Doniger Book on shiva

More legal troubles ahead for Doniger & Penguin?

I am a U.S. academic, now retired, with over twenty years at several universities. I have prepared this document at the suggestion of friends and colleagues outraged by the theme, content and attitude of Wendy Doniger, author of Hindus: An alternative history, and her publisher Penguin. It is important to note that the title says that the book is about Hindus, and not just Hinduism.

Her book shows profound ignorance of Hinduism as a spiritual tradition by attributing to its followers a caricature that is nothing but a reflection of her own sex-obsessed diseased mind: it tells us more about Doniger and her state of mind—racist, obsession with abnormal sex and a tragic life devoid of the finer feelings of human relationships that forces her to seek release in perverted thoughts—than about Hindus or Hinduism. As ‘history’ it is a catalog of lies and blunders.

The Divinity School of the University of Chicago where Doniger teaches calls itself a “…tough-minded, sprawling, rigorous and dynamic conversation…” and that is exactly the spirit in which I am going to approach her and her work. Her book is a sexual fantasy that uses the tactic of name dropping from Hindu texts as props with scant regard for accuracy. (See India Abroad Magazine, February 21, 2014; Pages A14, A15 and A17 for details.)

Her shoddy approach to scholarly work and tendency to bluff and intimidate those questioning her facts were fully exposed during the lawsuit. This shoddy scholarship and fabrication of data were what made her publisher withdraw and pulp her book. These could not be defended on the grounds of freedom of expression. Her conduct was legally indefensible and left her publisher vulnerable. Sensing defeat, Penguin chose the only way out.

Doniger’s response was a typical falsehood in which she blamed “…the Indian law that makes it a criminal rather than civil offense to publish a book that offends any Hindu, a law that jeopardizes the physical safety of any publisher…” This too is a falsehood: the law in question protects all religions not just Hinduism. All this suggests that Doniger has only contempt for truth, especially when it stands in her way.

There were no threats and the book was not banned: Penguin decided to reach an out of court settlement because it was on a weak wicket, legally speaking. Contrast this with the treatment meted out to Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen— or Ram Swarup whose scholarly yet non-pornographic work Understanding Islam Through Hadits was banned.

So Doniger’s pose as a victim does not wash. It was precisely because Hindus are not violent that Doniger targets Hindus in her pornographic treatises. So it is safe to vent her hate and frustration at Hindus rather than at the violence-prone Muslims or Christians whose patronage is essential for her continued employment at the University of Chicago Divinity (?) School. Similarly, her claim as a Jew cannot excuse her racism and hatred towards the Hindus, the only people in history to have never persecuted the Jews.

Recalling Doniger’s excuse “…the Indian law that makes it a criminal rather than civil offense to publish a book that offends any Hindu [Sic: false.], a law that jeopardizes the physical safety of any publisher…” also smacks of arrogance. So, India (and presumably other countries) should change their legal systems so this sick woman is free to peddle her pornography without regard to its possible negative influence on impressionable minds— in classrooms, homes and playing fields. She is after all supposed to be an academic whose books are meant to be used by students and teachers.

This hedonistic posturing raises an interesting point: are there no boundaries even for teachers whose work may influence young minds? How about child pornography then— a perversity which going by the record Doniger is fully capable of? Are we to stand by and let her exercise her ‘right’ to interpret material sacred to others using child pornography as medium? If not her, one of her imitators and/or admirers is sure to do it sooner or later.

This is damaging to society, above all to children. But a sick, self-obsessed hedonist like Doniger cannot be expected to show any consideration for society or its children. Hence society must protect itself against predators like Doniger. That is what laws are for. Most countries including the United States have laws against child pornography. Several activist groups are examining Doniger’s works to see if there are passages that may be grounds for prosecution under child pornography laws in various countries including the U.S.

