Rajiv Malhotra-Richard Fox Young
Anxiety in the Western Academia’s Ivory Tower

“Sling mud; even if the mud does not stick, the stain will stay for long.”…

“Sling mud; even if the mud does not stick, the stain will stay for long.”

asatyam api dur-vachanam chiram tishthati = Vilification, even if groundless, lasts long.

These are but some of the maxims being deployed by the vituperative attackers of Sri Rajiv Malhotra on the false allegations of plagiarism.

Rajiv Malhotra has been consistently and systematically working for over two decades on but one theme: preparing antidotes against the continued supercilious intellectual colonialism by the West over India.

For the West, it is the White Man’s Burden – to enlighten the East – bearing kinship to the saying, “Whenever a politician decides to commit a crime, he declares it first as his duty.”

The brazen attacks on, and exploitation of other civilisations by the West constitute a steady and ceaseless creed, for centuries, of the “more equal”  Big Brother, the veritable master of  the Orwellian doublespeak.

The Sanatana civilization, which never had imperial aspirations against other civilisations has been a steady and steadfast producer of ennobling knowledge for millennia. The Mahabhaashya of Patanjali (1st Century BCE) spoke of the pursuit of knowledge for no specific worldly gain (nishkaarana).


Knowledge was pursued in gurukula-s, in the simple and quiet hamlets, thousands of them, throughout the length and breadth of Bharata without any great burden on the royal exchequer, apart from vast conclaves of forest-dwellers on the one hand, and world-class universities on the other.

The spirit of free but disciplined enquiry buttressed by a continuous evaluation of knowledge produced in the past, and revisions and reformulations as also alternative formulations of the same, non-production of knowledge as a danger to society, free and open dispersal of such knowledge as is healthy and beneficial to the society (without being obsessed by “ownership” of ideas) were its hallmarks, none of which has ever had a worthy parallel in the world.

Greek thinkers rose to great heights, too, but their civilizational vigour and intellectual rigour did not last for more than a few centuries.

Riches and Rogues

Ananda Coomaraswamy

Ananda Coomaraswamy

Against the charge of “mere other-worldliness” projected by the dishonest critics against the culture of India, or the charge that religion has been the cause of the country’s backwardness, Dharampal has laid bare, in great detail, how India was a top economic power in the world even up till the 17th century, which is what made the hordes of the colonizing barbarians of the West set their  eyes on this rich country with their single agenda of plunder and loot, with full sanction from the Vatican.

To cite a quotation of Newcomb (no date) from Malhotra’s Being Different (2011: 164-165),

“Christian nations had a divine right, based on the Bible, to claim absolute title to and ultimate authority over any newly ‘discovered’ Non-Christian inhabitants and their lands. Over the next several centuries, these beliefs gave rise to the Doctrine of Discovery used by Spain, Portugal, England, France, and Holland – all Christian nations.”

More juicy details can be gleaned from Romanus Pontifex of Pope Nicholas V.

Indeed, they were only following the footsteps of their other imperialist kinsmen of the Abrahamic faith, the brutal perpetuators of the sole religion of peace, which is in no way opposed to the burning of libraries apart from perpetrating unspeakable atrocities – past perfect as well as present continuous.

Cultural genocide is incontrovertibly, the common cult of these two fellow faiths.

Cultural Genocide

Of the two, the West, which is all sophistication in its methods, can be likened to perfect duplicity: orphan a bright child first and then declare yourself to be its sole, and benevolent, guardian.

What the Westerners did to Africans and Native Americans are cases that suffice to drive home the point.

Ananda Coomaraswamy was among the early writers to see through, in his early writings especially, this game of Western Indological scholarship, and to expose its hollowness and hypocrisy.

