Have you heard of the parody of the 1960s “Peter and Jane” readers for kids, and how Penguin UK has threatened a lawsuit unless the author and small publisher “pulp” the books?
The controversy surrounding Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History reemerged today with word that Penguin India has agreed to withdraw and destroy copies of the book in India to settle a lawsuit alleging that Doniger’s book hurt the religious sentiments of “millions of Hindus”. (The full text of the legal complaint is available online.) The response from scholars in the United States has been anger and shock over Penguin’s decision and concern over the freedom of expression in India. While much can be said on many issues, what intrigues me here is the shifting assumptions in the contested definition of Hinduism. Continue reading “Reversing Roles in the Definition of Hinduism”