Wendy Doniger is Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago and the author of The Hindus: An ­Alternative History, On Hinduism, and, most recently, the volume on Hinduism in The Norton Anthology of World Religions.


War and Peace in the Bhagavad Gita

Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, at a meeting of the national council of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Delhi, January 2014. He was elected prime minister of India in May 2014.

The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography

by Richard H. Davis
How did Indian tradition transform the Bhagavad Gita into a bible for pacifism, when it began life as an epic argument persuading a warrior to engage in a battle, indeed, a particularly brutal, lawless, internecine war?

India: Censorship by the Batra Brigade

Dina Nath Batra, the retired headmaster whose lawsuit against Penguin India led the company to agree to destroy copies of Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History, in his office beneath portraits of right-wing Hindu nationalists K.B. Hedgewar and M.S. Golwakar, Delhi, February 2014
In February of this year, after a long career of relative obscurity in the ivory tower, I suddenly became notorious. In 2010, Penguin India had published a book of mine, The Hindus: An Alternative History, which won two awards in India. But within months of its publication in India, a retired headmaster named Dina Nath Batra had brought the first of a series of civil and criminal actions against the book, arguing that it violated Article 295a of the Indian Penal Code, which forbids “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class” of citizens.

Unspeakable Sins


by Moshe Halbertal and Avishai Margalit, translated by Naomi Goldblum
If hatred were affected by logic, I dolatry would put an end to holy wars. (But then, if hatred were amenable to logic, perhaps there never would have been any holy wars.) The concept of idolatry has been used as a weapon in these wars by the Western monotheistic religions …