To cite another author, but only illustratively on what the West did to Africa, we have this by Alain Danielou (1969):

“Although today colonialism has abandoned, in Africa as in the other countries of the ‘Third World’, its most brutal forms of genocide and slavery, the concepts of cultural and racial superiority by which it justified itself have not been honestly revised. The appearances and above all the methods have changed, but the fundamental attitude not in the slightest. A cultural colonialism that conditions economic aid has today become a more subtle arm of domination. The importation of a foreign culture into small population groups, in exchange for special privileges and a semi-assimilation to the West, permits the formation of a false elite made up of elements that are entirely dependent on external connections and are the perfect mediators of cultural domination…” [Emphasis added]

Already in 1761, William Law asked men to

“look at all European Christendom sailing round the globe with fire and sword and every murdering art of war to seize the possessors and kill the inhabitants of both the Indies. What natural right of man, what supernatural virtue, which Christ brought down from Heaven, was not here trodden under foot?” (p180)

Sir George Birdwood wrote in Industrial Arts of India (1880), of what British education did for India.

Our education has destroyed their love of their own literature… their delight in their own arts and, worst of all, their repose in their own traditional and national religion. It has disgusted them with their own home – their parents, their sisters, their very wives. It has brought discontent into every family so far as its baneful influences have reached.” [Emphasis added]

Ultimately, what the British did to India culturally was to dislodge the traditional learning system from the paathashaalaa-s and gurukula-s, usurp the knowledge therein for a pittance (if indeed that), and declare themselves to be the sole guardians/interpreters of this age-old treasure house of knowledge.

Rajiv Malhotra’s Exposes

The singular contribution of Rajiv Malhotra has been to lay bare the machinations of these Machiavellians, and even more importantly, place things in a global perspective.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it,” said Upton Sinclair.

This explains why the Youngs, the Foxes, and the Goldmans cannot digest what Malhotra says, much less the sepoys under the pay of the likes of Ford Foundation, or the NGOs they fund and patronize.

It is this that inspires them to make the charge of plagiarism because they have begun to realize that, if the present course of Malhotra’s polemic continues, their intellectual ivory tower may well one day be detonated.

Rajiv Malhotra

Rajiv Malhotra

Given this background, the question that arises is this: does Rajiv Malhotra need to plagiarise? If yes, why?

His Indra’s Net (2014) cites from over 150 sources, and Being Different (2011) from over 225 sources (and some of them, multiple times). Even Andrew Nicholson has been cited over 30 times in a single book.

Certainly, if there is a lapse in attribution in half a dozen places, the same can be politely pointed out, and corrections can be introduced in future editions. Doubtless, Malhotra would be more than willing to make his books more error-free: I have myself pointed out nearly a century of minor lapses and corrections to his Being Different, and they have been duly incorporated in the paperback edition.

Stigmatise to Discard

However, if the whole stratagem is to give him a bad name so that it may provide the censorious academicians a plank to ignore his ideas, this is nothing but chicanery.

Indeed, the ganging up of the Western academic against Rajiv Malhotra is the height of unfairness, to cast dubious allegations on the intellectual integrity of a person who has been quite dignified in countering his opponents purely academically.


  • Birdwood, Sir George (1880) Industrial Arts of India. Committee of Council on Education. London.
  • Daniélou, Alain (1969) “Cultural Genocide” African Music 4, No. 3, pp. 19-21.
  • Dharampal (2000) Indian Science & Technology in the Eigteenth Century. .(Ed.) Alvares, Claude. Other India Press. Mapusa.
  • Law, William (1761) An Humble, Earnest, and Affectionate Address, to the Clergy.
Dr. K.S. Kannan is a well-known Sanskrit scholar and is considered an authority in Vyakarana. He has authored numerous books and papers on Philosophy, the Indian Epics, Sanskrit Literature, Grammar, and Lexicography,
  • Dwarakanath M N

    Very nicely written… in fact, in this article, one can see the beauty and intelligence all summarized in
    just one line above:

    Given this background, the question that arises is this: does Rajiv Malhotra need to plagiarise? If yes, why?

    If one simply starts from the point that Rajivji mainly wants to counter the work of Pollock/Nicholson/Halbfass etc., why would he want to hijack their ideas? He ensures that the world knows what “their work” is and how exactly it is biased and devoid of values upheld by Indian culture.

    I hope that many more understand the bigger agenda behind all these fake allegations.


