The academic study of India and its history, culture and philosophy has been highly colonised and continues to remain so in the absence of a strong independent research tradition in India. Most academics in India are strongly secular and having to publish in top international English language journals means that they have to abandon native theories. Instead, focus is on neoliberalism or Marxism and how to help the West to see how ‘decadent’ India is, in spite of its intellectual wealth and huge social and communitarian culture and wisdom.
In contrast, diaspora leaders and communities are doing outstanding work in living a compassionate, caring and inclusive life in business, public service or the professions. Independent scholars of India daring to uncover its vast reservoir of wisdom and science within a university establishment often get hounded as being caste discriminators, fundamentalists, or everything in between. I should know as I have been called all these, sometimes also by fellow Indian academics! Even the field of Indology is replete with critics of India especially in the West.
This is why the outstanding research, books and leadership of Rajiv Malhotra, and his growing global appeal even among young students is so refreshing and promising. I met him personally during his recent visit to India hosted by the India Knowledge Consortium.
Whilst not attached to any one academic institution, his Infinity Foundation is giving scholarships to young intellectuals fighting the tide of prejudice and ignorance. He is a very good writer and a very eloquent speaker too, humble and approachable. Mr Malhotra is also very skilled at responding to interviews and always open to dialogue with his critics using science and evidence to back his claims.
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For me his work gives huge impetus to a global project to bring Dharmic Wisdom into Business Science, where it is completely missing in spite of its significant influence in enterprise and sustainability in world trade and business. The prime cultural exports of India like Yoga and Ayurveda are being expropriated and patented in the West, plagiarised even. Just as a recipe cannot easily be removed from its cultural context and ingredients, the same is true of our huge health and well-being sciences, whose copyright we ought to rightfully claim. Western medical sciences have been captured by Big Pharma such that they live to promote illness and reduce wellness. Rajiv Malhotra helps all of us to take ownership of our science and call for its wider teaching at university. He gives hope to our new young breed of students who are inspired by Indian wisdom. I strongly recommend his book ‘Being Different’ and the latest ‘Snakes in the Ganga’. He is also accessible on podcasts and YouTube.
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*Info: Infinity Foundation