shefali chandran

Rajiv Malhotra brilliantly tweeted, “Can’t be bothered by menial sepoys, only senior ones” thereby brushing aside one of Wendy’s Children that attempted to abuse him. One couldn’t have put it better and it is usually a waste of time to respond to every leftist ignoramus who attempts to make a livelihood by abusing Hinduism. However, Malhotra’s term, “Wendy’s Menial Sepoys,” is not only a catchy meme but effectively categorizes an unscrupulous crowd of cowardly liars. In this article, I am going to analyze the behavior of such menial sepoys by using one of them as an example.

 Penguin India recently voluntarily withdrew Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History after reaching an agreement with a litigant. Shefali Chandra, an associate professor of history at (the 30th ranked in history, second tier) Washington University in St. Louis, was outraged. She alleged that “the United States has been shaping the contours of Hinduism (…) from the perspective of upper caste and conservative interests.”

Chandra also alleged that during the 2006 California Textbook Trial, Hindu-American parents attempted to overthrow the school textbooks because they had been authored “by anti-Hindu scholars and that it favored colonial stereotypes on Hinduism.” She asserted that the information Hindu-Americans disputed was “hardly insulting” and accused them of using “the terminology of ‘hurt’ and ’embarrassment’ to shape the knowledge of Hinduism and India.”

What is the truth?

California textbook standards (see section 6.6) advocate portraying “the origins of Christianity” as the fulfillment of “the Jewish messianic prophecies” and recounting “the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in The New Testament.” It is highly irresponsible to portray delusional prophecies as history. It is disingenuous to recount the origins of Christianity according to the narrative of The New Testament and create the false impression that the gospel stories are historical accounts. In truth, The New Testament was repeatedly modified and books added to and subtracted from it until the 27 books that constitute it were canonized in 367 CE (Ehrman, Bart: Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code, p. 93).

Ehrman informs us: “The practice of Christian forgery has a long and distinguished history. We know of Gospels and other sacred books forged in the names of the apostles down into the Middle Ages – and on, in fact, to the present day (Ehrman, Bart: Lost Scriptures – Books That Did Not Make It Into the New Testament, p. 3).”  He adds, “There are more differences among (The New Testament) manuscripts than there are words in The New Testament (Ehrman, Bart: Misquoting Jesus – The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, p. 10).”

As Ehrman points out in Lost Christianities – The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, in the early centuries of the Common Era, heretical and Gnostic schools of Christianity, whose teachings were very different from those of orthodox Christianity (which includes today’s Catholicism, Protestantism, Evangelism, etc.), dotted the landscape. Orthodox Christianity eventually prevailed by violently suppressing the rival schools.

Textbooks do not allow these historical realities to be portrayed. Instead, they require portraying Christianity in such a manner as to strengthen the religious indoctrination students receive at home and in their parochial churches. The Sermon on the Mount is presented as if a historical Jesus delivered it even though scholarly research has shown that it was borrowed from Buddhism and incorporated into The New Testament probably centuries after the time Jesus is alleged to have lived. The portrayal of Jesus and Christianity is highly sanitized and none of the negative aspects of that religion such as its inherent anti-Semitism or the advocacy of genocide of non-believers is mentioned.

Textbooks sanitize the portrayal of Islam too. As I show in my article, California Schools Proselytize for Allah, textbooks portray the claims of the alleged revelation to the prophet Muhammad as historical fact. Muhammad’s intolerant acts of destruction of pagan places of worship are inexplicably presented as acts of forgiveness and his pagan opponents are falsely demonized. Violent jihad is rebranded as the striving to “resist temptation and overcome evil.”

Various Christian churches and an Islamic outfit took an active part in defining the standards and textbook content to ensure that the portrayal of their respective religions is sensitive and that they aren’t subject to critical scrutiny.  The said Islamic group even insisted on including anti-Semitic canards in textbooks to falsely implicate the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus which could very well have been a cruci-fiction. No Hindu organization was consulted by the state until they petitioned demanding equality very late in the textbook adoption process.