    “jeevan bhadraaNi pashyanti”

  • Sree Charan R
  • Arathi Vb

    Very well analysed by Prof Kannan. No wonder that he can do so, with the wide knowledge base and insights he is equipped with. The article dissects through very appropriately. The Hindu phobic intelligentsia out there, will also have to nod at the appropreity! (although ofcotrse they dare nop they openly acknowledge that). Thanks for such a good article. Dr Arathi

  • Shriram Bhandari

    Dr Kannan you almost brought tears to my eyes really feel bad that we lost so much.

  • cpgmm .



    (iconoclasm (countable and uncountable, pluraliconoclasms

    The belief in, participation in, or sanction of destroying religiousicons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives

  • cpgmm .



  • cpgmm .



    Wendy Doniger’s (The alleged Hindu expert of the west) hatred of the classical Hinduism and Brahmins is not very different than the 1930’s christian’s hatred of the Jews and Judaism.

  • Sree Charan R

    A very short,pithy and erudite exposition.
    But, we should understand that, there is ‘something deeper’ to this,and similar to this,issue(s):
    All the Vedic—I use the word “Vedic” to represent a set of Scientific/Embodied-Spiritual/Philosophical ideas, culminated in the thoughts of Ancient Indian Rishis/Scientists—ideals that Rajiv Malhotra,and few others,are fighting for/representing, truly have the capacity and rigor to completely replace (and demolish?!) the Modern Ideals—and,at-least to some, they are a better alternative,in a very fundamentally different yet productive manner, that is sure to give intellectual schizophrenia to many of the salary-fame-foreign trip-cocktail mango lassi-ivory tower thinkers of the modern world—I am generalizing here; there are fortunately few memorable exceptions.And many ‘intellectuals’—however you may define the term!!—,at least Scientists,truly believe that time has come for the world to “Complete the Circle”,i.e, to re-establish the Vedic/Indian thought systems in a universally acceptable fashion.Hence, the money and ideology-oriented thinkers, highly influential in all the spheres today, do not allow those ideas to the modern public intellectual imagination; and hence, you see Extreme opposition to those resurgent ideas.But, after observing the support for Rajiv Malhotra, irrespective of our personal opinions/(dis-)agreements, it may seem that a new self-awakened consciousness is draping the minds of Indians.

  • Ranjith

    There have been infact two positive take aways from this, ohterwise, stupid controversy
    1) It now beyond doubt that the Western So-called academicians cannot counter Rajivji intellectually. Had it not been the case, they would have for sure attempted that instead of this false plagiarism claims
    2) This controversy has brought together a lot of Hindu intellectuals together and Indians now know more than ever about the threat they are facing

    In one way we should infact thank Mr. Fox for this

  • Raghavendra

    Dear Dr. Kannan,

    Well timed article. The Western Indologists do not want to give up the authority since they drive the discourse on us. Since Rajiv Malhotra is in the scene to contest the dictates and provides the insight from the insider’s perspective, the WIs are perturbed, intolerant because they are being proved misinterpreting everything about India and it’s civilizational constructs. So, to protect their realm they wage mud slinging war to scuttle Rajiv’s work in silliest possible way at they are unprepared for a counter the depth of his arguments. As you quote ‘asatyam api dur-vachanam chiram tishthati’, if they malign the indigenous, independent scholars, their apprehensions are that they will wither away and not be a cog in their wheel. Our colonized mindset also feeds in to their aspirations. Rajiv’s work set us in a direction where we need change our fogged Eurocentric lens to a Dharmic lens. I consider as an honor and privilege to be associated with you for helping on Kannada translation effort of Rajiv’s ‘Being Different’ to ‘Vibhinnate’.

  • Imli Bagh

    Given that dozens of people, including a Princeton university (whose rules Young was citing) student weighed in on the side of Rajiv Malhotra, an honest academic guild would turn to Richard Fox Young and ask him to apologize for casting aspersions of plagiarism on RM. The intent was never to point out a genuine case of plagiarism but was more to sully Rajiv’s standing – something to use it as a stick for ever in perpetuity. Of course, pigs would fly before the western cabal were to be honest in their evaluation.

