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Fundamentalist Cleric Throws Plagiarism Bull at American Author

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Author: Narayanan Komerath

  1. The Mugging

It sounded serious at first glance. The Indian media clamored in chorus that a ‘renowned historian’[1] from a renowned University had accused an American writer in public of plagiarism, that Greatest of Sins. A Petition had called for an American publisher to withdraw two books already published, both rapidly rising in readership and impact. The ‘less mainstream’ media, which I have learned to check to find the truth and a bit of intelligence these days, was a bit less adulatory[2]. It was eerily reminiscent of thirteen years ago[3] when the humble couple who ran a charitable organization were accused in a hyena-pack attack by the same general entities of being ‘fronts’ for ‘hate’ and ‘genocide’. And that was what made me :LOL

I know of Harper Collins for one reason. They published “To Kill A Mockingbird”[4] – a novel graphically exposing the struggle for justice in the racist-terrorized American Deep South of the 1950s. Surely took enormous guts. Surely they must have faced strong letters, threats of boycott and much worse then – maybe dolts in bedsheets burning crosses on the company lawn? Papal Bulls? Inquisitions? They stood their ground. The book won a Pulitzer Prize and became a world-famous movie. Today, the Harper Collins company faces a much less scary storm of Open Letters and Allegations from the same general quarters. I hope their executives are at least 10% of the strength and integrity and insight of their predecessors. Today the issue is equally about the struggle of a simple people to get justice – and the hate attacks from the Established Authorities to continue slavery and oppression.

  1. The Assault

One Mr. Richard Fox Young had sent an Open Letter and posted the same on the Internet, accusing Mr. Rajiv Malhotra, author of ‘Indra’s Net’[5] among a quartet of excellent books, of ‘plagiarizing’ the work of one Mr. Nicholson. The cleric listed a few instances where passages from Malhotra’s book looked similar to those from something written by Nicholas. He claimed that these were not properly referenced, some even missing (horror of horrors!) quotation marks. And what did Mr. Nicholson think of all this? He claimed on a blog site[6] to be ‘pained’ that ‘his’ work had been thus used, and even ‘distorted’ (meaning to ignorant me, not being the same words or meaning as he intended). While generous with abuse, sneering and irresponsible allegations, it offered no specific points. Overall it sounded rather shrill and maturity-challenged, raising some concerns about the standards for PhDs in this area, let alone promotion to Associate Professor at SUNY[7] 9 years off his PhD. Mr. Nicholson’s biosketch at SUNY does show over 10 papers including 2 books with a new India-based publishing outfit. In real university departments, this might merit serious consideration for a fresh-PhD assistant professor post. A section titled “Publisher Permanent Black Adds” is, well, interesting. Readers can judge for yourselves, this is the Internet.

There is no evidence that all this came after other efforts had failed. Anytime someone finds insufficient attribution, one writes politely and privately first to the author and publisher seeking correction, since one is always mindful that one too is human, and makes errors. This is a curious point, and begs the question of intent on the part of the accusers.

  1. The Riposte

Mr. Malhotra’s riposte[8] was swift and pointed. He pointed out that

a. He had indeed used Mr. Nicholson’ work, as was evident: he had referenced him 30 (thirty) times in the book. Many if not most of those were in quotes; in other places, as reading clarity demanded, quotes were omitted but the source was clear to any intelligent reader. Perhaps there were a couple of places where quotes should be added, thanks for pointing that out, corrections were welcome and incorporated into the next printing of each book.

b. The usual practice for any such offended reader was to contact the author and point to the need for correction, and he was surprised at the absence of any such effort.

c. He wondered whether he had cited Nicholson far too often[8], and whether those were indeed the original ideas and work of Nicholson. He politely but publicly asked Nicholson to provide some evidence of actual original work.

  1. Independent Assessment: Point-By-Point Rebuttal

Knowledgeable readers did their own independent review and assessment of all the charges. The wonder of the Internet is that we do not have to assess that based on their credentials, race, color, age, gender or national origin: we can look at the evidence directly at this website[9]. In the technical parlance with which I am familiar, this is called a ‘point-by-point rebuttal’. Complete. With evidence and logic. No shrillness needed or appropriate. In the street parlance with which I am also familiar, this would be called a ‘butt-kicking’ or, in less genteel terms, an “ass-whupping”. It leaves little doubt that the allegations of plagiarism are without merit, and indeed, they are utterly incompetent and malicious.

  1. Background

I am aware of a few situations where one had to carefully consider the issue of plagiarism. One involved a student who had quoted extensively from a textbook in the Introduction to his PhD thesis, and had got the reference wrong. The new PhD had proudly sent his thesis to the author of the textbook among others with compliments. The issue came to light when the ex-student discovered at a conference that the textbook author was angry. The situation was rectified by prompt and thorough correction. All concerned were informed, the thesis was defended again, the published version was replaced. Dr XYZ was satisfied. The ex-student is now really internationally renowned.

