Koenraad Elst

From Dharmapedia Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Koenraad Elst (born 7 August 1959) (कोनराड एल्स्ट) is a Belgian orientalist and Indologist known for his writings on comparative religion, Hindu-Muslim relations and Indian history.[1]

Koenraad Elst
Born (1959-08-07) 7 August 1959 (age 59)
Leuven, Belgium
Residence Mortsel, Belgium
Education Doctor of Philosophy
Alma mater Benares Hindu University
Occupation Writer
Website http://koenraadelst.blogspot.ch/

Biography[edit]

Elst was born to a Flemish Catholic family. Some of his family members were Christian missionaries.[2] He graduated in Indology, Sinology and Philosophy at the Catholic University of Leuven. Around that time, Elst became interested in Flemish nationalism.[3] Between 1988 and 1992, Elst was at the Banaras Hindu University. In 1999, he received a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Leuven. His doctoral dissertation on Hindu revivalism was published as Decolonizing the Hindu Mind.[3]

Elst has also written about multiculturalism, language policy issues, ancient Chinese philosophy and history, and comparative religion.[4]

He also wrote for business weekly Trends, and Communist weekly Toestanden, Inforiënt, a monthly issued by the Asian Studies Department of his home university. He wrote as foreign editor of the Antwerp-based weekly Punt in 2001-2002). He also contributed columns to Indian papers such the late Observer, the Pioneer and the weekly Outlook India.

Opinions[edit]

Ayodhya[edit]

Elst book "Ram Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid, a Case Study in Hindu-Muslim conflict" (1990) was the first book published by a non-Indian on the Ayodhya debate.[5] His opinion is that "until 1989, there was a complete consensus in all sources (Hindu, Muslim and European) which spoke out on the matter, viz. that the Babri Masjid had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple."[6] He claimed that politically motivated academics have, through their grip on the media, manufactured doubts concerning this coherent and well-attested tradition.[7] Elst alleges that the anti-Temple group in the Ayodhya conflict have committed serious breaches of academic deontology and says that the "overruling of historical evidence with a high-handed use of academic and media power" in the Ayodhya controversy was the immediate reason to involve himself in the debate.[8]

Elst's book Ram Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid, a Case Study in Hindu-Muslim conflict (1990) was the first book published by a non-Indian on the Ayodhya debate.[9] His opinion is that "until 1989, there was a complete consensus in all sources (Hindu, Muslim and European) which spoke out on the matter, viz. that the Babri Masjid had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple."[10] He claimed that politically motivated academics have, through their grip on the media, manufactured doubts concerning this coherent and well-attested tradition.[11] Elst alleges that the anti-Temple group in the Ayodhya conflict have committed serious breaches of academic deontology and says that the "overruling of historical evidence with a high-handed use of academic and media power" in the Ayodhya controversy was the immediate reason to involve himself in the debate.[12]

On Antihinduism and anti-Hindu bias[edit]

Elst has criticized alleged Anti-Hinduism and anti-Hindu biases. Elst writes for example that "when Hindus complain of factual problems such as missionary subversion or Muslim terrorism, it is always convenient to portray this spontaneous and truthful perception as an artefact of "RSS propaganda"."[13]

On alleged negationism and history rewriting[edit]

Elst's book "Negationism in India" makes the case that the Islamic history in India is being whitewashed. He claims that there is a larger effort to rewrite India's history and to whitewash Islam. He says that the goal and methods of this alleged history rewriting is similar with the denial of the Nazi holocaust, and that in India, jihad negationists are in control of the academic establishment and of the press.[14]

Hindutva[edit]

Elst has criticized the Hindutva movement because, as he claims, "there is no intellectual life in this Hindutva movement".[15] He claims that Hindutva advocates have not developed a "wellfounded coherent vision on a range of topics which any social thinker and any political party will have to address one day", and that there is as yet very little original or comprehensive work being done in the Hindutva movement.[16] According to Elst, "Hindutva is a fairly crude ideology, borrowing heavily from European nationalisms with their emphasis on homogeneity. Under the conditions of British colonialism, it was inevitable that some such form of Hindu nationalism would arise, but I believe better alternatives have seen the light, more attuned to the genius of Hindu civilization."[17]

Elst's book "BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence", and a chapter in "Decolonizing the Hindu Mind" criticizes the RSS Parivar.[18] On the RSS, he says that its intellectual output is minimal: "Most of its pamphlets and manifestoes contain a lot of puffed-up patriotism and wailing over the Partition of the Hindu motherland, but little penetrating analysis that could be the basis for imaginative policies and a realistic strategy."[19]

