श्रद्धा थी। महाराज जब-जब विदेश जाते, अपने निजी सहायक के रूप में श्री शिंदे को साथ ले जाते थे। एक बार फ्रांस यात्रा के दौरान महाराज ने शिंदे की सलाह पर पैरिस के एक बड़े जौहरी की दुकान से अत्यंत कीमती रत्न खरीदे। अगले दिन दुकानदार का एक प्रतिनिधि शिंदे के पास आया और उसने पूछा, 'सर, आपका कमिशन चेक से दिया जाए या नकद भुगतान से।'

शिंदे प्रतिनिधि की बात सुनकर हैरानी से बोले, 'किस बात का कमिशन?' प्रतिनिधि बोला, ' सर्राफा की दुकानों में यह चलन है कि अच्छे ग्राहक लाने वाले व्यक्ति को कमिशन दिया जाता है।' शिंदे बोले, 'आपके यहां जो भी चलन हो पर मैं सरकारी कर्मचारी हूं और यह नहीं ले सकता।' इस पर प्रतिनिधि बोला, ' यह तो हमारी दुकान की परिपाटी है। मैं यह बात आपके महाराज के समक्ष भी स्पष्ट कर सकता हूं।'

शिंदे बोले, 'आप कमिशन काट कर के अपना बिल बना दीजिए। इस कमिशन पर ग्राहक का हक होना चाहिए न कि उस व्यक्ति का, जो दुकान में ग्राहक लेकर आए।' शिंदे के आगे प्रतिनिधि की एक न चली। उसने कमिशन काट कर बिल बना दिया और बोला, 'सर, आपकी ईमानदारी की सूचना महाराज तक अवश्य जानी चाहिए।' शिंदे बोले, 'ईमानदारी मनुष्य का धर्म है। धर्म प्रचार की वस्तु नहीं है। इसलिए इस बात का जिक्र किसी से न करें। इस बात को यहीं दबा दें।' इस पर प्रतिनिधि ने कहा, 'धन्य है भारत और धन्य हैं आप।'





    ------------------------------------------  Surya Global Steel Tubes Ltd, Anjar, India    

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stop fooling people, you're no Gandhi "


" Branding anyone is not justified. My view is development of a nation belongs to everyone. One alone can't develop a nation. RSS are also equally members of this country. They may have ideology you may differ with. That kind of branding shows myopic views. If such people rule this country we are doomed. "
Mahatma's great-grandson to Rahul: Stop fooling people, you're no Gandhi

 by FP Staff Mar 11, 2014

Read more at:

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's barb against the RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi has yielded him a sharp response from an unlikely quarter -- the Mahatma's great grandson, Shrikrishna Kulkarni. Rahul Gandhi. PTI

 Rahul Gandhi had claimed the RSS was involved in Gandhi's assassination. Kulkarni, who posted an open letter to Rahul Gandhi on his Facebook page and then on other social media sites, has said the issue of the killing of Gandhi is "squarely in the past" and that his family has moved on.

Shrikrishna Kulkarni's mother is Mahatma Gandhi's third son Ramdas Gandhi's daughter. She married GR Kulkarni. "To keep harping that the RSS killed Gandhi is akin to saying the Tamils killed your father," he writes to Rahul. "...which would be such a petty falsehood, isn't it? A couple of guys don't make for a community..." Charging the Congress with milking the name of Gandhi for their "selfish benefits", he says the party should just accept the verdicts of various commissions.

 "So please stop this charade, stop this opportunistic usage of the Gandhi name. You are not from the Gandhi family. You have fooled too many people for too long in India. Stop it now."

Somebody from the Gandhi family has to call their bluff, he ends. The post was widely circulated on Twitter. Later, speaking to CNN-IBN, Kulkarni said, there was no need to bring up the issue of Gandhi's assassination. "Couple of points. Gandhi was killed in 1948. Many enquiry commissions were done. Nobody indicted any particular organisation. There are a couple of people involved in his killing, yes. But the fact of life is he is dead and is not going to come back. To bring up the Gandhi name is not needed. We must stop fanning these flames. Stop this politics of hate for selfish reasons," Kulkarni said. Read Kulkarni's complete letter here: Letter From Great Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma's great grandson asks Rahul not to use Gandhi's name in polls

Deepa Balakrishnan,CNN-IBN | Mar 10, 2014 at 04:10pm IST

Bangalore: What does Mahatma Gandhi have to do with this election, asks Mahatma Gandhi's great grandson, as critics question Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's comment blaming the RSS for the Mahatma's killing and Rahul Gandhi gets an earful on misusing brand Gandhi. CNN-IBN's Deepa Balakrishnan met up with Mahatma's great grandson Shrikrishna Kulkarni, who is also an Aam Aadmi Party member, like his uncle Rajmohan Gandhi, who is the AAP candidate from East Delhi.

