The Hindus: An Alternative History

The Hindus: An Alternative History

by Wendy Doniger
2.4 9
Pub. Date:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
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The Hindus: An Alternative History 2.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Yesh_Prabhu More than 1 year ago
This book is presented to the world by Penguin, the publisher, as scholarly opinion on Hinduism from a prolific scholar. It is quite likely that it is written mainly for readers in the West, and it's certainly not for the novice. And if the reader has a lot more than mere rudimentary knowledge about Hinduism, it certainly helps. However, if one is not endowed with sufficient knowledge about Hinduism, often it would be impossible to comprehend what the author has written: "The marginalized people in the lowest social levels of the Veda--Dasas, Shudras--may have included people who were Other not, or not only, in their social class but in their religious practices, such as the wandering bands of warrior ascetics the Vedas refer to as the Vratyas ("People Who Have Taken Vows"), who practiced flagellation and other forms of self-mortification and traveled from place to place in bullock carts." Parts of the book are well written, but there are many parts that I found quite troubling also. I was impressed, too, with the occasional display of her wit and word-play; but, alas, a streak of bias flows through her witticisms, too. Her interpretations and opinions about some events depicted in Hindu scriptures and epics remain as distorted, askew, and perverted as ever (as in her other books about Hindus); and she sees things that simply do not exist. For example, she states that Sita, the heroine of Ramayana, was more sexual than she appears to be and insinuates that Sita's feelings for her brother-in-law, Lakshmana, might well be more than sisterly. Doniger sees a hidden sexual meaning behind several episodes. This book wonderfully illustrates the fact that merely possessing two Ph.D. degrees, from prestigious universities though they may be, doesn't necessarily free one's mind from deep rooted biases and prejudices. I am not the only one who has ventured to criticize Dr. Doniger's views on Hinduism; she has been criticized by scholars from academia, scholars such as Nicholas Kazanas, Antonio De Nicolas, and Michael Witzel, and several others, for her negative portrayals of Hinduism. It is not out of place to mention here that her article on Hinduism for Microsoft's Encarta encyclopedia was criticized and shown to be so biased that Microsoft removed it and replaced it with an article by Aravind Sharma, Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University. The publisher has stated that this book "offers a new way of understanding one of the world's oldest major religions." I beg to differ; in this book Dr. Doniger has offered her same old jaundiced view of Hinduism, but much more elaborately than ever before. I think this book is as delectable as a half-baked potato. Yesh Prabhu, Plainsboro, NJ
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vrama More than 1 year ago
Wendy doesn't have even a glimmer of insight into the soul and spirit of hinduism . Attempoting to educate her would be like expecting a color blind person to appreciate a Monet. Freud has long been discredited in mainstream neurology , psychatry and psychology but Wendy is obvoiously still in the 19th century VS Ramachandran Md PhD DSc Padma Bhushan Distinguished professor and director Center fr bain nd cognition, university of california San Diego La Jolla CA a I recommend Zimmer's book on Hindu art and civiliation and John Keay on History
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dharmaSK More than 1 year ago
Doniger is author of hate against Hindus. She should be stopped by the Univrsity from teaching her brand of sexist, perverted hinduism to her students. Students, beware! This is a trash account of a great religion dharma, peddled as history.