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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Story Behind the Book 1
Meeting with the US-based Sringeri leader and one of the major donors 9
Meeting with Sheldon Pollock 13
Trip to Sringeri Sharada Peetham 17
Who will control our traditions? 19
What is at stake? 21
Assault on Sanskrit goes mainstream 26
1. The Hijacking of Sanskrit and Sanskriti 29
Why this book matters? 29
Highlighting the disputes between the two intellectual camps 35
Where is the Home Team? 43
Offering my humble attempts 48
2. From European Orientalism to American Orientalism 50
Origins of Orientalism 51
The rise of European Orientalism 54
Sir William Jones, the European Orientalist 55
The American frontier 61
The rise of American Orientalism 68
Comparing European Orientalism and American Orientalism 74
Impact of American Orientalism on the study of Sanskrit 75
Introducing Sheldon Pollock: Pandit from America 78
Comparing two pioneering Orientalists: Sir William Jones and Sheldon Pollock 94
3. The Obsession with Secularizing Sanskrit 96
Integral unity of Hindu metaphysics 98
Discarding the transcendent/sacred aspects of Sanskrit 102
Sidelining the oral tradition 105
Accusing yajnas of being linked to social hierarchy 113
Rejecting the shastras as Vedic dogma 114
Using Buddhism as a wedge for secularizing Sanskrit 125
Disconnecting kavya from Vedas and shastras 129
4. Sanskrit Considered a Source of Oppression 135
The crisis of Indology and a novel solution 135
Exposing Sanskrit’s ‘poisons’ 144
Response: Debating varna 146
Blaming Sanskrit for European atrocities 167
Pollock’s call to action to politicize Sanskrit studies 173
5. Ramayana Framed as Socially Irresponsible 179
Pollock’s view of Ramayana as a project for propagating Vedic social oppression 179
The divinization construct 182
The demonization construct 188
Sociological criticism of the Ramayana 189
Claiming Ramayana was popularized to demonize Muslims since the eleventh century 192
Ramayana considered secular 196
Claiming Valmiki Ramayana came after Buddhist influence 196
Summary: Ramayana interpreted as atrocity literature 197
Ramayana-based political action plan of intervening in Indian politics 199
6. Politicizing Indian Literature 202
A dramatic break from earlier Orientalism 204
Sacredness removed from rasa and kavya 206
The theory of the aestheticization of power 210
Kavya characterized as primarily political 217
7. Politicizing the History of Sanskrit and the Vernaculars 222
Overview of Pollock’s account of history of how power shaped languages 222
Introducing the ‘Sanskrit Cosmopolis’ and sidelining sanskriti 226
Grammar as a form of political power 234
The role of itihasas in spreading the Sanskrit cosmopolis 238
Summary of issues with the grammar-itihasa power theory 241
The rise of the vernaculars 243
What led so many kings to vernacularize? 250
Claiming parallels between European and Indian vernacularization 253
8. The Sanskriti Web as an Alternative Hypothesis 256
Diglossia versus hyperglossia models 262
Approaches suggested by T.S. Satyanath 265
Integral unity, open architecture and sanskriti web 270
9. Declaring Sanskrit Dead and Sanskriti Non-existent 273
Agenda in declaring the death of Sanskrit 273
Claiming Sanskrit has been dead for many centuries 276
Claiming Hindu kings killed Sanskrit, and Muslim rulers tried to save it 280
Accusing other Indian languages of killing Sanskrit 286
Sparing British colonialism and Nehruvianism 286
Silence on the extraction and digestion of Sanskrit shastras into the West 293
Chamu Krishna Shastry responds on behalf of the tradition 294
Western academic critiques of Pollock 300
The history of attempts to ‘kill’ Sanskrit 304
Rejecting Indian civilization and Indian nation 307
10. Is Sheldon Pollock Too Big to Be Criticized? 314
Two goals 315
The academic ecosystem 317
The hegemonic discourse goes mainstream 327
Third-party echoes: Pollock’s ideas go viral 337
The re-colonization of Indian minds 341
The Murty Classical Library of India 345
The rise of the American-English cosmopolis 348
Reversing the gaze: Interpreting Pollock using his own concepts 351
11. Conclusion: The Way Forward 356
The Sanskrit ecosystem must be revived in a holistic way 357
Non-translatable Sanskrit terms must enter the mainstream 358
Shastras must be seen as a platform for innovation 359
New itihasas and smritis must be written 360
‘Sacred philology’ must compete against political/liberation philology 362
The purva-paksha tradition must be revived 364
Well-qualified home team and institutions must be developed 372
Defining the hard work that is needed 373
Appendix A: Pollock’s Theory of Buddhist Undermining of the Vedas 381
Appendix B: Ramayana Evidence Prior to the Turkish Invasion 392
Appendix C: Pollock’s Political Activism 397
Appendix D: Acknowledgements 400
Appendix E: Editorial Policies Adopted 403
Notes 405
Bibliography 455
Index 463
Are Sanskrit Studies in the West becoming a New Orientalism?
World Sanskrit Congress 2015
Lecture on Dharma, Sanskrit & Science, Goa, Feb 26, 2015
The Importance of Swadeshi Indology
Samskrita Bharati, Bangalore
Reversing the Gaze (Purva-Paksha) on Western Indology
"Taking back our heritage: My message to India's youth" at IIT Madras
Roddam Narasimha & Mohandas Pai discuss "The Battle For Sanskrit"
Rajiv Malhotra's encounter with the Indian Left at Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Rajiv Malhotra in conversation with Madhu Kishwar on: THE BATTLE FOR SANSKRIT
"Geopolitics & the study of Indian Civilization": A very large event at IIT Bombay
Zee News Interviews Rajiv Malhotra
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar launches "The Battle For Sanskrit" in Art of Living Campus, Bangalore
Art of Living: Lively discussion on THE BATTLE FOR SANSKRIT in Bangalore ashram
Chinmaya Mission, Amish Tripathi & Rajiv Malhotra discuss "The Battle For Sanskrit"
Rajiv Malhotra answering student questions at a Vedic gurukulam, Bidadi
Ramakrishna Mission (Chennai) presents Rajiv Malhotra's talk/Q&A on: Sacredness and Sanskrit
Jawaharlal Nehru University panel discussion on THE BATTLE FOR SANSKRIT, Feb 1, 2016
Discussion on how Samskrita Bharati & Rajiv Malhotra can collaborate
Rajiv Malhotra darshan with Kanchi Shankaracharyas to discuss common interests