Rajiv Malhotra’s endorsement of Hindu-Christian dialogue – Vijaya Rajiva

Dr. Rajiva Vijaya“The present writer believes that the way to go is to reinforce the aam admi Hindu, the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths, rather than undermining them by subtle methods and often openly downgrading them in various ways.” – Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

Rajiv MalhotraIn an article in Huffington Post, author and writer Rajiv Malhotra repeats his interpretation of the ancient Hindu method of Purva Paksha as looking at various religions,especially Christianity and Western thought with respect, while maintaining differences (“Difference With Mutual Respect: A New Kind of Hindu-Christian Dialogue”). While religious leaders have traditionally maintained the posture that all religions are similar, Mr. Malhotra argues for the differences, while maintaining respect for each other’s world view. As one continues to read the article the reader realises that Malhotra is not actually saying anything new. In fact, his concluding statement is that there is a Divine One and its various manifestations are “lila.” This well written, charming essay is worth a first read, if only so that Hindus can understand where the author is going with his claims of a new kind of Hindu-Christian dialogue.

In previous articles the present writer has pointed out that Malhotra’s use of the ancient Hindu method of argument, Purva Paksha, is a truncated one, which stops short of “defeating” the adversary’s positions, and in fact aims at appeasing the adversary. Adi Shankara’s Digvijay tours of India (where he used Purva Paksha) were aimed at defeating the enemy in argument, not in appeasing him/her. Malhotra’s use of the word “dialogue” (a Platonic one) is also misleading. Socrates, in the Platonic Dialogues, aims at peeling off the layers of ignorance of his adversary’s arguments and arriving at what he believes to be the truth (See “Rajiv Malhotra & Francis Clooney: The siren song of interfaith dialogue”) . While Mr. Malhotra is entitled to his own interpretations, they become misleading for Hindus, when they are projected as the way to approach a clear and present danger, the predatory proselytising agenda of the Catholic Church.

Fr. Francis Xavier Clooney, SJInterfaith dialogue became the fashion in North American universities some years ago and some unsuspecting Hindus were caught in this net. Now, the new phrase is “Hindu-Christian Dialogue”. In the Huffington Post article  Mr. Malhotra readily admits that he has been corresponding with Jesuit priest and scholar Francis Xavier Clooney, who is also a Professor of Divinity at Harvard University (USA) and that since 2010 this Jesuit scholar has been reading and commenting on Malhotra’s new book Being Different. This seemingly cosy relationship was replicated in the recent talk at Harvard university and which the present writer has critiqued in an article “Rajiv Malhotra & Francis Clooney: Just friends or best friends?”. Malhotra being an autodidact needed to consult with Clooney, in addition to his committment to interfaith dialogue. The far more experienced and well-trained Clooney had no difficulty in flattering Malhotra into thinking that he was a superior and updated version of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati and Swami Vivekananda! This alone should have sent out alarm signals to Malhotra but that did not appear to be the case. A Hindu who cannot see the Greek who comes bearing gifts, is showing the height of naivete in thinking that a ‘dialogue’ with this person is beneficial for Hindus.

Adi SankaracharyaThe present writer believes that the way to go is to reinforce the aam admi Hindu, the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths, rather than undermining them by subtle methods and often openly downgrading them in various ways. They have been the backbone of our civilisation. We tinker with them at our own peril. Protecting them and preserving them is the task for contemporary Hindus. This can and should be accompanied by a determined effort to “defeat” the enemy, rather than accommodate him/her. Some writers have argued that Hindus are being exposed on a daily basis to Western ideas and so why not be prepared for this onslaught by further exposure? In the opinion of the present writer this is a mistaken strategy, because it invites a new kind of Macaulayism. Macaulay effected his strategy of enslaving Hindus to Western thought by fiat. Malhotra and Clooney have adopted a different strategy, that of Hindu Christian Dialogue, in which the Hindu is programmed into thinking that he or she is obligated to engage with the adversary, in the interests of some “higher” cause.

There has been some speculation as to why the author of Breaking India has moved into a new phase. Whatever his motives, base or noble, what is required is a firm rejection of his new agenda by Hindus.

» Dr. Vijaya Rajiva is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training is in Philosophy, Political Science, Political Economy and History.

See also

4 Responses

  1. The article is interesting because it recognises religion as part of one’s self-identity.

    The social phenomena here is the reluctance of urban Hindus to identify themselves as Hindus. Even important Hindu institutions and ashrams register themselves as secular educational institutions rather than Hindu institutions. When Hindu leaders do not identify themselves publicly as Hindu, there is no reason for their followers to do so.

    Why are Hindus still hiding themselves in their own land?


  2. IS,

    I saw it yesterday and I thought that you may like to see it, if you have not already seen it.


    Isn’t it the reason for this stealth inculturation dialogues? Muslims will not allow them as it is already happening in the most Arab Muslim nations that they have or are driving away the Christians except a bit from Syria and Egypt, where also the Islamist parties are winning. Once they take the front seat, the rest of Christians will also be wiped out.

    Then I saw a report today in papers of Muslim radicals attacking the Christians and intimidating them in Nigeria. They are soon expected to leave for safer countries. Thus it leaves them to engage the Hindus who are so ill informed. This makes Hindus an easy prey. I see them in my area from time to time. It is very interesting to note their design of the strategy. India as I see is very difficult to retrieve from this clutch of these missionaries. The reasons are very deep rooted and obvious to you.


  3. IS, first let me paste here my comment that I have just pasted in Huffington post as refered here.

    “This style of inculturation seems to become a new style of insinsuation by the Western Christian theologians. In a pious compose, it may appear benign as it is projected but it is like a cancer that lies dormant initially. This should not naively deny its danger. Same seem to be with these “Organised Religions” I call them Corporate Shopping Malls. In this scenario, Hinduism just doesn’t fit in. Two diversely different things cannot be made comparable.

    We must differentiate here between religion and organised religion. Both are completely different entities. Further in this very context, Mr Malhotra is indulging here in his singular capacity vis-a-vis Prof Clooney who is designated as Professor representing a well organised stream. This makes this discussion on this interfaith concept ab initio a little unsavoury.

    Islam and Christianity have both a state backing whereas Hinduism has no takers today even in its land of origin. Until and unless a mutual faith is created by stopping the primary agenda of conversion, luring and violence, all this will remain a futile waste of time. Mr Malhotra reminds me of Ms Arundhati Roy and Deepak Chopra who seem to have vested mercantile interests. Dialogue should be between authorised representatives, not between a pauper and a king. God bless”

    I agree with your observation. Concept of Aam Aadmi is a vote bank slogan to appease them just like this dubious insidious insinuation by incultulturation through this dialogue business. Organised Religion is a name of another political game. Western society is completely Christian even though they proclaim themselves secular democratic society. This is also for selling their brand of venomous ideology by stealth.

    West has developped as an open free society with the strength of their modern scientific developments and the WMDs. Sex and beauty are two best attractions you can even tame the lion with it. Humans are no exception to it. An average human being is not much different intinctively than an animal with all its animalistic traits.


  4. Undermining the traditional acharyas and flattering the amateur interlocutor is one of the tried and true tactics of Jesuit interfaith dialoguers. Unfortunately Malhotra’s own egotism blinds him to the trap he has got caught in.

    It is also true that the aam admi are the people that count in Hindu India. As Rome christianised in the first centuries CE, the upper classes converted because it served their social and political interests to do so (the emperors, starting with Constantine, had already converted). But the Pagan deities continued to be worshipped by the peasants and farmers up to the 10th century within a 100 kms of Christian Rome.


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