Other stories involve students in courses. A good university has enlightened policies: There is a swift determination of the facts, intent and need for a lesson. Usually the result is a zero on the particular test or assignment. A good teacher may also turn around and provide a harsh additional assignment with ample opportunity for an educational redemption, and even a fair chance for a decent course grade. But this requires a decent administration, honest students, and honest professors as those students’ advisors – not a wise gamble these days. While cheating is not condoned or ignored, in no event does a civilized university go on a gleeful lynch-mob romp reminiscent of “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Princeton University does have a particularly nasty reputation. A 1982 case reported in the New York Times[10] and as I recall, in TIME, concerned a young woman with a name clearly not WASP, at the end of a stellar undergraduate record. Her degree was suspended for a year and the law firms that had made offers to her were informed that this was because of plagiarism in a final paper in a Spanish class. The charge was that although she had cited a source 5 times, and made her professor well aware of her intention to use that source, that was not enough. When she sued, Judge William A. Dreier professed shock at “an overreaction” and ”at .. a knee-jerk reaction to the label plagiarism rather than looking at the circumstance of the situation.’‘ [10]. Princeton’s lawyers prevailed. The facts were never explored. The courts had to decide only whether they could get involved in the university’s decision making. Today the Federal Educational Right to Privacy law would nail anyone who revealed any such personal information to the outside world as Princeton did. But little else has changed from basically an Inquisition system, per the Daily Princetonian[11].

Princeton of course has different standards for its administrators and Trustees. The Dean of Architecture was eased out of Deanship[12] citing “lack of familiarity with Princeton’s plagiarism policy” after he submitted a ‘contribution’ to an international exhibition, taken verbatim from Wikipedia without attribution. Standards are different further up the food chain. The co-Chairman of Princeton’s Board of Trustees is the Governor of New Jersey, now running for the Republican nomination for President of the USA. In 2009, this former Attorney General allegedly used segments from a British show[13] without attribution in campaign ads.

In the case of other faculty, the charge of plagiarism can be career-ending. It is likely to result in suicide. Fierce and destructive law-suits can also result. Otherwise one is blessed like Princeton with the legal environment of the Colonial Carribbean in the movie “Lock Up Your Daughters”[14] that constituted my introduction to Western Culture as an undergrad in the IIT: “If she screams ‘rape’ then he must hang. If he was innocent, or she didn’t really mean it, then she must hang”. No other outcomes allowed. So a fair person does not make such a charge lightly. One thinks carefully: How deliberate was this? Did the person really try to pass off stolen work as his/her own? Why? Was there a monetary benefit? Was it out of laziness? Just to save effort – the reason for most student problems under severe stress of the end of the semester? Has public irrepairable damage been done? Is it just a matter of omitting some quotation marks?

The present charges fail all those tests.

Mr. Malhotra does not NEED to copy any of these people’s so-called ‘works’. He does not need knowledge from them. He is not in the business of inventing history or philosophy. He refers to them mainly to illustrate and expose the ignorance, and sometimes the debates within their community – which would be hard to do without quoting their statements extensively. His books are indeed ‘polemic’, not academic texts. He certainly does not quote them to save time – it would be much easier to not quote them at all. The most probable explanation for Malhotra’s 30 citations of Mr. Nicholson’s work is that he saw some hope of Nicholson being able to improve on the standards of the RISA. Mr. Malhotra was evidently wrong: Nicholson swears allegiance and adoration of his thesis advisor Sheldon Pollock, who (surprised?) graduated under the same advisor as Wendy Doniger. See below under “RISA” for the significance of those names.

In a field where original work is rare, and faculty spend their time on Internet blogs, Twitter and Facebook rather than writing research proposals, deriving equations or conducting experiments, and publish few papers, citations are the currency of bragging rights. Mr. Malhotra may have wanted to help out the young Mr. Nicholson, lately on the tenure track. Having got tenure, however, Nicholson declares that Malhotra does not know Sanskrit. The Independent Reader/Reviewer analysis shows clearly that there is absolutely no substance in the charges made. Which leaves only the one conclusion: the charges are malicious. Perhaps Mr. Malhotra should check the dictionary for a Hindi/Urdu term: ‘NamakHarAm’.

But come on! You might say. Why would these Academics stoop so low? I can help you there, because I can easily believe that they would. They are from the crowd that tried to put sand in the mouths, figuratively speaking, of leprosy patients. Of orphans. Of battered women. Of the poorest of the poor. Back in 2002. Several of us had to spend thousands of hours fighting that war [15-16]until they were run of town in laughter. So below, let us consider some other motives behind the “U-Turn” and Young’s media- coordinated gang attack.

  1. The RISA-Lila

Since retiring from business some 20 years ago, Mr. Malhotra focused attention on the abusive misrepresentation of Indian and specifically Hindu culture, religion and contributions. In 1999 he systematically exposed the bias in CNN’s reporting on India before and after the Kargil War. He then went on to study the RISA – the Religion in South Asia ‘scholarly’ group comprised of entities in US and some European ‘south asia’ and ‘religious studies’ schools. Stunned by the ignorance, he tried engaging some in debate, but found their web fora, let alone their journals, closed to contributions from so-called “lay” people – a silly arrogance that would be unthinkable in, say, engineering. For instance, so-called librarians from England, yoga instructors from Alabama, English teachers from Pakistan, and first-year graduate students were welcomed as Scholars on Hinduism and India, but knowledgeable and articulate people such as Malhotra were shut out, and even professors such as Dr. Balagangadhar from Europe were barely allowed to post. There was a good reason for the shyness of these people: they were plumb ignorant, some might say stupid but I am too well-brought-up to say so. Let me put it this way: if these people were in fact at the top of the SAT scores and their high school classes.. never mind. Its too far a stretch of reality.