Shrikrishna Kulkarni's mother is Mahatma Gandhi's third son Ramdas Gandhi's daughter. She married GR Kulkarni.

ALSO SEE RSS people killed Mahatma Gandhi, says Rahul Gandhi

"Was this comment to bring Gandhi into an election, which is critical for India's future seems a bit of travesty? Especially to bring up his assassination. It was not needed. Couple of points. Gandhi was killed in 1948. Many enquiry commissions were done. Nobody indicted any particular orgnisation. There are a couple of people involved in his killing, yes. But the fact of life is he is dead and is not going to come back. To bring up the Gandhi name is not needed. We must stop fanning these flames. Stop this politics of hate for selfish reasons," Kulkarni said.

Rahul Gandhi had last week blamed the RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. "RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him...They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji," Rahul had said while addressing a public rally in Thane district.

Following is the transcript of the interview with Mahatma Gandhi's great grandson:

CNN-IBN: To brand one group as responsible for this? Is that right?

Shrikrishna Kulkarni: I wrote to Rahul Gandhi. I'm not a public face. I have views on many issues. But I have realised over the years that the Gandhi name is rampantly misused. Wherever I go, if people come to know I am related to Bapu, people ask how I am related to Sonia or Rahul Gandhi. I'm at odds on telling we are not related. Rahul is not related to Gandhiji at all. I tell them you go to Gujarat, it's a common surname. But at national level, the name refers to Mahatma Gandhi. So to use the name in a subtle manner and then rampantly misuse. Media calls them Nehru - Gandhi dynasty. I am wondering what doe the real Gandhi family to do with this at all. We should bring this sham to an end

CNN-IBN: And if it matters to anyone, it should matter to you?

Shrikrishna Kulkarni: I was born to Mahatma Gandhi's family but don't need any special entitlement. I too use the name for election, for your own selfish benefit. So not correct. In an election rally, you are not even related to Gandhi. Why bring it up?

CNN-IBN: To brand the RSS for the incident that happened 50 - 60 years ago. Was it justified?

Shrikrishna Kulkarni: Branding anyone is not justified. My view is development of a nation belongs to everyone. One alone can't develop a nation. RSS are also equally members of this country. They may have ideology you may differ with. That kind of branding shows myopic views. If such people rule this country we are doomed.

CNN-IBN: Just to get your own political inclinations clear, I believe you have been an Anti corruption campaigner?

Shrikrishna Kulkarni: I have never paid a bribe. And when Anna did his anshan, my twin brother used to clean the public toilet. I join the AAP via Internet in February. I was in Ejipura (a part of Bangalore) campaigning. I have applied for a ticket in the Lok Sabha polls. I was interviewed and I hope they I'll find me worthy.

CNN-IBN: The fact they continue to use the name. Are they taking advantage of the brand name of Gandhi?

Shrikrishna Kulkarni: I definitely think they are trying to take advantage. You take any poster. You will see Gandhi's photo. And then that of Indira's and Sonia's and Rajiv's. In fact, Nehru's photo is often not there. But Mahatma left the Congress in the 1930s. One more thing, there were a couple of misguided Tamils who killed Rajiv Gandhi. Are all Tamils bad? There were a couple of Sikhs who killed Indira. Sad. But are all Sikhs bad? Stop branding. Our issue is development. You can't take the RSS out of India, can't take Sikhs out of India. Who will you keep?

CNN-IBN: What would you want to say to Rahul Gandhi?

Shrikrishna Kulkarni: If I'm given an opportunity, I would say Dear Mr. Rahul, I humbly request you to stop misusing the Gandhi name. Either for the Congress or for yourself. Gandhi doesn't belong to you, it belongs to the nation. Also, the Congress didn't throw the British out of India. The people did that. Stop using the name.

CNN-IBN: Raking it up now, do you feel is unnecessary?

Shrikrishna Kulkarni: Raking it up generally do unnecessary things.

CNN-IBN: But to rake up this issue now?

Shrikrishna Kulkarni: 100 per cent, it is not necessary. It is too far down in memory. We have enough other issues in India. To bring this up is not correct.

CNN-IBN: Just to clarify on your own political inclinations, I believe you have been an anti-corruption campaigner?

