In just under a decade, the United States has experienced a seismic shift in both cultural and moral values. Gone are the debates from older culture wars about evolution versus creationism, the existence of God, or American occupation of foreign lands. They have been replaced with questions revolving around identity markers like, ‘Who is a woman?’ and historical grievances like, ‘Should the United States pay reparations to African American descendants of former slaves?’ These questions are not raised in a genuine spirit of inquiry. Instead, they come with designated answers and anyone who voices a divergent opinion is viewed not merely as having incorrect perspectives but as being a bad person. And once declared a bad person, such a dissenting voice gets punished—through employment denial, ostracization, social media bullying, and the rest that is synonymous with professional and personal ‘cancellation’.
Undergirding the ‘correct’ answers to these questions is a moral infrastructure which lends not just support but also the scholastic imprimatur of knowledge. Entire bodies of academic literature have been manufactured to lend legitimacy to morally fashionable conclusions, which by design eliminate any alternative views from serious consideration. Such trendy ‘scholarship’ includes Fat Studies, Feminist Geography, Queer Studies, and so on.This is perilous to the functioning of modern civilization for many reasons, chief among them being we can no longer trust our academic institutions to produce non-ideological, independent, evidence-based sources of knowledge upon which we can rely to form public policies and enhance our lives. With each university that has experienced ideological capture, and each peer-reviewed journal that has bartered truth for Critical Social Justice ideology, we base our beliefs upon their conclusions and act in ways we think brings our flourishing but in fact, are not. We are making laws—and training a new generation of lawyers to make laws—that allow radical departures from historical norms, for instance, allowing ‘gender affirmation’ surgery for minors (sex changes, including removal of young girls’ breasts and young boys’ penises), often without parental consent.
However, there is something even more disturbing at play with this moral takeover: We are losing the ability and freedom to voice dissent. Our cognitive liberty—the ability to think according to our conscience— has rapidly eroded. We can no longer speak freely and are held hostage by the need to conform to the dictates of the dominant orthodoxy.
Bestselling books like Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay’s Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity – and Why This Harms Everybody and Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity, have deftly explained the genesis of these phenomena and their ongoing consequences. Snakes in the Ganga builds upon these works and explains how this occurred not only in the West but also in India. The book is a clarion call to place truth at the center of our institutions and restore our ability to think freely and speak openly, honestly, and fearlessly.
Snakes in the Ganga is not limited from the confines of an American or European perspective, but examines these interlocking phenomena from a global perspective, starting by shining the spotlight on a conspicuous area of ignorance about India. While mainstream America has started to understand the problems around Critical Social Justice, Wokeism, and Critical Race Theory, this is not the case with India. This book highlights that Critical Race Theory and other related theories have entered India stealthily and—unbeknownst to most Indians— started pervading every strand of society and government. And with this ideological takeover, Critical Social Justice is destroying the legitimacy of venerable Indian institutions. For instance, the highly acclaimed Indian Institutes of Technology (that have the distinction of producing a large share of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and corporate CEOs in the US tech sector) have been declared a structure of social oppression by a Harvard University professor of Indian origin (discussed in Chapter 4). The concept of meritocracy in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education is being declared abusive, and there is a demand to produce equal outcomes regardless of merit, rather than offering equal opportunities. In this context, Snakes in the Ganga shows the disastrous consequences of these invasive ideologies given India’s delicate equilibrium of diverse identities.
The American export of Wokeism is also causing misunderstandings. In the absence of a clear understanding of American scholastic exports like Critical Race Theory, Indians tend to blame all Americans for certain aspects of US foreign policy. For instance, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (a formal body that reports to the US Congress) in its annual report admonishes India for what it considers Islamophobia. The reality of inter-religious relations in India, however, is far more complex and has a long history that needs to be considered in any nuanced, balanced analysis. A number of Indians do not realize that such ideological biases are not representative of the entire United States and are merely the tip of the new moral orthodoxy’s academic spear.
