Feb 16, 2014

Doniger's book

Read the news about Penguin India's agreement to pulp The Hindus: An Alternative History with profound sadness. Many months ago I read the book. I found it gripping and read it in one breath. It helped I was travelling to Chennai by a day train. On the way back I got one of those four seater, two facing the other two. Three men sat around me while I got the window seat. When I raised my head for something the middle aged, bespectacled man across my seat asked if he could see the book. I gave it to him and he peered at the blurb and the cover. He quickly turned a few pages, in what could at best be called skimming. Then he handed it to me with a look of disdain. He said and his exact words were, "If you want to know about Hinduism, you read the Bhavan's journal, not these kind of books." I was quite astonished at his presumption, condescension [I am no school girl] and lastly the disdain. 

I still am not clear as to why this well researched, brilliantly written book that could have resulted only from someone's deep commitment to Hinduism studies, is provoking such anger. I was so moved and inspired by the book that I wrote a short piece on the Ramayana that I was planning to work into a series.

Sad, sad event. 

February 16, 2014