He criticized Hindutva writers for only complaining about Muslim atrocities, but refusing to search Islamic doctrine for a reason for the observed fact of Muslim fanaticism.[20] He has also criticized fringe Hindutva writers for claiming that the Taj Mahal is a Hindu temple, or for claiming that the Vedas contain all the secrets of modern science. [21]

Elst says, "there is no intellectual life in this Hindutva movement".[11] He claims that Hindutva advocates have not developed a "wellfounded coherent vision on a range of topics which any social thinker and any political party will have to address one day", and that there is as yet very little original or comprehensive work being done in the Hindutva movement.[11] According to Elst, "Hindutva is a fairly crude ideology, borrowing heavily from European nationalisms with their emphasis on homogeneity. Under the conditions of British colonialism, it was inevitable that some such form of Hindu nationalism would arise, but I believe better alternatives have seen the light, more attuned to the genius of Hindu civilization."[22]. Sometimes, Elst is critical of Hindutva for not going far enough in its criticism of Islam[23]. He has also criticized fringe Hindutva writers for claiming that the Taj Mahal is a Hindu temple, or for claiming that the Vedas contain all the secrets of modern science. [11].

The same pattern also applies with respect to Elst and the RSS. Elst views the RSS as an interesting nationalist movement, while addressing some secondary critics, in which Elst criticizes the RSS for not going far enough in the nationalist realm. For instance, he says that RSS's intellectual output is minimal: "Most of its pamphlets and manifestoes contain a lot of puffed-up patriotism and wailing over the Partition of the Hindu motherland, but little penetrating analysis that could be the basis for imaginative policies and a realistic strategy."[23] Elst has criticized alleged Anti-Hinduism and anti-Hindu biases. Elst writes for example that "when Hindus complain of factual problems such as missionary subversion or Muslim terrorism, it is always convenient to portray this spontaneous and truthful perception as an artefact of "RSS propaganda".[24]

On allegations of "Hindu fascism"[edit]

Elst has written at length about fascism and totalitarianism in India and the West. His book The Saffron Swastika analyses the rhetoric of "Hindu fascism". He argues that "objective outsiders are not struck by any traces of fascism in the Hindutva movements, let alone in the general thought current of anti-imperialist Hindu awakening. While one should always be vigilant for traces of totalitarianism in any ideology or movement, the obsession with fascism in the anti-Hindu rhetoric of the secularists is not the product of an analysis of the data, but of their own political compulsions."[25]

In an article, he argued that the current tendency to accuse Hindu movements of “fascism” is nothing but a "replay of an old colonial tactic."[26]

Elst's book The Saffron Swastika proposes an examination of the rhetoric of "Hindu fascism". He argues that "objective outsiders are not struck by any traces of fascism in the Hindutva movements, let alone in the general thought current of anti-imperialist Hindu awakening. While one should always be vigilant for traces of totalitarianism in any ideology or movement, the obsession with fascism in the anti-Hindu rhetoric of the secularists is not the product of an analysis of the data, but of their own political compulsions."[9]

In an article, he writes that the current tendency to accuse Hindu movements of “fascism” is nothing but a "replay of an old colonial tactic."[27]

On Nouvelle Droite and Vlaams Belang[edit]

Elst rejected the Nouvelle Droite movement after initial sympathy in the early 1990s. Among the reasons for his rejection he cites that the collaborationist aspects of the careers of two Belgian writers were covered up in Nouvelle Droite articles, and that he suspected that "its critique of egalitarianism in the name of “differentialism” could at heart simply be a plea against equality in favour of inequality, Old-Right style".[28]

However, he does not actively oppose the Nouvelle Droite movement: "Wisely or unwisely, I have not taken my scepticism to be a reason for any active hostility to the Nouvelle Droite people, some of whom I count as friends... Time permitting, I accept invitations from that side, so that I spoke at their conference in Antwerp in 2000, if only as a stand-in for an announced speaker who had cancelled at the last minute for health reasons (Pim Fortuyn, no less, the Dutch liberal sociology professor who criticized Islam, subsequently went into politics, and ended up murdered by a leftist).[29] Jan De Zutter criticized Elst for being too close with the Vlaams Belang, as in June 1992, Koenraad Elst gave a speech on the dangers of Islam at the Vlaams Blok Colloquium where the party proposed its first version of its 70 point anti-immigration policy[30] Elst said that he spoke there because it was the only party where the problem of the Islam was brought up, but that he also explicitly said that he didn't agree with the party's solution for that problem, and disapproved of their xenophobia.[31] He stated that the VB can not be and was never his party because of its xenophobia and ethnocentrism.[32] Since this event, he has often been accused of being the party's specialist on Islam and its link with the new Pagan Movement.[citation needed] Though he himself denies any affinity to the party program,[33] he admits to "lukewarm" sympathy for the Flemish cause (of independence).[34] Lucas Catherine contrasted Elst's viewpoint with the viewpoint of Filip Dewinter, who according to her could not have been very happy with Elst's opinion that not the Moslems, but Islam, is the problem.[35]

