McGill's Sharma, a practicing Hindu, countered that the academy had never been neutral, objective ground. Trends in academia have always been governed by shifts in public opinion: "The recalibration of a power equation is an untidy process." But if the controversies are only about influence, Doniger said, there was little use in discussing the merits of the various books, or her Encarta essay on Hinduism. "It does not matter whether the article published under my name was right or wrong," she said in an e-mail. "The only important thing about it was that I wrote it and someone named Sharma did not."
Sharma was asked to write an essay on Hinduism for Microsoft's Encarta encyclopedia to replace a previous essay written by Doniger. The switch came after a Hindu activist, a former Microsoft engineer named Sankrant Sanu, charged that Doniger's article perpetuated misleading stereotypes and asked for a rewrite by an "insider." "For pretty much all the religious traditions in America, most of the people studying it are insiders," said Sanu. "They are people who are believers. This is true for Judaism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism. This is not true for Hinduism."
Compare and contrast essay on Hinduism and Buddhism
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