Not only that, a very different yardstick was used to portray Hinduism. It was portrayed as the religion of invaders. The likes of Stanley Wolpert, who argues, “(The Aryan invasion) was the most important invasion in all of India’s history, since the Aryans brought with their Caucasian genes a new language – Sanskrit – and a new pantheon of gods (see section 4.14 of the CAPEEM complaint),” were made the arbiters of the content on Hinduism. Who but a white supremacist and an ignoramus would argue that an alleged invasion is all important because it brought ‘Caucasian genes’ into India? Anyone who has studied Genetics 101 would laugh at Wolpert’s Neanderthal-like belief in the existence of ‘Caucasian genes.’

Hinduism is portrayed as oppressing women whereas Islam is portrayed as having conferred upon women marital rights, right to education, and right to control the earnings from their work, to make contracts, and to serve as witnesses in court. Goddess Kāḻi is portrayed as “bloodthirsty.” A textbook, after summarizing the story of The Rāmāyaṇa, recounts the Hindu belief that wherever the story of Rāma is discussed Hanuman is present there, and mockingly asks the students to look around and see whether there is a monkey in the classroom. In The Bible, Jesus asserts, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20).” Textbooks, after a discussion of The Bible, don’t ask the students to look around and see whether there is a crucified convict in the classroom. The effect of selectively directing such ridicule at Hinduism is the alienation of Hindu students from their religious traditions.

Does any of this look like a portrayal of Hinduism “from the perspective of upper caste and conservative interests” as Wendy’s Menial Sepoy alleges? Contrary to her claims, the Hindu contention was well supported by distinguished academics. Over 30 academics such as the eminent archaeologist B. B. Lal wrote the Department of Education explaining why there is no evidence for Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). Professor Metzenberg, a distinguished biologist, wrote the Department that the genetic evidence doesn’t support AIT. Aren’t Hindu-Americans entitled to demand that their religion be portrayed using the same yardstick applied to portray Christianity and Islam? Why can’t one demand that the portrayal of religions have a factual basis? Perhaps Chandra is irked because unlike Wendy’s Menial Sepoys Hindu-Americans who valiantly fought for textbook revision didn’t kneel down in abject submission in front of their white masters.

It is unlikely that Chandra was unaware of these well-documented facts. Why then did she lie through the teeth to demonize Hindus? Her behavior is typical of Wendy’s Menial Sepoys. It is best understood when we see them as the native fifth column. In his brilliant essay, The Cultures of Christianities, David Eller points out that the imperial Christian mission created a native fifth column in societies it set out to conquer (Loftus, John W. (ed.): The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails, pp. 29-30). This native fifth column’s job is to continually attack and weaken the native culture thereby paving the way for its eventual evangelization. When they falsely denounce Hindus’ reasonable demands, Wendy’s Children and Wendy’s Menial Sepoys are acting as the fifth column to reinforce the imperial Christian West.

Their behavior follows a pattern. It always seeks to demonize and weaken Hindus and Hinduism while strengthening the Christian evangelizing mission and imperial designs. As I showed in my critique, The Doniger Book Controversy, Wendy Doniger shamelessly claimed that the vicious Christian canard about Thomas’ visit to India is a historical fact. This canard has been instrumental in legitimizing the forced conversions of India’s natives. Martha Nussbaum falsely claimed that Hindus had issued death threats to Jeffrey Kripal for his abusive portrayal of Hinduism. However, Aravindan Neelakandan proves that Kripal admitted that he has never received any threats. Arvind Kumar demonstrates that Nussbaum is a repeat offender:

“Nussbaum (falsely) alleged that Hindus threatened violence against the employees of Harvard University Press in order to prevent the publication of her book. A phone call to the number listed on the website of Harvard University Press in order to verify this charge resulted in the veracity of her claim quickly evaporating. The person who answered the phone repeatedly denied that any such incident had taken place and even laughed at it and brushed off the claim.”

Wendy’s Children and Wendy’s Menial Sepoys abandon all scruples to demonize the Hindus when Hindus refuse to be the native informants subservient to their imperial masters. It must be quite lucrative for the members of the fifth column when they don’t let ethics come in the way of fulfilling imperial agenda. However, an honest person would seek a better way to earn one’s livelihood than to prostitute oneself to imperial agendas and turn oneself into the lickspittle of one’s imperial handlers.

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Kalavai Venkat

Kalavai Venkat is a Silicon Valley-based writer, an atheist, a practicing orthodox Hindu, and author of the forthcoming book What Every Hindu Should Know About Christianity.

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