I Coined The Term Hinduphobia; No One Acknowledged The Prejudice Against Hinduism: Author Rajiv Malhotra

In an interview with Times Now Digital, author Rajiv Malhotra known for bestselling books — Breaking India: Western Interventions In Dravidian And Dalit Faultlines, Snakes on the Ganga: Breaking India 2.0, Academic Hinduphobia, The Battle for IITs: A Defense of Meritocracy, speaks about the need to defend Indian civilisation, Hinduphobia, caste based reservation in elite universities and more.
I Coined The Term Hinduphobia No One Acknowledged The Prejudice Against Hinduism Author Rajiv Malhotra
Q. Among the books that you have written, which is the one book that you would recommend for youngsters and the future of India to read? Why would you recommend this book? Which is your personal favourite among the books that you have written?
My book, Being Different: An Indian Challenge to western universalism, is my most important book so far in terms of impact. This book was written because people at that time were saying that all religions are the same, and all cultures and civilisations are the same. There’s no difference. That means there’s nothing worth defending in our tradition that is different.
To defend India and its civilisation, we need to recognise what makes it unique. If there is something special, we should be able to explain the differences. If there is nothing different and special, then defending is only for chauvinism. This book, endorsed by Modi ji [Narendra Modi] on the cover of its first edition when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, addresses this need.
Being Different consists of five chapters, each highlighting a significant area of difference. It’s a philosophical book, focusing on what sets us apart in a philosophical sense, rather than on economic or democratic metrics. What is there about us in a philosophical sense that is different? That is the foundation of understanding who we are. Being different is also a way of asking: What makes us Indian? What makes us Bharatiyas? Why we are defending India? What is worth defending about India and its Vedic and Dharmic civilisation?
The book tackles two key issues: how we are different from others like Europeans, Arabs, and Chinese, and what commonalities bind us together. This understanding of our uniqueness and shared identity is crucial for defending and appreciating our civilisation.
Q. You have written about Academic Hinduphobia. Why did you decide to write this book? Why do you think there has been an increase in Hinduphobia? In this day and age, what does it mean to be a Hindu?
Academic Hinduphobia is a reprint of articles I wrote in the late 90s and early 2000s. I decided to write this book after discovering, despite funding the Western academy for millions of dollars, that they were the origin of Hinduphobia. I coined the term Hinduphobia because while there was much discussion about Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, no one acknowledged the prejudice against Hinduism. Many Hindus were embarrassed to address this issue, including the head of the VHP at the time, who believed discussing it would only cause more embarrassment and that Hindus were strong and proud with many temples because of yoga gaining popularity in the USA.
But these people, despite being very powerful and important leaders of the Hindu movement in India and the USA, were totally ignorant and not very well informed. So, I was facing what I call Hinduphobia, rampant all over. Despite the perceived strength of the Hindu community, there was widespread prejudice extensively in the 90s, long before Modi's [Narendra Modi] time. My first book, Invading the Sacred, published around 2005, documented these issues and my thoughts on them. While I had other people edit it, so their name is on the cover, it is a book about my thoughts and debates.
I discovered Hinduphobia through insults directed at our deities like Shiva, Durga, Krishna, Ram, Ramakrishna, and Vivekananda. These insults included vulgar and obscene allegations, such as claiming Ramakrishna was a paedophile and Krishna was gay because he stands with his hips sticking out as a homosexual advance. This offensive narrative stemmed from applying Freudian psychoanalysis to our gurus, deities, symbolism, and rituals.
And this was a very sad thing for me that nobody was defending our tradition. At that time, major Hindu organisations in the USA and India, ignored these issues. They dismissed it as an American problem irrelevant to India. And people in India were trivialising this when I was raising this issue: why should we deal with it? I said it's not an American problem. And, it's not a problem for NRIs. This attack on Hinduism is a worldwide phenomenon.
Hindu organisations failed to conduct a proper Purva Paksha to understand the opponents' motives, funding and claims. Our people did not understand how to debate and talk back. Academic Hinduphobia reprints my earlier articles, first compiled in Invading the Sacred, and updates them for a modern audience. This book has had a significant impact, inspiring a movement of people, and hundreds of influencers to push back against Hinduphobia.
Today, if there is a Hinduphobic event or statement, many organisations and individuals are ready to defend Hinduism. I have helped raise awareness, create a framework, and develop terminology to articulate our views. The concept of Hinduphobia has become a lens through which we can see the bias against us. This movement has taken on a life of its own and will continue even if I am no longer around.
Q. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a double-edged sword. While it has managed to make lives easy, it has also taken up employment from people. What is your take on it?
I have addressed these issues extensively in my book, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power. AI has the potential to accelerate and enhance human intelligence, doing all the good things human intelligence does, but also amplifying the bad.
