Both in her 2009 (106) and in her 2011 article, Meera Nanda quotes me as saying: “Every Muslim is a Sita, who must be released from Ravana’s prison. We should help Muslims in freeing themselves from Islam.” But in spite of her bibliography and footnotes, she doesn’t mention the source; twice he conceals it. No source is given, but I will give it: The Problem with Secularism, Voice of India 2007, p.30.
That book, which contains a detailed refutation of Sanjay Subramaniam’s mendacious allegations, and Return of the Swastika, Voice of India 2006, which contains a detailed refutation of an earlier paper by Meera Nanda (ch.3, p.34-106), are carefully concealed. She gives in her bibliography a book of mine which is only generally pertinent to her issue, but hides two books that are particularly pertinent to the same issues and that she has used profusely. She is very well aware of this paper of mine about her, for before publishing it, I sent it to her asking whether it correctly reflected the current state of her views, which she confirmed. I noticed that, merely from getting in touch with her, though with no more than one e-mail exchange, I felt compelled to tone down my language and scrap some unnecessarily harsh words I had used. That’s what happens when you get to see your opponents as real human beings rather than comic types in your ideological pandemonium. In this case too, her own paper would have benefited from such an exchange; she has my e-address.
However, though she knows very well that I have been kinder to her than I originally wanted to be, she has gone on to slander Voice of India and myself a second and a third time. She knows very well that I have answered her libels but repeats them nonetheless. But she didn’t want her fans to find out about her lies and their refutation. We have it in cold print that Meera Nanda is a liar and slanderer, and that she is vain.
When Breivik appeared as a godsend to Meera Nanda, she used my quote again: “Their new consensus is that rather than ‘appease’ Muslims by pretending to respect their religion, Hindus need to debunk the claims of the ‘false’ and ‘monstrous’ doctrines of Islam. Indeed, Koenraad Elst has himself applauded this new war on Islam. In accordance with the VoI line on Islam being ‘asuric’, he has proclaimed that, ‘Every Muslim is a Sita who must be released from Ravana’s prison. We should help Muslims in freeing themselves from Islam.’ This is exactly the agenda of the Norway killer—to ‘educate’ Norwegian society, including Muslim immigrants—that ‘Islam is not a religion but a political ideology’. This is the ‘non-violent’ component of the ‘crusade’ against Islam in Europe: to create an environment so hostile that the practice of Islam becomes difficult and that Muslims have no choice but to either leave or give up their faith. Indeed, if there were any doubt about the shared ground between the VoI and European Islamophobes, Elst gives the same advice, in almost the same words, to the Norway killer as he does to his VoI admirers. The solution to the ‘Islam problem’ is not to use violence, ‘but to liberate Muslims from the mental prison-house of Islam’. This war against Islam is the thread that dubiously binds Extremist India with the Norway massacre.” (2011)
Whoever reads that and sees logical consistency there, will spare me the trouble of explaining why the Christian Anders Breivik came in the news for a reason that has never been in evidence in the anti-Christian Voice of India record, viz. violence. Breivik never had a “non-violent” agenda, he killed a great many non-Muslim youngsters bearing responsibility for nothing in order to avert the “Islamization of Europe”, an absurdity in the act only matched by the verbal absurdity displayed by Meera Nanda. She herself says that the Voice of India philosophy is: “The solution to the ‘Islam problem’ is not to use violence” – the very opposite of the Breivik approach. If the Norwegian Crusader had followed the Voice of India solution, viz. to “‘educate’ Norwegian society, including Muslim immigrants, that ‘Islam is not a religion but a political ideology’”, he would have done just the opposite of what he actually did. He would also not have made headlines, just like Voice of India, which led a marginal existence until after its protagonists died.
In Meera Nanda’s view, Elst peddles “the worst kind of Islamophobia imaginable”, no less. Proof: “In one of his essays, he advises his readers that the best way to criticise prophet Mohammed is to ‘question his sanity’, to show that he was mad.” Indeed, I stand by that non-violent position, and so would every scientist. Far from being “Islamophobic” and hence a sign of mental illness itself, it is simply the rational position. The emphasis which many Hindus lay on Muslim atrocities is truthful but misplaced, for these would have been somewhat justifiable if the basic beliefs of Islam were correct. The thing to do is to show that these basic beliefs are incorrect.
Nobody in his right mind would accept it if one day one of his colleagues announced: “I hear the voice of God. From now on you have to obey me, for it is God who speaks through me.” That was the situation in which the Meccan contemporaries of Mohammed found themselves. It is why the Quran reports more than ten times that they didn’t believe him, that they called him an imaginative poet, a ghost-possessed individual, or indeed mad. Were they “Islamophobes”? No, they only reacted to what they saw with their own eyes. From the Byzantine Christians to the modern sceptics, there have always been people who disbelieved Mohammed’s pious claims, including the secretary who wrote down his “revelations” and the Prophet’s favourite wife Aisha, who saw through the self-serving nature of his “divine” utterances. Meera Nanda can only stand on the other side, criminalizing fundamental criticism of Islam, because she is not a scientist at heart.
She claims that according to me “the divine revelations of the prophet of Islam were ‘born from a deluded consciousness’ fed by ‘sexual arousal’ provided by his wife Khadija – all products of the supposedly lower, animal-like centres of consciousness.” (2009:113) Maybe a prudish Arya Samaji has said that, but I have written just the reverse. In The Problem with Secularism, ch.9.2, I see a contradiction between the revelations to Mohammed and sexual intercourse with Khadija. It is when they were having intercourse that his trance state, in which he received his revelations, disappeared. By contrast, it was during an ascetic exercise that this “voice of God” first appeared. That is why some Hindus explain Mohammed’s condition through wrongly performed ascetic exercises, whereas modern psychologists think of a medical problem already present in his childhood. But all sane observers think there was something wrong with Mohammed’s prophetic trance, on which the whole religion of Islam is based. Only superstitious people like Meera Nanda reject this level-headed judgment and genuinely believe that he was hearing divine revelations.
Another false quote: she accuses me of calling Islam “monstrous”. (2009:110) It is she herself who uses such terms in describing Voice of India, whereas I tend to avoid such language. The page she quotes, Elst 2001:292, where I am supposed to have used the word “monstrous”, is the very page where I acknowledge most Indian Christians’ patriotism, but I don’t use the word “monstrous” there, nor anywhere else to my knowledge. It so happens that I am on record as having mocked the Hindutva use of swollen language including precisely the word “monstrous”, viz. the use of the expression “monstrous lies” by an AIT critic.
Finally, she credits me with having “brought in a number of other European Indophiles (...) sympathetic to the idea of India being the homeland of the Aryans”. (2009:113) I wonder who they are. She clearly overestimates my influence. In fact, her style is typically conspiratorial, vastly exaggerating our influence and importance.
But we know who Meera Nanda is. She is a troubled woman projecting her own obsessions on others. She is animated by hatred of Hinduism and can’t keep a story straight. But she can make her Marxist and Christian employers believe that she serves their purposes well.