Rajiv Malhotra - Hindu Civilization

Indology, Hindu self-perception, Indian nationhood, and the politics of Hindutva

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[Hover the mouse cursor over each of the images and captions in the album to the left for a pictorial synopsis of Rajiv's project]

Rajiv Malhotra, (born September, 1950) is an Indian-American philanthropist, public speaker and writer on current affairs, world religions and cross-cultural encounters between east and west. A physicist and computer scientist by training, his career until his early retirement at age 44 spanned the corporate world as a senior executive, strategic consultant and a successful entrepreneur in the information technology and media industries. In 1995, he founded the Infinity Foundation, seeking to foster a better understanding of the dharma religious traditions of India (most notably Hinduism and Buddhism) both in the US and on the subcontinent. The Foundation has given more than 400 grants for research, education and community work. Since he established his foundation, Rajiv has organized and led numerous conferences and scholarly events to address the challenges and opportunities arising from the growing encounters of civilizations east and west; his articles, blogs and books have a wide audience, and he is frequently interviewed and invited to deliver keynote addresses.

Rajiv’s work compares and contrasts the Abrahamic and dharma worldviews, and examines what the latter can bring to the future of the human family. He argues that the dharma offers a complex, open and multi-dimensional social and religious paradigm that fosters a genuine win-win dialogue among diverse peoples rather than a zero sum game. The key themes of his work include: globalization as a parochial imposition of Western universalism; limitations of the Abrahamic framework in addressing social and environmental conflicts; importance of the feminine dimension to the evolution of cultures; concerns about the future of the west; and the integration science and religion. 

Rajiv is at the center of a growing network of diverse collaborators, including scholars, academics, public intellectuals and activists, who draw inspiration from his example and benefit from his support. He is the first ever recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Association of Vedic Studies (2010) and of the Thomas Jefferson Award from the Indian American Civic Forum (2000). He sits on the board of a number of institutions of higher education, such as serving as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the India Studies program at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He was appointed to the Asian-American Commission for the State of New Jersey, where he served as the Chairman for the Asian Studies Education Committee. He is a senior advisor to the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, founded in 2002, which is the apex body for representing the major Hindu traditions, providing leadership, guidance and a collective voice for Hindus worldwide. [from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rajiv-malhotra]

After studying in Delhi's St. Columba's High School and then St. Stephen's College, Rajiv arrived in the US in 1971 to study Physics and Computer Science. His corporate careers and business entrepreneurship included the computer, software and telecom industries. He now spends full time with The Infinity Foundation, a non-profit organization in Princeton, New Jersey. Its main interests include fostering harmony among the diverse cultures of the world. Many of its projects strive to upgrade the portrayal of India's civilization in the American education system and media. This involves both challenging the negative stereotypes and also establishing the many positive contributions from India's civilization.

Rajiv Malhotra (Friends)

Visit the Infinity Foundation homepage and the Mandala of Indic Traditions [external]


  Interview with Joshua Stanton (30 May 2011)
01 — God and Identity
02 — Brahman and Karma
03 — Why Reincarnation?
04 — Limits & Possibilities of Self
05 — Personal Motivations
06 — Language & Difference
07 — History Centrism as the Problem
08 — History & Dharmic Traditions
09 — Dharma & Modern India
10 — Dharmic framework for Dialogue
11 — Educating the Next Generation
Rajiv Malhotra - Francis Clooney on Being Different
1. Rajiv Malhotra - Introductory Remarks
2. Francis Clooney - response to Being Different
3. Rajiv Malhotra's rejoinder to Clooney
4. Q&A with Students
Rajiv Malhotra - Mark Tully on Being Different
Rajiv Malhotra - Being Different panel at Institute of Indian Sciences, Bangalore
1. Rajiv Malhotra on his Systems model of History-Centrism (39:22 minutes)
2. Comments by T.V. Mohandas Pai - Infosys, Manipal Education (10:13 mins)
3. Roddam Narasimha on chapter 4: "Order and Chaos" (15:23 minutes)
4. Question and Answer session (26:00 minutes)

Books - Amazon storefront [external]

Join the discussion forum around Rajiv's book series and follow public appearances - Huffington Post, Twitter [external]

Being Different: a Hindu challenge to Western Universalism - 28 Sep 2011 - brochure (PDF), Amazon, Facebook; dialogues: Francis Clooney, Mark Tully [external]

Breaking India: Western interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines - 01 July 2011 - Amazon [external - Amazon.com]

Invading the Sacred: an Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America - 01 July 2007 (sponsored by Infinity Foundation) [external - Amazon.com]

Abhinavagupta: Reconsiderations - Evam: Forum on Indian Representations 4:1&2, 2006 (sponsored by Infinity Foundation)

Why Swami Nithyananda must resign now - 17 March 2010 [counters temporarily disabled]

Was the US Senate Attack on Hinduism an isolated Instance?