On the positive side, AI can find new cures, improve agriculture, and contribute to many beneficial advancements. However, on the negative side, it can create advanced weapons, robotic soldiers, autonomous submarines, and other sophisticated military technology. Additionally, AI will be a game changer in the industry, similar to the industrial revolution in Britain.
During the Industrial Revolution, many new jobs were created, and the world industrialised, but the benefits were not evenly distributed. Colonies did not benefit as much as the colonisers. Britain used the Industrial Revolution to move ahead of others, while countries
like India lagged. Similarly, AI is now creating a new kind of imperialism. The leading powers in AI, currently the USA and China, will dominate, much like Britain and France did during the Industrial Revolution.
Although AI creates new jobs, these are mostly in service, as low-level workers to American and Chinese companies. Indian AI workers are often just employees of major American tech firms like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. We don't own the technology, patents, or copyrights. Indian companies act as middlemen, selling our brains to Western clients, making them more powerful while we remain labourers, or "tech coolies," doing the grunt work without owning the results of our labour. We are bricklayers for Baba Saheb who owns the mansion. When we are done, we go to the next job. Then, after we are done, we go to the next job. But, we don't own anything. We don't even own one brick. We may have laid a lakh bricks or one crore bricks in our lives. We don't own even 1% of that equity. Tech giants in India are selling Indian brains to the American clients, making the US more powerful, technologically ahead and making Indians the slave army. So, now we are creating an army of "AI coolies" who are doing the coolie work and getting nice salaries.
Countries that are not at the cutting edge of AI will become colonised and the countries which are at the cutting edge of AI will control the technology and will rule over them. The USA and China are fighting each other for the top slot and everybody else is way behind. India is not even in the top five or six in terms of AI. In terms of how many employees and AI knowledge workers there are, India is at the top.
AI's potential misuse to manipulate human beings is a global concern. The oligarchs, the super-rich who own the algorithms, like Mark Zuckerberg, control what people think through social media, deciding what is considered biased or fake news. These algorithms reflect their prejudices and ideologies, and India is not yet at the level to compete in this arena.
While BharatGPT is a step in the right direction, it is built on top of American technology. It is not an entirely autonomous, original Indian development. Thus, it lacks complete sovereignty and independence from Western technological foundations.
Q. Your book, The Battle for IITs: A Defense of Meritocracy, touches on the sensitive topic of caste-based reservation in colleges. Please tell us about it. What could be a solution instead?
The Battle for IITs is a concise book of about 100 pages addressing the criticism from Harvard professors, including a Tamil Brahmin and a Dalit named Suraj Yengde, who argue that IITs should be disbanded due to being casteist and exploitative of Dalits and minorities. This is an example of "wokeism", where the narrative focuses on defending the oppressed and attacking the supposed oppressors, in this case, the upper castes.
The critics argue that the IITs' emphasis on merit is a concept created by the upper castes to maintain their power and exclude the underprivileged. They claim that the concept of merit is not a level playing field and is inherently biased against Dalits, minorities, and Muslims.
They came up with this concept of merit to hide the prejudice. Instead of saying okay we don't want you, we want to throw you out, we want you to remain slaves and servants, they said, everybody can compete based on merit, but the merit is not a level playing field. It is not an honest game.
In response, my book provides evidence that IITs do offer a level playing field. However, this issue has become a political football. Despite existing quotas, problems persist.
One significant issue is the introduction of Marxist liberal arts into IITs instead of developing and integrating Vedic liberal arts. Historically, places like Nalanda had a rich tradition of Vedic liberal arts, but we have not revived this academically. To revive it takes some work. And we haven't been willing to do hard work. Our people are very lazy. So, we don't have the Vedic liberal arts and therefore we brought in the the leftist liberal arts into the IITs. The Marxist liberal arts influence has led to a culture of self-hatred among IITians. Surprisingly, many IITians support the anti-IIT narrative. I have found a lack of support for defending IITs from IIT alumni worldwide, even though I am not an IITian myself. Since the IITians themselves are not defending their institution, I think things will just get worse.
To address the problem, we need to start with good coaching for underprivileged communities aspiring to enter IITs. However, effective preparation cannot begin in the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. It must start at the kindergarten level. Our education system needs improvement from the ground up. Children from underprivileged backgrounds must receive quality education in math, science, and reading from an early age to be prepared for higher education.
You have to start at kindergarten. Our education system is not very good from the starting level. Students who have good parents, homes, and various facilities, therefore can get into IITs and the underprivileged don't have as much chance. It's not the fault of the upper caste. It is not. You cannot bring them down because you will destroy the whole country. You cannot bring them down to bring yourself up. They are doing hard work. You have to also move up. But the struggle should start in kindergarten. Right from the early stages of education, you have to teach these people math, science and reading. They have to be prepared throughout the 10-12 years of schooling to be capable of going to a good university.