On Islam[edit]

Elst claims that he is not anti-Muslim, and argues often that “not Muslims but Islam is the problem”.[36][37]

Belgian journalist Paul Belien has reported that Elst thinks that “Islam is in decline, despite its impressive demographic and military surge” – which according to Dr Elst is merely a “last upheaval.” But Elst also thinks that it is possible that Islam will succeed in becoming the majority religion in Europe before collapsing[38]

Elst's book Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam makes the case that the Islamic history in India is being whitewashed. He claims that there is a larger effort to rewrite India's history and to whitewash Islam. He says that the goal and methods of this alleged history rewriting is similar to the denial of the Nazi holocaust, and that in India jihad negationists are in control of the academic establishment and of the press.[39]

On racism[edit]

Elst disapproves of xenophobia and racism, and elaborated: "Of course I have nothing to do with racism and xenophobia, and I have my life-story to prove it. Given the democratic slump in Europe, I am convinced that a measured and carefully monitored immigration is necessary. My hometown is host to people from every country, and I have a lot of foreign friends, mostly Indian and Chinese. So, I am not at all against immigrants, and I have personally helped some to integrate or to get naturalized as citizens of my country. But my criticism of Islam stands: Islam is intrinsically separatist and hostile to neighbour communities." [40]

Elst has helped Kurds and Pakistanis to integrate into Dutch society, and has a Chinese god child.[41] He said he believes that Turks and Moroccans can integrate themselves perfectly and assimilate, and that it doesn't matter if someone is called Ali or Fatima.[42]

On the Aryan Invasion theory[edit]

Elst, unlike some defenders or critics of the Aryan Invasion theory, does not claim that the debate is resolved. He wrote in his main work on the subject:

"One thing which keeps on astonishing me in the present debate is the complete lack of doubt in both camps. Personally, I don’t think that either theory, of Aryan invasion and of Aryan indigenousness, can claim to have been “proven” by prevalent standards of proof; eventhough one of the contenders is getting closer. Indeed, while I have enjoyed pointing out the flaws in the AIT statements of the politicized Indian academic establishment and its American amplifiers, I cannot rule out the possibility that the theory which they are defending may still have its merits."[43]

The Hindu nationalist N.S. Rajaram criticized Elst's book "Asterisk in Bharopiyasthan" because of Elst's alleged agenda of rescuing Indo-European linguistics from oblivion.[44] Elst's views on the Aryan Invasion Theory were also criticized by e.g. Hans Hock[45], Edwin Bryant[46], George Cardona[47] and rather severely by Michael Witzel[48].

In two books, Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate (1999) and Asterisk in Bhāropīyasthān (2007), Elst has written in support of Out of India theory. Elst argues that the migration went the other way and that Aryans indigenous to India migrated out of India, taking Indo-European languages to the middle east and Europe. Elst is one of the few supporters of that theory who uses paleolinguistics in support of the Out of India theory.[49] The Out of India theory is considered to be an extreme view of the origin of the Indo-European family of languages and Elst is thought to be one of its leading proponents.[49][50]

According to Elst, the linguistic data are a soft type of evidence and are compatible with a variety of scenarios, and the dominant linguistic theories turn out to be compatible with an out-of-India scenario for Indo-European expansion. He notes that the substratum data are not in conflict with an Indo-European homeland in India.[51]

On the topic of the "Indigenous Aryans" polemic within Hindu nationalism, Elst writes

"One thing which keeps on astonishing me in the present debate is the complete lack of doubt in both camps. Personally, I don’t think that either theory, of Aryan invasion and of Aryan indigenousness, can claim to have been “proven” by prevalent standards of proof; even though one of the contenders is getting closer. Indeed, while I have enjoyed pointing out the flaws in the AIT statements of the politicized Indian academic establishment and its American amplifiers, I cannot rule out the possibility that the theory which they are defending may still have its merits."[52]

Elst's views on the Aryan Invasion Theory were also discussed or criticized by, for example, Hans Hock[53], Edwin Bryant[54], George Cardona[55] and by Michael Witzel[53].

