Koenraad Elst

Koenraad Elst obtained his MA degrees in Sinology, Indology and Philosophy. He has published on the interface of religion and politics, correlative cosmologies, the dark side of Buddhism, the reinvention of Hinduism, technical points of Indian and Chinese philosophies, various language policy issues, Maoism, the renewed relevance of Confucius in conservatism, the increasing Asian stamp on integrating world civilization, direct democracy, the defence of threatened freedoms, and the Belgian question.

The Origin of Japanese

Was Japanese “made in Japan”? Since Japan was not the cradle of mankind, the first speakers of proto-Japanese must have come from elsewhere at any rate. Do they still have recognizable relatives there, at least linguistically? There are reasons to think so. Recently I attended a lecture at my Alma Mater by Dr. Martine Robbeets […]Read More

The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was

The easiest way before an Indian audience to get hands clapping, is to accuse the British of the Partition of India. Try it for yourself and say out loud: “Partition was engineered by the wily Britishers  in their nefarious design of ‘divide and rule’”, success assured. And the applause is sure to follow no matter whether […]Read More

Vijayanagar Negationism

In several articles and speeches since at least 2004 (“Trapped in the ruins”, The Guardian, 20 March 2004), and especially in the commotion provoked by Girish Karnad’s speech in Mumbai (autumn 2012), William Dalrymple has condemned Nobel prize winner V.S. Naipaul for writing that the Vijayanagar empire was a Hindu bastion besieged by Muslim states. The […]Read More

Decoding Hinduism (Book Review)

Most Hindus have no clear idea where their own religion fits in the global religious landscape. Even the most illiterate Christian or Muslim ‘knows’ that his religion was brought into the world in order to supersede all other religions, which are false. The Hindus’ grasp of their relation to other religions, even (and perhaps especially) […]Read More

Questioning the Mahatma (Book Review)

Mahatma Gandhi was a heartless and manipulative tyrant without the redeeming feature of political merit. On the contrary, his vision for India was confused, he twisted the meaning of straightforward terms like Swarajya (independence) to suit his own eccentric fancies, he never overcame his basic loyalty to the British Empire, and he didn’t have the courage of […]Read More

Hindu Activism Outside the Sangh

An RSS man”, that is how the Indian media and the Western South Asia scholars label anyone known as or suspected of standing up for Hindu interests. In fact, there have always been Hindu activists outside the RSS Sangh, working as individuals or in smaller organizations. Today, the modernization of Indian society and especially the […]Read More

Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Martyrdom

Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom is usually interpreted as an act of self-sacrifice for the sake of the Kashmiri Pandits threatened with forced conversion. As such, it is a classic Hindutva proof of the Hinduness of Sikhism, though it is also a classic neo-Sikh proof of the “secularism” of Sikhism (“showing concern even for people of […]Read More

Even More on Hinduism

What does American academe think about Hinduism nowadays? Well, just like in questions about God, the answer “depends on what you mean by that term”. Geoffrey Oddie, general editor of the series including the present collective book, Hinduism in India, thematizes the term in the first chapter. The original geographical meaning of Hindu as “Indian” remained in use […]Read More

Hindu Bravery

One hears it all too often: ‘Hindus are cowards, they only deserve what they are suffering.’ Mahatma Gandhi said it clearly enough: ‘The Muslim is a bully, the Hindu a coward.’ But Hindus are by no means cowards. Hindus as such have their problems, but lack of bravery is not one of them. Look at […]Read More