Check out Rajiv's blog at the Huffington Post [external]

Difference With Mutual Respect: A New Kind of Hindu-Christian Dialogue (Dec 27, 2011)

Dharma Is Not The Same As Religion  (June 14, 2011)

The Importance of Debating Religious Differences  (May 14, 2011)

Check out Rajiv's home page at Rediff [external]

Who is responsible for anti-India campaign in US? (Mar 12, 2004)

The Conversion Agenda (Mar 10, 2004)

Human Rights' Other Face (Mar 10, 2004)

Preventing America's Nightmare (Jan 21, 2004) -

America Must Re-discover India (Dec 20, 2003) -

Repositioning India's brand (Dec 09, 2003) -

Going Forward (Jan 23, 2003) -

Does South Asian Studies Undermine India? (Dec 08, 2003) -

India needs a win-win deal (Aug 26, 2003) -

  • Check out Rajiv's home page at Outlook India [external]

  • You'll need to register at the Outlook India website (for free) in order to access these articles.

    Academic Hinduphobia (Feb 10, 2006) - Counterpoint

    The Cartel's Politics (Feb 12, 2004) - Discussing South Asia

    The Cartel's 'Theories' (Feb 11, 2004) - Discussing South Asia

    The Peer-Review Cartel (Feb 02, 2004) - Dialogue

    Going Forward (Jan 23, 2004) - Debating South Asia

    A Dialogue With The Indian Left (Jan 15, 2004) - Debating South Asia

    Is Hindutva The Indian Left's 'Other'? (Jan 23, 2004) - Debating South Asia

    The common theme underlying most of these articles and columns are the representations of India, Hinduism in particular, in the United States (and by extension in the West), as reflected in and determining academic discourse, mass education, media stereotypes, foreign policy, etc. In the process, several of them also focus (at least in part) on the (often maligned) religious values enshrined in Indian traditions and the socio-political 'unconscious' of American 'multiculturalism'. In addition to the numerous un-moderated comments from Sulekha readers, several of these essays have been discussed on the Abhinava forum, either simultaneously (Ganesha, psychoanalysis, critique of history orientated religions, etc.) or subsequently (caste and racism).

    Whiteness Studies and Implications for Indian-American Identity (Apr 26, 2007) column

    Follow up on Manusmriti to my article in Outlook India (Feb 12, 2006) column

    Geopolitics and Sanskrit Phobia (Jul 05, 2005) column

    Myth of Hindu Sameness (Nov 18, 2004) column

    Dialog on Whiteness Studies (Sep 20, 2004) column

    Is anthropology of western culture by others banned? (Jun 15, 2004) column

    The Westernized side of my background  (Apr 27, 2004) column

    Ten Challenges to Washington Post (Apr 26, 2004) column

    Rejoinder to Mr. Vedantam's column  (Apr 26, 2004) column

    Washington Post and Hinduphobia (Apr 20, 2004) column

    RISA Lila - 2 - Limp Scholarship and Demonology (Nov 17, 2003) column

    Problematizing God's Interventions in History (Mar 19, 2003) column

    The Insider/Outsider Academic Game (Oct 25, 2002) article

    Response to Jeffrey Kripal's Sulekha Article (Sep 24, 2002) column

    RISA Lila - 1: Wendy's Child Syndrome (Sep 6, 2002) column

    The Axis of Neocolonialism (Jul 10, 2002) column

    America's Last Chance (Jun 8, 2002) column

    A Business Model of Religion - 2 (Apr 24, 2002) column

    Hinduism in American Classrooms (Mar 18, 2002) column

    The Root of India-Pakistan Conflicts  (Feb 11, 2002) column

    CNN's Pakistan Bias (Jan 11, 2002) column

    A Business Model of Religion - 1 (Dec 31, 2001) column

    How 'Gandhara' became 'Kandahar' (Dec 17, 2001) column

    The Asymmetric Dialog of Civilizations (Dec 3, 2001) column

    Traditional Knowledge Systems (Nov 19, 2001) column

    Gita on Fighting Terrorism (Nov 5, 2001) column

    The American Guilt Syndrome (Oct 8, 2001) column

    Indian Thought is Not Understood in America (Jul 27, 2001) article

    The 'Western Only' Curriculum (Jun 22, 2001) article

    Stereotyping Hinduism in American Education (Apr 11, 2001) article

    Is There an American Caste System? (Jan 29, 2001) article