Influences[edit]

He has described himself as "a secular humanist with an active interest in religions, particularly Taoism and Hinduism, and keeping a close watch on the variegated Pagan revival in Europe."[56]

He has not adopted Hinduism: "I am neither a Hindu nor a nationalist. And I don’t need to belong to those or to any specific ideological categories in order to use my eyes and ears."[57] As a reason for his interest in Hindu nationalism, he says that he noticed for myself that the legitimate Hindu nationalists are thoroughly misrepresented in the journalistic and academic literature about them, and that the anomaly between their image and the reality on the ground struck him by surprise.[58] He also wrote: "However, I do readily admit to being a “fellow-traveller” of Dharmic civilization in its struggle for survival against the ongoing aggression and subversion by well-organized hostile ideologies. Only, I must add that in Hindutva-watching publications of the past decade, I have never encountered any journalistic or academic “expert” who was not a fellow-traveller of one of the warring parties."[59] This admission extends to his political sympathies; "Rest assured that in Hindutva circles, many people count as far more important than I."[60] He resists any attempts at direct association with the Sangh Parivar, however, calling his ideology 'Hindu Revivalism'.

Reception[edit]

Elst's work has drawn both praise and criticism. David Frawley called his work on Ayodhya "definitive",[61] K. D. Sethna regarded it as "absolutely the last word".[62] Paul Beliën described him as "one of Belgium's best orientalists",[63].

Quotes[edit]

1990s[edit]

  • Conversely, banning this book would send a signal that the present establishment will do what it can to prevent Hinduism from rising up, from regaining self-confidence, from facing the challenge of hostile ideologies.
    • In Freedom of expression - Secular Theocracy Versus Liberal Democracy (1998, edited by Sita Ram Goel) ISBN 81-85990-55-7
  • While one should always be vigilant for traces of totalitarianism in any ideology or movement, the obsession with fascism in the anti-Hindu rhetoric of the secularists is not the product of an analysis of the data, but of their own political compulsions.
    • Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  • The essence of Hindu Dharma is not ‘tolerance’ or ‘equal respect for all religious’ but satya, truth. The problem with Christianity and Islam is superficially their intolerance and fanaticism. But this intolerance is a consequence of these religions’ untruthfulness. If your belief system is based on delusions, you have to pre-empt rational enquiry into it and shield it from contact with more sustainable thought systems. The fundamental problem with monotheistic religions is not that they are intolerant but that they are untrue (Asatya or Anrita).
    • Sita Ram Goel: Jesus Christ - An Artifice for Aggression (1994)
  • One thing which keeps on astonishing me in the present debate is the complete lack of doubt in both camps. Personally, I don’t think that either theory, of Aryan invasion and of Aryan indigenousness, can claim to have been "proven" by prevalent standards of proof; even though one of the contenders is getting closer. Indeed, while I have enjoyed pointing out the flaws in the AIT statements of the politicized Indian academic establishment and its American amplifiers, I cannot rule out the possibility that the theory which they are defending may still have its merits."
    • Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate, (1999)

2000s[edit]

  • I am neither a Hindu nor a nationalist. And I don’t need to belong to those or to any specific ideological categories in order to use my eyes and ears.
    • From an interview with Dr. Ramesh Rao (2002) at sulekha.com [7]
  • Former Times of India editor Girilal Jain chaired the press meeting presenting my book. It was on this occasion that BJP leader L.K. Advani gave a speech on his Ayodhya policy, waving my book in his hand, and that he made his offer to persuade the VHP to confine their campaign for the liberation of Hindu temple sites to the Ayodhya site, i.e. to drop their claim on the mosque-occupied Krishna Janmabhoomi site in Mathura and Kashi Vishvanath site in Varanasi. That way, my ... first book made the front page of most Indian newspapers.
    • Koenraad Elst, ed.: India’s Only Communalist. In Commemoration of Sita Ram Goel, Voice of India, Delhi 2005
  • Islam's money and muscle power may look impressive, certainly capable of doing some real damage to targeted countries and societies, but Islam has no chance of becoming the religion of a science-based, space-conquering world society. Exclusivist revelations have no appeal among educated people, especially after they have acquainted themselves with the Vedantic or Buddhist philosophies. That is why the Churches are investing huge resources in the battle for Asia's mind, where they face their most formidable enemy. That is why they are so active in India: not only is India's atmosphere of religious freedom more hospitable to them than the conditions of Islamic countries, or even of non-Islamic countries where proselytization is prohibited (countries as divergent as China, Myanmar, Israel, and, at least formally, Nepal); but they also know and fear the intrinsic superiority of the Indian religion.
    • Quoted in "The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple: Third Revised Edition" by Ishwar Sharan (2010) [8]