Shrikrishna Kulkarni: I am an Indian. The tricolour I what I use belongs to all. Not to RSS or Congress. Each of these parties are also Indians. I prefer to work the AAP. Because I agree with their views. I sleep well at night.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wendy Doniger: An academic caricature


Wendy Doniger's 779-page tome titled, The Hindus: An Alternative History (2009) is a hurtful book, laced with personal editorials, folksy turn of the phrase and funky wordplays.  She has a large repertoire of Hindu mythological stories, and often narrates the most damning story - Vedic, Puranic, folk, oral, vernacular - to demean, damage and disparage Hinduism.  After building a caricature, she laments that fundamentalist Hindus (how many and how powerful are they?) are destroying the pluralistic, tolerant Hindu tradition. But, why save such a vile, violent religion, as painted by the eminent professor? There is a contradiction here.


This article, however, focuses on only one aspect of Doniger's very large book: the chapters dealing with the incursion of Islam into India. As is well known, Islam entered the Malabar Coast in south India with Arab merchants and traders in the 7th century, peacefully. Later, Islam came to India as a predatory and a conquering force. Mohammad bin Qasim ravaged Sindh in 711. Mahmud Ghazni looted and destroyed numerous Hindu temples around 1000 CE. Muslim rule begins with the Delhi Sultanate, approximately 1201 to 1526; it gave way to the Mughal Empire in1526, which ended with the arrival of the British Raj, about 1757.


Wendy Doniger makes the following dubious points on Muslim imperial rule in India (1201-1707).

-        Muslim marauders destroyed some Hindu temples, not many (Ch 16)

-        Temple destruction was a long standing Indian tradition. In an earlier period, Hindus destroyed Buddhist and Jain stupas and rival Hindu temples and built upon the destroyed sites - "the Muslims had no monopoly on that" (P 457)

-        Muslim invaders looted and destroyed Hindu temples because they had the power to do so. If Hindus had the power, they would do the same in reverse (P 454-57)

-        The Jizya - the Muslim tax on non-Muslims - was for Hindu protection and a substitute for military service (P 448-49)

-        Hindu "megalomania" for temple building in the Middle Ages was a positive result of Muslim demolition of some Hindu temples (P 468)

-        The Hindu founders of the Vijayanagar Empire double-crossed their Muslim master in Delhi who had deputed them to secure the South (P 467)


Each argument is false. First, beginning with Mahmud Ghazni in 1000 CE, the invaders looted, pillaged and destroyed several thousand Hindu and Buddhist temples, as attested by the Muslim chroniclers who accompanied these expeditions and described the destruction of many Hindu shrines. The destruction of infidel places of worship is a meritorious act under Islam (See, The Mohammedan period as described by its own historians, Sir HM Elliot, The Grolier Society, 1906). 


Alberuni, who accompanied Mahmud Ghazni, describes one such event: "Mathura, the holy city of Krishna, was the next victim. In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and finer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultan was of the opinion that 200 years would have been required to build it. The idols included 'five of red gold, each five yards high,' with eyes formed of priceless jewels... The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naphtha and fire, and leveled with the ground. Thus perished works of art which must have been among the noblest monuments of ancient India" [1]


At the destruction of another famous temple, Somnath, some 50,000 were massacred. The fabulous booty of gold was divided according to Islamic tradition – the Sultan getting the royal fifth, the cavalry man getting twice as much as the foot soldier. Women were sold into concubinage and the children raised as Muslims.


The esteemed professor asserts that during an earlier period, Hindus persecuted Jains and Buddhists and destroyed their shrines. She narrates the discredited story about the impaling of Jains at the hands of Hindu rulers in the Tamil country, but admits that "there is no evidence that any of this actually happened, other than the story" (p 365). Then why narrate the story?


Whatever the sectarian tensions, Jainism and Buddhism are an integral part of Indian tradition. The Buddha is regarded as an Avatar. Exquisite Jain temples at Mt Abu at the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan built around 1000 CE in a region ruled by Hindu Rajputs, falsify notions of Hindu carnage of Jain temples.


Wendy Doniger suggests that Hindus would do the same to Muslims if they had the power to do so (p 457). Hindus did come to power when Mughal rule rapidly declined after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. The Hindu Marathas were the strongest power in western and southern India, as were the Sikhs and Jats in north India. There is no account of large scale demolition and looting of Muslim places of worship either by the Marathas or the Sikhs. If a copy of the Quran fell into the hands of Maratha soldiers, Shivaji instructed that the same should be passed on to a Muslim follower rather than being burned.


