Koenraad Elst 


Koenraad Elst (°Leuven 1959) distinguished himself early on as eager to learn and to dissent. After a few hippie years, he studied at the KU Leuven, obtaining MA degrees in Sinology, Indology and Philosophy. After a research stay at Benares Hindu University, he did original fieldwork for a doctorate on Hindu nationalism, which he obtained magna cum laude in 1998. As an independent researcher, he earned laurels and ostracism with his findings on hot items like Islam, multiculturalism and the secular state, the roots of Indo-European, the Ayodhya temple/mosque dispute and Mahatma Gandhi's legacy. He also 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. Regarding religion, he combines human sympathy with substantive skepticism.

Articles

Are Hindu reformists Hindus?

Excerpt | Posted On: 04 Sep 2018

The inherent need to identify themselves as non-Hindu has been the sole aim of most Hindu reformation groups.

Arya-Tibetan case for the OIT

Essay | Posted On: 10 Jul 2018

New evidence has come to light in linguistics that undermines the AIT whose proponents mostly rely on genetic evidence.

In spite of Hinduism

Excerpt | Posted On: 20 Jun 2018

Maligning Hinduism is a standard practice that shows no signs of slowing down as inherent biases still remain.

AIT and the science of linguistics

Essay | Posted On: 26 May 2018

Linguistics is a field far away from the wild speculations of folk etymology and while it may not have the relative certitude of the exact sciences, it is nevertheless a scientific enterprise that opponents of the Aryan Invasion Theory may ...

How Buddha was turned Anti-Hindu

Essay | Posted On: 18 May 2018

Despite being every inch a Hindu himself, the Buddha has been falsely portrayed as a rebel going against conventional Hindu beliefs and practices.

Humour in Hinduism - Part 2

Essay | Posted On: 11 Apr 2018

Criticism is inherent to Hinduism and hence the urge to mock arises but unlike other religions, it does not trigger damnation.

Humour in Hinduism - Part 1

Essay | Posted On: 27 Mar 2018

Hinduism has always incorporated a healthy dose of humour in its writings, with even gods not being spared.

Standing up for the Purusha Sukta

Perspective | Posted On: 26 Feb 2018

Hindus have long been made to feel ashamed of the Purusha Sukta's casteist elements even though they have no reason to in reality.

Sarva Dharma Samabhava

Excerpt | Posted On: 15 Feb 2018

The slogan of all religions being equal is a gross misrepresentation as their inherent aspirations differ greatly.

Pishacha Vivaha - Reparation Marriage

Essay | Posted On: 27 Jan 2018

Treating a rape as less consequential if the victim agrees to marry the perpetrator has no place in contemporary society but to call it "patriarchal" is downright silly.

Arya and Swastika

Excerpt | Posted On: 21 Dec 2017

Maligned and associated with the Nazis, the Swastika symbol and the Aryan people have long been the sufferers of anti-Hindu rhetoric.

RSS in western media

Commentary | Posted On: 15 Nov 2017

The portrayal of RSS and "Hindu Nationalism" in Western media has changed a little over the last couple of decades but the credit for the same does not go to the RSS itself, which remains indifferent to such challenges as before.

The Tamil Veda

Book Review | Posted On: 20 Jul 2017

That the Vedic influence on Tamil people is undeniable, profound and as ancient as their culture itself is a fact that goes contrary to the Dravidian political discourse but is nevertheless true, according to the authoritative book by India...

Genetics and the Aryan invasion debate

Essay | Posted On: 24 Jun 2017

The recent article in ‘The Hindu’ claiming that new research in genetics unambiguously supports the Aryan Invasion Theory is a case of wishful thinking that force-fits available evidence to reach ideologically motivated conclusions. The...

How NCERT covers up Islam’s role in temple destruction

Commentary | Posted On: 31 Mar 2017

NCERT history textbooks have progressed from a total denial of temple and idol destruction to a too clever by half cover-up of the Islamic roots of iconoclasm by Muslim invaders.

Is India’s National Anthem secular?

Essay | Posted On: 17 Mar 2017

A survey of the origins of the various National Anthems in Europe and a study of the final choice for the Indian anthem throws up interesting questions and amusing answers.

Epitaph for the Ayodhya affair

Book Review | Posted On: 28 Feb 2017

Professor Meenakshi Jain's new book, 'The Battle for Rama: Case of the Temple at Ayodhya', is a definitive and scholarly guide to the biggest controversy of the early nineties, which totally changed the dynamics of Indian politics.

A diversity of white saviours

Perspective | Posted On: 17 Feb 2017

By reducing the motives of those involved in debates on Indian history to racial prejudice, Devdutt Pattanaik lazily brushes aside the diversity in the politics of those engaged in the intellectual battle. Predictably, he turns out to be w...

Academic bullies

Commentary | Posted On: 30 Nov 2016

Audrey Truschke may have an eminent position in the academe, but the record of her ideological and academic mentors is such that she must be more restrained in how she engages with and addresses the 'outsiders'.

Guha's Golwalkar (Part 2)

Commentary | Posted On: 03 Nov 2016

Examining Ram Guha's perception of Guru Golwalkar reveals not only the studied superficiality of Nehruvian secularists but also serious flaws in the strategic thinking of 'Hindu Nationalists'.

Guha's Golwalkar (Part 1)

Commentary | Posted On: 25 Oct 2016

Noted columnist Ramchandra Guha completely misunderstands and therefore, misrepresents, the influence of Golwalkar's ideology on the RSS of today.

Max Weber's afterglow

Perspective | Posted On: 12 Sep 2016

Romila Thapar's recent lecture on Max Weber, in which she rightly pointed out the many misrepresentations of Hindu society in his body of work, demonstrates why ideological adversaries in scholarship should not be branded as evil. Rather, e...

Modi, Muslims and Media

Book Review | Posted On: 19 Aug 2016

Madhu Kishwar's book is a well researched, meticulously compiled and honest account of the dynamics and evolution of the complex relationship between the current PM of India and the largest minority community of the country and how the medi...

Defence against “Hinduphobia”

Book Review | Posted On: 05 Jul 2016

Rajiv Malhotra's new book, 'Academic Hinduphobia', is a serious commentary on the ineptness of the so-called experts of Hinduism, holding positions of power and prestige at American universities and is a pleasant read, rich with anecdotes f...
Courses

Buddha in Hindu History


This course deals with how the Buddha is inextricably linked with Hinduism and was just one in a long line of gurus that the dharmic faith produced. Buddhism was discovered by Orientalists outside of India which is why Gautama Buddha is ...

Decolonisation of India


Even after 70 years of independence of the Indian republic, the shadow of colonialism looms large. Governments through the years still tend to blame every ill affecting Indians squarely on the British which in turn has made them interior...

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