  • Future historians will include the no-temple argument of the 1990s as a remarkable case study in their surveys of academic fraud and politicized scholarship.
    • Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)
  • I am neither a Hindu nor a nationalist. And I don’t need to belong to those or to any specific ideological categories in order to use my eyes and ears.
    • From an interview with Dr. Ramesh Rao (2002) at sulekha.com
  • My job was not to survey other people's opinions about the Hindu movement. That would have been an interesting exercise, especially if it is called by its name, viz. a survey of outsider opinions, and not (as many such academic publications are) falsely presented as a study of the Hindu movement itself. By contrast, I endeavoured to get beyond the secondary--source and mainly hostile-source "research" that has so disastrously filled up this field of study, and focus on the primary sources instead.
    • Lets combat communalism (Elst, 2001)
  • I have also never participated in any of the meetings of the various embryonic attempts at creating a "Pagan international", whether the Pagan Federation, the World Council of Ethnic Religions or the World Council of the Elders of the Ancient Traditions and Cultures. But I wish them all the best, for they consist mostly of nice people and I can easily see through the attempts by so-called secularists to blacken them and to deny to them the right of international networking which is deemed only natural in the case of Christians or Muslims.
    • Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda, In: Return of the Swastika: Hate and Hysteria versus Hindu Sanity (2007), chapter 3.
  • Indeed, over the years I have had many a good laugh at the pompous moralism and blatant dishonesty of India's so-called secularists. Their specialty is to justify double standards, e.g. why mentioning murdered Kashmiri Pandits is “communal hate-mongering” while the endless litany about murdered Gujarati Muslims is “secular consciousness-raising”. Sometimes they merely stonewall inconvenient information, such as when they tried to deny and suppress the historical data about the forcible replacement of a Rama temple in Ayodhya by a mosque: given the strength of the evidence, all they could do was to drown out any serious debate with screams and swearwords. But often they do bring out their specific talents at sophistry, such as when they argue that a Common Civil Code, a defining element of all secular states, is a Hindu communalist notion, while the preservation of the divinely-revealed Shari’a for the Muslims is secular. That’s when they are at their best.
    • Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda, In: Return of the Swastika: Hate and Hysteria versus Hindu Sanity (2007), chapter 3.
  • Hindutva is a fairly crude ideology, borrowing heavily from European nationalisms with their emphasis on homogeneity. Under the conditions of British colonialism, it was inevitable that some such form of Hindu nationalism would arise, but I believe better alternatives have seen the light, more attuned to the genius of Hindu civilization.

Who is a Hindu, (2001)[edit]

  • As so often in Indo-Pakistani and Hindu-Muslim comparisons, the argument is reminiscent of the inequality between the contenders in the Cold War: you could demonstrate for disarmament in the West, but to demonstrate for this in the East Bloc (except if it were for unilateral disarmament by the Western “war-mongers”) would have put you in trouble.
  • The neologism âdivâsî constitutes one of the most successful disinformation campaigns in modern history.
  • In the West, secularism implies pinpricking religious fraud and arrogance, but in India, secularists are the most eloquent defenders of myth and theocracy.
  • Until 1989, there was a complete consensus in all sources (Hindu, Muslim and European) which spoke out on the matter, viz. that the Babri Masjid had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple."

Quotes about Koenraad Elst[edit]