In 2004, the RISA indeed encountered reality: they realized that the outside world was hurting themselves laughing using their deep ‘scholarly’ posts as soccer balls of ignorance to kick around. They decided to go underground. Some resurfaced circa 2006 as part of the herd of Top 100 Indologists led by Harvard Professor Michael Witzel and his faithful sidekick Mr. Steve “I have been learning Sanskrit for 3 months” Farmer, to try to deny Hindu children in California the right to an equitable existence. Of course they flunked there too, see “SAT scores” above. As devastating court judgements loomed in both the State Court (case filed by the Hindu American Foundation on procedural violations) and the US Federal Court (civil rights violation case filed by a determined group of parents, the California Parents for Equalization of Educational Materials) the California Board and Harvard’s battery of legal eagles, had to settle. In other words, after spending millions of taxpayer or Harvard Foundation dollars trying to stall the inevitable, they had to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to both the HAF and CAPEEM. Of course they then claimed victory – as indeed they should, in the relief that they had escaped the long prison terms that loomed if the cases actually went to judgement.

Malhotra wrote two devastating exposes, titled RISA-lila 1 [17] and 2 [18] (a take on the phrase RAsa-lila denoting Sri Krishna’s youth), describing the inbred nature of RISA. RISA is dominated by PhDs from one particular group at the University of Chicago led by one Ms. Wendy Doniger, known for her pornographic representation of Hinduism. Hint: do not confuse this part of U.Chicago with the one that participated in the Manhattan Project or wins Nobel Prizes. All copies of her latest book had to be ‘pulped’ by Penguin executives in India in 2013 [19], faced with the prospect of jail under the laws against hate-inciting mischief and child pornography.

Denied access to the journals of the inbred American Academy of Religion, Mr. Malhotra took to the Internet at the height of the Internet boom. Karma. For the first time, tens of thousands of Indians and Hindus had equal access, time and connectivity to realize the scam that was being perpetrated by the Religious Studies and Divinity Schools. Mr. Malhotra’s name recognition grew, and even in India people started realizing that there was an alternative to currying favor with Harvard, Oxford and Chicago. Much has been written exposing the RISA’s trademark specialties [20].

  1. And so the Motive..

As realization has dawned slowly in the less Web-savvy communities of India, demand for Malhotra’s articles zoomed, prompting him to come out with published hardcover and softcover books. There are now four. The real topic of fear for the RISA appears to be the impending fifth. That is titled “Battle for Sanskrit”. It is expected to directly expose and focus on the activities of the group headed by Sheldon Pollock, Mr. Nicholson’s thesis advisor.

As a researcher, I know that someone who cites my papers 10 times without abusing me, is my friend for life. After all, one writes to be read and if possible, cited favorably. Mr. Nicholson’s ‘U-Turn’ (I am borrowing that term from Mr. Malhotra!) against someone who cited his own work 30 times, and apparently with approval not antipathy, raises some serious issues of motive, albeit an admirable sense of survival. His declaration of undying loyalty to his ex-Advisor is as touching as it is entertaining: he can kiss goodbye to promotion to full professor otherwise, and be like Mr. Young. Nah! Maybe it is just par for the course for the RISA.

  1. Why Do the Heathen Rage?

Rajeev Srinivasan succinctly describes the attackers[21]. They come from a lobby where three interests converge: First are the fundamentalist Protestant conversionist/ ‘evangelists’ out to Save the Souls of people all over the world, particularly India, by destroying their native culture and religions. The second lobby is the extreme-left combination of Marxist anarchists relevance-challenged by the demise of global communism, and the extreme-Islamists funded from the Pakistani/Saudi Wahabi cartels to destroy democracy. These are people who stand around in San Francisco or New York on July 4 and August 15 holding posters proclaiming “Death To Terrorist India and America!” or “Brick by brick, wall by wall, US Imperialism will fall!” (see [3]). The third are the supporters of the Indian National Congress party, who are now out of power and hate those who voted them out.

Mr. Richard Fox Young appears to be mostly of the 1st group, though with a following from the second and third. His specialty is best summed up as “Why Do The Heathen Rage?” as bellowed by Presbyterian and Baptist preachers every Sunday. He has written about the Resistance of Hindus to conversion and destruction of their religion, of the Resistance of the Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Japan likewise to destruction and conversion, and now is stunned by the resistance of the Hindus in the USA to conversion and destruction. Young is listed as an Associate Professor [22] 35 years after he got his PhD, 43 years after an MA, working at the Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS).

Interesting place, this Seminary. They claim to be part of the ‘Princeton Community’. PTS is located near but not affiliated with the University any more than the Princeton Wines LLC liquor store is part of the University.  Such differences are lost on attention-challenged and gullible Indian ‘journalists’, and the confusion has been used to cynical advantage. For instance Richard Land, an alumnus of the Seminary, was allegedly [23] caught confusing the two before he was eventually fired for his racist comments, and for plagiarizing a Washington Times correspondent in his radio commentary. Young’s feelings towards Hinduism are clearly displayed under his photo on Twitter, and leave no doubt that this attack has little to do with any objective concern about ethics: it is a coordinated attack much more like what Atanu Dey described [2].

9. The Investigation: 

One result of all this is that people have woken up, and Andrew Nicholson’s methodology has come under the scanner. Reading that shrill blog whine, it is hard to imagine any deep philosophy being present at its source. More than one knowledgeable person have identified one source of ‘his’ ideas as the Indian philosopher Surendranath Dasgupta. At this writing, his PhD thesis and later writings are being examined by experts. The indicators that I see being tossed around are quite disturbing.

At SUNY, the administration is more loyal to faculty than Princeton’s [24]. The chairman of their classics department was accused of lifting translations of Latin texts and presenting them as his own work. A SUNY professor investigated complaints from Italy and conveyed his shocked findings to the top Administration. The Italians asked again a year later. It was not until The Chronicle of Higher Education published the story even later that there was any action. So Nicholson should be safe, if indeed he has only taken knowledge from mere Indian Hindus. Maybe this is RISA-Lila, Part 3.

