Ashok Row Kavi is the latest groupie on board.
This morning's HT edit page had his scholarly sounding article (Da Vinci is Da Truth?) which completely endorses Dan Brown's thesis. With such elan he discusses issues surrounding biblical scholarship that for once you think that he's a goldmedalist from a foremost German seminary specialising in higher criticism of New Testament documents and an uncontested authority on Church history.
But just one look at the history of how some Indian intellectuals tackle the biblical scholarship and one can see a deep prejudice and an agenda to tear down biblical faith. That's not what one objects to. In a highly contested arena of textual criticism and historical research one expects heated debates and bruised convictions. Scriptures can be and must be subject to scrutiny. It is the manner in which some Indian scholars exclusively deploy second hand scholarship of clealrly anti-Christian writers of the west, which puts one off. The debate that should be academic in nature turns mere ideological propaganda.
In July 1913, the monthly journal of the Arya Samaj Vedic Magazine made an attack on the Bible based on John Stuart Mill's criticisms. C F Andrews who was a close friend to Samaj's Mahatama Munshi Ram wrote to him that his publication which is a mouth piece of a religious reform movement must refrain from using the "accusations of atheists and agnostics." (Builders of Modern India: Charles Freer Andrew. Benarsidas Chaturvedi and Marjorie Sykes. Govt. of India: New Delhi. 1971. 99.)
In more recent times these kinds of accusations have been made by Indian godmen to woo western converts. Rajnish (or OSHO as he is now called) did that magnificently. Even now one may hear the discourses where covert statements are made deriding biblical narratives.
Arun Shourie uses Thomas Paine to buttress his arguments against the Christian Scriptures, and believes (needless to say mistakenly) that he has found supporters in Hans Kung and Schillebeeckx. (Missionaries in India, Harper Collins: New Delhi. 1997. 211)
Ashok Row Kavi is another in the list of these critics who rely on the outdated (at least 50 years old) and second hand scholarship.
Arya Samaji's continued faithfully the work started by Swami Dayanand Saraswati namely protecting the Arya Dharma, Arun Shourie did his bit to give intellectual credence to BJP's anti-minority stance and Rajnish wished to swell his ranks with white skinned converts, Kavi too has a particular goal to achieve.
As a man on the forefront of sexual revolution in India he needed a partner to knock out "Christian morality." He's gone on record saying that anti-sodomy law in IPC is a legacy of Victorian bias against sexual freedom. West only recognises two genders: man and woman, whereas Indian sacred texts have sanctioned at least ten kinds of sexualities. He admires The Da Vinci Code for its emphasis on female worship, but one must recognize this female worship is not what one finds in a nationalistic text like Bankimchandra's Ananthmath but a validation of religious prostitution, glorifying sexual orgies.
(to be contd.)