  • On the eve of his departure, Koenraad Elst asked me if I would publish a book on Ayodhya which he planned to write on his return to Belgium, I did not take him seriously. I did not know at that time that the thirty one years old Belgian we had met was a prodigy, and that he felt so deeply about Hindus having a good case but presenting it very badly. The script of his Ram Janmabhoomi Vs. Babri Masjid: A Case Study in Hindu Muslim Conflict, was dropped on my table by the postman exactly after a month. I could not stop after I started reading it. I took it to Ram Swarup the same evening. He read it during the night and rang me up next morning. Koenraad Elst's book, he said, should be published immediately.
    • Sita Ram Goel (1998) How I became a Hindu.
  • Elst had much better command of political and social issues in India than I ever gained, unmatched by any western writer and researched in great detail. Elst is a thorough scholar and supremely rational in all that he does. His work on the Ayodhya movement was definitive.
    • Frawley, David (2000). How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma. Voice of India. p. 96. 
  • While Voice of India had a controversial reputation, I found nothing irrational, much less extreme about their ideas or publications... Their criticisms of Islam were on par with the criticisms of the Catholic Church and of Christianity done by such Western thinkers as Voltaire or Thomas Jefferson. In fact they went far beyond such mere rational or historical criticisms of other religions and brought in a profound spiritual and yogic view as well.
    • David Frawley (2000), How I became a Hindu: My discovery of Vedic Dharma. Voice of India.
  • On the eve of his departure, Koenraad Elst asked me if I would publish a book on Ayodhya which he planned to write on his return to Belgium, I did not take him seriously. I did not know at that time that the thirty one years old Belgian we had met was a prodigy, and that he felt so deeply about Hindus having a good case but presenting it very badly. The script of his Ram Janmabhoomi Vs. Babri Masjid: A Case Study in Hindu Muslim Conflict, was dropped on my table by the postman exactly after a month. I could not stop after I started reading it. I took it to Ram Swarup the same evening. He read it during the night and rang me up next morning. Koenraad Elst's book, he said, should be published immediately.
    • Sita Ram Goel (1998) How I became a Hindu.
  • Elst had much better command of political and social issues in India than I ever gained, unmatched by any western writer and researched in great detail. Elst is a thorough scholar and supremely rational in all that he does. His work on the Ayodhya movement was definitive.
    • David Frawley, How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma p. 96
  • Elst, as his substantial "underground" following knows, is a linguist, historian, political scientist, prolific writer, brilliant mind and a wonderful raconteur.
    • Prof. Ramesh N. Rao, in Review of The Saffron Swastika - The Notion of Hindu "Fascism" [9]
  • Elst, an "outsider" has done a better job than any "insider" in challenging the "official" versions of history and the politically correct rendering of events and issues in modern India. ... These students don't want to give Elst a hearing. They are afraid that if he does get to speak, he might come across as a scholar who has indeed done his homework, a scholar who has collected data and is not merely parroting fancy theory and as someone seriously and effectively able to question the "given wisdom" of the "progressive scholars." Their gratuitous use of the term "Hindu right-wing" to describe people who do not belong to their camp (the camp that now labels itself "progressive" instead of taking on the opposite of "right wing, " i.e., "left wing") shows how quickly and easily these people use the tactics of demonizing and caricaturing, which they, most of all, should know is part of Goebbelsian and communist propaganda technique. ... Elst is absolutely right in his claim that some scholars in India have "white-washed" the Muslim invasions of India. ... . Wouldn't these "progressive" students like to see Elst's works banned?! That's what they are saying, but they don't have the courage to say so explicitly.
    • Prof. Ramesh N. Rao, in Review of Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society [10]
  • The contemporary historical negationism in India, with the collusion of Hindu politicians, is discussed in detail by Koenraad Elst in his book on this subject.
    • Yeʼor, Bat (2002). Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 23.
  • Dr. Koenrad Elst, in his two-volume book titled The Saffron Swastika, marshals an incontrovertible array of facts to debunk slanderous attacks on the BJP by a section of the media.
    • Advani, L.K. My Country, My Life. Rupa Publications.


  • I have also never participated in any of the meetings of the various embryonic attempts at creating a "Pagan international", whether the Pagan Federation, the World Council of Ethnic Religions or the World Council of the Elders of the Ancient Traditions and Cultures. But I wish them all the best, for they consist mostly of nice people and I can easily see through the attempts by so-called secularists to blacken them and to deny to them the right of international networking which is deemed only natural in the case of Christians or Muslims.
    • Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda
  • Indeed, over the years I have had many a good laugh at the pompous moralism and blatant dishonesty of India's so-called secularists. Their specialty is to justify double standards, e.g. why mentioning murdered Kashmiri Pandits is “communal hate-mongering” while the endless litany about murdered Gujarati Muslims is “secular consciousness-raising”. Sometimes they merely stonewall inconvenient information, such as when they tried to deny and suppress the historical data about the forcible replacement of a Rama temple in Ayodhya by a mosque: given the strength of the evidence, all they could do was to drown out any serious debate with screams and swearwords. But often they do bring out their specific talents at sophistry, such as when they argue that a Common Civil Code, a defining element of all secular states, is a Hindu communalist notion, while the preservation of the divinely-revealed Shari’a for the Muslims is secular. That’s when they are at their best.
    • Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda
  • Hindutva is a fairly crude ideology, borrowing heavily from European nationalisms with their emphasis on homogeneity. Under the conditions of British colonialism, it was inevitable that some such form of Hindu nationalism would arise, but I believe better alternatives have seen the light, more attuned to the genius of Hindu civilization.

