Dear Vishvesh,

Since you do not say what is "scandalous" or why it is so, one
cannot tell how to comment.  But it seems to me you are also
engaging in an attempt to misrepresent through a sweeping
generalization.  You assume motives for which you give no
evidence, and you imply that criticism is likely to have bad motives,
though you seem not to know the authors.

I think as an American academic, I would want very compelling
evidence of either motives or general critical tendencies, and I do
not think any critical position is "scandalous" just because anyone
disagrees or thinks it a misrepresentation.  What is the evidence in
the book itself?  Books are judged on argument and evidence, not
whether the conclusion offends anyone.

Date sent:              Wed, 10 Dec 2003 06:57:13 -0800
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Vishvesh Obla <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                (OT)A Scandalous 'psycho analysis' of India's Cultural Past : A case
To:                     [log in to unmask]

There is a book on Lord Ganesha, a Hindu Deity, by
Paul B.Courtright (titled Ganesa: Lord of Obstacles,
Lord of Beginnings), which has made a scandalous
representation of the much-adored Indian Deity in the
name of psycho-analysis.  A good friend of mine by
name ‘Kalavai Venkat’ (along with another writer,
named Vishal Agarwal) has given a fitting reply to it
with factual references and a conceptual grasp of the
Indian past.  The review titled ‘When The Cigar
Becomes a Phallus’ is found at

Earlier it was the likes of Catherine Mayos and
William Archers who reveled in such
mis-representations of India.  Even when you
identified the journalists in them, they still seemed
to have had a motive : to justify the imperialistic
ambitions of the British Empire.  But the likes of
Wendy Donigers and her lineage of psycho analytical
critics seem to have a different motive : to disparage
deliberately a cultural phenomena for motives that are
disturbing when comprehended.  One wonders if this is
what criticism of a specific nature is capable of and
if this is what the American Academia is enamored
with?  To make a generalized statement based on the
work of a few critics may not be proper, but seeing
the reputation Wendy Doniger and her ‘disciples’ enjoy
in the Western studies of Indology, it cannot but make
one wonder so.

I know that this list consists of a quite a few
Academicians from American universities, and I would
appreciate if any one can comment on it.

Thank You.


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