  • Kailash

    In presence of Top Sanskrit Sanskrit Scholars , Here is the
    announcement and Summary of the forthcoming book “Battle for Sanskrit” that is giving
    headaches to these Fox, Pollock, Wendy type Gora Sahibs and their Indian sepoys

    Please listen and enjoy:


  • Kailash

    This is powerful writing going deep into historical details. Very enlightening !
    Thank you, Dr. Kannan.

  • सुनीत उमट

    One cardinal QUESTION: Does Rajiv Malhotra need to plagiarise? If yes, why?
    His Indra’s Net (2014) cites from over 150 sources, and Being Different (2011) from over 225 sources (and some of them, multiple times). Even Andrew Nicholson has been cited over 30 times in a single book.
    Ananda Coomaraswamy was among the early writers to see through, in his early writings especially, this game of Western Indological scholarship, and to expose its hollowness and hypocrisy.
    Highly BIASED Western Academia. Rational Paradigm shift is IMMINENT..

  • R Nanjappa

    This is a valuable piece. I have been following the writings of Rajiv Malhotra since I came to know about him through ‘Invading the Sacred’ (2007). He is not the one to plagiarise consciously.He is very meticulous in citing his sources and acknowledging references, ‘Being Different’ contains about 85 pages of notes and bibliographic references.’Indra’s Net’ has fifty pages of notes and bibligraphic references. Slips may occur, however, especially while using elctronic devices. But these can be pointed out., gently, if the objector’s intention is straight.

    Rajiv Malhotra has been pointing out a more subtle and serious form of plagiarism: the tendency of western ‘scholars’ to take Indian ideas and float them with a new dressing in new jargon, as if it is their own finding. He has pointed out that even Ken Wilber has done this. I am not aware whether any other Indian voice has been added to Malhotra’s.

    In a way, this hue and cry about the alleged plagiarism is welcome. So far, the dons of the western academies have been refusing to engage with Rajiv Malhotra in open debates and discussion, probably because he is not an ‘academic’ in their sense.. Now they are compelled to take note..

    We lack a regular and permanent arrangement to deal with such issues. We do not have a publisher who brings out serious tomes on our themes, expressing the genuine Indian point of view Most of what we write and publish through Indian publishers.lacks professional editing. Most of our publications defer to western views and rely on western translations and editions, whose understanding of our tradition is mostly faulty and prejudiced. Foreigh publishes like OUP have an unconcealed Christian agenda and are still bringing out volumes on Indian subjects – be it history, sociology, or politics or religion– with a generally western orientation. Most of these require to be roundly countered, but we have no machinery to do it. The genune Indian view is almost totally denined pubic space in the main English language media. We have no means to counter this. Indian views are still excluded from the Indian universities. We do not even have a regular academic Journal or magazine , from the universities or elsewhere, devoted to Indian subjects. Our people still fund foreign scholars and institutions to translate Indian literary and religious classics. The so called literary events and festivals organised here exclude authetic Indian voices almost totally. It is time our activists thought of some concrete steps to remedy the situation.

  • Dr. MS

    There are several issues that have gotten conflated in this discussion. Colonialism did three things: It decimated some cultures completely, it molded and shaped some cultures where the original meanings and purposes became distorted… and it influenced others profoundly.

    But one should never assume that cultures before colonialism were perfect, and the women in these cultures were liberated or truly free.

    It is worrisome when “past hierarchy and patriarchy, and the strict autocracy of a male dominated, or male exclusive, Gurukul system” is glorified as “the best educational environment”. It might have been better than many…but it was far from perfect and it was only available to men.

    Expecting female obedience as culture, and infantilizing women perpetually as I often experience in India, is not “culture or caring”. The insecure Indian man, and one who is stuck between the changing roles of women while wanting perpetual cooking cleaning nurturing sweet “mummy” or an agreeable woman, is not “upholding culture”.