Works[edit]

Books[edit]

(Sorted chronologically)

Book chapters[edit]

  • Sharma, Arvind, ed. (2001). "India's Only Communalist: an Introduction to the Work of Sita Ram Goel". Hinduism and Secularism: After Ayodhya. Palgrave. ISBN 978-0-333-79406-7. 
  • "Linguistic Aspects of the Aryan Non-Invasion Theory," In Edwin Bryant and Laurie L. Patton (editors) (2005). Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History. Routledge/Curzon. ISBN 0-7007-1463-4. 
  • The Rushdie affair's legacy. Postscript to Daniel Pipes: The Rushdie Affair: The Novel, the Ayatollah, and the West. Transaction Publishers, paperback (2003). 1990. ISBN 0-7658-0996-6. 
  • Gujarat After Godhra: Real Violence, Selective Outrage/edited by Ramesh N. Rao and Koenraad Elst. New Delhi, Har-Anand Pub., 2003, 248 p., ISBN 81-241-0917-6.
  • The Ayodhya demolition: an evaluation", in Dasgupta, S., et al.: The Ayodhya Reference, q.v., p. 123-154. 
  • The Ayodhya debate in Pollet, G., ed.: Indian Epic Values. Râmâyana and Its Impact. Leuven: Peeters. 1995, q.v., p. 21-42.  Check date values in: |date= (help) (adapted from a paper of the International Ramayana Conference and the October 1995 Annual South Asia Conference in Madison, Wisconsin)
  • The Ayodhya debate: focus on the "no temple" evidence, World Archaeological Congress, 1998
  • “Ayodhya’s three history debates”, in Journal of Indian History and Culture (Chennai), September 2011.
  • “The gatherings of the elders: the beginnings of a Pagan international”, Pomegranate (Equinox, Sheffield UK) 2012/1.
  • India's Only Communalist: In Commemoration of Sita Ram Goel (edited by Koenraad Elst, 2005) ISBN 81-85990-78-6 (With contributions by Subhash Kak, David Frawley, Lokesh Chandra, Shrikant Talageri, Vishal Agarwal, N.S. Rajaram and others.)
  • An article on an attempt to ban a book by Ram Swarup, in Sita Ram Goel, ed.: Freedom of Expression (Voice of India 1998).
  • "The Rushdie Rules". Middle East Quarterly. June 1998. 
  • An article in the second edition of Ishwar Sharan’s The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple (Voice of India 1997).
  • A paper in Angela Marcantonio & Girish Nath Jha, eds.: Perspectives on the Origin of Indian Civilization (DK Printworld, Delhi 2013).
  • A paper in Hans Geybels & Walter Van Herck, eds.: Humour and Religion, Challenges and Ambiguities (Continuum, London 2011).
  • A paper in P. Paramesvaran, ed.: Expressions of Christianity, with a focus on India (Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan, Chennai 2007).
  • A paper in Herman Siemens & Vasti Roodt, eds.: Nietzsche, Power and Politics (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2008).
  • Foreword to: The Prolonged Partition and Its Pogroms: Testimonies on Violence against Hindus in East Bengal (1946–1964) by A. J. Kamra (2000).
  • "Banning Hindu Revaluation". Observer of Business and Politics. 1-12-1993.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

In Dutch[edit]

  • Het boek bij het Boek (“The companion book to the Book”, Waregem 2009)
  • The India chapter in Wim Van Rooy & Sam Van Rooy, eds.: De islam. Kritische essays over een politieke religie (“Islam: Critical Essays on a Political Religion”), ASP, Brussels 2010.
  • De donkere zijde van het boeddhisme (“The Dark Side of Buddhism”, Mens & Cultuur, Ghent 2010)
  • Heidendom in India: hindoeïsme en christendom, dialoog tussen vreemden (“Paganism in India: Hindus and Christians, Dialogue between Strangers”, Mens & Cultuur, Ghent 2014):

Notes[edit]

