Conversation with Rajiv Malhotra on Sanskrit and more
From the attack on the Sanskrit tradition to the need for autonomy to Hindu temples, noted Hinduism Scholar Rajiv Malhotra engaged in a dialogue on a range of issues with Team Niti during a conversation on his new book “The Battle for Sanskrit”.
Rajiv has been vocal in his opposition to Western Indologists using western lens to misinterpret Sanskrit traditions.
On what provoked him to write the book
In your recent book, The Battle for Sanskrit, you offer a critique of famous Indologist Sheldon Pollock’s approach to the Sanskrit tradition because you believe it undermines some core ideas Hindus greatly value. Can you explain it to us by an example?
In one of his writings ‘Crisis in the Classics’, Sheldon Pollock had lamented that “the number of citizens capable of reading and understanding the texts and documents of the classical era… will very soon approach a statistical zero. India is about to become the only major world culture whose literary patrimony, and indeed history, are in the custodianship of scholars outside the country: in Berkeley, Chicago, and New York; Oxford, Paris, and Vienna. This would not be healthy either for India or for the rest of the world that cares about India.” What’s your take on it? Does your book have a message for Indian Academia?
Do you think your disagreement with Western Indologists is similar to this govt’s efforts to promote Sanskrit amid protests from Left liberals who question its relevance today? Do you think it is more dangerous that well educated history knowing Hindus in India don’t want to see Sanskrit tradition through any lens?
Do you think there is a threat to Hindu culture in general and Hindu temples in particular because of govt control over Hindu temples? Under govt control, there have been allegations of financial and ritual mismanagement in temples across the country.
What kind of intellectual investment we need to put in Indian institutes? What can we do to bring out and promote the discourse on Indology through digital media?