I am happy to note that Encyclopaedia Britannica (EB) has given an assurance that it will look into the issue raised by Mr Amit Raj Dhawan on the mis-interpretation of Hinduism. Somehow my blog has made a squirrel's contribution in the process of setting right the wrong. The correspondence between Mr Dhawan and EB is posted here. I appreciate the honesty of EB in acknowledging the mistake and the assurance to make corrections. Mr Dhawan deserves the gratitude of all the Hindus for taking up this issue. I also thank Dr Kalyanaraman for keeping me posted of the developments.
- Jayasree Saranathan
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amit Raj Dhawan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, May 16, 2009 at 6:47 AM
Subject: Re: Complaint to Encyclopædia Britannica
To: "Duignan, Brian" <BDuignan@eb.com>
Dear Mr. Brian Duignan
Thank you for the quick and relieving response. Your promising message has been conveyed to other Hindus who were deeply concerned with Britannica's presentation of Hinduism.
I am very glad to learn that Britannica has agreed to revise its article on Hinduism, and for that purpose Britannica is searching for a Hindu scholar.
It is understood that such task cannot be concluded overnight but it is expected that Britannica will not take many nights either. Keeping in mind the huge readership of Britannica, its reputation, and its misinterpretation of Hinduism, it is hoped that the changes in Britannica's article on Hinduism will come as soon as possible.
As criticism is not the job of an encyclopedia, so is favouritism. We expect Britannica to portray Hinduism as it is, which is far away from the present presentation of Hinduism in Britannica. It is expected that Britannica will treat all religions in the same light, where unnecessary and strange shadows or highlights are absent on any part.
Please keep me posted with your progress on the situation.
Amit Raj Dhawan
2009/5/15 Duignan, Brian <BDuignan@eb.com>
Dear Amit Raj Dhawan:
Thank you for your e-mail to Amy Tikkanen, who forwarded it to me for response. I have read both the e-mail and your review of Encyclopaedia Britannica's article on Hinduism at your blog "Non-random-Thoughts." I have also discussed them with the appropriate editors here at Britannica. I'm grateful for your close reading of the text. On reviewing the article in the light of your observations about it, we've agreed that the article is in need of revision. We are working now to identify a Hindu scholar to lead that revision.
I would like you to know that Britannica strives for balance in all subjects. We don't expect to please everyone—balance by nature will always disappoint some people—but we weigh all earnest criticism seriously, especially when it reflects as much work and thought as yours. We agree with your premise that all religions should be treated with equal respect and that this can be achieved without compromising scholarly standards.
Please be aware that the revision won't be completed overnight. This is serious, scholarly work, and we always try to do things properly and thoughtfully. We do hope to commission the work with a Hindu scholar very soon, however, and have him or her get right to work. If you like, I'd be happy to keep you posted on our progress.
Senior Editor, Philosophy and Religion
Mr Dhawan's rebuttal of EB entry on Hinduism:-