  1. Pipes, Daniel. The Rushdie Affair: The Novel, the Ayatollah, and the West. Transaction Publishers. p. 305. 
  2. "The Problem of Christian Missionaries". bharatvani.org. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nanda, Meera (11 July 2009). "Hindu Triumphalism and the Clash of Civilisations". Economic and Political Weekly. 44 (28): 106–114. JSTOR 40279263. 
  4. "Koenraad Elst _ The Brussels Journal". 
  5. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  6. Koenraad Elst. Who is a Hindu? Chapter Nine
  7. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991) Chapter Fifteen
  8. Koenraad Elst. Who is a Hindu? Chapter Eleven
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  10. Koenraad Elst. Who is a Hindu? Chapter Nine
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991) Chapter Fifteen
  12. Koenraad Elst. Who is a Hindu? Chapter Eleven
  13. Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda
  14. Negationism in India - Concealing the Record of Islam (1992) ISBN 81-85990-01-8
  15. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991) Chapter Fifteen
  16. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991) Chapter Fifteen
  17. Let's Combat Communalism
  18. Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda
  19. Negationism in India - Concealing the Record of Islam (1992) ISBN 81-85990-01-8
  20. Negationism in India - Concealing the Record of Islam (1992) ISBN 81-85990-01-8
  21. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991) Chapter Fifteen
  22. Let's Combat Communalism
  23. 23.0 23.1 Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam (1992) ISBN 81-85990-01-8
  24. Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey -- A preliminary reply to Ms. Meera Nanda
  25. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  26. Was Veer Savarkar a Nazi? [1]
  27. Was Veer Savarkar a Nazi?
  28. http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/fascism/Nazi5Poewe1.html The religion of the Nazis
  29. http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/fascism/Nazi5Poewe1.html The religion of the Nazis
  30. Jan De Zutter "Heidenen voor het blok - Radicaal rechts en het moderne Heidendom" (Heathens in favour of the Blok - the radical Right and modern Heathenism), ISBN 90 5240 582 4 (Published by Uitgeverij Houtekiet, Antwerpen / Baarn; 2000), p 17
  31. http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/dutch/isvb.html Het VB en de islam
  32. Wat is racisme? [2]
  33. [3] Het VB en de islam - Koenraad Elst, published in Nucleus, october-november 2001
  34. [4] Vlaanderen, Kasjmir, Tsjetsjenië, Kosovo... Het ene separatisme is het andere niet (Flanders, Kashmir, Chechnya, Kosovo: one separatism does not equal another) - Dr. Koenraad Elst, published in Secessie, Antwerpen, 2001
  35. Lucas Catherine - Vuile Arabieren, p.81, quoted at [5]] Het VB en de islam - Koenraad Elst
  36. http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/reviews/saffronwave.html
  37. Let's Combat Communalism “Koenraad Elst--Sangh Parivar's Apologist”, a review of Decolonizing the Hindu Mind: Ideological development of Hindu Revivalism (Rupa, Delhi 2001), by Ayub Khan in Communalism Watch, 13 March 2003.
  38. Is Islam Dying? Europe Certainly Is Paul Belien
  39. Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam (1992) ISBN 81-85990-01-8
  40. Negationism in India - Concealing the Record of Islam (1992) ISBN 81-85990-01-8
  41. Anders dan de meeste Blokkers, die inderdaad aan xenofobie ("vreemdelingenangst", overigens niet hetzelfde als vreemdelingen­haat) lijden, ga ik ook in het dagelijks leven veel met moslims en andere immigranten om, ondermeer mijn Chinees petekind en de Koerdische en Pakistaanse illegalen die ik met hun regularisatie help. http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/dutch/isvb.html Het VB en de islam
  42. http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/dutch/isvb.html Het VB en de islam
  43. Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate Aditya Prakashan (1999) ISBN 81-86471-77-4
  44. This asterisk has no fine prints by NS Rajaram, Review in The Pioneer 18 March 2007
  45. Edwin Bryant and Laurie L. Patton (editors) (2005). Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History.
  46. The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture By Edwin Bryant. Oxford University Press
  47. The Indo-Aryan Languages By Dhanesh Jain, George Cardona. Routledge
  48. Edwin Bryant and Laurie L. Patton (editors) (2005). Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History.
  49. 49.0 49.1 Bryant, Edwin (2001). The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture:The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate. New York: Oxford University Press. 
  50. Humes, Cynthia Ann (2012). "Hindutva, Mythistory, and Pseudoarchaeology". Numen. International Review for the History of Religions. 59: 178–201. JSTOR 23244958. doi:10.1163/156852712x630770. 
  51. Bryant, Edwin. The Indo-Aryan Controversy. 234
  52. Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate Aditya Prakashan (1999) ISBN 81-86471-77-4
  53. 53.0 53.1 Edwin Bryant and Laurie L. Patton (editors) (2005). Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History.
  54. The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture By Edwin Bryant. Oxford University Press
  55. The Indo-Aryan Languages By Dhanesh Jain, George Cardona. Routledge
  56. bharatvani.org op. cit.
  57. Elst interview
  58. Elst interview
  59. Voice of Dharma review
  60. [6]
  61. Frawley, David (2000). How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma. Voice of India. p. 96. ISBN 9788185990606. 
  62. Mother India: Monthly Review of Culture, Volume 58. page 521
  63. Is Islam Dying? Europe Certainly Is

External links[edit]

Collections of Elst articles[edit]

Selected articles[edit]

Interviews and Videos[edit]