Satyam Eva Jayate.

[1] Historian Richard Fox Young Accuses Writer Rajeev Malhotra of Plagiarism. In.com, July 7, 2015. https://in.newshub.org/historian-richard-fox-young-accuses-writer-rajeev-malhotra-plagiarism-17530702.html

[2] Dey, Atanu, “Circular Firing Squad of Flying Attack Monkeys Target Rajiv Malhotra”. July 17, 2015. http://www.deeshaa.org/2015/07/17/circular-firing-squad-of-flying-attack-monkeys-target-rajiv-malhotra/

[3] Komerath, N., “Yesterday Once More: a FOIL Primer ”. Chapter 4 in Rajan, R. and Kak, K., Ed.,“NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds: Anti-National Industry”. Vigil Public Opinion Forum, Chennai, 2006, p. 81-99.

[4] Lee, Harper, “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Harper-Collins Publishers, 1960.

[5] Malhotra, Rajiv, “Indra’s Net: Defending Hinduism’s Philosophical Unity”. Harper Collins, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-9351362449. http://www.amazon.com/Indras-Net-Defending-Hinduisms-Philosophical/dp/9351362442

[6] Nicholson, Andrew J. “Upset about Rajiv Malhotra’s plagiarism, even more upset about distortions of my work”. Scroll.in, July 17, 2015. http://scroll.in/article/742022/upset-about-rajiv-malhotras-plagiarism-even-more-upset-about-distortions-of-my-work . Also published as Advani, Rukum, with the same title and content at http://permanent-black.blogspot.com/

[7] Andrew J. Nicholson. Associate Professor of Asian and Asian American Studies. Bishembaranath & Sheela Mattoo Center for India Studies, State University of New York. Viewed July 19, 2015. http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/india/people/faculty.html.

[8] Malhotra, R. “Dear Andrew Nicholson..”. Rajiv Malhotra responds to Andrew Nicholson. July 18, 2015. http://swarajyamag.com/culture/dear-andrew-nicholson/

[9] Independent Readers and Reviewers: “Rebuttal of false allegations against Hindu scholarship: A review of allegations of plagiarism in: Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines, by Rajiv Malhotra (RM), Aravindan Neelakandan (AN), (Amaryllis, 2011), and A review of allegations of plagiarism in: Indra’s Net: Defending Hinduism’s Philosophical Unity, by Rajiv Malhotra (HarperCollins, 2014)”


[10] Kleiman, D., “Senior at Princeton Disciplined for ‘Plagiarism’, Sues for Libel”. New York Times, May 17, 1982. Viewed July 19, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/1982/05/17/nyregion/senior-at-princeton-disciplined-for-plagiarism-sues-for-libel.html

[11] Cohen, L., “The Jury and the Prosecutors – Tape of hearing reveals that concerns over presumption of guilt continue to mar Princeton’s disciplinary process”. The Daily Princetonian, March 13, 2014. Viewed July 19, 2015. http://dailyprincetonian.com/news/2014/03/the_jury_and_the_prosecutors/

[12] Mark, Laura, “Zaera-Polo Hits Out At Plagiarism Rumors Following Princeton Exit”. March 16, 2015. http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/daily-news/zaera-polo-hits-out-at-plagiarism-rumours-following-princeton-exit/8680018.article

[13] Edwards, D. and Tencer, D., “GOP Candidate Christie in Trouble With The ‘Knights Who Say Ni’ “. November 3, 2009. http://www.rawstory.com/2009/11/monty-python-slams-christie/

[14] Movies.com: “Lock Up Your Daughters!” 1969. Viewed July 19, 2015. http://www.movies.com/lock-up-your-daughters/details/m1484

[15] Rao, R. et al, “IDRF: Let the Facts Speak”. Morris Publishing, NJ, 2003. 213p.

[16] Komerath, N., “The Lashkar-e-Pinocchio Rides Again”, Chapter 5 in Rajan, R. and Kak, K., Ed.,“NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds: Anti-National Industry”. Vigil Public Opinion Forum, Chennai, 2006, p. 100-115.

[17] Malhotra, R., “RISA Lila -1: Wendy’s Child Syndrome”. Suleka.com 2002. Viewed 87,855 times.   http://creative.sulekha.com/risa-lila-1-wendy-s-child-syndrome_103338_blog

[18] Malhotra, R., “RISA Lila – 2 – Limp Scholarship and Demonology”. Sulekha.com, 2003. Viewed 39,518 times. http://creative.sulekha.com/risa-lila-2-limp-scholarship-and-demonology_103560_blog

[19] Arora, Kim, “Penguin to Destroy Copies of Wendy Doniger’s Book, The Hindus”. February 11, 2014. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Penguin-to-destroy-copies-of-Wendy-Donigers-book-The-Hindus/articleshow/30225387.cms

[20] Komerath, N., “Protestant Pedagogues Peeved at Protests Againt Porn-Peddling”. June 1, 2004. http://www.ivarta.com/columns/OL_040601.htm

[21] Srinivasan, Rajeev, “Wendy’s Revenge: Plagiarism charge against Rajiv Malhotra is a red herring”. Firstpost, July 18, 2015. http://www.firstpost.com/ideas/wendys-revenge-plagiarism-charge-rajiv-malhotra-red-herring-2349804.html

[22] Elmer K. and Ethel R. Timby Associate Professor of the History of Religions. Princeton Theological Seminary. http://www.ptsem.edu/index.aspx?id=1960&menu_id=72

[23] Wikipedia, “Richard Land”. Seen July 18, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Land

[24] Arenson, Karen, “SUNY Classics Professor Is Accused of Plagiarism”. The New York Times, February 22, 2002. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/22/nyregion/suny-classics-professor-is-accused-of-plagiarism.html?pagewanted=print



  1. rajeev2007 says:

    dear narayanan, brilliant expose of a whole lot of nonsense that goes on in academia with the explicit purpose of keeping the ‘right people’ employed. beyond that, this fox young character has nothing to do with academics, being a garden variety fire-and-brimstone bible-thumper. i suspect all this fuss is because a) wendy doniger has a new book out and needs some publicity to sell copies to the brain-dead in india, b) rajiv malhotra is writing a new book.

