Book by respected scholar Wendy Doniger falls victim to fundamentalist group.
On Monday, Penguin agreed to withdraw all copies of American scholar Wendy Doniger's book, 'The Hindus: An Alternative History' and to destroy all existing stocks within six months.
The company made the decision in response to a case filed against it in 2011 by Dina Nath Batra, the convenor of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan, which describes itself as an educational institution, and five other people. Batra claimed that the book had been "written with a Christian Missionary Zeal and hidden agenda to denigrate Hindus and show their religion in poor light".
"This book is disrespectful of our gods and goddesses," Batra told Scroll. "It has taken us four years to have them withdraw the book."
The complainants raised several objections to the book, starting with its cover. "On the book jacket of the book Lord Krishna is shown sitting on buttocks of a naked woman surrounded by other naked women," their petition said. It claimed that this decision had been taken "with the full knowledge that Sri Krishna is revered as a divinity and there are many temples for Sri Krishna where Hindus worship the divinity. The intent is clearly to ridicule, humiliate & defame the Hindus and denigrate the Hindu traditions."
The case was filed against Doniger, Penguin USA and Penguin India. Doniger, who teaches at the University of Chicago, is a respected Indologist. She is Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
In a settlement arrived at in the Saket district court in Delhi on Monday, a copy of which was obtained from Batra's office, Penguin agreed not to "sell, publish or distribute" the book in India and to pulp all existing copies at its own cost.
Penguin representatives did not immediately reply to phone calls or an email seeking their point of view on the case.
Can success lead to a more fulfilled life? It’s complicated for Indians, according to a new survey
A surprising disconnect between success and fulfillment has much to tell us about the choices we make.
While “success” can be defined in many ways, it seems to be increasingly equated with financial prosperity in India. The pressure to succeed financially can influence many of our major life decisions, from the subjects we study in school to the jobs we desire as adults. But is financial success alone the key to a meaningful and fulfilled life? Maybe not.
A recent study by Abbott explored the impact of 13 different factors, including success (defined as “financial success”), on personal fulfillment. The survey asked nearly two million individuals across countries, including India, to comment on what contributes to living a fulfilled life. Respondents also self-reported their current levels of personal fulfillment to compare with the fulfillment standards they set for themselves.
In India, “success” was the second-most widely acknowledged driver of personal fulfillment, surpassing other factors like “giving”, “learning” and “health”. In fact, Indians on the whole considered success to be key to a fulfilled life far more than any other country, far ahead of economic powerhouses like the US and Germany. When Indian respondents were then asked which qualities they thought made other people feel fulfilled, 16% of the sample chose “money”, second only to “attitude”.
Clearly there is a growing importance placed on success and money, but where is this preoccupation getting us?
The good news is that, on the whole, Indians rated themselves as enjoying a life that was only somewhat less fulfilled relative to the global average (61 vs 68 on a scale of 100). The surprising finding, however, was that at an individual level, respondents who chose “success”as the top driver of fulfillment actually reported lower levels of fulfillment relative to the average.
So, what can we derive from these mixed and somewhat complicated signals? How can success be both a driver and deterrent of personal fulfillment simultaneously?
The most likely explanation is that our own high expectations for financial success are actually limiting our ability to feel fulfilled. While success and money have been shown to improve levels of happiness, their impact on leading a meaningful life, which is critical to feeling fulfilled, is much less. By prioritizing the pursuit of financial success, we might be eclipsing other important activities that are central to leading a more fulfilled life in the present.
One clue to support this is that while everyone’s path to fulfillment differs, globally and in India, people who chose attributes like “family”, “spirituality” or “giving” as the top drivers of fulfillment self-reported above-average levels of fulfillment. Attributes like spirituality were also associated with above-average fulfillment levels in India and the US, whereas music was important for Brazil and health for China.
Perhaps the most powerful takeaway, then, is that leading a fulfilled life is a choice available to all of us. Through greater self-awareness and reflection, we can develop a deeper understanding of the things that make us feel truly fulfilled. While financial goals will no doubt feature on the path to fulfillment for many of us, it’s important not to lose sight of other aspects of life like family, music, travel, spirituality and health that could also play a significant role. Taking all of these aspects into consideration can help each of us find our unique “fulfillment equation” that will bring us greater peace and contentment in life.
How can each of us ensure we are defining personal fulfillment in our own terms? Thankfully, there are numerous resources available that can help people around the world define and lead a more fulfilled life. Abbott, a global health care company, is committed to helping people live the best life possible. Their website and newsletter feature life hacks for work or personal time like those listed below. These are great tools for those ready to lead a more fulfilled and meaningful life, starting today.
This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.