Controversial and self-styled Hinduism scholar Rajiv Malhotra is back with a new book. By accident or design, the book is part of a wider trend of establishing Sanskrit not as an elite language, but also as the language used by common people in ancient India.
In The Battle for Sanskrit: Is Sanskrit Political or Sacred, Oppressive or Liberating, Dead or Alive? – if not anything, the book will surely win the award for the longest title – Malhotra valiantly attempts to counter what he calls the Western view of the ancient Indian texts and traditions, insisting on the need for a make-in-India approach instead.
Undaunted by accusations of plagiarism in an earlier book, Malhotra boldly asserts that western scholars of Sanskrit “interpret India in ways that the traditional Indian experts would outright reject or at least question.” And that he will take on such scholars head-on.
Expect controversy, as experts on both sides wade in, with the defenders of the book likely to take to social media aggressively.
While the notion that Western scholarship is out to demean ancient Indian learning is bound to find many takers, here’s a book that reveals poetry by a relatively unknown classical source: Buddhist women. Therigatha is a collection of poems by the first Buddhist women, from the Murty Classical Library of India.