    I would say that it is the theoretical, pedantic and ideological Indian male academician who is most colonized. They borrow everything: capitalism, communism, atheism, theism, doubtism….whatever. They talk down to women, they insult women and they tend to promote third rate men over smart women.

    Indian academia in some places is far more colonized than many universities in the US that actually took the initiative to discuss colonialism and post colonialism…with some focus now on “neocolonialism”.

    Same could be said of patriarchy. This may explain intelligent and brilliant women leaving the country in large numbers.

    It is one thing to defend Mr. Malhotra, it is another to assume that every disagreement with an egotistical Indian male is a form of colonized mindset (and I am not talking about Mr. Malhotra here)..

    Many comments from men on these weblogs are very colonized and patriarchal….Can you guys not see that?

    • Karigar Medha

      Are you off your soapbox yet? If yes, then please answer how does this western ‘feminist’ stereotypical harangue have any relevance to the topic here?

      • Rama

        Warning, Troll spotted

      • patnaikt

        good question!

      • Krispy K

        Since when do mendacious low-IQ, low self-esteem Commie imbeciles need rhyme or reason to indiscriminately spew their poisonous bullshit? It’s their raison d’être.

    • Ranjith

      I dont want to either agree or disagree with you as what you have commented is not related to the topic of this article at all, excepting a couple of lines when you said that Gurukul system is not perfect and it didnt allow women to study, if at all that was actually the case. You dont have to bring women issues into every thing …… :). Believe me there can never be any thing that is PERFECT. Bharath might have come closer to being perfect. Agreed that we always had women issues like every other society and we are infact better than the rest. Remember Nirbhaya case? One rape literally stalled the entire country for about a month. It can never happen anywhere else.

      • bharatpremi

        Some people are just stuck on one thing.

      • Dr. MS

        That is my point. We cannot know for sure if the educational system before colonialism was perfect or great. The lack of inclusion of women is a big issue and one that cannot be denied or trivialized/

        Thanks for writing, and thank you for not being abusive like some of the men on these websites.

        • Ranjith

          Yes, we dont know whether women were being educated during pre-colonial or for that matter pre-islamic period. But as far as the education is concerned Bharath was for sure the best which was proved by Sri Dhanpal’s “Beautiful Tree”.

          The question I have is

          1. Did things change from Pre-Islamic period to Islamic period as far as women education is concerned?
          2. Why formal education has to be so very imp that every one has to be formally educated? We never know, might be women were given other responsibilities that are equally/more imp. May be we are using a Western Lance here, according to which if women are not educated they are discriminated. May be its not the case. We never know unless we have more Rajiv’s to reverse the gauze and do proper purva paksha on status of women in pre-islamic Bharath.

    • Arathi Vb

      Dr MS, If you truly want to know what was the satus of Hindu women in ancient India, please read in detail about the great number of ancient Hindu women who were queens, administrators, warriors, potesses, literary geniuses, philosophers, artists, spies, yoginis, magicians and much much more. Pleanty of names of women achievers are scattered across vedic, classic and folk literature of India. But the (British colinialization led) english interpretations of white colloared professors who base everything on secondary references from marxist or western viewpoints, give you only pictures of oppressed women in the middle ages and present days. In ancient India, women not only went to Gurukulas, but even headed some of them! They had the freedom to marry or remian celbate too. The repeated onslaughts trampled upon the security and freedom and rights of Hindu women for centuries. The bad plight of Hindu women that we are made to read about in text books, news papers and books are pictures of the post invasions age. That was never the ‘all time status’ of Hindu women in India. (The worst thing here is that the brutality of the invaders who caused women rights to fall are let free, and the hindu men are targeted completely! The blame is so cleverly diverted away from the actual culprits!) Only an honest and indepth study of Sanskrt literature can enable you to realize this, not newspapers and media outbursts and leftist interpretations. As long as you endorse the vicious ‘outsiders view’ simply because it is loud and well catered to, you cant helping getting misled about Indian roots and women rights. Dr Arathi

      • Krispy K

        You’re making the mistake of assuming this troll is interested in the honest pursuit of truth. Don’t waste your time.

