The Argumentative Hindu

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The Argumentative Hindu is a book by Koenraad Elst.



  • 1. Reviews.
  • 2. Humour in Hinduism.
  • 3. A dubious quotation, a controversial reputation: the merits of Lord Macaulay.
  • 4. Karma.
  • 5. Internet discussions.
  • 6. Hindus and history.
  • 7. The decline of the Sangh Parivar.
  • 8. Secularism.
  • 9. Discrimination against Hindus in India’s constitution.
  • 10. Ramachandra Guha.
  • 11. Racism among Hindus?
  • 12. Censorship and the academy.
  • 13. Meera Nanda against Hinduism and its friends.
  • 14. The case for orientalism.
  • 15. Ayodhya’s three history debates.
  • 16. Hindu survival: what is to be done.
  • Elst : " The Argumentative Hindu. Essays by an Unaffiliated Orientalist (Aditya Prakashan 2012): A collection of numerous recent book reviews, scholarly papers as well as reports on the modus operandi of various “secularists” in India and in the Hindu-born diaspora. The title is an allusion to (and correction of) a book title by Amartya Sen, the subtitle to the description the author gave himself when participating in on-line discussions. The book contains veritable classics such as his paper setting the record straight on Thomas Babington Macaulay and his paper broadening the study of the Hindu movement to new non-Sangh groups. He also thoroughly analyzes several cases of “secularist” slander and censorship."


  • It is a fact as well as a matter of wonder that sixty-five years after India gained her independence, it still makes perfect sense to discuss “decolonization”. The omnipresence of the English language is the most visible factor of a permanently colonized condition, others are the total reliance on Western models in the institutions and in the human sciences. But unlike China, that has wholeheartedly suppressed its own cultural identity (except in language) to embrace Soviet and Anglo-Saxon standards and ideas, India has maintained more of its identity and shows a stronger resistance. That is why in India, the colonized condition can be an issue at all.
  • Recently, China has rediscovered its identity, witness the numerous Confucius Institutes. China has less complexes about its identity than India, which wouldn’t dream of naming its cultural representation after one of its ancient sages. At the same time, it has a far more historical view of decolonization: somehow there are no Chinese intellectuals imagining that the colonial Opium Wars are still going on.