Who is Rajiv Malhotra? What is the hype about “The Battle For Sanskrit”?

By Sunil Kumar

Rajiv Malhotra is an Indian-American author and Hindu activist who, after a career in the computer and telecom industries, took early retirement in 1995 to found The Infinity Foundation, which focuses on Indic studies and promotes a non-western and nationalistic view on India and Hinduism.

English: Photo of Rajiv Malhotra at a conferen...

Visit sunil-kumar.co.in English: Photo of Rajiv Malhotra at a conference at Indian Institute of Science. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Try reading some of his books, if you are so inclined. Now; about “The Battle For Sanskrit”. The gist of this book is that India needs a home team to stand up for Indian culture as something critical to it is at stake. As the other answer to this question indicated, some of our people are pretty conversant with the latest football statistic rather than core cultural concepts.

Here’s the gist;

In his recent book, The Battle For Sanskrit, Malhotra raises questions that are critical for Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language and Sanskriti, the core Indian civilizational values that found expression through this language and over the last few millennia, has inspired every other field of human thought and activity in the Indian subcontinent and beyond. The book should interest not only those who live within the Indian value space anywhere in the world, but also those who may be even remotely interested in India and the history of this language, which is now being linked to the widespread social disparity in India. Besides, the book also touches upon the highly contested Western Universalism.

Malhotra explores the issue by focusing on a prominent American scholar Sheldon Pollock, a Harvard graduate and currently a professor at the Columbia University, celebrated globally for his authority on Sanskrit language. The author examines Pollock’s scholarly works produced over the years in the area of Sanskrit studies, his views on India, his political activism and the larger implications of his proliferating army of highly articulate fellow-scholars taking his views across the world. For the past few decades, Pollock has been interpreting India’s Sanskrit and Sanskriti and exporting it back to the Indians, by infusing new meanings to the old Sanskrit texts.

Narayana Murthy has established the Murty Classical Library; which will also be handled by Pollock; and will have ancient works(mainly literature and philosophy); including Sanskrit. I know for this a fact; because I’ve had a chat with Rohan Murthy; Narayana Murthy’s son; and suggested that he could possibly include ancient scientific books.

Mr. Malhotra opposes Sheldon Pollock; due to his standard Euro-centric; non-reverential and leftist perspective on the interpretation of ancient Hindu texts; which Rajiv Malhotra believes are in the Dharmic mould. That about sums it up. Hope this answers your question.


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