ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Panegyric for the Brahmans

Hinduism and the Ethics of Warfare in South Asia: From Antiquity to the Present by Kaushik Roy (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press), 2012; pp 288, Rs 995 (hardcover).

Anirudh Deshpande

We can only say, folly is an illness for which there is no medicine, and the Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs [and] no science like theirs. They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited and stolid. They are by nature niggardly in communicating that which they know and they take the greatest possible care to withhold it from men of another caste among their own people, still much more, of course, from any foreigner…Think of Socrates when he opposed the crowd of his nation and died faithful to the truth. The Hindus had no men of this stamp both capable and willing to bring [the] sciences to a classical perfection                                  – Al-Biruni 1.

Since the emergence of the linguistic and cultural turns in the social sciences during the 1970s and 1980s it has become fashionable in the intellectual circles of Europe, America and India to rediscover an India located outside the historical contexts made by conventional and Marxist historiography. Following this, the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and the beginning of the full-scale United States-led Western war on Islamist terror since 2001 has fuelled the study of, and search for allies against Islam among the ruling elites in the West.

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