The Wendy Doniger Saga

I was amazed to see how much virulent abuse my counter petition in support of Wendy Doniger received from mostly NRI Hindus (see some of the comments in  my earlier post). Both petitions I tried to run were attacked with multiple entries describing vulgar connotations, orgies, sexual perversions and more. This is the wonder of free speech. Unfortunately I had to shut down the petition sites due to all the abuse I received but we did receive 44 great signatories before that happened and the support of that most hated of Indian intellectuals Salman Rushdie who also spoke in support of Wendy’s right to write the book.

I do not know Wendy myself, nor do I belong to RISA or any other organization. I am a practitioner of Advaita Vedanta as taught by Swami Vivekananda and I belong to the school of Hindu philosophy that supports the thesis that all paths lead to the same truth and promotes the idea of inquiry, questioning and personal experience. I also belong to an India where we have always had voices of dissent, questioning and reform in our religion. Whether you think of the Upanishadic seers or Shankaracharya or Vivekananda and so many others. Why should new ideas be banned.

I hope and pray that the book is not banned as it will be the end of the freedom we so love in India and around the world as Indians who believe in debate, discourse and intelligent arguments.

I look forward to a calming of waters but at the same time I continue to support the right for Wendy Doniger to not only write the book but have us all discuss and debate it in the future.

About Raja Choudhury

Raja Choudhury is an experienced digital media and design professional with over 18 years of leading-edge, award winning, highly acclaimed creative experience in the UK, US and India building multimedia campaigns, content, films, digital brands and installations for some of the World’s leading brands, ideas and institutions. Educated as an Architect at London’s prestigious Architectural Association he went on to build 3 companies that produced revolutionary design products: Zone UK, C3CUBE (US & India) and Universal Quest. His work ranges from kiosk installations, exhibitions and house designs to Webby-award winning websites, major documentary films and social media campaigns. He has worked with Coca-Cola, Tower Records, HMV, Sony Entertainment, BT, News International, PBS, American India Foundation and INTA. His work has garnered a Milia D’Or, two Webby Honourees, an Adobe Site of the Day and numerous other awards and media acclaim over the years. He produces documentary films on consciousness and Indian wisdom. He is a TED speaker and speaks regularly on Social and Digital Media and is a blogger under the avatar of “The Creative Indian.” He lives between New Delhi and New York with his wife Jagriti, daughter Gayatri Noor and cocker spaniel Marley. He is an amateur Mystic, Yogi, Aikido practitioner, squash player, painter and has dreams of becoming an author and teacher.
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4 Comments

  1. Something is wrong in this blog entry.

    Raja Choudhury claims that he does not belong to RISA. Yet, it appears that a RISA member has passed on the Raja Choudhury drafted petiton.

    Raja Choudhury owes a clarification in the name of free speech.

    See a posting on RISA list.

    From: Deepak Sarma
    To: +++RISA ACADEMIC DISCUSSION LIST+++
    Sent: Tue, March 9, 2010 9:57:29 AM
    Subject: [RISA-L LIST] counter-petition in support of Doniger

    Greetings All:
    Some RISA-L members have brought to my attention a counter-petition that is circulating in support of Doniger. They have asked me to post the note accompanying the counter-petition as well as the link (http://petol.org/THAAH123) (embedded in the note). It appears that the author of the counter-petition is Raja Choudhury, whom I know nothing about. I am posting this on behalf of this member, who wished to remain anonymous.

    yours,

    Deepak
    RISA-L admin

  2. Rajaji:

    Washington Post has nice article on this subject. Doubt the Talibani moderator censoring this website will post this online.

    Short url: http://bit.ly/awHDnI

    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/aseem_shukla/2010/03/whose_history_is_it_anyways.html

    So Microsoft withdrew her article in 2003 eh? Bloody Talibani Microsoft no?

    Next time you pick a cause, do some research before it boomerangs back. But then your research efforts are only on par with that of Wendys.

    I trust an apology by you for calling peaceful Hindus as Taliban might be expecting too much? No?

  3. Arunji,

    Microsoft? As a bastion of western culture. Oh dear.

    I still standby her right to write, publish and sell her book and we can protest it all we like but in this free world we supposedly live in, everyone has the right, including your charming self, to express their opinions and have then heard if there is a market or a platform.

    The irony is that your protests have actually increased sales of the book. One could argue that you have done more for her popularity than anyone else could ever have done.

    Well done!!!

    I also suggest you launch your own blog and write your own authorized History of Hinduism. Then get your friends to protest against it and next thing you too might have a best seller!

  4. Dear Rajaji,

    Thanks for posting your thoughts on how to launch the best selling books. You are confirming Dr Tilak’s theory on “Wendy Doniger does a doggie”
    http://bit.ly/cJUb5I

    Given Wendy’s penchant to denigrate Hindu icons and culture, by your logic she should be beating J K Rawlings in sales. Nevertheless, one can say mediocrity can be pushed only so far despite her ignorant gunga-din warriors.

    You can continue to stand besides her it’s your prerogative. Same way the other Hindus have the right to protest against her (in every peaceful manner) – without being called names. Maybe a concept foreign to you. Anyone with an iota of decency would have apologized for comparing peaceful protests by citizens to the most oppressive regime in modern times.

    And given the “outrage” on your bogus tears for Wendy has brought forth, you and your company sales should be sky-rocketing too. Woo-hoo!! Please, don’t spend it all in one place.

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