Robert Zydenbos

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Robert J. Zydenbos (born 1957, Toronto)[1] is a Dutch-Canadian writer who has doctorate degrees in Indian philosophy and Dravidian studies. He also has a doctorate of literature from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Zydenbos also studied Indian religions and languages at the South Asia Institute and at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He taught Sanskrit at the University of Heidelberg and later taught Jaina philosophy at the University of Madras in India. Zydenbos later taught Sanskrit, Buddhism, and South Asian religions at the University of Toronto in Canada. He was the first western scholar to write a doctoral thesis on contemporary Kannada fiction.

R. Zydenbos is a strong opponent to some writers, like Koenraad Elst or N. S. Rajaram, about the controversies pertaining to the Aryan Invasion Theory, which Zydenbos sees as driven by political motives. He has lived in Mysore, India for 17 years.

  • Someone also quotes Prof. Robert Zydenbos without mentioning that he has a serious axe to grind. In an Indian Express column at the very beginning of the Aryan invasion debate, he likened critics of the Aryan Invasion Theory to the Nazis, no less, forgetting that this simile is generally a give-away of unscholarly intent, and that the Nazis themselves were very much on the side of the European homeland hypothesis, implying an Aryan invasion of India. I pointed out that this theory deserved to be called the “Hitler-Zydenbos theory”, after two of its best-known proponents. Though he had ventured outside his field, misunderstood the whole Aryan debate and should simply have admitted and corrected his mistake (the record shows that I myself always do this), he took it as a grave insult to his authority and has been nurturing a desire for vengeance ever since. On the Religion In South Asia list, he broke the list’s academic decorum by calling all Hindu nationalists, a category intended to include me, as “the scum of the earth”. On the secretive Scholarly List Services list, he (together with Michael Witzel) has been advocating censorship of me. That is always the reaction of the out-argued. Countless times I have been censored, excluded, disinvited under pressure, as well as decried and covered with abuse. Some debating partners have also disinvited themselves upon hearing that I was going to be on the panel. At any rate, my critics always try something else than the simple scholarly avenue, which would be to prove me wrong.
    • The Wikipedia lemma on "Koenraad Elst": a textbook example of defamation (2013)


  • Mokṣa in Jainism, according to Umāsvāti (Steiner, 1983)[2]
  • The Calf Became an Orphan: A Study in Contemporary Kannada Fiction (Institut Français de Pondichéry, 1996)[3]
  • Jainism Today and Its Future (Manya, 2006)[4]


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  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Reviews of Mokṣa in Jainism:
    • Gombrich, Richard (April 1985), Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 117 (02): 213–214, doi:10.1017/s0035869x00138663CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Olivelle, Patrick (October 1985), Journal of the American Oriental Society, 105 (4): 804, doi:10.2307/602800CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Mette, Adelheid (1985), Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 135 (2): 436, JSTOR 43377372CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Mehta, Mohan Lal (1985), Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 66 (1/4): 317–318, JSTOR 41693637CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Gelblum, Tuvla (February 1986), Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 49 (01): 229, doi:10.1017/s0041977x00042828CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Reviews of The Calf Became an Orphan:
    • Rao, B. Damodar (April–June 2000), Journal of the American Oriental Society, 120 (2): 296–297, doi:10.2307/605067CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Meisig, Konrad (2006), Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 156 (2): 518, JSTOR 10.13173/zeitdeutmorggese.156.2.0518CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Review of Jainism Today and Its Future:
    • Kono, Tomoyuki (2007), "Review" (PDF), Nagoya Studies in Indian Culture and Buddhism: Sambhāṣā, 26: 176–178<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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External links[edit]