  2. Atanu Dey says:

    Thanks for a fine piece on setting the record straight about the fake plagiarism charges against Rajiv Malhotra.

    (Please do fix a typo. In the last line of point (8), the name should be “Atanu” and not “Atul.” Thanks.)

  3. Amarnath says:

    I consider myself a nascent supporter of works of Sri Rajiv Malhotra and want to thank you for illuminating on the whole plagiarism issue. I have no doubt about malicious nature of the accusations.
    I have one question about the last paragraph of your blog. You mention “The chairman of their classics department was accused of lifting translations of Latin texts and presenting them as his own work.”
    I feel the accusers will point to this and claim that this charge is similar to the one against Rajiv ji and using Rajiv ji’s logic he could claim that it was no original work as it was just a translation.
    I could not justify this example in the overall theme of this blog. Could you elucidate on this more.

    • oldn3 says:

      Thanks, Mr. Amarnath. The case in question in SUNY appears to be one where someone who is paid to be an Authority on the (western) Classics lifted translations of the ancient Latin into modern Italian or Greek, and then placed those as being HIS OWN translations, as an authority on the Classics. This is what I hope (!) the good associate prof at SUNY has not done: gone to an ancient land, found the work of a native scholar who translated from the ancient languages, and then repeated those IDEAS, if not actual words, in his thesis/books as “his” original ideas developed from his own work. If this is the case, it is as serious as, if not worse than, the actions of the (former) SUNY Classics Chair. I hope for his sake that this is not the case, or if it is, he needs to come clean very fast, because I can assure you that the people now reading his work are expert in Samskrtam AND ingrained with native Sanatana Dharma tradition from childhood, and have superlative skills and persistence in analysis and logic. IOW, they do not let go of an issue once seized of it. I would not get into an argument with them, I know that for sure.
      There is no parallel to what Malhotra has done, or is alleged to have done. He has referenced his sources extensively. His references to Nicholson are not for translation, they are for the philosophical ideas of Unity In Hinduism that Nicholson presents as his own original work – and that Malhotra kindly allowed to be assumed as Nicholson’s own work (he says he is going to replace those with the original work – Dasgupta’s). The allegations against Mr. Malhotra, as I see from the ‘charges’ and the rebuttal, go like this. Suppose I referred to your post: ***According to Amarnath, “(Rajiv) could claim that it was no original work as it was just a translation”. He could not justify this example in the overall theme of the blog.****

      Have I plagiarized you, or accurately summed up what you said? Isn’t it evident that I was referring to your work and trying to be as honest and accurate as possible? Also, have I ‘distorted’ what you said, by using words slightly different from yours? (Hint to the Seminarists from the town where Albert Einstein lived: I do not believe so!) If my sentences were highlighted with a yellow marker and placed in a column next to yours, also highlighted with a yellow marker, it would look terrible, hain? QUOTES MISSING AND SENTENCE SLIGHTLY CHANGED!! Proof! Narayanan plagiarized Amarnath! The Indian Media’s Brown Dwarfs and Red Giants would explode in outrage. Mr. John Dayal would jump for joy, providing the pain in his rear has subsided after the effects of his debate against Malhotra. Ms. Doniger would do whatever she does when the ecstasy of reading her own interpretations of Hinduism becomes unbearable. But is there any substance in it? That is the trouble with their ‘allegations’, IMO. Yellow markers are not the same as grey cells, except to con Indian Mediots.

  4. Sekhar s says:

    West has Plagiarize India for over 100 years with out any attribution. Time is to take these so called western Hinduism expert to task. We haven’t forgot appropriation of many Hindu ancient knowledge into west. Andrew Nicholson has not mentioned any reference of his plagiarism in his book to many Indian authors or ancient text. What the hell you call that, if not plagiarism. If you do not follow western rules of academics you are a target. But Rajiv is bigger than all who is a “Free Mind” and not employed by these western institutions who has given them vaso vagal shock. Great job Rajiv Malhotra -cheers

    • Namaste Sekhar,

      That is exactly right about the differing standards of citations, comparing Indian or eastern standards of work documentation to that of the West. The West is a very selfish culture, so increasingly, everything has to be attributed. What Rajivji gave them was a taste of what it’s like in an alternate writing environment, where attribute is not primarily about giving due credit, but more so about leading the reader to that source so that it can be studied in full if desired. The Western definition is for establishing ownership of this paragraph or that paragraph. Again, we see the differences between Western and Indic thinking in regards to ownership. Just watch, it will get worse in the western world, to the point that one-third of a book is for references! (please note the sarcasm) What the West needs to understand is that he is approaching writing from a different standard of writing, and not necessarily from the Western/American standard of citation. Again, the West fails to understand the Indian writing from a different perspective, a different hermeneutics style, and following a different writing style and preemptively stuffing the Indian into a square peg measuring four inches square when obviously the Indian is a star shaped object measuring seven inches across. I mean, how do you do that? It is possible because of the level of ignorance that is evident within RISA participants. It is MIND-BLOWING! KEEP UP THE FIGHT, MALHOTRA! I want the Dharmic world back!