This is a criminal offense far more serious than the one under which her book was withdrawn by Penguin. We are grateful to Mr. Batra and his associates for showing how decency laws can be used to deal with anti-social pretenders to scholarship like Wendy Doniger. (Example: Sec. 43.24. SALE, DISTRIBUTION, OR DISPLAY OF HARMFUL MATERIAL TO MINOR.)

Wendy Doniger carries the title Mircea Eliade Professor; I suggest changing it to Marquis de Sade Professor would be appropriate. (For the record, Mircea Eliade was no less an unsavory character. He was a member and supporter of the Romanian Fascist Iron Guard, and during World War II said to have been a Nazi Gestapo agent and close to fascist dictators Franco and Salazar. Only Doniger has given his legacy a new turn.)

In any event, legal options will continue to be explored. Personally it has been a painful journey. Over the past several decades I have had the pleasure of interacting with students and faculty at the University of Chicago in the sciences and mathematics. The most cherished was a brief association with the late Subrahmanaian Chandrashekar, a Hindu no doubt despised by Doniger, but brought more honor to the University with his Nobel Prize in physics than Doniger with her pornographic excesses.

Dr. N.S. Rajaram is an Indian mathematician, notable for his publications on the Aryan Invasion debate, Indian history, and Christianity. Among his numerous books, the “The Dead Sea scrolls and the crisis of Christianity” is widely acclaimed.
  • N.Paramasivam

    I wonder how a school teacher write a pornography book. To cover pornography, a soft religion is covered. Though the book is not banned, people should not buy these kind of pornography books. The author firther lets her religion down, by calling herself as a Jew.

  • Gogo

    How Publisher dared to publish such non sense book, for which they have to leak their spitted….

  • I see the issue as one of social responsibility as a teacher which I was for over two decades and continue to be one informally. As teachers we are responsible for shaping young minds and serving as role models to the younger generation. Pornography may sell but never serves as a role model. Doniger is forever tainted as a woman who defiled her noble profession. She will never shake it off.

  • Dr. Jayaraman

    Penguin’s decision to withdraw and destroy all Wendy’s book copies shows that Wendy has lost her own publisher’s confidence. It is definitive proof that she is a charlatan, if any such proof was ever needed. Many of us knew it long back, when Microsoft Encarta removed her article from its Encyclopedia for shoddy scholarship spewing venom at Hinduism.

    Wendy has been exposed. She has nowhere to hide.

  • Her publisher did not withdraw the book. It is still for sale, and in fact is selling many more copies now.

  • India, the Cradle of Civilization
    The Hindu and Hinduism are modern tools to exploit and create rift between ‘This or that Hindu’ to rule over India. The Wendy Doniger is modern weapon in the race.
    India was world leader and cradle of civilization. There was no theft, robbery, shops and houses were open for all without lock and key. All were doing their duties at their own. It was due to the deep rooted theology with the theory of reincarnation that every one is bound to face actions in life with new birth. It was having the background of Vedic Science fully. With time the Vedas were beyond interpretation, and turned towards sacrificial rituals to satisfy God and soul.
    The human sentiments were kept alive with sentiments of god- soul relationship and reincarnation of God to re establish righteousness time to time. It has been established with different stories from time to time with modification by the narrator as per their fancy in the language of common man. The vast Sanskrit literature is filled with this, and higher knowledge of God and soul at molecular level in Upnishads and Vedas. It has laid down the sound ethical foundation of the Indian culture. It was exploited by the invaders and the rulers to rule over India with religious sentiments only. The long slavery of India, under Moughal and British Emperor devalued it with their superstitious religion and faith in one God.
    The Hindu and Hinduism are modern tools to exploit and create rift between ‘This or that Hindu’ to harvest vote bank. The Wendy’s book is dual edged modern weapon.

  • H L Parthasarathy

    Unfortunately, the english press has written against pulping the book in the name of freedom of expression! I wish they read the Article by the U.S. academic Shri Rajaram NS. He has clearly exposed Wendy Doniger for what she is.