India is also significant in the spread of Wokeism globally, and this should be considered in developing any counter-movement. While many Americans are aware that India is an outsourcing supplier of Information Technology personnel, few know that the Indian Left too is a major provider of young scholars for training in the latest American Leftist ideologies like Critical Social Justice; and once trained are used as foot soldiers to spread tendentious scholarship and ambitious activism. Snakes in the Ganga points out that American Ivy League institutions like Harvard University recruit large numbers of these Indian Leftists who are funded, supported, and thus transformed into members of the Global far-Left army of knowledge workers. While this activism is dangerous for any country to which it is exported, it creates perhaps the greatest threat to a country like India that comprises a significant diversity of identities and hence, the greatest scope for social disruption. Genuinely open-minded and liberal Indian intellectuals must, therefore, be brought closer to their American counterparts in addressing the global threat. Snakes in the Ganga exposes the Indian funding of far-Left scholars-activists that push the tenets of the new moral orthodoxy. It also raises the puzzling question of why some capitalists are indirectly promoting neo-Marxism.
Once in a generation, a book comes along that has the possibility of changing the course of a civilization. Snakes in the Ganga is that book. It offers profound insights on the dangerous trajectory of Critical Social Justice theories and untested moral orthodoxies born in the West when exported to other cultures. Snakes in the Ganga is our best hope of pushing back on illiberalism, recentering truth as our North Star, and changing the course of our civilization.
Founding Faculty Fellow University of Austin
India is reeling under pressure from persistent attacks on its ancient culture and civilization. These attacks are well coordinated, funded, and orchestrated from international locations and use Indians to exploit fault lines in India, which being a democracy and an open society, are quite visible. The caste system, for example, is painted dark; however, because of all the propaganda denouncing it, very little is being explained about the structure of Indian society.
One solid attempt to present how the ancient caste system was distorted into a flawed system and is now being exploited by an international nexus was made a dozen years ago. That was a pioneering work and a bestselling book, Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Fault Lines. It created a thought revolution, because for the first time, there was a high level of clarity. The term ‘Breaking India forces’ along with an entire framework and vocabulary became part of this revolution. It explained, with evidence, the elaborate system working within and outside India to brainwash, manipulate, and evangelize the rural poor with the end goal of destroying the civilizational fabric. The social movement resulting in the aftermath of the work brought many hitherto unknown concepts into popular lexicon. It spurred a whole generation of social media icons in India, with their own spheres of influence in political and cultural discourse. This gave birth to innumerable legal, political, and social changes in the country at various levels.
But while there is growing recognition of what the earlier Breaking India forces are up to, there has been a qualitative change and expansion of threats from new Breaking India forces. As lead author of Breaking India, Rajiv Malhotra, along with his new co-author, Vijaya Viswanathan, analyze this situation in Snakes in the Ganga.
This book is even more important than Breaking India because today’s ‘Breaking India forces 2.0’, as this book refers to them, are operating behind the scenes. They can only be understood upon careful and incisive investigation into their activities. Prestigious American universities like Harvard have been captured by them where they frame Social Justice theories designed to dismantle India. And Harvard has entered India and infiltrated its core institutions.
This book sheds light on the forces operating behind the social conflicts India has been facing recently while anticipating future attacks. Without this perspective on the global nexuses at work, Indian intellectuals are limited to reactive, rather than proactive, responses tothe growing attacks on issues like Article 370, Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, Babri Masjid, the farmers’ revolt, and more recently, the Nupur Sharma saga, and the Agneepath scheme.
Snakes in the Ganga provides a balanced view and connects the dots between Marxism and Critical Race Theory (CRT), popularly known as Wokeism. It explains how Critical Race Theory/ Wokeism has become the latest framework for interpreting India. Most Indians are unaware that this framework is being used to microscopically examine caste, Muslim grievances, Kashmir, gender and LGBTQ+ issues, communal violence, and even domains like public health, education, clean water, environment, and foreign policy. This analysis then provides the foundation for condemning India and passing judgment on social matters that haven’t been understood adequately. This is the first book I am aware of that provides such a detailed analysis of this new force. It gives profound insights on the course of Critical Race Theory and other social theories developed by the far Left in the West. It describes the penetration and trajectory of this movement in India.