      • oldn3 says:

        Stephanie, thanks. Some older Adorations of The FOIL are at this blog site and in my list of references. I am however not going to grant that Young’s/ Nicholson’s complaints have any merit, in western, eastern, northern, southern or central traditions. I too have written and supervised a few things in the “western” style in intensely competitive (cannibalistic-canine) fields and am keenly aware (terrified is the better term) of all the poison ivy and minefields. Pls see the illustration I tried to give in reply to Amarnath – see how easy it is to cynically misrepresent, mislead and slander using a yellow marker and Xerox machine as Young appears to have done. We expect ALL authors to try to be honest but reasonable in demanding and giving credit to ideas, and respecting copyright. RM has done that in PLENTY (30 citations to one author!!) so that author has absolutely no basis for whining. For him to say on a blog that his work is used without attribution, is simply well…. I need not say it. RM is not really an “Eastern” author – he probably has a far better western education that actually required thought and original effort, than Nicholson or Young will ever achieve. What Mr. Young has done is the very ancient British political stunt, where someone thundered in their Parliament: DO YOU KNOW THAT HIS (SIBLING) IS A THESPIAN? . The easy answer for a careful listener/reader is: “Huh? zzzz!” But he is cynically depending on the naivete or cynicism of the “100 Top Indologists” and their chorus boys and girls in the RISA and their ‘panthankaraya’ (chaste Sinhalese term from my misspent childhood) in the Indian English-language media. Seen this a lot since 2002 – I just hate the amount of time and effort it takes to hammer into the vast oceans of innocent but uninformed people that these people are **not** what they claim or appear to be, and their declarations are pre-meditated and malicious. Amazed that the FOIL, FOSA, NRI-SAHI, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Aryan Nations, and the Indo-Euracist Research Group have not come out with their strong applause for Young and Nicholson. Yet.

        Back in 2002, this is what they did (as you know if you’ve read about the FOIL): They formed a gang, funded by Teesta Setalwad’s Mumbai-based “Sabrang” with money probably coming from the INC and from outside India. They claimed to be “American Professors” (few were even assistant professors) and to have done “5 years of meticulous research”. What they did was to download the listings of the charitable projects of the IDRF from the IDRF website, and put each name into one of 3 tables: “Hate Incitement”. “Hinduisation” and (something else, I don’t remember). Every project with an Indian vernacular name (as most did) was classified as “Hate” or “Hinduisation”. Fooled a LOT of “mediots”, “Eminent Chairs” etc etc. Scared the heck out of me when I first read it until I reached the Conclusions and :LOL. Thus it was that (among many other howlers) they classified the “Meeraj Medical Center” under “Hinduisation”. Real research would have shown in an instant that The MMC was an affiliate of the Presbyterian Church of North America. The whole cabal disintegrated whining and yowling. The rest of us were :ROTFL.

        Look at where those “Meticulous Researchers” are today. ***NOT** my doing, I assure you. Just their own ‘Karma’. Not to mention certain government law-enforcement agencies and late-awakening university administrations…. I actually feel sorry for some.

        Seriously, I think PTS needs to take a look at the ethics of some of their employees if their credibility is not to take another huge hit. B4 it is too late.

  5. Abdul Al-Okullah says:

    The SUNY faculty website (your ref 7) of Nicholson has been taken down. Did you save a copy?

    • Hari T says:

      Very interesting and amusing. Standard practice when things are headed south. In recent times, the precedence to this is the saga of one Professorin Annette Beck-Sicknger of University of Leipzing, who denied admission to an Indian male student with a written citation to the effect “All Indian men are rapists. I can not jeopardize my female students by hiring you”. What happened next is an exercise in disaster control by the university – they university pulled down her web page from university. She erases her personal email archives. The university erased her email server archives. Lo, behold, she never said it it. The email was a fabrication from a rejected student. I think they managed to contact Google and pull down references to her other non-academic activities as a champion of the female gender.

    • Hari T says:

      A version of the CV of Andrew Nicholson can be found at:


      Download it before it will be taken down.

      This is not hosted by SUNY, but a central directory of academics in universities.

      It looks like the SUNY has taken down the CVs of all people and professors in their center for India studies (http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/india/people/faculty.html).

  6. nandakumar chandran says:

    islam has always used the sword for conversion. missionaries target mostly poor folk. the congress party will wear pattai and tilak if it would help them get votes. why should indian communists get support from abroad? And hindu numbers in the west is negligent. so where is the basis for western scholarly attacks on hinduism? who funds it and for what purpose?

    • oldn3 says:

      Try exposing, say, the Medellin Cartel or the New Jersey Mafia and you will find the same. Conversionism has little to do with providing solace and a Path of Peace and Love, although there are indeed, and have been, many kind and caring people doing the real work recommended by the legend of Yesho Cristo. One has to make a careful distinction between these two kinds. See Malhotra’s debate at Princeton (on YouTube, I only watched a couple of minutes), where that distinction is explained. Conversionism is today, and has always been, a brutal and utterly destructive con. The Crusades, the Inquisition… the genocidal oppression of the native people of the Americas and Australia/New Zealand… The better question is why are these Seminary Schools and Divinity Schools around today. True, someone is needed to conduct Baptisms, weddings and funerals, and serve as a point for many Faithful people to talk in private. Centuries ago, the Church realized that there were too many con artists going around with Bibles and “Fire and Brimstone” speeches as RajeevS says below. So they decided that there had to be a License Raj that gave out Diplomas to Permit this business and take a cut from this con, in the age-old practice of the Mafia and Marxist Trade Unions. This is what set up Divnity Schools – Harvard was one of the first in the US. What exactly do they teach? I have not been inside one, thankfully! Let me just point to one statistic. Among the general population, the percentage of sex offenders is under 0.25%, which is still scary (source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/sex-offender-statistics/). Among Xtian priests, who are now by definition THE graduates of Divinity Schools and Seminaries, the percentage is something like 4 percent (source was claiming that the percentage of Catholic priests so accused is ONLY so much, and is no higher than that of Protestant priests -in the US: http://blogs.denverpost.com/hark/2010/05/25/scandal-creates-contempt-for-catholic-clergy/39/). The percentage of Conversionists who go abroad and commit abuses is, I suspect, far, far higher than those sitting in the US, since those people are literally regarded as “sheep” (no comments). How can this be? Well… look at the ‘textbooks’ written by their graduates and their faculty: Courtright, Doniger, Kripal… the list goes on and on. Look at the history of the Native Canadians on Vancouver Island, the native population of North America, Hawaii, of New Zealand, much of Africa (Islam took over the rest), Phillippines, Tahiti and the South Sea Islands, Sri Lanka, China, and of course, the well-known horrors of South America, Goa’s Inquisition, and the rest of India. The well-fed, well-funded conversionists in new Toyotas driving up to the tsunami-devastated villages of Sri Lanka in 2004, holding out water and food to the starving survivors – on condition that they Convert!!! (to their credit, the starving, thirsty villagers found energy to drive them out rather than accept drinking water from them). So now these are all getting exposed. The Heathen can read on the Internet. And people like Rajiv Malhotra are daring to publish books right ‘in their faces’. Why do you think they are attacking us? The funding comes from the same entities who funded oppression through the past 500 years and still do. It’s all about making obscene amounts of money.

      • nandakumar chandran says:

        if you are saying it is the church (which one?) which is behind all this – but why? is their goal merely that everybody should bow down to Jesus? Historically the church clergy accompanied the invaders – conquistadores in South America or the white settlers in North America and Africa etc. “When they came we had the land and they had the bible …” etc. The church seldom went it alone. The invaders too supported the clergy as it coincided with their interests. So who is backing the church today? Who are the invaders of today? Who are those who vie for the resources of other peoples and seek to dominate it?

  7. karigar says:

    Both erudite & hilarious in turn, and absolutely masterful in shaming the holier-than-thou Plagiarism Police …. Thanks Sri Komerath

  8. Manish says:

    A befitting reply from Rajiv sir seems to have awakened the pseudoseculars. Christian & Muslim rulers have tried to demean & destory Hinduism for 800 years and failed, if you have that kind of time, go ahead, the statistical probability of failure is 100%.

  9. Kamal says:

    Very interesting.. Thanks.

  10. sunil says:

    Very nice

  11. Satya says:

    Excellent rebuttal. Unfortunately, not many readers take time to dig deeper and realize the superficialness of these “charges” against Rajiv. Just think how much collateral/energy/time/effort has been spent by all on trying to “defend” against this shrewd “allegation”! Time that would have been spent on shredding, thread-bare, all the nonsense of these so-called western indologists, has been spent on such rebuttals. In this sense, these folks have achieved their goal. As for Indian media also joining hands with these western “indologists”- well I guess they know which way is their bread buttered! Besides, this is the age of instant TRPs and sound bytes, so MSM and Indian journalists (I shudder at the thought of calling them journalists, who are the K-mart-made-in-China types and just dont have the mental faculties to understand the issues), are simply indulging in shoot and scoot.

  12. Pratik says:

    superb expose sir 🙂

  13. Mohan Banjade says:

    Since ,last few months i am trying to follow Shree Rajiv Malhotra. He has done an excellent job to break down the hegemony of the colonial mind sets and their sub- servants ( parasites) .The colonial mind sets and their local agents have done or are doing same thing in Nepal too.They have distorted Nepalese history,sociology,anthropology and other faculty of studies. They mostly begin with the race issue,misinterpret social fabric and inject hostility among communities.This process started when Nepal was in the process of unification.Two Paadaris Jossepie and Angelo who were spying against Nepal to the East India company were asked by Nepal to go back.When they returned to Betiya they began to vomit poison against Nepal’s unification movement .Most probably it led few direct wars between colonial power and Nepal. Almost those Three types nexuses are working against Nepal’s social and cultural fabric.Because Nepal is in between India and China from where they can paly some other dirty games from here.So , do we require a coordinated effort to fight against these evils in some fronts at least.?

  14. Prabhat Gupta says:

    In the interest of transparency and disclosure I would like to state that I am a supporter of Shree RM. Now this what he has also said and I believe should become the mainstay:

    A hegemonic discourse is a body of ideas produced by an influential coterie of writers. The core ideas get restated over and over again, until they are seen as common knowledge. The group relies on a circle of mutually supportive reviews, and on one another’s institutional contacts and sources of patronage to gain leverage for their views. Under the guise of ‘peer reviews’, this process gives them the semblance of objectivity. As the process unfolds, there is less and less need to defend their positions, and anyone who tries to oppose faces a very heavy burden of proof. Their core thesis is increasingly taken for granted. This mode of thinking then gets implanted in other disciplines and into the mainstream. Even when fresh evidence or arguments come along to challenge it, it continues to live because it is embedded and has momentum.