If you bring them in on a quota, they will sit in class and they will not understand what is going on. And either the professor will have to dumb down the class for everybody in which case the college will lose its reputation and its standard. If the teaching is at the required standard, these people will drop out, which is what is happening. So, the root cause has to be addressed in early education in school. That is where you have to start.
Q. Would you please comment on the protests that are taking place across universities in the US?
These protests have been anticipated in many of my writings as a result of the woke takeover of US politics by the left wing, particularly in universities, the media, and the Democratic Party. This is not limited to issues concerning Israel or Gaza. Once those issues are addressed, the next targets might be India due to concerns like Kashmir, Khalistan, or Dalit activism. Indians must take this matter seriously, as our children are being weaponised to fight against their own culture, families, heritage, and country. This is essentially a Marxist takeover of American society, which is being rapidly exported to India, one of its largest importers.
Q. When did you decide to get into writing, and what was the trigger point for you?
The decision came during the height of my business career when I chose to leave everything to pursue a different life, following my Dharma and evolving my consciousness rather than endlessly chasing business goals. I set aside a substantial portion of my savings to start Infinity Foundation and initially did not intend to become a writer. However, I wanted to use my resources for research and to set the record straight on our culture. Initially, I funded large universities, but I was disappointed with their biased approach. Realising that Indian scholars were either not capable or interested in this kind of work, I began writing blogs, giving major talks, and eventually writing full-fledged books.
Q. You have been critical of Christian Yoga. In a day and age, when terms like hot yoga are gaining popularity, could you please tell us about it?
There is nothing wrong with Christians practising yoga, provided they do it authentically without distorting it to fit into Christianity. My issue is not with who practices yoga but with the type of yoga being practised. Vedic and Hindu yoga are universal and should be enjoyed without compromising or distorting it. "Christian yoga" often refers to yoga being altered to fit biblical mandates, which is incompatible with the essence of our yoga. I have written extensively on the incompatibilities between our yoga and Christianity, and my problem lies with the distortions that occur when trying to merge the two and fit into Christian dogma.
Q. What motivated you to explore and write about the cultural and philosophical conflicts between the East and the West?
It used to be popular among Hindus to claim that all religions are the same, but this is a cop-out. If everything were the same, there would be no Mahabharata between Dharma and Adharma. If everything were the same, then Bin Ladin, Hitler, and Raavan would be promoting the same thing. It’s not all the same. By saying all religions are the same, we encourage laziness in our youth and a lack of understanding about Hinduism and Dharma, making it easier for people to convert. This prompted me to research and publish works on the differences between religions, not to highlight conflicts but to emphasize these differences. We do not impose our faith on others; the conflict arises when others do not reciprocate the same respect. My book Being Different is perhaps my most important work in explaining the differences between Indian and Western thought.
Q. In your book Breaking India, you discuss various external influences. How would you assess the impact of these?
Breaking India focused on the fault lines created by poor villagers being converted to Christianity, manipulated into Islam, and influenced by Maoist and Marxist forces to fight the rest of society. This work led to significant impact and changes, such as the government regulating foreign-funded NGOs. After several years of work that we did, the government changed the laws on the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Therefore, there was a concrete result from our work. Our subsequent work, Snakes in the Ganga, or Breaking India 2.0, addresses how elite Indian students in prestigious universities are now being turned into Breaking India forces.
Q. Considering your latest work, Snakes in the Ganga: Breaking India 2.0, what are the most pressing challenges that India faces today, and how do they relate to the themes discussed in your earlier work, Breaking India? How do you think young Indians should engage with their cultural and philosophical heritage in a way that respects tradition while embracing modernity?
Young Indians need to be better informed. It's dangerous to become an activist without proper knowledge, driven by bombast, ego or anger. My books are accessible, with introductions and summaries for those who prefer not to read hundreds of pages. The youth are often misguided by pop culture influencers resulting in a lack of efficacy for real change. Understanding our culture and philosophy is essential before becoming activists. The most important thing is to transform your own life through learning and practising Dharma, and then you can effectively teach others and contribute to society.
Q. What future projects are you working on, and how do they build on your current ideas?
I have 20 more unfinished books, most in their final stages, compiling our research and findings. I need to finalise them and out them out. I aim to develop a new school of thought, taught in a very systematic way on how Vedic culture and Dharma can be applied in modern times, both in private and public domains, including society, economics, politics, science and technology. This will be a comprehensive effort, and I also plan to train young scholars to continue this work. We are calling them, "Intellectual Kshatriyas," and I'm already creating several of them and would like to create even more.
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