Many will be shocked to discover how Harvard is playing the lead role in building a troubling alliance between a few leading Black Americans and ambitious young Dalits, encouraging them to map India’s caste system onto the Western concept of race. Theories known as Critical Caste Theory and Critical Dalit Theory are built on this framework and taught at Harvard as established fact in their curriculum. Despite the bogus comparison, no counter position is either presented or even entertained at Harvard.
Breaking India had already exposed the devious plan to map Black Americans to Dalits and White Americans to Brahmins, although the movement was only in its initial phases at the time. Today, it can no longer be considered a fringe movement. The American TV host, Oprah Winfrey, actively promotes it and books that discuss it have become New York Times bestsellers. Harvard scholars are vigorously involved in mirroring the entire Black movement to a corresponding Dalit movement. There is a Dalit Heritage Month similar to the Black Heritage Month. There is a Dalit Lives Matter movement mirroring the Black Lives Matter movement. Like the Black Panther party, there is now the Dalit Panthers organization, and so on.
Considering the speed with which American systems are imported into India, Indians should be concerned about the divisive caste surveys being conducted in the US tech sector (especially in Silicon Valley). The information thus generated is not intended to be used for a reconciliation between people, but to help construct legal cases accusing upper caste Indian employees in American organizations of being akin to White supremacists. The US legal concept of ‘protected classes’ is being applied to people who could qualify as victim identities from India. Under the mask of philanthropy and development, they are being recruited and incentivized to produce information on India that could help Harvard build an archive and database for research that supports its pet theories and helps it generate atrocity literature. Such databases are also being used to train Artificial Intelligence algorithms to have an anti-India bias.
While America benefits from the enormous brain drain from India, Harvard academics have begun targeting Indian Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) institutions for their role in upholding meritocracy which Harvard scholars view as structures of Brahminical patriarchy. This is yet another way to break India by dismantling its institutions of excellence.
Because of Harvard’s sheer power, this movement has taken India’s divisive identity politics to a whole new level. Snakes in the Ganga draws parallels with the British ‘civilizing’ mission in India, which served as a divide and rule policy to control Indians. Sanskrit continues to be denigrated as an oppressive language. Hinduism is a prime target worthy of being dismantled while Islam has assumed a victim identity. Additionally, the Indian family system has now been declared an oppressive structure that is perpetuating patriarchy and Brahmin privilege. Even gurus have not been spared. There is an obvious and concerted effort to completely dismantle the foundations of Indian civilization.
Attacking India’s legitimacy as a nation-state, its Constitution, and its ruling party, are Harvard’s favorite themes for research projects and conferences. Its attitude to China, however, is the exact opposite. The book shows how cleverly China has used Harvard to further its own nationalistic agendas and also penetrate India.
A fascinating and original contribution of Snakes in the Ganga is the elaborate detail on Harvard’s sprawling network of influence that permeates national borders, including those of India. This seminal work makes the unabashedly provocative statement that contrary to Indians’ notion that India is guru to the world, in reality it is Harvard that is the guru. Even the Indian government’s policies are influenced by it.
The information revealed provokes further inquiry into the role of the Indian billionaires and intellectuals that are sponsoring some of Harvard’s research, education, and outreach. The book does not blame anyone; but we should dig deeper on our own to find out more. I found the billionaire involvement to be the most important revelation and urge them to take this in the right spirit as independent input for their own benefit.
Snakes in the Ganga is a path-breaking book. I urge every Indian with a genuine concern and love for the country to read this breathtakingly original book and organize a counter-movement in response to these Breaking India forces. Being pro-active is more important than re-active.
R. Vaidyanathan, Professor of Finance (Retd.)
Indian Institute of Management Bangalore