    I say in the context of the West making it’s own versions of Hinduism with the help of sepoys and of course their own ignorant perverted lot.

  15. […] Narayanan komerath’s article dissecting & surgically exposing the deep rot within American […]

  16. i am 100 always sure West stole from us a lot of knowledge and presented them as their own….also we dont have any ways to fight and substantiate. Congress party has destroyed out culture and our ownknowledge base over these years

    • oldn3 says:

      The time to feel sorry for ourselves is past. It ended when the Internet came up. It does take effort to hunt down the facts, stand up and state the truth, and chase away the MoneyLenders Polluting the Temple, as the legend of Yesho Cristo showed by example. Of course the risks are also very much there, but heck, riding a bicycle to and from school on Swaraj Round as a schoolboy, where the Kerala State Transport buses came roaring down the wrong side edge of the road, was also risky. So was facing the 6′ 5′ fast bowlers in an age where there were no helmets or face masks or chest pads on uneven pitches. How long are we going to take this nonsense?

  17. Mukul says:

    Prof, I like the word `mediots’. Is it your own coinage, or has been in use earlier?

    Good trashing of RFY and foolish Indian media by you.

    • oldn3 says:

      I read too much good stuff to remember, so I am certainly not going to take credit. Let’s just say that it came from some place where several such terms have been coined, and that you are free to use it without fear of the Inquisition 🙂 Notice that I don’t refer to the specific ones who rushed in with their lynchmob mentality – it’s not that I don’t remember and recognize the names. Of course, being a well-brought-up, obedient, Macaulay-Marx-Convent-Mullah educated child (OK, every credential I have was proudly earned from an aam public institution), far be it from me to be disrespectful about India’s English-language Fourth Estate. I just try to be accurate. 🙂 Please see the sequence explained in the blog https://InquisitiveIndianblog at WordPress (a previous commenter here). You can see the same lemming-like rush to grasp any garbage thrown on the waters by the Masters, with absolutely not a microsecond’s pause to use the grey cells that All*h has placed between their ears as He put water inside a coconut. I have seen this happen numerous times. There is no real punishment for such behavior, except the ridicule that they get below their ‘articles’, which I don’t think they can read. I think they get bonus and promotions for making people angry with completely false and stupid articles, just like the pakistanis at the New York Times.

  18. Manny says:



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

  19. Krishna Murthy says:

    The nexus between the academic and religious elite is clearly explained in this piece. So what is important for us is to develop an alternative to this group which has gatekeepers from the seminary. May be we should adopt a different approach – use our population. For E.g.: With respect to Bhagavadgita the masses don’t care whether it is critically edited or not and now the version by Gita press is the de-facto standard. Why can’t same approach be adopted for all our traditional texts – instead of adopting to western corrupted ones let’s follow the Indian traditional ones. What is the need for a Western stamp for our own shastras?.

  20. And may I direct your attention to the FOIL paper – https://thetruthaboutliars.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/cci_report-07-29-11_2.pdf – a MUST READ for everyone!

  21. R.Venkatanarayanan says:

    Komerath’s fine article explains why Fox and associates have chosen the Plagiarism bomb to silence or destroy Rajiv Malhotra. It is because (i) they have nothing to say or write by way of rebutting RM’s books; and (ii) plagiarism charge is much too serious in academia and publishing world. The latter is easier road to take when the predator(s) know that the prey is unlikely to sue, given the cost and stress of doing so in the US. As for the few Indian camp following “scholars”, the less said the better. I doubt how many of them read RM’s books and Nicholson’s. One does not also know who among them is waiting for air tickets and fellowships to the modern academic Mecca.
    It will indeed be interesting to see the outcome of the research in to Nicholson’s research and his first hand knowledge of Sanskrit.

  22. lkkandpal says:

    We need more Kshatriyas to defend the Vedic dharma.

  23. Hari T says:

    By inciting RM with laughable charges, the American Indology Enterprise (AIE), as I would ike to call them, have walked themselves into a trap. Thanks to the free publicity from them & their Indian media hit men and women(*), the enterprise of distorting Hindu religious texts with academic decorations from top universities is paraded naked to all thinking Hindus across the globe. (Previously this was known only to a few living in the US and with an acute interest in Sanata Dharma). The war to preserve there turf will only be more intense from this point on. But will be of little avail. I expect PM Modi to take this matter seriously and establish a new university in India dedicated to this agenda – staffed with native scholars with erudition in Sanskrit and Indian philosophy disciplines.

    [I not for front page top banner posting in First Post, I would not have known of this drama. I have known of RM and works elsewhere and had engaged with some hard core RISA types in the past].

    • oldn3 says:

      Yes, it’s the RoadRunner Show all over again. Same Wyle E Coyotes, new Bright Idea. Same great opportunity for entertainment and as u say, free publicity. Can you believe it? Nearly 10,000 (TEN THOUSAND!!) signatures on Madhu Kishwar’s Petition, all thanks to the Young Rev. Fox and the Maharishi Andrew bin Nichol? The FOIL/Sabrang attack on the IDRF likewise boosted fundraising by Indian / Hindus in the US from ~$1M in 2002, to way over ~11M today. I may have spent 3000 hours exposing the FOIL-ies, and had to get new eyeglasses, but have never been starved of laughter and entertainment for over a decade. What would we do without the generous help of the FOIL and the RISA and the Indo-Euracist cartel?

  24. Ram Kumar says:

    Ha ha, RFY is burning and sending this blog to every where as a “hack job”. Imploring Rajiv to say something! If it weren’t for his white privilege this guy would have been kicked off twitter a long time ago, and been served a restraining order.

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