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This article was first published 8 years ago  » News » The battle between secular India and Bharat

The battle between secular India and Bharat

By Sanjeev Nayyar
August 04, 2015 19:38 IST
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A left-leaning centralised socialist model has created a shortage/entitlement economy. In fact one of the reasons for India's limited progress is that post-independent India is at odds with its true nature. It is something that educated right of centre Hindus are trying to correct, says Sanjeev Nayyar.


Sunil Sethi’s recent article, How India is a nation of cheats uses the Vyapam scandal in Madhya Pradesh and Rajiv Malhotra being accused of plagiarism with respect to his books Breaking India and Indra's Net to justify the title.

Using two examples to say we are a nation of cheats is an insult to 1.25 billion Indians. Notwithstanding aberrations, Indians are honest people and have earned a fair name for themselves worldwide.

So far as Indians being cheats has. Sethi read, 'The 10 Biggest Frauds in Recent US history' published by Am taking the US because it is where Richard Fox Young, who has accused Malhotra of plagiarism, resides. Details are:

"Enron. The energy company's bankruptcy in 2001 after allegations of massive accounting fraud wiped out $78 billion in stock market value and led to the collapse of Arthur Andersen.

Bernard Madoff. New York money manager Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme, the largest fraud ever by an individual, was exposed in December 2008.

Lehman Brothers. Investment bank Lehman, with $600 billion in assets, failed in late 2008. It was the largest bankruptcy in history and a spark to the worldwide financial crisis.

Cendent. Shortly after the company was created by the merger of CUC International and HFS in 1997, a massive, decade long accounting fraud at CUC was uncovered. It was estimated to have cost investors at least $19 billion.

MF Global. The brokerage firm, led by former Goldman Sachs Chairman and former New Jersey Senator then Governor Jon Corzine, had $41 billion in assets before failing in October 2011."

To read about All Frauds.

Shashi Tharoor's recent talk at Oxford University tells you how honest the British were. Watch.

Without wanting to defend corruption, its scale in India is peanuts compared to the US! Do these frauds allow us to call all Americans and British cheats? The answer is NO.

The root cause of corruption is because government systems and laws have not changed with time. Shankar Acharya wrote, 'But change has been slow in coming, far slower than in the "parent" civil service in Britain which long ago reformed its structure to better incorporate the specialist needs of effective modern governance.' Read Burden of Legacies. Also read What India must do to reduce corruption.

A left-leaning centralised socialist model has created a shortage/entitlement economy and ensured the Congress slogan in 1970's and 2014 was 'Garibi Hatao'.

In fact one of the reasons for India's limited progress is that post-independent India is at odds with its true nature. It is something that educated right of centre Hindus, one of whom is Malhotra, are trying to correct.

Sethi calls Rajiv, “'the philosopher-in-chief of Internet Hindutva' and it's as much a fight for intellectual probity and publishing ethics as a bruising ideological skirmish between liberal left-leaning academics and self-help Hindu revivalists.”

So far as the plagiarism accusation is concerned Malhotra recently wrote, “At most they could claim that in a few instances the quotation marks were omitted, but there is no doubt that the author is referring to Nicholson’s work. Also, less than 3 per cent of Indra’s Net references pertain to Nicholson, because he is relevant only to minor portions of the book. Hence, he is hardly supplying anything major.” Read Nicholson's Untruths.

Notwithstanding the charge of plagiarism being a poor joke, as Malhotra is usually quite a heavy citer but knowing the forces working against him he should be careful henceforth.

Do readers know that Breaking India, co-authored by Malhotra, focuses on the role of the US and European churches, academics, think-tanks etc in fostering separation of the identities of Dravidian and Dalit communities from the rest of India?

By virtue of having lived in the US for decades and growing up in Indian tradition, Malhotra has unique insights that have allowed him to write about the church-academia nexus. It is only natural that his credibility must be destroyed. Read What happened to the Rs 94k cr that Indian NGOs received.

Many are concerned about what they call 'Internet Hindutva'. Till the advent of the net ordinary readers had no way to counter left-leaning articles in the print media. The net has changed that. Many are unable to deal with this new reality.   

On plagiarism here are two examples of Americans having appropriated Indian tradition.

One, millions of Americans practice yoga, it is a billion dollar industry. Since it originated in India should not Americans have taken permission for its use, paid royalty and credited Sanatan, Buddhist and Jain Dharma traditions? Instead the Americans coined a term 'Christian Yoga where Hindu symbols are substituted by Christian ones for e.g. Surya Namaskar is Son Salutations, where the Son is not Surya but Son of God ie Jesus Christ'.

Two, Malhotra said, “The Anthroposophical Society that was founded by Rudolf Steiner, was formerly with the theosophists where he picked up his main ideas from Hinduism, and where J Krishnamurti later became the head. The huge movement known as 'Mindfulness Meditation' is nothing other than vipassana and its American copyright claimant Jon Kabat-Zinn learned it from S N Goenka. 'Lucid Dreaming' is a technique widely taught in the USA including the US army and various medical centres, but it is in fact Yoga Nidra.”

Who do you think highlighted these infringements of intellectual property? To hear Rajiv Malhotra's talk at IIT Mumbai, "Are Indians buying back their own ideas from the West?”.

Rajeev Srinivasan recently wrote, 'The RISA group of mostly American religious academics who act as gatekeepers for Western Indology has consistently excluded those other than their own through the spurious argument of ‘scholarship’. Indeed, Wendy has spawned -- in nice counterpoint to Romila Thapar in India -- an entire generation of Hindu-hating ‘scholars’, both Indian and Western.'

Here is a personal experience. On May 13, 2015 the author attended a talk, at the Centre for South Asian Studies Stanford University, titled 'Genocide/Diaspora', by Kamala Visweswaran, University of Texas. The speaker talked about post-Godhra riots, killings in Kashmir, the plight of Sikh families affected by 1984 riots etc. Not a word about 58 women and children burnt alive in Godhra and 250 odd Hindus killed in the subsequent riots; not a word about the rape and massacre of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits resulting in a mass exodus and ethnic cleansing in the Kashmir valley.

My protest against such a one-sided view were heard and responded without answering the point made. A fellow Indian, who attends their programs regularly, cautioned me against being vocal and said that similar anti-India rants were common.

The plagiarism accusation is symbolic of a bigger fight between Western academics who seek to define Indian Thought and Philosophy and Right of Centre educated Indians? So far the former defined India and evaluated Indians based on self-defined parameters. In the last ten odd years that is sought to be changed.    

What was outsourced during British/Congress rule is now being reclaimed.

Malhotra is a pawn in this battle. It is actually a Dharma Yudh between secular/colonial India vs. Dharma/Bharat.

Disclosure: I have known Rajiv Malhotra for nearly twelve years, met a few times and had major disagreements. He hosted me for a night at his Princeton home in the summer of 2015.

The author is an independent columnist, chartered accountant and founder of


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