Doniger claims that Jizya levied on non-Muslims was for Hindus protection and a substitute for military service. Jizya is a long held Muslim tradition; it was levied to begin with on the defeated Jews and Christians, the People of the Book, as a price for the cessation of Jihad. Hindus, not being People of the Book, did not deserve to live by paying the special tax. If defeated in battle, their only option was Islam or death. This was the position taken by the leading Islamic clergy. But Muslim rulers were practical men; if they killed the Hindus en masse for failing to adopt Islam, who would build their palaces, fill their harems, cut their wood and hue their water? [2]


Doniger says the Hindu 'megalomania' for temple building resulted from Muslim destruction of some Hindu temples. The truth is that in northern India which experienced 500 years of Islamic rule (1201-1707), all great temples were destroyed; Hindus built new temples wherever they could preserve territory. Temple architecture of some beauty survived in southern India that escaped long Muslim occupation. The slur that the Hindu founders of the Vijayanagar empire 'double-crossed' their Muslim masters in Delhi must be seen in this context.


The invasion of Sindh by Arab soldier of fortune Muhammad bin Qasim is described as follows: Qasim invaded Sindh in 713. The terms of surrender included a promise of guarantee of the safety of Hindu and Buddhist establishments. Hindus and Buddhists were allowed to govern themselves in matters of religion and law. Qasim kept his promises. The non-Muslims were not treated as kafirs. Jizya was imposed but only as a substitute for military service for their "protection." He brought Muslim teachers and mosques into the subcontinent (paraphrased)


This makes it seem as though Qasim was a blessing. Andrew Bostom (The Legacy of Islamic Jihad in India) provides the following disquieting picture from Islamic sources [3]:

The Muslim chroniclers… include enough isolated details to establish the overall nature of the conquest of Sindh by Muhammad b. Qasim in 712 CE… Baladhuri (an Islamic writer), for example, records that following the capture of Debal, Muhammad b. Qasim earmarked a section of the city exclusively for Muslims, constructed a mosque, and established four thousand colonists there. The conquest of Debal had been a brutal affair … Despite appeals for mercy from the besieged Indians (who opened their gates after the Muslims scaled the fort walls), Muhammad b. Qasim declared that he had no orders (i.e., from his superior al-Hajjaj, the Governor of Iraq) to spare the inhabitants, and thus for three days a ruthless and indiscriminate slaughter ensued. In the aftermath, the local temple was defiled, and "700 beautiful females who had sought for shelter there, were all captured."


RC Majumdar, another distinguished historian, describes the tragic outcome:

Muhammad massacred 6,000 fighting men who were found in the fort, and their followers and dependents, as well as their women and children were taken prisoners. Sixty thousand slaves, including 30 young ladies of royal blood, were sent to Hajjaj, along with the head of Dahar [the Hindu ruler]. We can now well understand why the capture of a fort by the Muslim forces was followed by the terrible jauhar ceremony (in which females threw themselves in fire kindled by themselves), the earliest recorded instance of which is found in the Chachnama (cited in Bostom.)


Doniger extensively cites Romila Thapar, John Keay, Anne Schimmel and AK Ramanujan as her sources for Islamic history, to showcase meticulous scholarship, but entirely ignores distinguished historians such as Jadunath Sarkar, RC Majumdar, AL Srivastava, Vincent Smith, and Ram Swarup.


Doniger claims (p 458) that when Muslim royal women first came to India, they did not rigidly keep to purdah (the veiling and seclusion of women) but picked up the more strict form of purdah from contact with Hindu Rajput women. She finds much to praise in Muslim women during this period: some knew several languages; others wrote poetry; some managed vast estates; others set up "feminist" republics within female quarters (harems); some debated fine points on religion; some even joined in drinking parties (ch 16, 20). Such descriptions are patently negated by other historians (See KS Lal, The Mughal Harem (1988), available on the Internet).


If Hinduism is the source of strict purdah among Muslim women, as Doniger contends, how does one explain the strict veiling of women in the Middle East, a region far removed from Hindu influence?  Or, the absence of purdah in southern India, a region that escaped extended Islamic domination?


Doniger says "the Vedic reverence for violence flowered in the slaughters that followed Partition" in both India and Pakistan (p 627). One is at a loss what to understand from this weighty pronouncement from the University of Chicago's tenured professor. But if this is her understanding of historical facts for which there is no dearth of unimpeachable evidence, then her inability to fathom the profound and multi-dimensional meanings of Hindu dharma and its deities and philosophies is perhaps understandable.



1] Vincent Smith, The Oxford History of India, Delhi, 1981, pp. 207-08. Smith derives his account of Mahmud's raids from the account written by Alberuni, the Islamic scholar who traveled with Sultan Mahmud to India.

2] See Ram Swarup's Hindu View of Christianity and Islam, 1992. And Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, 2005, at:

3] Published in 2005 in the American Thinker by Andrew Bostom and available at:


The author is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of West Florida, USA. Based on a chapter in "Portrayal of Hinduism in Western Indology", ed. S. Kalyanaraman and TRN Rao, 2010, published by WAVES, USA