Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism; a Muslim’s Perspective

    As a Muslim, I stand with Rajiv Malhotra’s crusade to set the record straight. I understand what the faulty writings do; destroy the cohesiveness of a given society and its world”, says the author

    On March 5, 2010, I wrote, “The book: ‘Hindus, An Alternate History’ is out now. Wendy Doniger writes on Indian history laden with errors,. The petition points out specific mistakes and if you agree with the contents please sign; my signature is # 5935.” Today, on February 18, 2014, I looked at the Petition again, and it’s a disappointing number: 11,020.

    I am right in the middle after four years of signatures. Everyone had dropped the ball. As members of the civil societies we cannot perpetuate the errors and pass these on to the next generation as facts. It is our responsibility to highlight the errors, and let the reader “beware clause” be added to the book that the facts are not verified, particularly when the book proclaims it to be an alternate history of Hinduism. Wendy Doniger is a popular author and the responsibility falls squarely on her shoulders to set the record right.

    The publishers need to add a note of caution; that it is her version of the history and not necessarily the absolute truth. It is still not too late to add that caveat in the electronic version of the book. Indeed, all history books revisited must contain that warning. A few clauses in the petition may not have any grounding, but overall, the book has well documented errors that need to be addressed. The following video is a must to understand the errors. It is 2:33:45 long, but covers the errors in good detail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C tiARMXwI0Q As a Muslim, I stand with Rajiv Malhotra’s crusade to set the record straight.

    I understand what the faulty writings do; destroy the cohesiveness of a given society and its world. This was done to Quran as well, not the Arabic version, but the translation. The European Kings deliberately mistranslated the Quran in 1142 AD – to paint it in bad light and get their subjects worked up and fight for them against the invading Arabs. The Monastery of Abbey even coined the word Mohammadan to complete their propaganda.

    They frightened the Christians to fight against the “evil marauding” men from the desert, thus Islamophobia was born. Just like some of the European and American non-Hindu scholars of Hinduism have perpetuated the errors based on prejudices against Paganism, the Non-Muslim scholars have made the similar mistakes about Islam. The European and American scholars of Islam base their knowledge on those mistranslations. Unfortunately, even a Muslim has mistranslated it to do the opposite (www.QuraanConference.com). Just like the Hindus did nothing about it, Muslims did nothing either.

    They simply endured the abuse silently. All of this has come to the fore since 9/11, and work has begun on it. I have done my share of work and need to go on a crusade like Rajiv Malhotra to rekindle the pluralistic heritage embedded in Islam, as he did with Hinduism. Criticism of Prophet, Quran and Islam will not make them disappear; I will repeat Criticism of Hinduism will not make Hinduism disappear either. Islam is not going anywhere; prophet is not going anywhere, and by opening ourselves up to criticism, we will learn a lot more about our faith than we would ever know.

    We need to move away from intolerance to acceptance of a different point of view without having to agree with it. Prophet Muhammad lived through it and Muslims can learn from his examples. The best way to combat anything in life is to produce a better product- said Prophet Muhammad, which we successfully employed against Pastor Jones challenge to burn 2998 Quran copies. Rajiv Malhotra has done a similar thing in response to Wendy Doniger’s book. I am glad to read both sides of the issues – that’s what ups us to see things rationally. I watched the Video, it is good as well.

    Indeed, some of the references made in the book were pulled out of thin air. However, forcing the book to be withdrawn goes against the God given right to free speech, just as the fatwa against Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie is wrong. The right thing to do is publish a book to counter it – as is done by Rajiv Malhotra. The real issue is freedom of press. No matter how bad and ugly it is, freedom is the right way to guard all in the end. I have opposed any censorship of freedom of expression. If we introduce discretion, then it will create more problems.

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