Guest witticism by Anthony K: The purity of Engliſh ſpellyng »« Destroy all the books

That’s not how to write a book review

Here’s the petition to Penguin to “withdraw” Doniger’s book and to apologize.

The following is a petition from concerned signatories to the Penguin Group asking for an apology for the publication of the factually incorrect and offensive book The Hindus-An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger. We expect Penguin Group to withdraw the book immediately.

The Hindus: An Alternative History is rife with numerous errors in itshistorical facts and Sanskrit translations. These errors and misrepresentations are bound and perhaps intended to mislead students of Indian and Hindu history.

Throughout the book, Doniger analyzes revered Hindu Gods and Goddess using her widely discredited psychosexual Freudian theories that modern,humanistic psychology has deemed limiting. These interpretations arepresented as hard facts and not as speculations. Doniger makes variousfaulty assumptions about the tradition in order to arrive at her particularspin. In the process, the beliefs, traditions and interpretations of practicingHindus are simply ignored or bypassed without the unsuspecting readerknowing this to be the case. This kind of Western scholarship has beencriticized as Orientalism and Eurocentrism. The non Judeo-Christian faith gets used to dish out voyeurism and the tradition gets eroticized.

Yes let’s handle all books that way – petition the publishers to withdraw every book that we think gets it wrong, or “offends” us, or isn’t as entertaining as we’d like it to be, or has not enough or too many pictures. Books that we personally don’t like have no right to exist.

The petition gives a long list of claimed mistakes, with commentary, and then sums up with its demands.

We emphasize that this defamatory book misinforms readers about the history of Hindu civilization, its cultures and traditions. The book promotes prejudices and biases against Hindus. Can Penguins editors really be incompetent enough to have allowed this to pass to publication? If this is not deliberate malice, Penguin must act now in good faith.

As concerned readers, we ask PENGUIN GROUP to:

1. WITHDRAW all the copies of this book immediately from the worldwide bookshops/markets/Universities/Libraries and refrain from printing any other edition.

2. APOLOGIZE for having published this book The Hindus: An AlternativeHistory. This book seriously and grossly misrepresents the Hindu realityas known to the vast numbers of Hindus and to scholars of Hindu tradition.PENGUIN must apologize for failure to observe proper pre-publication scrutiny and scholarly review.

It’s just unbelievable.

 

Comments

  1. Shatterface says

    It’s utterly unacceptable for a book to be withdrawn to protest the feelings of religious groups.

    That said, psychoanalysis is a nasty, misogynistic pseudoscience the world could do without.

    This is like witnessing Mystic Meg attacking Christianity on astrological grounds or a homeopathic refutation of Judaism. In either case I’d defend the right to publish but I’d still be conscious I was defending bullshit.

  2. Claire Ramsey says

    This is a horror. I wonder how many of the complainers have written books that spell out the Truth about the Real History of Hinduism. How many of them are translators of Sanskrit?

    Uh huh, that’s about what I thought.

  3. brucegee1962 says

    Ummm…I’d have to go back a ways through Chris Rodda’s blog to remind myself of whether she actually called for the publisher of that awful David Barton book on Jefferson to actually withdraw the book, or just cheered when the publisher chose to do so. She also gave a long list of claimed mistakes, with commentary. Was the campaign to get that book off the shelves also a bad idea?

    I mean, I’m not personally an expert in either Sanskrit or historical facts on Hinduism, so I’d hope to hear from at least a few more credentialed experts before I leap to defend one side or the other. Of course, certain keywords in the letter, like “offensive” and “revered,” tip us off that the petitioners come from the standpoint of believers. But I hope we’re all enough skeptics here that we don’t just assume all scholarship that comes from believers is poor and all scholarship that comes from nonbelievers is flawless.

    If you have some other reason to trust the scholarship of Doniger, that’s something else, of course.

  4. brucegee1962 says

    Ignore my last comment — I apparently missed a whole bunch of earlier posts. Wow, a lot happened this afternoon.

  5. Omar Puhleez says

    PETITION TO PENGUIN
    (cc to all other publishers)
    .
    As concerned readers, we ask PENGUIN GROUP to:
    1. WITHDRAW all the copies of this AND EVERY OTHER BOOK IN THEIR LIST immediately from the worldwide bookshops/markets/Universities/Libraries and refrain from printing any other editionS
    .
    2. APOLOGIZE for having published THESE BOOKS: The Hindus: An Alternative History, AND THE REST.
    THESE BOOKS seriously and grossly misrepresent the Hindu reality AND ALL OTHER REALITIES as known to the vast numbers of Hindus AND ALL OTHERS and to scholars of Hindu tradition AND ALL OTHER TRADITIONS. PENGUIN must apologize for failure to observe proper pre-publication SCRUTINIES and scholarly REVIEWS.
    .
    3. CLOSE DOWN ALL PUBLISHING HOUSES, BOOKSHOPS AND LIBRARIES, OR WE’LL BURN THEM DOWN!
    .
    4. WE MAKE THESE LEGITIMATE AND UNDERSTANDABLE DEMANDS IN THE NAME OF EVERY GOD WE CAN THINK OF!
    .
    (nb THOUGH PEOPLE WHO FILL THE COMMENT BOXES ON THE NET WITH STUFF WRITTEN IN BLOCK CAPS TEND TO BE OBSESSIVE, AND A BRICK SHORT OF A LOAD, THIS IS NOT TRUE IN OUR CASE.)
    .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>