Hindutva ideologue and author Rajiv Malhotra has been appointed an honorary visiting professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Centre for Media Studies. Malhotra tweeted on Monday to say that he would deliver his first lecture as visiting professor on November 2 on the subject of “Sanskrit Non-Translatables”.
Other recent appointments at the premier institution include Subhash Kak, an Indian American computer scientist, who has been named among the adjunct faculty at the institution’s School of Engineering and as an honorary visiting professor at the Centre for Media Studies. Journalist and Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta is also among the honorary visiting fellows of the centre.
The Centre for Media Studies runs MPhil and PhD research programmes and offers a few optional courses. The chairman of the Centre for Media Studies, Heeraman Tiwari, did not respond to calls or text messages seeking more information about the appointments.
Kak was among a group of teachers at US universities who issued a letter in 2015 welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives. The letter was in response to a statement issued by leading South Asian experts at US universities urging Silicon Valley industrialists to be cautious about doing business with Modi.
Malhotra is an American Hindutva activist and author. A physicist and computer scientist by training, he is the founder-director of the Infinity Foundation, located in New Jersey. His books include Indra’s Net: Defending Hinduism’s Philosophical Unity and Battle for Sanskrit.
In the Battle for Sanskrit, Malhotra attempts to counter what he describes as the Western view of ancient Indian texts and traditions, insisting on the need for a make-in-India approach instead. Malhotra asserts that Western scholars of Sanskrit “interpret India in ways that the traditional Indian experts would outright reject or at least question” and vows to take them on.
In 2015, Malhotra was accused of plagiarism by historian Richard Fox Young. Young alleged that Malhotra had quoted verbatim from other works and picked ideas without acknowledgement.
In 2002, Malhotra published an online essay, “Wendy’s Child Syndrome”, blaming University of Chicago scholar Wendy Doniger and her “cult of students” for the “eroticisation of Hinduism”.