      • Dr. MS

        Dear Aarthi,

        Thank you for writing. And thanks for not being abusive in your language like some of the awful men on these websites…who prove my point about unevolved Hindu men.

        I do not deny that colonialism did distort and complicate status of women in the Indian subcontinent. But status of women in the past in most countries was relatively backward. There might be few exceptions to the rule as there are now. What percentage of Indian women go for Ph.Ds like you and me? What percentage of Indian women run for public office? What percentage of women are Deans, Directors, Chancellors and VCs? Even in 2015 the numbers were abysmal. I do not believe that before colonialism and invasion the status of women was “stupendous”. It was better than the Middle East for sure, and it might have been better than some Abrahmaic religions where women were expected to cover their heads or their entire bodies. But when it comes to leadership, independence, singlehood. divorce, remarriage….Indian women lagged way behind Indian men. Even in Hindu Shastras a widower could marry within ten days after the funeral of his wife if he has young children, but a child or a teen widow had to have her head shaved off and spend her life in servitude, oppression and abuse. The widow, who deserves sympathy and love, was treated as bad omen and bad luck. This was in our Shastras.

        Lets not get too excited with culture. Somethings were great, somethings were good, somethings were okay and somethings were terrible. And women’s status I believe is terrible, and was bad (if not terrible). We saved our goddess worship…but not our real life goddesses.

        • Shubhangi Raykar

          Dr MS the condition of women was better than in many other countries. We have tried to throw the baby with the bathwater. Rajivji is doing great work for our anglicized generations. Presenting our treasure so systematically is not an easy job. I really admire his work and the awakening it results in.

    • Arun

      Sanatana Dharma acknowledges Yuga-dharma, by its very name, indicates that changes happen and have to happen in our understanding of Dharma.

      One has to ask: Did India in any era compare poorly with its contemporaries? Does India possess the framework and ability to change by itself, or is it only by the abandonment of its own traditions and wholesale copying of the West can it be redeemed? If India is doing poorly today in some areas, how much of it is a Victorian hangover? and so on.

      As I like to say, in 1776 the US was a liberal democracy by the standards of its day, despite having legal slavery, no vote for women, and so on. In fact, it was revolutionary. But by the standards of 2015, the US of 1776 would no longer be considered a liberal democracy, and hardly revolutionary, rather, very regressive.

      So please understand this is true of India too. The past was good, not perfect, and we want the future to be better.

      • Dr. MS

        Thank you . My point exactly. And did you see the crude rude patriarchal comments above to my comment? It proves my last point too. :))

        Thanks for writing.

  • Sekhars

    well written, and explained. This whole episode raises values of Rajiv among his supporters as he is now becoming relevant even more therefore being targeted

  • Audit Uscirf

    In summary, There is no plagiarism b’cos source was acknowledged 30 times. Plagiarism typically means that source was not at all acknowledged.

    • John Rock

      and not just that. Plagiarists just blindly copy and paste without providing opposing views.

      • Sekhars

        people who don’t practice the faith, who steal and rebrand the knowledge for decades as their own are thieves. Western academia is nothing but gated self proclaimed thieves when pointed calling “foul play” . So you say what ever you want but thieves have no right to call any one. Every one knows the deal- Rajiv Malhotra has threatened them alone. The “western cabal of thieves” are caught by him.

  • indranirampersad

    Short, to the point, and a valuable contribution to this discussion. Rajiv’s works constitute the single, most important, turning point in Hindus and India reclaiming their adhikar to speak for themselves, a right that several western scholars have arrogated unto themselves, seeing the vacuum in the western academy in regard to HIndu and India Studies. So, when are we, the practitioners, keepers and transmitters of this tradition, going to produce our own scholarship within the western academy and I dare say even within India itself. We need to translate the wealth of India’s knowledge into the English language so as to prevent distortions by the less learned. And we need experts to do those translations – not those who would translate “murti” to mean “idol”. Do we have a HIndu journal that comes from within us and is world class, for example, to start with?