"Kali's Child" has become a standard reference on Ramakrishna in the U.S. academia; the works of Courtright, Kripal and Doniger are similarly served up as mainstream interpretations of the Hindu tradition, finding their way into museum exhibits and primary references for encyclopedias.
Many learned people in the Hindu community, most of them non-academicians, have take a critical look at the work of these scholars. Rajiv Malhotra's RISA Lila I: Wendy's Child Syndrome examines the work and assertions of Doniger, Courtright, Kripal and Sarah Caldwell. When the Cigar Becomes A Phallus by Vishal Agarwal And Kalavai Venkat is a detailed examination of Paul Courtright's book on Ganesha. And my article Are Hinduism Studies Prejudiced? compares Microsoft Encarta's article on Hinduism, written by Doniger, with articles about other major world religions. The list goes on.
Critical articles, including my own, raise the issue of the quality of scholarship of some of these prominent members of the academy. These articles have pointed out errors, inconsistencies, mistranslations, missing references, suspect theories and interpretative techniques and, in some cases, troubling evidence of outright prejudice displayed by the academicians.
These arguments may be refutable. But, given the widespread support they have received from the Hindu community, it would behoove the scholars to engage with their critics and enter into a dialogue about the issues. The website Sulekha.com invited Wendy Doniger to offer a response to one of the early articles that Rajiv Malhotra had written. She refused.
Let's look at what happened when the Hindu community tried to address Courtright's work. Serious questions have been raised about the book--such as the non-existence of the references that Coutright cites in some cases, and their clear misconstrual in others.
A community group started a petition to express their concern about Courtright's book. The petition contained quotes from the book that were considered offensive and hurtful; it asked for an apology from the author and a republication of the book with clarification and corrections. While this petition was not initiated or signed by many of the people who had written critical articles, including by Rajiv Malhotra or myself, the large number of signers reflected the Hindu community's widespread concern about the book. This concern was being expressed in a democratic way.