Prof. Kapila Vatsyayan, one of the most respected scholars of Indian culture in the world, notes that scholars have tried to over- sexualize and reduce the rich, complex, and multilayered world of Indian symbols, icons and mythology ?through a single perspective of a Freudian psycho-analytical approach applied to the exclusion of the others. Also there is a sense of bewilderment when one notes that rather outdated and almost passe theories of the psycho-analytical are being applied, when the discipline has taken in many more penetrative paths.?
Pandit Jasraj, the Hindustani music maestro, pleads, ?To American scholars whose negative scholarship on Indian Divinity has been highlighted in this book?If you do not have enough knowledge about a culture and religion, you should not write about it!? The book inquires whether these are isolated instances of ignorance, or whether there is an institutionalized pattern of bias driven by certain worldviews? Are these academic pronouncements based on evidence, and how carefully is this evidence cross-examined by other scholars? How do these images of Indians created in the American academy influence public perceptions through the media, the education system, policymakers, and popular culture?
Prof. Anantanand Rambachan at Saint Olaf College, Minnesota, describes the book as ?a valuable historical resource for those who want to understand better this debate, and those who wish to become participants in the conversation … Scholars should welcome a critical voice from the community that is the focus of their study, for a mutually enriching dialogue.?
Prof. Kapil Kapoor, the former pro Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, sees this book as a very valuable contribution to the dialogue of civilizations. ?The intellectuals featured in this book, with their bold decision to take on this scholarship, have entered into a serious dialogue about motives, methodology and substance and, using their own tools, have reversed the gaze back on to the scholarly establishment to their understandable discomfort.?
The issues here are so critical that Air Marshal Raghavendran says: ?It should be required reading for every Indian diplomat, the defence department and those in foreign affairs, and especially for Indian scholars.? The book hopes to stir serious debate on topics such as: How do Hinduphobic works resemble earlier American literature depicting non-Whites as dangerous savages needing to be civilized by the West? Are India'sinternal social problems going to be managed by foreign interventions in the name of human rights? How do power imbalances and systemic biases affect the objectivity and quality of scholarship? What are the rights of practitioner-experts in ?talking back? to academicians? What is the role of India'sintellectuals, policymakers and universities in fashioning an authentic and enduring response?