Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies.[1]  This is indeed ironic, since George Kellner is the founder of Kellner Dileo & Company, which specializes in merger arbitrage, distressed & high income investing and securities lending – core businesses of Wall Street, the very seat of the ideology (Capitalism) that Prashad routinely denounces.[2]  Prashad is one of the founding fathers of the FOIL and is the author of several books regarding South Asia, Indians, etc.  He has often written articles and papers on US imperialism and capitalist hegemony and impacts of this across the world.

According to Malhotra and Neelakandan, “Prashad endorses the Afro-Dalit movement, including the racist theories of V.T. Rajshekar. The Afro-Dalit project purports to paint Dalits as the ‘Blacks’ of India and non-Dalits as India’s ‘Whites’”[3]. The history of American racism, slavery and Black/White relations is thus superimposed onto Indian society.[4]  “But taking its cue from the American experience, the Afro-Dalit project attempts to empower Dalits by casting them as victims at the hands of a different race.”[5]  Similarly, Prashad also believes that “both the Africans and the Indian Untouchables and tribals had common ancestors…that Dalits ‘resemble Africans in physical features’”.[6]  Though he is aware of the shortcomings and fallacies of Aryan-Dravidian ethnographic projects undertaken by colonial anthropologists, his writings are designed to provoke suspicion against anything to do with Hinduism and India’s legitimacy as a nation-state.

Malhotra and Neelakanda illustrate the net effects of such outrageous ideas in this influential internet age.  A Canadian blogger named Plawiuk, crediting the writings of Vijay Prashad and V.T. Rajshekar, which he picked up at the Culture and the State conference at University of Alberta in 2003, for his ideas about Indian civilization as follows:[7]

Modern Hinduism is fascism and racism.  It is the origin of what we would call modern fascism.  Based on a religious caste system that is Aryan in origin, it divides up the world into three castes, warriors, priests, merchants, and in a slave class, the Dalits or Untouchables.[8]

Prashad also supports the ideas of Kancha Ilaiah, deemed as ‘the leading Dalit rights campaigner’[9].  However, Kancha Ilaiah is well known for his hatred towards and demonization of Sanskrit, Hinduism and India.  Ilaiah’s and FOIL’s views on Hinduism and India are presented later in the report.  But, it is sufficient to say that Ilaiah’s views are extremely disturbing, inaccurate and a demonstration of “theories gone wild”.  Interestingly, one of Ilaiah’s books Why I am not a Hindu is prescribed in introductory courses on Hinduism at many American universities![10]  Koenrad Elst, a Belgian Indologist, reviewed Ilaiah’s book and found parallels with the anti-Jewish depictions in Nazi writings:[11]

These anti-Hindu forces are exploiting the Aryan Invasion Theory to the hilt, infusing crank racism in vast doses into India’s body politic.  Read, e.g. Kancha Ilaiah’s book Why I Am Not a Hindu (Calcutta, 1996), sponsored by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, with its anti-Brahmin cartoons: move the hairlocks of the Brahmin villains from the back of the head to just in front of the their ears, and you get exact replicas of the anti-Semitic cartoons from the Nazi paper, Der Stumer[12]

Prashad wrote an article on Hindu Holocaust (News India Times, Sept. 25, 2009) about an event held by French journalist Francois Gautier to raise money to build a Hindu Holocaust Museum that highlights the atrocities against Hindus throughout history. Contrary to available evidence both from Muslim and non-Muslim writers and scholars, Prashad categorically denies the slaughter of Hindus in the Indian subcontinent at the hands of Islamic invaders starting from the 8th century AD.  He surmises that Islam entered India via peaceful trade relations rather than on the backs of invaders.  And, even when invaders did come, they were mainly interested in warfare and plunder and nothing more.  Vinod Kumar, writing a fact based response to Prashad’s article, highlights the following statements from Prashad:

Between Hindus and Muslims there has not been an endless rivalry for social power. When Islam enters the subcontinent, it does not come in the saddlebags of the Ghaznis or the Ghouris, but amongst the rumble of goods brought by traders. Early conversions are not by the sword but by the merchants .There was killing, but that was as much for reasons of warfare and plunder as for reasons of God and tradition. An interested reader might want to look at the distinguished historian Romila Thapar’s superb book ‘Samantha: The Many Voices of a History’ (Penguin, 2005). There, Professor Thapar shows us that Mahmud Ghaznis destruction of the Shiva temple in 1026 was driven not so much by a fanatical religious belief but because his father, Subuktigin (sic), needed money to sustain his faltering kingdom in Central Asia. Now it is certainly true, as historian Mohammed Habib put it, that there was ‘wanton destruction of temples that followed in the wake of the Ghaznavid army.’[13]

Prashad’s history knowledge is based on none other the Marxist historian Romila Thapar and her controversial book on the famous Hindu temple of Somnath.


[1] See faculty profile of Prashad at http://internet2.trincoll.edu/facProfiles/Default.aspx?fid=1000767.  Accessed June 17, 2011

[2] See overview of Kellner’s business strategies on the company’s website at http://www.kellnerdileo.com/index.php?page=strategies.  Accessed June 17, 2011

[3] Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan, Breaking India. Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines, (India: Manipal Press Ltd, 2011), 263

[4] In the Introduction to the book, Malhotra discusses how race relations of America are forced onto Indian society by the likes of V.T. Rajshekar and further endorsed by individuals like Prashad.  Dalits are considered a different race than other Hindus/Indians and are therefore encouraged along this theme to rebel against the “whites” of India.  http://www.breakingindia.com/introduction/.  Accessed June 17, 2011

[5] Malhotra and Neelakandan, 263

[6] Malhotra and Neelakandan, 263

[7] Malhotra and Neelakandan, 263

[8] Malhotra and Neelakandan, 263

[9] Malhotra and Neelakandan, 225

[10] Malhotra and Neelakandan, 225

[11] Malhotra and Neelakandan, 225

[12] Malhotra and Neelakandan, 225

[13] Vinod Kumar, “Prof. Vijay Prashad and Hindu Holocaust Museum”, http://vivekajyoti.blogspot.com/2009/09/this-fact-based-response-to-prof-vijay.html, accessed June 17, 2011

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2 responses to “Vijay Prashad

  1. Vijay Prashad and Romila Thapar and all leftist mindsets should ‘WAKE UP’ …. Wake up and stop butchering mother (mother land) as they are knoingly doing…

    -Bharat Patel

  2. Vijay Prashad is nothing but a stooge grovelling for crumbs from the Church sponsored moolah for denigrating anything which breaks the well cultivated supremacy image of Christianity. Sitting in the US where the worst form of human rights abuses are documented against the Blacks in the history of mankind he wants to pout homilies against India. The Baptist Church of North America is the most reviling figure,involved in the insurgency in Nagaland, creating fissures in TN.

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